Greetings from the Hoodwood where the flags are at half-staff for Mr. Cub
Coach K gets his grand victory
I’ve never been much of a Duke fan, I think they are the poster boy of the snobby ACC. I detested Duke for being the ones that the pundits pointed to as basketball the “right way” and how they celebrated when Duke stunned UNLV in the 1991 national semifinals in a game I still swear was fixed to give UNLV their comeuppance. The thing is as much as detested the school and program. I actually respected Mike Krzyzewski, he always seemed like a coach who actually believed in principles like staying in school. I thought for the longest time Duke didn’t put up its 1990 final four banner because of how they got humiliated in the national championship but it was because one of the players didn’t graduate. I found out later that the player. Alaa Abdelnaby did come back finish his coursework and the banner went up. But in any case, the more I read about Krzyzewski and his come up from humble beginnings in Chicago, and his yeoman like rise from coaching his alma mater to nearly being run out of Duke after a couple years, the more I respected him as much as I loathed the team that he coached. In any case, Krzyzewski has made himself a coaching institution and believe it or not been at Duke as long as Dean Smith was at UNC and has more wins he has 927 at Duke, and after the Blue Devils rallied smartly to down a plucky St. John’s squad at MSG Coach K became the 1st men’s coach in Div-1 to amass 1000 wins. Keep in mind, Coach K still has about 3 seasons to go to surpass Pat Summitt’s 1089 wins but he has a milestone that it’s a testimony to his great teams whom he was quick to put to the forefront and effusive in praise for. But also to his longevity, you don’t coach somewhere 35 years without winning pretty consistently and he has done that in spades.
MLB changes leaders
As much as it catches me off guard to think Coach K has been at Duke for 35 years it makes me pause, but to think that Bud Selig has stepped down from his post as MLB commish, a job he held since 1992 makes me feel old. Selig has been MLB’s grand poobah since the owners ran Fay Vincent out after the 92 season. He has had the job officially since 1998 when the farcical acting title was finally removed. I’ve never been big on Bud Selig, as I’ve always thought of him as a puppet for the owners as he once was one as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. I also thought that his ideas for contracting two teams (one of whom were my beloved Minnesota Twins in 2001) was ham handed and smelled like a plot to take care of his daughter who was then running the Brewers but that plan fell through, the Twins got good, the Expos moved to fertile baseball country in Washington and Selig soldiered on. Now some of his ideas I liked. Interleague play, moving the Brewers to the NL and the wild card were good. Others like the steroid bumbling, the aforementioned contraction and the inane All-Star-home field advantage But Selig was the 2nd longest tenured commish behind the first to hold the office, the bigoted Kennesaw Mountain Landis. With Selig’s retirement the mantle passes to Rob Manfred who has been the deputy CEO of MLB and by and large has the approval of the talking heads of MLB. We’re hoping that Mann looks at further improving the game and will be his own man and not a puppet of the owners.
NBA: Kobe done for the season…and for good?
This is a haunting refrain that is getting all too familiar. Kobe Bryant has played all of 41 games for the Lakers in the last two seasons suffering through injuries to his knee and Achilles but another injury, this time to his rotator cuff which will shelve him for the remainder of this season and will be the third time in as many season that Bryant will not finish the season healthy and leaves many to wonder will this be the last time we see the self-styled Black Mamba on the court. I think it won’t be, I think that Bryant will try it one more time. I can’t see Bryant walking away from the game after an injury. I think Bryant can be self-absorbed and selfish as a player but he has a legacy of a winner and a tough customer. I can’t see him letting an injury be the checkmate for him.
PHAT DAP\HEAD SLAP
Phat Dap- In Memoriam for Mr. Cub
In lieu of a phat dap, Hoodwood takes a moment to remember Mr. Cub. Ernie Banks. The player universally loved in the baseball and revered in Chicago passed away this past Friday at 83. One of the first players of color to play for the Cubs, Banks’ infectious play and boundless spirit fueled the otherwise sad sack Cubs of the 50’s and 60’s, he retired in 1971 as the Cubs all-time home run leaders and is still 2nd but his 1636 RBI’s are still team best. He was inducted into the baseball hall of fame on his first year of eligibility in 1977. His catchphrase “Let’s Play Two” was his enduring symbolism of his love for the game. The Cubs family have lost one of their greats, and the whole baseball and sports world grieves with them.
