So, this week is a major adjustment period for me...Getting use to my new position at work, which was an old position I had...I live in a world different from many...I tell people I got a promotion at work, and they don't get it means I work nights and all weekends now...but that's a different topic for a different blog...
Baseball season started, and I missed is so far...Taking the promotion also means I give up coaching Little Beeze's Baseball team again...I thought it was going to bother me more then him, but I'm not sure now, since he's saying he doesn't want to play...
I've also been missing the crunch time of hockey...But I came across a topic Sunday night after getting home from work...The NYPD and FDNY had their annual charity hockey game...And tied 3-3, a huge, bench clearing brawl broke out...
That guy has a few more clips on his Instagram...
I watched this video a few times...First thing I felt was, 'some one shut that annoying bitch up!...Holy fuck throw her down on the ice and let tell those cops "PD Sucks" to their face...And I get it...I trust a Fire Fighter probably more then I trust a cop...But that's because I my personally skewed opinion of Police based on relatives that I have who are Police officers...I'll never forget my one uncle, still wearing his police uniform and telling us, "never trust a cop!" And there was that douchebag that pulled me over last year...Dude was total full of shit...Dirty fucker trying to make his Lindale quota...Clevelanders know what I'm talking about!
But I know not all cops are bad...I know Police officers put their lives on the line every day, just like Fire Fighters do...So hearing the crowd bash the cops annoyed me...Although the "Dunkin' Donuts!" chant was pretty funny!
And I get that there is a built in rivalry between Police Departments and Fire Departments...And I know playing hockey against rivals, whether friendly or not, can get heated...But so often, we hear the talk about how celebrities, and athletes "should" behave, because "they're role models"...But if you're raising your kids to look at Selena Gomez, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, and LeBron James, as role models, you're doing your job wrong...Having your kids look up to the Police, and Firefighters, along with Teachers, and Doctors Without Borders, is a much better way to go...Let alone showing them that bridge, that their great grandfather helped build...
So seeing these two teams of men I would want my kids to consider role models, brawling during a charity hockey game, depressed me a bit...Am I holding these men to I higher standard then I should? They're human...They need to blow off steam like the rest of us...But it was a charity game...You can play a good, and even physical hockey game without a brawl breaking out...Should they have tried to remember it was a charity game? And that it's 2014, where nearly everyone in this arena has a camera on their phone?
Never before have I talked, or written about fighting in hockey in a negative manner...But I guess I am this time...I could have taken it if two guys dropped the gloves and had a normal fight that was justified...But a bench clearing brawl...And from those close clips on Instagram, you could see it got ugly...Right now, I feel a bit disappointed...But also happy I'm not a New Yorker...
By the way, the NYPD won 8-5...Their first win in five years...
Spring is sprung and a young (or old) man's fancy turns to.... baseball! What else?
Around these parts, stuff like the Patriots' offseason, the Celtics' non-season, even the Bruins (who today clinched the best record in the East) has a tendency to get back-burnered by the Red Sox. Good, bad or indifferent, they attract attention. Always have.
They attracted mine. There's not much to write about a season that's a week old though. Ah, but with a team that has a 114-year history, it's not hard to think of subject matter. That led me down the path of the old 'best ever' debate, in this case positionally for those Red Sox. In some cases it's debatable. In some, such as DH (Ortiz), LF (Williams, even with Yaz and Rice for competition) and some other spots it's simple.
That got me thinking about right field. I can recall a number of Red Sox stars manning the position, the best of them, certainly defensively, being Dwight Evans. Jackie Jensen was the first I can recall, and despite his idiosynchrasies (he was scared to death of flying, but I'm not far behind him so how can I complain?) he was a multiple All-Star, a Golden Boy whose intrasquad rivalry with the aging Ted Williams sold a lot of newspapers.
The best of them all was Harry Hooper. Once he was part of a famed trio along with Tris Speaker and Duffy Lewis, not bad company. Speaker, who eventually left for Cleveland, is a legend. Before the Monster (or just "The Wall", as we called it when the only Green Monster was driven at Bonnevillle by Art Arfons) got any of its more recent nicknames it was "Duffy's Cliff." And Lewis was the first of the avalanche to the Yankees that stripped Boston's 6-title-in-16-year dynasty to the bone.
