Daily Blog 2.0
Is today Saturday?! NBA / NHL Playoffs & Other stuff
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NHL NBA playoffs

Well, friends, it must have been a long week because that pillow felt awfully good last night! †I guess we all need to pull the covers over our heads sometimes! †And with that, a Happy Easter weekend to you! †(Also Happy Passover...my personal philosophy is to celebrate all religious holidays - not only do you get more goodies, it can't hurt to cover all the bases with the Almighty!)

This weekend the Easter Bunny brings us the opening of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. †For those of you who may recall previous rants on NBA basketball, you might be amused to see me writing about this particular topic, but since the Wiz are in for the first time in 6 years, I figured why not give it a little coverage. †All the excitement has to be in the West where the quality of the basketball is high and the talent pool is deep (yeah, and it's cold, too ;) †Even so, we have to believe that the opening series in both the East & the West lean heavily towards the favorites. †To start with today, we have Indiana - Atlanta, OKC - Memphis, Toronto - Brooklyn and LAC - Golden State. † I like the favorites in all of today's openers, after all, it is tough for underdogs to win on the road in the NBA, but if there is one series that could do the other way, it might be the underachieving (until now), Nets. †

Tomorrow games include Miami - Charlotte, Chicago - Washington, San Antonio-Dallas and Houston - Portland. †Out of these series, I will be hoping the Wizards can start to show some promise as a team on the rise but history for success here in DC is not on their side. †The one series I am interested in is Houston & Portland. †Can Dwight Howard re-capture his talent level? †If so, it might make for an interesting round 2.

The NHL playoffs are underway and as usual with the NHL, nothing can stay the same for too long. †We have a new playoff format which is much more division oriented and one that does not "re-seed" after the first round. †Thus, the reward for upsetting a top seed is much greater than previous years. †If by some miracle Columbus beat the Penguins, instead of getting the Bruins in Round 2, they would get the 2-3 winner in the Metro conference. †A very interesting new approach that looks a bit like Original 6 playoff days by Division...whatever the case, I have certainly enjoyed the early hockey. †If you missed the end of the Avs game the other night - you should check that out. †A great hustle play prevented an empty net goal and then they came back tied it up & won in OT! †Great stuff!

Have a great weekend and again, Happy Easter!

Slapshots and Hip Checks 4/18
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Atlanta MLS Stanley Cup P;ayoffs MLB

Damn near forgot to write this post then just as I nodded off I jumped up and said to myself...ahh fuck, it's Thursday and I need to write a post...now what, cuz I got nothin'!!†

Let's see what I can rant about...MLB players, let's start with these guys. I don't know about any of the other Gabber's in fantasy baseball, but my two teams (I have one in Jeff's league too) are walking MASH units, and this is exactly how my teams started last season too. Mark Texiera...this frickin' douche bag lands right back where he was last year about his time...the DL. And how much are the Spankees paying this Workman's Comp claim? He's obviously been schooled well in this organization from their previous losers that were paid†astro-bucks†only to †hang out at practice or sit in the clubhouse to watch games. Does Carl Pavano ring a bell? Or A-Roid? Both of these guys were paid huge ducats and both found their way to the DL for tons of missed games. So what is it with baseball players and their inability to be ready for†the season? I mean baseball isn't a contact sport, there's no one being checked into boards, no one getting a slap shot to the testes, there's no tackling, so what's the deal? Is spring training too short? Do most of these guys do nothing in the offseason? It has to have something to do with not being properly prepared...how else do you explain all these DL's and day to days for hamstrings, pulled muscles etc? I would think this topic has come up within clubs who experience these issues...but is it on the team or the player to be ready for the start of the season? Burning questions, but it's not hard to notice looking around the leagues I'm in that I'm †not the only one dealing with it. Talk amongst yourselves...discuss.†

