Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. The temps are crawling up for the rest of the week. Baseball is starting up in the South. It’s also Lent or fish fry season to me.
Speaking of fish, it seems that Jeremy Wade was looking for monster catfish in the wrong part of Europe. European folklore is peppered with tales of Wels catfish growing large enough to swallow people whole. The Wels is the second largest freshwater fish in Europe though it is rare to find specimens larger than 6.5 feet in length. An Italian fisherman landed a new record for rod and reel in the Po Delta. After a 40 minute fight, the man pulled in a 280 pound, 8.8 foot catfish. That would make a fish fry.
Last month, the NCAA decided to give Penn state its wins back following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. We here at the Gab were all over it and many of us mused on the implications when the action was just a vile rumor. Following the ruling, Keith Olbermann took to the airways and laid into Penn State, the NCAA, and its former coach.
A lot of us are against Penn State. Olbermann took this to new limits. When asked about Penn State students raising $13 million for pediatric cancer, Olbermann called it pathetic. When PSU students confronted Olbermann on Twitter, he clarified that his statement was directed not at the action, but at the school and its students. Things went downhill from there, as they are known to on Twitter. As a result, Keith Olbermann has been suspended for the rest of the week.
In that realm of despicable and NCAA football, we find Jameis Winston. Apparently Winston had a strong showing at the combines. What is most surprising is that he scored big points in the interview process. Several executives noted that Winston was one of the smartest players they’d spoken to. Some speculate that he could go number one overall. Winston’s football IQ and play have never been the question. Honestly, if you just focus on the field, this is a great player. You’d love to have him on your team.
The problem is that the majority of his time, he isn’t on the field. He’s out in the real world making stupid decisions. He’s allegedly taking advantage of female classmates. He’s taking crab legs from local super markets. He’s disregarding the fact that he was recently in trouble for rape allegations and yelling stupid remarks in the student union. I’ve heard a lot of people comparing Winston to Vick. Really you could compare him to both Vicks. With luck, he’ll be more like Michael and get something of a career in before bad decisions bring him down. If he stays the course, I see him as more of a Marcus Vick, with a career that ends before it really begins. I wish this kid luck. He has a great skill set, but I really hope he worked on the one area he needs help: his impulse control and decision making. If not, it’s gonna be Tweet Jameis Winston all over again.
As the Beeze let us all know that the Browns are who we thought they were: a disappointment. The new logos and helmets were brought out to comical effect. It’s just like the Lions reworking their logo despite looking horrible in the early 2000s. Here, however, is one graphic designers crack and redesigns for all the teams helmets.
Finally, back to warm thoughts. The MLB offseason has been marked with thoughts on how to change the game. Will instant replay be expanded? How can the game be shortened? The new commissioner has been vocal in his opinion that change is not off the table. Recently he has made ripples about shortening the season. The season hasn’t been shorter than 162 games in 54 years, since the 1961 season. The new commish has alluded to shortening the season back to the ’61 length of 154 games. He mentioned that the league would only cut back to 154 games to keep the record book intact. The question is: will individual teams and cities be ok with letting go of the revenue attached to the 8 games they’d be losing?
That is all for me this week. Thanks as always for stopping in and giving this a read. Stay warm and think baseball.
Coming down the line to the end of February, the cold is still here but the number of games is dwindling, the margin for error gets smaller and smaller for the so-called bubble teams
Atlantic Coast Conference Class-Power
Solid: Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Duke, Notre Dame
Work to do: Miami-Fl, NC State, Clemson, Pitt Skinny on the ACC: The question here isn’t about where the solid teams are going. The solid teams are way safe, the working teams really have work to do. A side note, UNC breaking out the four corners to open the game against G-Tech was way way cool.
Key Game: Syracuse at Duke Sat 7p (ESPN) I know, I know the Orange are going nowhere but home in a week but an upset of Duke in Cameron would be a super consolation prize
Projected Bids: 6
Atlantic Ten Conference Class- Mid-Major
Work to do: Dayton, UMass, Rhode Island, Davidson The A-10 Spec is: VCU is safe despite is lurching play, UMass is in ten types of trouble, only their monster numbers (38 RPI, 24 Strength of Sched) keep them on for now. Rhode Island is interchangeable with Davidson in getting in and right now the Rams are closer to the right side of the cut line than the Wildcats. Dayton is at 20 but I think they need a couple wins to firm up their resume
Key Games Dayton at VCU Saturday 2p Both teams are solid but a win here firms up a resume and keeps them on the home side of a tourney bid
Projected Bids: 4
Work to do: Cincy, Tulsa, Temple All-American Spec: SMU is just about home free, they will get in this year. Temple is closing fast. Tulsa is coming apart at the seams and while Cincy got a much needed win over a sad sack Houston but need no slipup from here on out to get their resume back on solid ground.