But Hooper 's good company hardly overshadowed him. To this day, he remains the only Red Sox player ever with four World Series titles. He's in the Hall. The Dead-Ball star remains clearly above his competition, good as it is.
Yet, except for an errant Jack Hamilton fastball in August of 1967, he may have gotten a run for his money.
Tony Conigliaro had it all. He was local, handsome and popular. He fielded well, ran well and sang perhaps not so well, but not so badly that he didn't have a couple of regional hit records (I recall "Little Red Scooter"). And suddenly in 1967 he had something else. He was suddenly playing for a contender.
Dick Williams had come out of the minors to take the helm of the pathetic Red Sox, promising only that they'd win more games than they lost. In August, following a torrid 10-game winning streak coming off the All-Star break, Boston was in the thick of it, and so was Conigliaro. Still only 22, he had become the youngest player ever to hit 100 homers with his 16th that season. And that night in August, he had reached 20. Along with Carl Yastrzemski, he was powering Boston to a spot right alongside Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago, not to mention California, who would fall off before the others formed the best 4-team dogfight in AL history. The Summer of Love was alive and well 3000 miles away, but in Boston it was all Red Sox, and Tony C's star was rising ever faster.
The pitch that hit him was an inside fastball. It was the pitch that effectively ended his career. Fans across the country saw the grisly photograph of his blackened eye, but it could hardly have been the only damage. A year later, baseball would introduce the mandatory ear flap on the batting helmets because of the famous incident.
Conigliaro missed the1968 season but he returned for 1969, hitting 20 homers, and for 1970, bagging 36 more. Then, for reasons nobody fully understood, the 25-year-old who had been around for ages was traded to California. He flopped there and left the game, returning for a cameo with Boston's 1975 pennant winners during which he hit his last 2 home runs. After that he was gone. His shocking onset of ill health in 1982 was stunning. He was only 37. It left him in a near-vegetative state. He would never recover, and left this world in 1990 at age 45. The tragedy piled upon tragedy seemed too sad to be true. But it was true.
Was it the fastball that started an avalanche? Pressure? Too much too soon for a kid? Product of the era? All of the above? We'll never know, just as we'll never know what he might have accomplished had his life's path taken a different turn. He never had a chance to eclipse Harry Hooper. Instead, on a Boston franchise that saw star Chick Stahl commit suicide by drinking carbolic acid, young phenom Jimmy Piersall awake to find himself in Westboro (mental) Hospital, and a dozen other sad episodes, Conigliaro's fall from the summit to sudden injury, decline and premature death ranks among the most tragic of tales the Red Sox can muster.
Hello folks, and welcome to this week’s second grumble with IHM. This week, we’ve seen some great baseball, including Opening Day (in America anyhow) and a loss for every team in the league but one. The one team left undefeated, the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers were able to pick up walk-off wins in their first two games against the Royals, including a win Wednesday despite new closer Joe Nathan’s best efforts, thanks to a walk off single by new second baseman Ian Kinsler. Friday, things were a little less close. The Tigers jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, then sat through an hour long rain delay to resume play and end up winning it 10-4, thanks to home runs by OF’s Torii Hunter and Raji Davis, as well as Miguel Cabrera’s first of the season. Miguel Cabrera’s two run shot in the 8th provided some historical significance, as he became the 5th player in MLB history with 2,000 hits, 300+ HRs, and 1200+ RBI over their first 12 seasons. He came into the day just four hits shy of the milestone, and proceeded to go 4-5. He joined a pretty impressive list of players in the process, including Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Albert Pujols.
As a part of my efforts to remove myself as much from ESPN as possible, I have been trying to give Fox Sports 1 more of a shot recently. While I still can’t stand the two tools they have on their “SportsCenter” esque “Fox Sports Live”, I have come to enjoy the MLB Whiparound show they have put together, which includes a local guy in Ryan Field as the anchor, and Gabe Kapler/Frank Thomas as analysts. Pretty solid stuff, with some nice live look-ins along with the day’s highlights. Today, I get to watch the Cleveland-Minnesota game followed by the Dodgers-Giants game… two nationally televised games and neither one involves Boston or New York. Sounds like a winner to me! Sorry Boston fans, but thanks to ESPN, you are pretty much on par with the Yankees in terms of coverage now.
In other MLB news, Masahiro Tanaka made his MLB debut, going seven innings and allowing two runs while striking out eight en route to his first MLB win over the Jays.