The NHL playoffs are in round 1, Boston faces off against Detroit in Boston for game one tomorrow night and I'm all fired up about it. No, not worried about the season series between the two, two of those four games were decided by one point, Boston won one and had a lousy game against the Wings at the start of the season...this is the playoffs, it's a whole new season and what happened over the last 82 games was just a precursor to get to season two. Again, if you've never spent any time watching playoff hockey you're really missing the very best the game has to offer...you're not going to see better games, heated competition and guys playing until their legs fall off to win that double OT like you would in any other sport. Certainly not the NBA...that's for sure. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Yesterday, here in Atlanta it was announced that an MLS team would begin playing games here in 2017...Arthur Blank is behind this. Now I have nothing against AB...I really don't, but this is a bit short-sighted on his part. In my seven years here I'm still trying to find how the existing teams are marketed...I really mean that. Go to NY or LA or even Boston, you see billboards galore, players in local TV commercials, everyone dressed in their gear, all that, but not here. First, this is college football country before anything else, then it's probably NASCAR and pro football, the Braves, even with their non-stop TV coverage can't sellout, and the Hawks...it's basketball, who cares? That's why I don't understand the logic to add a team from yet another sport after hockey failed miserably - TWICE, the Braves lacked any support from the city of Atlanta to build a new stadium (keep in mind, the one they're in now was built all the way back in 1996 for the Olympics, so it's only natural that place would be in dire need of replacement) so they're building in Cobb County/Marietta and they'll be opening for the 2017 season. They can't keep a hockey team, they're moving the MLB team out of town and it appears†Blank's logic seems to be something has to replace what's left. Sorry Arthur, it's not going to work and this team will be heading for (if you ask DVT)†Winnipeg right behind the Thrashers/Jets. If the people of Atlanta don't understand hockey and this is a football town what makes him†think soccer has any chance at all? Really not seeing it, and from what I'm hearing so far it's got as much support as the Ferris Wheel they built downtown, (Arthur Blank was a huge advocate for this too) ... yeah, a fuckin' Ferris Wheel. Are you all getting that this town seems to put the cart before the horse? It's not like the roads didn't need repair, the highways around Atlanta aren't too fucked up and money couldn't be spent to rectify what amounts to a ride along the gauntlet each trip to the city, but we got a Ferris Wheel and you too can ride it for $25 for 15 minutes after you pay $20 across the street to park. Maybe that's where all the money is coming from to support the Falcons†new stadium and this MLS team that has no business being here. Keep in mind, you heard it here first...this team... GONE by 2020.†

Have a great weekend!†

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NHL Network

There has been a few interesting things going in the world of Major League Baseball. I have seen a few interesting articles , if nothing else it will make you think a little about the state of the game and that perhaps in buds World everything isnít coming roses.

The first is an Unnamed source as MLB Executive from Buster Olneyís paid blog according to Fox Sports April 7th† Iíll take with a grain of salt because a source or the executive isnít listed. He suggests to move the games to 7 innings(hold your Baseball purist thoughts). The mystery manís reasoning makes a lot of sense. The younger audience wants things faster and quicker games would average around 2 and half hours instead of 3 plus. IT also would cut down injuries. There are a lot more injuries. Basically the landscaping is charging is what he is saying. The reality is Major League Baseball is experiencing great numbers at the gate is it really charging or is the product itself bringing in better† numbers?

According to MLB Press Release h†2013 was the 6th best year for attendance in the history of baseball and the numbers over the past decade have been amongst the highest in history. Maybe as much as things change they donít.

The other article is about how fans†are being hurt over Blackout restrictions by†MLB†According to†Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports†††Passan says that because of the cash to regional networks some folks living in areas where there is multiple team blackouts are getting screwed. Folks living in Buffalo, Arkansas, Iowa, and even Las Vegas are restricted to blackouts and canít watch games. Baseball has no interest in fixing mainly due to the huge amount of cash regional sports networks are throwing at teams There is a lawsuit pending in federal court in the Southern District of New York. Baseball and Direct TV and others are† asking for a dismissal the judge turned the motion down. Itís likely that baseball will try to use itís anti trust exemption. Baseball is arguing every† game is available on Direct TV. That is where the blackouts happen in Vegas. California teams and Arizona all those games are subject to blackouts in Las Vegas. As others are in Buffalo like Blue Jays, Yankees and Mets Iím assuming. Baseball will bring out itís trump card (Can you Guess What It is?) Ding, Ding,Ding You got it the Anti Trust exemption.

Baseball can easily fix this open up some of the blackouts in these areas and let the fnas choose. The argument that everything is available on Direct TV doesnít fly especially at the monthly cost of $30 a month just for the package that blackouts out games in these areas. Keep an eye on this one itís going to be interesting.