To Russ Knight who works for the CBS affiliate in Phoenix and was hired by the NFL as an assistant frequency coordinator for the Super Bowl festivities going on in the Valley of The Sun. Knight was given highly coveted All-Access Super Bowl credentials for his job. Rightly excited he took a picture and posted it on Facebook. That was a no-no. The NFL contacted him immediately and told him that his credentials would be revoked since there would be a slim but realistic chance that the picture of the credential could be zoomed in on can be duplicated. Considering how tight security is for the Super Bowl nowadays it’s not surprising that the NFL is so strict on posting pics especially of its prized credentials. Knight for his part took ownership of his goof blaming no one but himself. But he still gets a head slap for wasting a golden opportunity to be at the year’s biggest game.
The Pro Bowl really needs to go back to Hawai’i and after the Super Bowl
The NHL All-Star was in Columbus and in a way I’m sad I missed it but 29 goals? That’s too much
The Yanks don’t want to pay A-Fraud his bonuses. Y’all act like you didn’t know???
Richard Sherman is the best corner in the league and doesn’t like inane questions about it
Doing away with defensive shifts, here’s a tip hitters should hit ‘em where they aint
Now the CFP won’t budge on their dates…did you think that they would give up their valuable cash cow dates?
After a week of talking heads discussing “deflategate,” essentially a week of lost preparation time for the Patriots, Belichick came to the podium on Saturday afternoon and told the assembled reporters and the NFL to take the whole story and stuff it. Yesterday, Radatz took the final word on the controversy - at least in my book - but I want to explore a couple of things about Belichick’s press conference because it was a prime time example of The Art of War. I loved it so much, I actually replayed it a few times.
At 2:15, the Patriots announced they would be holding a press conference at 2:30, essentially forcing the national media camped out at Gillette Stadium all week to scurry around like cockroaches when the lights come on to find a seat. At the appointed time, exactly nothing happened. Ten minutes later, exactly nothing happened. Nothing happened for 40 more minutes. There they were - assembled by the simple word that the Patriots had something to say.
They weren’t told who would be speaking, they weren’t told what the topic was, only that the Patriots had called a press conference. And there they were left to speculate - which only demonstrated how little any of them actually knew. There they were twisting in the wind - the lot of them - without anything to report, only their own speculation.
The local radio station in Boston went 90 minutes without a commercial because they didn’t know when someone would come to the podium and didn’t want to miss anything. Bill had them by the short hairs. I heard all kinds of wild speculation what may be said: he cops to deflating balls, Brady cops to it, that the Patriots and the NFL had reached an agreement whereby the league would give the team the chance to come clean first. Just wild stuff. These guys had no idea they were playing right into what the good coach wanted them to do. Twist in that wind.
40 minutes after the appointed time, Coach Belichick came to the podium and without an apology began his presser. Lesson one, young grasshopper, you need me and don’t you forget it. I determine your schedule, I determine what access you have to me, you jump when I say jump. Real Machiavellian stuff, but it was very clear there was a message being sent - funny thing though, I haven’t seen any of the talking heads talking about that: who reports when the media gets taken to school? Instead they talk Mona Lisa Vito and what a bizzare press conference it was.
He then asserted that the New England Patriots have played by the rules. Period end. He talked about the process of preparing game balls - more or less - and told the assembled that the organization had conducted its own study and found that the process artificially increased ball pressure. He then told us that the team presented the game balls to the officials and asked that they be inflated to 12.5 PSI - what they did with that he didn’t know, you’d have to ask the officials. BOOM. Someone get that? Right back on the game officials and the League. He essentially said the game officials determine the football’s pressure. Interesting.