I’m not sure how often any of you get a chance to watch Mike Trout play, but the next time you do take it. Going into captain obvious mode here… but this guy is good… damn good. At every aspect of the game. While Miguel Cabrera might be the best hitter in baseball right now, this kid is the best overall player in baseball right now. He’s becoming the kind of player you expect something special every at bat, or every time someone hits a ball to center field. The throw he made to nail a guy at the plate last night was one of the best damn throws I’ve seen made in a Major League game this side of Roberto Clemente’s highlight reel. If this kid stays healthy, we could be mentioning him in the same breath as guys like Clemente, Mays, Mantle, etc. The scary thing is, he probably STILL isn’t as good as he’s going to get.
Yasiel Puig is back in the news for the wrong reasons again, this time after being late to BP before Friday’s game. As a result, old man Mattingly benched Puig for the Dodgers home opener, playing Matt Kemp instead. Must be a hell of a problem to have, pulling Kemp off the bench to replace a starter. No word yet if Mattingly made any reference to Puig’s sideburns while he was being read the riot act (bonus points to anyone who got that Simpson’s reference).
DeSean Jackson called being released by the Eagles “disrespectful” in an interview with ESPN’s biggest blowhard Stephen A. Smith. On a side note… STOP IT with the fake glasses already. I don’t know if you all actually saw the interview between these two idiots, but Jackson was wearing a pair of glasses that looked like he was in fucking sixth grade shop class. It doesn’t make you look any smarter; it makes you look like a fucking tool.
Speaking of “that’s enough already”, I’d like to send another one of those out to the band “Five Finger Death Punch” after hearing their terrible, awful, disappointment to humanity cover of the Animal’s House of the Rising Sun. This comes after their cover of “Bad Company”… not quite as bad, but definitely no Bad Company. Because of the upsetting nature of this attempt at a cover, they’ve been added to my enemies list, which I may or may not update every week based upon the popularity of this segment.
ESPN has spent a week now hyping up Kevin Durant’s pursuit of Michael Jordan’s streak of 40 straight games with 25 or more points… and yesterday Durant’s 28 point effort was just enough to tie Jordan for the longest streak of 25 point games. Of course, ESPN failed to mention that was the record for the past two years, and it marks the halfway point for the actual record, held by Wilt Chamberlain who did so in 80 straight games in a single season.
Doug McDermott won the Wooden Award as the nation’s top basketball player after averaging 27 points per game for Creighton in his senior year.
That’s all I’ve got for today folks. Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out. Enjoy your weekend Gabbers.
March is finally in the rear view mirror and with it I can finally put away the snow shovels and be free of winter for another few months. With that, there is Major League baseball on the television, the Final Four teams are left in the NCAA Tournament with March Madness winding down, the NFL is about done with major free agent signings and turns towards the NFL Draft, and the NBA and NHL wind down the regular season and ready for the playoffs.
I had a great Wednesday night of sitting on the couch watching TV and working the remote with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics all on the same night locally. Had some half-price pizza and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers at the local watering hole with my buddy and the kiddos (no beer for them!) before that. The only downer being the lovely Mrs. B. was stuck working that afternoon and missed all the fun.
A quick shout-out to O.H. whose blog yesterday got the wheels turning in my head--which is the reason we blog, right? He touched on the return of Milwaukee Brewers outfield Ryan Braun from his 65 game suspension for P.E.D.’s. Braun in Milwaukee, like Barry Bonds in San Francisco, received a powerful ovation from the home crowd and will soon be coming to the friendly confines of Fenway Park in Boston.
I had commented that I would not be among those booing Braun if I were at Fenway that night. Part of that reason is I am a big fan of Braun--a large part of that from him carrying various fantasy baseball teams of mine over the years. Another reason is he is a player who really seems to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to play baseball for a living. But another part of me has another reason not to boo him.
I was at Fenway for Roger Clemens’ first game back to Fenway as a Blue Jay where he dominated Boston’s lineup and famously pointed to General Manager Dan Duquette’s box as he left the mound. I was booing my lungs out at the Texas Con Man that day. Loudly and lustily. Not only because he was pitching so well for the opposition after having a few rough years allegedly out of shape here, but mostly due to rejection. He rejected the Red Sox. My team!