Projected Bids: 3
Big East Conference Class-Major
Solid: Villanova, Butler
Work to do: Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, St. Johns Big East Skinny: Nova is way safe, Butler is too despite the loss to Xavier who has rapidly recovered from their dangerous totter to the back end of the sheet and is maybe a couple wins from getting safe but getting swept by St. Johns hurts them as much as it helps the rapidly recovering Johnnies. Providence is getting closer and closer to safe but I still don’t really know why everyone is so hyped on the Hoyas they have, in my opinion fattened up on a weak schedule. They stay working for the time being.
Projected bids: 5
Big Ten Conference Class-Power
Solid: Wisconsin, Maryland
Work to do: Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State The word on the Big Ten is: Wisky and the Terps are the only teams I feel good about. The Bucks shameful loss to the Wolverines makes their weak schedule standout just that much more and Sparty you have no reason to snicker as you have the same problem and that Texas Southern loss still dogging your resume. Purdue thinks its home free after sweeping Indiana but they aren’t. Indiana is running out of time short of winning the whole shooting match to get in. Iowa? If the Hawks keep winning they will be fine but they are too inconsistent to be sure
Key Game: Illinois at Iowa 9:00 Wednesday (BTN) Is this a bubble play in game? Quite possibly.
Projected Bids: 6
Big 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa State
Work to do: Oklahoma State, Texas Skinny from the heartland: Kansas has been safe since about New Years seemingly but have a bad habit of dumb losses and getting zapped in Manhattan by the weak Wildcats is a prime example. The Sooners and Bears join the Clones on the safe side of the fence. The Mountaineers are safer than the pundits want to give them credit for. Huggins always seems to get the most out of the least and has done it again in Morgantown. The Pokes and Horns still are on the wrong side of the cut line. This conference will NOT send 70% of its membership.
Key Game: Texas at Kansas 5p The Jayhawks are way safe but the Longhorns are running out of time to make a statement, a win in Allen Fieldhouse would do the trick in spades
Projected Bids: 6
Missouri Valley Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Northern Iowa
Work to do: Evansville, Illinois State Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers and Panthers are
Key Game: Northern Iowa @ Wichita State 2p (ESPN2) The regular season title is on the line here, and the coveted top seed at Arch Madness next week.
Projected Bids: 2
Mountain West Conference Class-Major
Solid: San Diego State, Boise State, Wyoming
Work to do: Colorado State Spec from the Mountains: Im thinking that this conference will send 4, legitimately. THe Aztecs are safe as are the Broncos and Cowboys. The Rams are almost there but could use another resume firming win
Key Game: Boise State at San Diego State Saturday 8p (ESPN2) Both teams are safe in my view but the Broncos could get a much better seed with a win here
Projected Bids: 4
Pacific 12 Conference Class-Power
Solid: Arizona, Utah
Work to do: UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, Oregon State Spec from the left coast: The solid teams are way safe, but the working teams have so many warts its frightening. The Bruins got housed in Tucson. The Ducks are making their case much stronger by beating Utah but even with 20 wins, Im not real sold on them. The Beavers are on the fringe and needs to keep winning to work their way into the conversation.
Key Games: Arizona at Utah (Pac12 Net) Saturday 9pThe Utes are trying to make their bones in the Pac-12 but face their sternest test with a Wildcat team that wants a #1 seed
Projected Bids: 3
Southeastern Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kentucky, Arkansas
Work to do: LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss Spec is Down South: The Cats are playing for 40, the Hogs are safe. Now the ugly morass that is the rest of the SEC are living on rep and history rather than solid play. To be honest if any other conference had these records four teams in would be blasphemy, but instead the SEC gets the benefit of the doubt. Ill try to conceal my abject disgust.
Key Game: Arkansas at Kentucky 4p (SEC/ESPN) This may be the last best chance for an SEC team to get the Wildcats who often play indifferent at home, if the Hogs don’t get ‘em we might not be talking about a possible Wildcats loss for another month in Indy.