Now, who knows if anything he said, or represented makes sense. What matters is he said something. Frankly I don't care if Bill Nye believes him or not, the key here is that Belichick specifically said that the officials were asked to inflate the balls to 12.5.Science or not, it would appear the expectation was that it was to the officials to ensure proper inflation. I don't know, frankly I don't care. The whole thing is ridiculous and a side show. If this were the Colts it wouldn't be an issue. (Beware though, when you're on Bill's S-list you will get cut - what's Mangini doing now a days? That's right, last year he was a Tight Ends Coach.)
So now that he’s told the press who is in control, thrown the officials under the bus, and flipped off the NFL, he would now take questions. So, of course, the number one thing on everyone’s mind is…”Spygate?” Yeah, he took that question and verbally undressed the guy who asked it - he said coaches put signals out there in front of 80,000 people, our camera guy was filming in front of 80,000 people like a lot of other teams were at the time, but we were wrong and we’re not going to do it again. Boom. Can we stop talking about this now?
In fact that’s what Belichick said. He’s not talking about it any more, he’s embarrassed at how much time he’s spent on this crap this week, and now it’s up to the NFL to talk to them about it. Interestingly enough, earlier in the day Patriots wide out Matthew Slater (the teams NFLPA player rep) announced that the NFLPA has now advised the players not to speak with the league regarding the investigation. Which played right into Belichick’s hands, as he likely knows what the league has, knows they’re not getting any more, and now he delivers the final thrust. En garde! If you’re just reading articles about the press conference, you’ll know he cracked a joke (“I’m no Mona Lisa Vito of the football world…”) and you’ll know that he denied any wrongdoing, and you’ll know he went into the evidence. But you won’t know why he’s a great coach. He spent 22 minutes ramming deflated footballs down the throats of the press, the league, John Harbaugh, Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ organization.
That press conference was the work of a master strategist and brilliant tactician. Hey, Goodell, here’s a free gift for you:
On Thursday, the assembled media took Tom Brady and tried to humiliate him. He was asked how he would explain the situation to the kids. I wish he had thrown the question back: “How would YOU explain all the ‘ball’ double entendres in the media?” Belichick, in one final flourish, showed his quarterback how to own the media. Saturday was one big STFU, one big, information dump and one huge challenge - if you’re gonna say we broke the rules, if you’re gonna say we cheated, PROVE IT.
The thing is the league won't be able to. The evidence was a deflated ball...that was summarily reinflated for the second half so far as I can tell. What the league has here is a ridiculously lax procedure for balls. The league will have to point their finger at someone and this time Bill has basically said they're going to have to point it at either themselves or at the officials. He's gotten his team fired up because he believes in them. He told the media who is their daddy. He told the league to prove it.
Bring on the Super Bowl. It's going to be a great one.
HEY HO!!! IT SNOWED!!!! Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. So big news here in the northeast besides deflate-a-gate is that....it snowed. Yup. Had to get my snow mobile out. Needs a paint job but she runs. Right now it's lull time till the next wave hits. The wind has kicked up and the temps went down. So all you in palm tree territory prepare for incoming snow balls. My catapult is set on stun.
So what of the land of Left Turns? I got you covered right here.
JEFF GORDON TO NOT RETIRE BUT NOT BE IN THE #24 AFTER 2015
That would be correct. Jeff says he's not retiring because that means your're not working and he plans on working. Getting a real job even. So the "R" word is not being used. He is however stepping out of the #24 at the end of 2015. He will be focusing on getting that championship under this new Chase format that he didn't like at first but now says it's pretty exciting.
Jeff was very vague on his plans after 2015 is over. He's put feelers out to tv networks to maybe be in the broadcast booth but he wants to be free to jump in a race vehicle like maybe a truck or a Baja Buggy for the Baja 1000 or other sellect events as he chooses. Or not. Says he has a lot of plans that he'll announce later.
Jeff is a partner with Rick Hendrick and plans on being heavily involved with the company for years to come.
Speaking of Rick. Here's what he had to say,"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact. He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stockcar racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family and I look forward to many years together as friends and business partners."