Fans boo for various reasons. Some is due to simply not liking the player/coach, etc for some reason or the other. Sometimes it is just the opposing team itself. Sometimes it is the player who scorned the team/franchise/city, etc. It may be respect for the player doing well against your team. Or it could be due to something the player did or did not do. There are countless reasons for booing.
But for Ryan Braun, he cheated the system and was caught and paid the price, but that is not the real reason for booing. He was so outspoken in his own defense prior to this suspension that it had a bit of a Lance Armstrong effect. Personally, I would think the fans of Milwaukee would be more likely to boo him: he hurt their home team last year with the stupid suspension.
Ryan Braun never did anything to me personally. In addition, he never hit a home run to knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs (Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone); he never wasted my hard-earned money by taking the field overweight and out-of-shape (Roger Clemens); he never left the team in a messy divorce that came out before the biggest game in franchise history at the time (Bill Parcells); he never beat the home team with a game winning baby hook in the NBA Championship (Magic Johnson); and he never opened his big mouth and bad-mouthed the franchise I root for either (Rex Ryan).
Ryan Braun is an idiot. But I cannot boo him for using P.E.D.’s. In a way, it makes him a tragic figure. He was tempted and he gave into the temptation. As such it is very hard to fault him. If I were approached and told that taking something would allow me the opportunity to potentially secure my family financially for life and allow me to excel at the game I love for the price of some health issues many years down the road, it would be a difficult thing to say “no” to.
It is a deal with the devil, but everyday there are thousands of people give up so much more for so much less each and every day.
I guess I think of it now, and its not that I’m angry at Braun, or even feel upset that he succumbed to the P.E.D. pressure, but more sad for him that he gave in to the demon and was not strong enough to say “no”.
* * *
The free agent signings are finally slowing down in the NFL, but as always there is plenty of NFL news each and every week.
The New England Patriots made an interesting move in bringing back safety Patrick Chung on Thursday after he signed in Philadelphia last year. Chung did not burn bridges on his way out of Foxboro, MA (cough-cough Brandon Spikes cough-cough) and after one injury plagued season miscast as a free safety playing deep centerfield on defense, Chung is back as a back-up and special teamer.
Per ProFootballFocus.com, Chung missed 13 tackles and allowed five touchdowns in only twelve games (ten starts). Opposing quarterbacks had a 129.8 quarterback rating throwing at Chung, who was paid $3 million last year in the first year of a back-loaded deal.
Chung lost his job in New England in 2012 as he fell hard after the team benched him in the playoffs. Primarily a strong safety for the Patriots, the 2009 second round pick had an up-and-down career in his first run in New England. He was likely cheap (no contract details released) but he knows the defense, has some perspective after a year away, and will be competing for a job.
Speaking of the Eagles, Philadelphia finally had enough and released their mercurial and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson was raked across the coals with a report of gang ties in an NJ.com story right before his release which does not help out much in free agency. Either way, he found a home in the NFC East in a hurry with Washington. For the Redskins, they are able to get two motivated games from Jackson at least (visiting Philly and Philly at Washington DC), but even more importantly he upgrades a wide receiver group in need of another playmaker for franchise quarterback RGIII. Will he behave? Will he produce? That is the big question. Three years for $24 million and $16 million guaranteed means presumably the ‘skins get a year of Jackson before he starts moaning about wanting a new contract.
For Jackson, the best landing spot would have been San Francisco with the 49ers top defensive unit and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. San Francisco with Jackson and Seattle with Percy Harvin and their defense would have made the best match-ups in the NFL into absolute must-see prime-time games. What a pity.
For the Redskins, having new head coach Jay Gruden get a new toy is a big deal. Pierre Garcon gets a little less attention and fellow new receiver Andre Roberts gets more single coverage as these three wide receivers should give running back Alfred Morris a few less defenders in the box as well. I understand where Philadelphia is coming from with all the issues off-the-field with Jackson despite his excellent on-field talent.
The New York Giants continued a busy off-season of moves in free agency as they grabbed offensive tackle Charles Brown and defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Zack Bowman to shore up the defense at value prices. Earlier in free agency, the Giants made a splash signing underrated cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and took a flyer on former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond. Adding further to the secondary they brought in safety Quintin Demps from the Chiefs. They also brought back wide receiver Mario Manningham on offense and signed Dolphins guard John Jerry and Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz. The Giants even brought in return specialist Trinidad Holliday from the Broncos.