Projected Bids: 4
West Coast Conference Class- Mid Major
Work to do: St. Mary’s, BYU West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are gunning for an unbeaten WCC season and a top seed in the Big Dance, they haven’t loset in this calendar year. The Gales and Cougars are trying to stay on the opposite side of the bracket in the WCC tourney and catch the Bulldogs sleepwalking to steal a bid.
Key Game: BYU at Gonzaga Sat 10p The Coogs cry they get no respect but they will get ten tons of it (and maybe solidify a bid) if they can knock off the Bulldogs in the Kennel, good luck though as they hold the nations longest home win streak.
Projected Bids: 2
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous (Projected winners in Parentheses) Colonial (Northeastern) and Big South (Coastal Carolina) always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East (Albany) , Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Sacramento State), Big West (Cal-Davis), Conference USA (Louisiana Tech) Horizon (Valpo), Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Central Michigan), MAAC (Iona) , MEAC (North Carolina Central), Northeast (St. Francis), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Wofford), Southland (Sam Houston St) , Sun Belt (Georgia St), Summit (South Dakota St) , and SWAC (Alabama State) WAC (New Mexico State)
Since this is still early spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right.
Next Update: Likely Saturday
Hakim Emmanuel threw a 900 series that’s 3 perfect games. 36 strikes in a row for the first ever 900 series for a Massachusetts bowler.
To Roy Williams who criticized the Smith Center fans for being subdued last weekend against Georgia Tech. Sorry RoyBoy, The sorry Wreck aint Duke and beating them by 29 isnt going to get the adrenaline going…the potshot was unneeded.
Another weekend, another snowstorm. I’m really done with the whole snow thing. Last week I got my first snow blower and it was awesome. I guess I’ve always avoided buying one because there’s nothing quite like dropping $900 on a machine and not actually using it, but every year I’ve said I’m going to buy one and don’t: at the end of the winter I say I’ll buy one at the beginning of next winter; at the beginning of winter I say I’ll buy one on clearance at the end.
What I didn’t tell you last week, is that the guy was ridiculously honest - hell, I’m friends with his son - who lives behind me - so that’s just good policy. So I’m on the phone with him and he’s telling me about it: starts on the first pull, electric starter...all that. But then the kicker, “It’s 9-years old and a Craftsman, so things tend to fall off of it…”
It snowed another 4 inches or so on Saturday, and so Sunday morning I was out cranking up the machine again. Cleared out the walkway I’d carefully cleared last weekend. Cleared the pathway I’d cleared last weekend. Then...stuff fell off it. Actually the drive cable just came off. Now what? It took 10-15 minutes or so, but I finally got into my shed and was able to McGyver together a temporary fix (which meant that my ViceGrip spent the rest of the morning holding the cable together) and I was able to continue.
Of course, the DPW plow driver thinks my street ends about 50’ before it actually does and dropped all the snow he’d plowed down the street in the middle of the street. In front of my neighbor’s driveway. It’s ridiculous. I mean - what’s the thought process there? So, I had to snowblow my frigging street….and I broke the shear pin on one side, clearing the snow the bastard plow driver left in the middle of the street. Open the little box that says “extra shear pins” and...no pins. Again, fortune shined upon me as my neighbor had something he could fashion for me and I was in business. Of course, I shouldn’t have had to replace it because I shouldn’t have had to plow my own street, but it was the case that I had to.
There’s not much that I can’t stand more than a job carelessly done. And so it goes then that I got a little something extra this week - the boss was kind enough to send me a little something extra as an “atta boy” for some stuff I’ve been doing the last few months. Mrs Mo and I had decided that we’d spend part of our tax return on some new furniture so on Saturday we went out to do some shopping.
On our way out, she was all “we’re not buying anything today, just want to compare and see what’s available…” all that. Needless to say, we’re at the first store and she was hooked. A $9500 sofa, on clearance for like 50% off. And a floor model, so let’s knock another 50% off. And because their President’s Day sale basically got snowed out (see last weeks’ post), they’ve carried over their “No Delivery Charge/No Sales Tax” gimmick. So, from $9400 we’re now at $2350 store to door. Throw in the attaboy I got from work and I’ve got a pretty sweet deal - with accent pillows! Who knew? I had budgeted about $2500 for the furniture before I spazzed out last week and decided I’d buy a snowblower - which I figured would be about $900 of that. It wound up being $150. Score. Then a furniture score - I’m feeling pretty good.