Jeff said he and Rick discussed his back issue and future in racing many times. He wanted to go out on top while he was still competitive and on his own terms. Rick tried to talk Jeff into staying in the car a little longer but Jeff knew last year it was time.
It is assumed that Chase Elliott, (last years Xfinity champion and Bill Elliott's son) is in line for the seat of the #24 car. He will be chasing a 2nd championship and also driving a 5th HMS car in the Cup Series for sellect races this year. HMS can skirt the 4 team max because Elliott is still a rookie.
SOME OF JEFF'S RESUME
----> 4 Cup Championships
----> 92 points paying race W's
----> 77 Poles
----> 3rd (Behind Petty & Pearson ) for all time W's
----> Has won on every track on the circuit except the Kentucky Speedway (Area of opportunity perhaps?)
It remains to be seen just what Jeff means by a real job and how this real job will let him have the flexability he wants to jump in whatever race vehicle he wants to when he wants to. Just wondering if he understands the concept of real job.
But hey, congrats and good luck to Jeff in whatever he has planned for the next chapter in his life. I mean 43 years old is old....
RICO ABREU WINS CHILI BOWL RACE
On Saturday the biggest short track open wheel race of the year was held and Rico snagged the victory. On lap 27 of the 55 lap feature he passed Bryan Clauson and never looked back. This is Rico's first Chili Bowl win although he's been racing winged sprint cars and midgets with success between the USA and New Zealand.
After the race it was announced that Rico was given a ride with HScott Motorsports to drive in the K&N Pro Series East which is a stepping stone to Cup racing. He is now in a driver development agreement with Chip Gnassi Racing. The same team that brought you the rookie with the mostest last year, Kyle Larson.
In case you didn't notice, Rico is a little person with a huge win. That's him on top of his car after his win.
THE WOOD BROTHERS NOW IN GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS
Glen Wood started the team in 1950. They've competed every season since then with 3 generations rotating in and out since then.
Jon Wood, grandson of Glen loved looking at the Guinness Book of World Records when he was a kid and dreamed of being in it one day. Fast forward to present day and Jon decided to make it happen.
He went to the GBWR web site and filled out an application for a record claim. Surprisingly they got right back to him and were very happy to get that on the records but verification had to come with it. Jon then enlisted the help of Buz McKim , the historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and now The Wood Brothers are in the books. The Guinness Book of World Records that is......Congrats guys.
OH LOOK!!! It's Kevin Harvick on wheels again with Ricky Carmichael and son Keelan who doesn't look to sure of this venture.
BRIAN VICKERS TO RETURN TO NASCAR IN MARCH
Brian is on track with his recovery from heart surgery to be back racing in March. Michael Waltrip his boss will be in the #55 for the Daytona 500 but isn't sure who will drive untill Brian can get back in.
NASCAR has also announced that Brian will be eligible to via for the Chase Championship even though he will miss the first couple races of the season. Get well Brian.
FANATICS APPAREL AND NASCAR PARTNER FOR 10 YEAR DEAL
When you go to a NASCAR event from now on it will be like a NHRA event. Nice big area to shop for multiple drivers gear. Fanatics Apparel will be operating the At-Track Merchadise business.
----> Climate controled super store retail environment
----> Largest at track sellection of NASCAR merch
----> More Women's & kids itmes
----> Seperate areas to shop for a driver or team
----> Dedicated area for driver appearances
----> An area to customize your fan gear
So that means no more haulers. You won't have to track down your gear. It will be under one roof.
So get out there and get your Jeff Gordon merch before it's too late. I'm pretty sure it will never be too late. Jeff says he doesn't want long good byes with a celebration at every track. We'll see.
To my northeast Gabbers and others I say be safe and walk like a penguin. And don't hurt yourself shoveling. Hope you got your 12 loaves of bread, 7 gallons of milk and 8 dozen eggs. Snow storm part duex is on it's way. Every body else go climb a palm tree.