Instant Replay has been over whelming successful so far the Red Sox got screwed on two† challenges that the ruling on the field was overturned and the replay was wrong. I guess there are some bugs in the system. They brought a system in that wasnít effectively tested. I heard one argument from a reporter saying there isnít enough cameras at exhibition games and not enough games are televised / I guess maybe he doesnít get MLB Network with two of those meaningless games were on everyday. He said they donít use enough cameras in those games so bring in more and test the damn thing. Itís here to stay but many people say and I think Iím among them think this will change the game and outcomes. Basically, they want to take the human factor away. We all excepted the human error of an umpire for many years as matter fact it was entertaining watching a guy like Earl Weaver state his case.right wrong or in different..

LIL Warriors Report

Laser laced them up Saturday Night and scored a goal in a non contact coaches vs graduating Bantam game. He scored from the top of the slot.

NHL Playoffs

Let the games begin itís the best Hockey all year.

Last Night there were three games to start the second season.

Ducks beat the Stars

Canadiens beat Lighting

Penguins beat the Blue Jackets

There are some excellent first round matchups Chicago and St Louis should go 7,Philadelphia and the Rangers should be a blood bath, LA and San Jose another great matchup and of course the one I look forward to is Boston-Detroit enjoy the games.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. A big off-season football story is developing and not surprisingly deals with a player doing something stupid. This time 49ers LB-DE Aldon Smith has been arrested on charges of falsely reporting that he had a bomb at an airport. Smith could face a year in jail, though he likely wonít if the justice system holds to form on celebrity/athlete cases.†

Granted, cases like Vickís dog fighting ring and Aaron Hernandezís murder charge have been handled better than past indiscretions, but the allegations and crimes seem to be getting more disturbing. Since when do people joke about bombs and airports?

Apparently now. Shortly after this bizarre story broke came the story of a Dutch teen named ďSarahĒ. Sarah thought she could get Twitter fame by send a message to American airlines. The airline didnít get the joke and responded by telling the girl her information was being forwarded to the FBI. Monday saw the girl turning herself in to local police.

Lesson learned? Hardly. Since the incident, around 12 more people have decided it would be cute to Tweet threats to American airlines as well as other airlines. These people claim that Sarah should be let of as a kid being a kid. Granted teens say and do stupid things, but this goes beyond normal circumstances. Aside from whatever charges this girl gets, I see the no fly list in her future. I see the same or worse for the copycats. These people have to know on some level how tasteless this is, especially in the shadow of Malaysian Airway Flight 370.

In the wake of that stupidity, I thought I might get better news on Facebook. Wrong. A friend had this article up.

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/04/15/matthew-stafford-is-sixth-highest-paid-athlete-in-the-world/

Matthew Stafford is the 6th highest paid athlete in the world. Not the league. Not the country. The World. To be fair, it seems early to really judge the guy. He can make improvements and hopefully is working with the new coaching staff. Still, itís hard to be reminded that Detroit is paying this guy $31.5 million for 23 turnovers, and a 58.5% completion rating.

Shifting slightly, itís no secret people are starting to turn on the NCAA. Itís hard to sympathize with a multi-billion dollar tax exempt company. Still, I just heard Shabazz Napierís comments last weekend about going to bed starving. Starving? I really doubt that. Hungry? Sure. Napier is definitely getting both room and board at Uconn. He has the ability to get food. Unfortunately, he doesnít have constant access. In his college years, heís going to be hungry more often. Still, I find it hard to take comments like that serious.†

I think a lot of college players are risking the integrity of the stance against the NCAA. They are starting to make their stance look just like what I (and many others) feared it was: a money grab. What I like about student athletes standing up to the NCAA was the ideas that the colleges were getting out of commitments made to young people too easily. Get hurt in a sport? Well, thanks for the revenue youíve generated, but we have to kick you out now. Saying you are going to bed starving seems like a plea for spending money. Iíve been in D3 college athletics. The dining halls stay open pretty late to accommodate athletic schedules. If you have a late game, you are generally given money to buy food once you get off the bus.