For all the talk of teams like New England, Denver, and Seattle loading up in free agency the G-men have flown under the radar this offseason. They have a number of solid veterans to step in and the team back into the playoff picture. Their offensive line and secondary were their Achilles heel last season, and they are reloading there with a vengeance.
OK, that’s all I have for this week. Have a great weekend, all!
Opening day of the MLB season has passed us by and we are officially into the 2014 season. The Red Sox left 12 men on base and lost 2-1 to Baltimore, The Yankees ace CC Sabathia lost to the juggernaut from Houston formally known as the Lastros
The weather is starting to cooperate and this old coot is a happy man.I have been waiting all winter to have my morning joe on my deck with my bride…no better way to start the day.
The tribute to the 2 Boston Firefighters that died in the Back Bay blaze last week was fitting for the hero first responders they were. Our prayers and support go out to those the left behind.
MLB week one found… The Red Sox taking in the Obama Whitehouse visit, David Ortiz took a selfie with the Prez and Obama managed to mispronounce Mike Napoli’s last name. Jonny Gomes was the hero of the day for me, he wore his American Flag blazer and was a big hit at Walter Reed Hospital visiting and entertaining the wounded and maimed heroes of our military.
Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers received a standing ovation his first time up before the home town fans. Having served a 65 game suspension for cheating it seems the Milwaukee fans say all is forgiven and all is forgotten.
Ryan’s first road test of his forgiveness is in the unfriendly confines of Fenway Park, Boston MA on Friday.
Fenway and Boston fans generally don’t pass up an opportunity to rake some deserving villain over the coals and Ryan fits the bill.
Over the years a lot of folks have been booed in Boston
President Obama was booed on April 21, 2012 when he appeared on the big screen on Fenway’s 100th birthday…the generally Democratic Boston doesn’t have much love for OB
On August 16, 2013 the Fenway fans turned there attention to notorious steroid user Alex Rodriguez.
On July 26th 2004 presidential hopeful MA Senator John Kerry got roundly booed by the Fenway faithful when he walked out about 35’ from home plate and threw out the first pitch. As Crash Davis would have said it was “some weak ass shit” as it bounced twice and rolled by home plate.
Not everybody liked George W. Bush but everyone has to admit that that guy threw some nasty stuff when he threw out first pitches…and they were from the rubber.
Roger Clemens has been booed in Fenway as well as notorious wife beater
Brett Myers, he took heat all night long from the fans for his public assault on his wife on a sidewalk in Boston.
So watch closely and listen up because the Fenway fans will be cold and damp and just waiting to pounce on Braun
The Steelers signed former Patriots bulldozer LeGarrett Blount to a two year deal.
Blount had a decent season for the Pats but Belichick doesn’t pay RB’s so Pittsburgh get a bruiser.
Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe made it into the elite eight QB’s all time bracket challenge.
DeSean Jackson is a free agent having been cut by the Eagles. He is a dynamic game changer…and a troublesome character for most locker rooms to have to deal with. It looks like the Redskins are in the front of the line close to signing Jackson.
NHL, my Bruins continue to roll…
Tukka Rask stopped 60 shots on Sunday vs the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-3 shootout win.
The Toronto Maple leafs dropped there 8th in a row…hosers
NBA….ok nothing more to say than the Sixers lost 26 consecutive games and are still not the worst team in the battle for the most ping pong balls …and that would be the Bucks.
In other news: obamacare still doesn’t work. the Russians are still moving forward trying to rebuild the Soviet Union by taking back their neighbors under the guise of protecting Russians in those countries...sound like another notorious past leader...named Hitler?. The Indonesian flight 370 is still lost (I still think it is in Pakistan or Iran) The cold and harsh winter is being blamed on global warming. The Keystone pipeline is still being stopped by the liberals that want the USA to be a third world nation and want you to pay $6 bucks a gallon for gasoline and home heating oil. Syria’s government is still killing it’s citizens, Israel is still being strong armed into peace talks with Palestine even though the Palestinians won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and shoot whenever they get a chance. The US is still borrowing money from China and then giving it and our tax dollars to all but 9 countries on the planet.
I am one grouchy sob today
But Spring has sprung so cheer up harry and take the classic '88 Sportster for a ride
Thanks for reading and commenting, check out Lanz right over there just North of Boston