So when the deflated football controversy first hit, I was like “give me a break…” I mean the Colts got pounded and we’re gonna say the footballs were a little soft? Puh-lease. Then the details started to sift down…that the Colts had notified the NFL of a similar infraction in their game against New England earlier in the season; that the Colts had put the inflated pressure of game balls on their pre-game “list” for the NFL to be aware of and check for this game; etc.
I get it--we're all worn out. And I don’t want to rehash this ad infinitum. But while I've heard a lot of whining about it I really haven't heard any "rational human thought" on the whole thing. And not that I'm rational, but I thought I'd share some of my random thoughts on this weird, controversial, and in my mind ridiculous on so many levels, issue.
First off, as I posted on an FB thread earlier in the week: if the specs for the football—ie make, model, air pressure standards, etc—are so critical (and they should be, by the way) then why the hell does each team have their own balls? In baseball, the baseballs are inspected and brought to the game by the umpires…the Cardinals and Cubs don’t each have their own baseballs for a game they are contesting. In basketball, my understanding is that the home team provides the basketballs, but again they are delivered to the officials pre-game for inspection, then secured, and administered by the officials during the contest; and they are identical in terms of specification to those used elsewhere around the league.
In a league as buttoned up as the NFL, why in the world is this even protocol? One ball, one spec, the officials bring ‘em to the game. Here you go boys, play. Simple, no? Why even create this opportunity for controversy?
Second, I do think the inflatability of the ball is a fairly significant item. Reduce the inflation of a ball by 15% and grip it. If you don’t think that two pounds less inflation makes a ball easier to catch, grip, etc., you are not being honest with yourself. On a cold, wet and rainy night, or a freezing one where a properly inflated ball feels like a cement block, it is a huge advantage. I don’t think it makes up 38 points of deficit; but don’t play it off like it’s nothing.
I’m reminded of when I was a kid: I had a German Shepard named Casey who to this day is the smartest dog I’ve ever known. If you played baseball with a tennis ball, he could play the outfield and would not only catch the ball on the fly but could field it off a hop and run it in. Casey, on a grounder to the outfield, was faster and much more reliable than many of my friends who would field, bobble, and errantly throw into the cornfield. Likewise, if you played with a slightly deflated football he could play receiver—because the ball was easier to catch. True story. Anyway…
Third we have rules. So you break a rule that potentially improves performance. Suspend someone for a game? Lose a couple of draft picks? It’s cheating. Whether you think it’s significant or not, it’s important enough that there’s a rule about it…you need to enforce it. The entire universe has gone nuts over steroids in baseball and the “advantage” it afforded—and yet that was at a time when the league didn’t have a policy against it and a huge majority of the league was doing it. But people want to laugh about this; they’re ok with a team breaking the rules like this to gain an advantage. This would be like some aerodynamic advantage in NASCAR but you still get to win the race. I mean it was ONLY half an inch difference. Wrong. You cheat, you lose.
Fourth—if the Colts really did report this back in November, was the NFL pulling a Ray Rice on us and pretending it didn’t happen? Did they do that because it was New England, because they thought it would go away, or because they think Jim Irsay is a league rogue and an idiot? This represents a huge credibility gap for the league if it’s true…and these guys are experts when it comes to credibility gaps.
Five: minor in context—but again, these are just the things that pop up in my mind—why in the hell do kickers have a separate ball? Don’t give me the rhetoric about kicking, the ball being slippery, etc. I get all that. But part of the game is the ball. Wouldn’t the assumption be that you have to kick the same ball that this guy just threw and that guy had to catch? If you really want to laugh your ass off…think about fake field goals. (Better yet--that ill fated Garo Yepremian pass in SB VII. Actually, HE could have used a deflated ball there...) Hey, let’s have separate balls for free throws! Different hockey pucks for penalty shots! Let’s change the baseball when relief pitchers come in! Good grief…
If you’re a Colts fan, give up the “We were wronged!” approach. If what I’ve heard is true, the balls were checked and thrown out at halftime—and the Colts balls were used in the second half. So your team got waxed the worst with New England using the good balls.