These kids have managed to make an ugly money grab look like more of a movement for a while. The problem is you have front runners like Napier and even John Calipari coming in and trying to take up a message they donít seem to fully understand. Sure they have more of a presence than the people who have been making statements, but they donít have those same ideals. They are too ďme firstĒ. If college athletes want concessions, they need to band together and make a group statement.†

On the plus side, the NCAA is listening. They have agreed to make a few concession. They approved a measure that would provide unlimited meals and snacks to all athletes, including walk-ons. Theyíve decided that football players need 3 hour breaks between practice sessions, though meetings and film sessions can be held during these breaks. There will now be a school staff member who is certified in CPR and first aide at all athletic events or practices. Strength and conditioning coaches must be certified.†

These moves are far too little, far too late. I think the NCAA is way behind in momentum. I donít see too many ways for them to get around meeting more demands of the athletes who make them their billions. These are clear acts of appeasement and really only the food rule seems to be tied to any requests. The NCAA needs to change. I donít know if paying athletes is the way to go just yet, but they need to be out in front of the concerns these kids are bringing to the public.

Well, those were pretty heady topics. Iím really hoping that as baseball progresses and the playoffs begin in the NHL/NBA that the product on the field could slide to the forefront. Thanks as always for stopping in. Feel free to weigh in below. To my Boston friends here at the Gab, Iím not going to like your team this first round. If they do beat the Wings, and I suspect they will, just do Detroit a favor and be sure the Pens get booted quick should Columbus not get the job done.

I still canít stand Crosby.

Musings From The Hoodwood 4-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL PGA NBA

Heres to you Mr. RobinsonÖHoodwood salutes you.

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where are favorite golfers are named Boo, Tiger and Bubba and feel like one of our own won the Masters on SundayÖmore on that later.

Im in my 3rd year writing this column and I will admit there are times where I struggle to put together a piece that is coherent and topical. This wont be one of them since I have lot of musings.

The Line You can draw from Jackie

As I mentioned at the end of last weeks column, my grandfather celebrated his 90th birthday last Sunday. My Grampy is a simple quiet man, very reserved and so low key its often hard to hear him. He is a very passionate baseball fan and knows the game well. We often went to ballgames and he would have the section we sat in enthralled with his simple story of watching Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers throw a shutout at old Crosley Field, or Jackie Robinson scoring a run with a walk, a stolen base, a fielders choice and worrying the pitcher so much while at third heíd score on a balk.† Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color line and the Dodgers had fans in every city they played at. A heated discussion developed when my Grampy stated in his low-key way that while Jackie Robinson was the first, he wasnít the best player to come from the Negro Leagues† and it wasnít even close. Many of the white patrons at that game were shocked to hear him say that. I knew where he was going with his point, so I let the patrons continue their shocked disbelief while Grampy pointed out players like Josh Gibson, Cool Papa and Ray Dandrige never played in the majors but were stars in their own right, Satchel Paige was well past forty when he started playing for the Indians in 1948 and though is prime years were behind him was able to pitch effectively for the last Indians team to be crowned World Series Champs. When one of the patrons argued that he had never heard of these players except for Paige, I stepped in and challenged him to look all the players up and note that they each have their own plaque in Cooperstown.† Now the reason that Robinson was the first was because of where he had came from , he was college educated, he was a military vet and of the right mentality to take the merciless abuse he would get. With Robinson not only proving that he could play, but play well he opened the door for many other talented Negro League players as well as players from the Caribbean, but keep in mind with out Robinson you donít have Brown v. Board of Education, you donít have Rosa Parks, you donít have freedom rides, a civil right bills isnít celebrating it golden anniversary of passage . Martin Luther King Jr. was still a sociology student at Morehouse when Robinson broke in with the Dodgers. Over the last 67 years, the US has had tremendous growth in civil rights, and still has much progress yet to be made. But I dare say that none of that progress would have been made or would be severely stunted had Robinson not taken the field that overcast day in 1947. Weíre all better for it.

PGA: Bubba does it again!

Its hard not to like Gerry Lester Watson Jr. The people call him Bubba and hes the 2014 masters champion. He won his 2nd green jacket on Sunday with an -8 score, besting young Jordan Spieth by 3 shots. The simple, earthy Watson is fast becoming a fan favorite for his unorthodox play, laid-back dare we say it aw-shucks manner and humble attitude.† Many people considered his 2012 Masters win a fluke, the lucky dog finding the biggest of bones, but this win you couldnít write off as luck. Watson played it aggressive from the hilt, in the final round where many thought he would lay up, play it conservative and not try to do anything foolish on the brutal Augusta course, Watson with a three shot lead went for and got the green in two on the 15th when the experts all clucked their collective toungues and openly questioned Bubbaís aggressive style. But when it was all said and done, the roles were reversed and Aussie Adam Scott was putting the jacket back on Watson as Watson had put the jacket on Scott last year. And what did Bubba do to celebrate? Fancy dinner with wife and toddler? Welllll, if you call hitting a Waffle House early Monday morning after the win a fancy dinner. Watson becomes only the 7th golfer to claim his first two major wins at Augusta the first since Jose Maria Olazabal claimed his 2nd green jacket in 1999.† But thatís just our Bubba. You damn right Hoodwood claims him as one of our own, your humble scribe owns three Bubba Golf Shirts (damn, I miss Steve and BarryísÖlol) and with Tiger missing from the field, it was only right that the most down to earth guy wins the Masters.

NBA: Messed up playoff set

This just aint right. The Atlanta Hawks clinched their 7th straight playoff appearance, which is stunningly the 2nd longest active playoff streak in the NBA to the Spurs. Wait let that sink in the Hawks have meandered their way to the playoffs and I was stunned to see that indeed that they have made the playoffs 7 years running, with 3 different coaches, they ran off Mike Woodson and Larry Drew who were pretty capable coaches and if you can name the Hawks coach without looking it up you are a lie (No Sully, you arenít eligible) But the Hawks will make the playoffs and wont be close to a winning record (they are 37-44 after losing to Charlotte Monday) but they edged out the sorry Knicks for the final playoff spot and will likely be ran out the playoff by the Pacers (maybe) who clinched the first seed in the east with the Heat tanking, errrrr losing to the Wizards which I think that seeing the easier playoff path at the bottom half of the East, theyíll run out the aforementioned playoff neophyte Bobcat-Hornets in the first round then get more playoff neophyte in the winner of the Toronto-Washington winner.† Even worse, the Pacers get the winner of the Brooklyn-Chicago winner in the top half of the East draw. You think the Heat will even break a sweat for a month before the East Finals? Meanwhile out west, there will be a team that will win at least 47 gamesÖand go home. The Suns and Grizzlies are battling for the last playoff spot and the right to get executed by the 62 win Spurs, put either one of those teams in the East and they have home court in the first round, in the West you could have 7 teams that will have 50 wins. 50 wins in the East locks a 3 seed up. 37 wins in the west puts you in 11thÖAm I the only on that thinks that a losing team shouldnít get in the playoffs if there are other teams that have better records? Am I the only that thinks that either the Suns or Grizzlies will get sent to the sidelines with a better record in four playoff teams in the East? Should there be some playoff restructuring? Food for thought

NFL: Content Cowboy mediocrity

The Cowboys are so full of themselves. Really. I guess I have an inherent hatred of the team, but its messed up that their owner Jerry Jones is so deluded that he thinks that even though the Pokes are 136-136 since their last Super Bowl appearance in 1996, he is convinced that the Pokes are stlll a good draw and are good TV. The Cowboys are on TV all the time, and have been the Sunday night finale each of the last three seasons and have lost to their other three divisional rivals. Jones doesnít care he just cares about the ratings. Jones was quoted in Vegas as saying ďAs you know, the Cowboys have not gone to the playoffs in several years. We have not gone. Yet we're the most popular TV show there is on television. We lead all teams in TV ratings. We lead, 24 out of the last top 25 shows were NFL games, and any time your Cowboys play, they're up there at the top and leading." Leading? Leading in what? Ratings is the only thing that seems to matter to Jones and being at .500 with only 1 playoff win in the past 18 years isnít something you want to be known for. The Pokes are a joke and the sad thing either their owner doesnít know it or doesnít care.

Phat Dap Head Slap

Phat Dap

Phat Dap to Union College who won their first national title in school history by downing Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four. Union College in upstate New York made their first appearance in the Hockey National semifinals in Philly, after downing Boston College Thursday the Dutchmen scored three times in a 1:54 span in the 1st period to down the Gophers, who I was rooting for to take their 6th national title. But you have to give it to the tiny 2000 student college for whom Hockey is the only D-1 sport in taking their first national title.

Head Slap

To the 49ers Aldon Smith who thought it would be funny to say that he was carrying a bomb in LAX. †Smith was annoyed that he was being †randomly targeted for a secondary security search. Smith got arrested after he became belligerent and refused to be cooperative with the airport authorities. Smith needed to get checked, you donít play with airport securityÖever. Smith has numerous run ins with the law over the last few months and is walking on a thin line with the lack of discipline.

I might add some more random thoughts later, but until next post fellow sports fans!

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