I’m wondering about Baltimore. If New England were using the balls indoors in November and in their second outside playoff game in January, you’d certainly be using it outside in your first playoff game in January. Baltimore didn’t get blown out, and the balls weren’t switched at halftime. Probably no way to go back and check after the fact, but it would sure be interesting to know. I’d kind of like to watch that game again now, and look for dropped passes by the Ravens, or one handed grabs by the Pats.
Last, but most certainly not least, can the NFL and Roger Goodell have possibly strung together a worse year? Would you like to be their PR firm about now? Cheating, wife beating, child mistreating. What, they ran out of hookers, handguns and heroine? What would you give for the Super Bowl story line to be that Max McGee was out all night and played drunk? Woo hoo, controversial stuff that. Oh for the good ol’ days. This league, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, has a problem; and it’s like a snowball rolling downhill at this point.
In conclusion, I don’t have an axe to grind, and I’m not particularly a fan of either team. But stuff like this is what makes you sick about sports. If you play, stick to the rules; if you’re the league, enforce them. And in the meantime, please try not to put the two teams I like least in your biggest game of the year. Ack. For truly the first time in the history of this grandest of NFL games—I could care less if I watch a down. Tell me more about this Lingerie Bowl…
So, I took Monday off and saved my moaning for today...I sat at home Thursday night, just after dinner, and turned on the Nightly News on NBC...They lead off with the New England Patriots and their under-inflated footballs...Annoyed quickly I switched to ABC...They too were talking about the balls in New England, so I went to CBS, which honestly, I never watch...And yes, their lead story was also the soft balls in New England...What the fuck has this country become!?!
There are wars going on...Terrorists lopping off heads in the Mid-East...Murders going on every day, in every state of this country...Scientific breakthroughs and debates...an entire city (Washington DC) full of liars, cheaters, and thieves...There is important news going on everywhere, but the TV execs all decided to lead with footballs that were under-inflated...I was having a pretty good day until I realized just how stupid we are, that we let our news outlets get away with this shit...
So, while I have an opinion or two on this topic, I'm not going to write about it...I was actually thinking, this would be a great "Super Bowl"...Now, I don't give a shit...And while my wife is originally from Boston, and I have shown some slight allegiance to that town, I did sign my fandom over to the Seahawks a couple years ago....So I will be rooting for the Seahawks...Sorry Bostonians...
Okay, just one more thing on the soft footballs...Does anyone think that Bill and Brady were having fun talking to the media Thursday?
'Okay Bill, lets see how many times we can get away with saying balls, and make it sound dirty!'
-So, while the media is talking about nonsense for another week before the "Super Bowl," the NHL has another one of their showcase events this weekend...Friday night they have their All-Star draft...the team captains draft their teams of those who were picked for the All-Star game...Saturday is the Skills Competition, which is almost always better then the actual game which will be Sunday...The game is much less physical and lacks defense...Goalies are just hung out to dry...
-One of the things we've been dealing with here is that our son has been diagnosed with a form of attention deficit...In second grade they said he was borderline...But it has gotten worse this year...Especially at school...Last year he had all A's and B's with an occasional C...This year it's been a struggle to keep his grades up...We've talked to the doctor a few times, and have tried a couple different meds...We're also trying to change his diet, which he wants no part of...But eating healthier could help a bit...
The only time he is locked in, and focused, and not distracted by anything is when he is drawing, working with clay, or playing games like Minecraft where he is building things...It's amazing how he can visualize things and just make it...Thursday he made this out of clay...
This character is called Foxy the Pirate...I am totally amazed by his talent...
I've been reading a lot about dealing with what he's going through...One description of it is like have six TV's on and not being able to focus on one...He has little quirks that honestly, I find annoying...But he can't control them, and some of them are his way of working through things...So what I've been discovering is what I need to do, (and it's not easy) is work on me...How I deal with him...How I except his quirks and not say, "knock it off, pay attention!" It's also good that he knew he was having a problem...He was more then willing to go and talk to the doctor and try the meds...Which he never is...
It's a work in progress but I feel like we can get through it, and hopefully get to a point where he won't need meds...And I'm thrilled they haven't hindered his artistic ability...