That is until it came time to pay. Let’s see - my atta boy came in 5 Amex gift cards. Then I gave the dude my debit card to pay the balance...and it declined. I totes forgot the daily limit, even though the cash was there, I couldn’t get it because of “fraud protection.” So, I had to put part on my debit card and the rest on a Visa card. 7 different transactions - not humiliating in the least.
35 years ago yesterday, the USA Hockey Team had a pretty good day too - defeating the then-Soviet Union en route to the Gold Medal game with Finland. Herb Brooks’ estate auctioned off a treasure trove of his memorabilia over the weekend. His ring fetched $110,000 which will help his grandchildren pay for college and contribute to his foundation. Now, to auction off something like that for tuition makes you wonder just how hard up the family might be. How do you know it’s not a money grab? The gold medal wasn’t for auction.
Now someone who didn’t have a good day was Jameis Winston - this young man is going to learn that after a season where Ray Rice was suspended, then released for domestic violence; Adrian Peterson spent the season away from the game because he beat his child. The NFL has turned on it’s heel and made domestic violence it’s #1 issue and player character its #1 priority - no one wants a character problem, not after last season. So, Jameis - with a list of issues ranging from getting paid for autographs to rape, decides it’s a good time to leave FSU for the NFL. Everyone can use a quarterback, right? I mean, hell - for years the Lions drafted wide receivers, maybe the Browns can just keep drafting quarterbacks with issues?
Today I didn't have to use my AK, I got to say it was a good day.
Hi dee ho. We got snow. Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. Been a busy busy week in the land of Left Turns. It's late once again as I write this but I had to watch Twitter as all the updates were just blazing down the page. Crazy night. So lets get to it.
FORBES ANNOUNCES TOP 5 HIGHEST PAID DRIVERS IN NASCAR
Guess who's first? Dale Jr with $23.8 million and his girlfriend chewed him out for buying a lottery ticket this week.
#2 Jimmie Johnson with $22.5 million in merch sales and other earnings.
#3 Jeff Gordon with $18.6 million in merch sales and other earnings.
#4 Kevin Harvick with $15.5 million in merch sales, Championship earnings and other earnings.
$5 Denny Hamlin with $15.2 million in merch sales and other earnings.
The Danica was #8 with $13.8 million. The earnings drop off sharply after the 12th place driver.
Our top 3 most valuable teams are HMS worth $350 million, JGR worth $201 million and SHR worth $186 million. You might as well lump the SHR drivers in with HMS because they have their engines and chassis from HMS.
BUDWEISER DUELS 1 & 2
These duels are used to place drivers in the Daytona 500 line up. Some made it and a lot didn't. Jeff Gordon got pole position.
Duel #1 Winner Dale Jr. followed by Gordon - Stewart - Bowyer - Harvick - Kahne - McMurray - Cassill
Duel #2 Winner Johnson. followed by Ky Bu - Edwards - Biffle - Truex - Blaney - Sorenson
So our top 10 in the starting grid for the Daytona 500 - Gordon - Johnson - Dale Jr - Ky Bu - Logano - Edwards - Stewart - Biffle - Bowyer - Truex.
Does a top 10 starting spot in the Daytona 500 mean anything? Bragging rights, yes. Winning it, no. It's a high speed rolling crap shoot. This is the race that anyone can win. Already in my Streak picks I got a 10th place finish in the truck race with my pick of Johnny Sauter & a 10th place in the Xfinity with Dale Jr. I have Dale Jr for Sunday. We shall see.
THE DANICA GOES ALL DRAME QUEEN
I could just scream. Why Danica? Why? Hamlin evidently got too close to her in one of the duel races and she spun out. She did finish 9th so she got her D 500 spot but she had to confront Hamlin about the move he made. A very comical conversation on pit road if you ask me. One that tells me she doesn't get stock car racing. Especially restrictor plate racing. Maybe she was just frustrated so I'll give her that. But she wrecked her car in practice so now she's in a back up car. I immediately unpicked her in one of my fantasy teams. There's going to be some more drama on Sunday involving her and Hamlin. That's the way things go sometimes. You'll have 2 drivers that can't get away from each other and shit happens when they become frustrated with each other. Is this the universe playing with them or just another day at the track?
KURT BUSCH SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
On Friday the Delaware Kent County Family Court Comissioner ruled that "it is more likely than not" that Kurt Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
NASCAR responded on Saturday the Kurt was suspended indefinitely due to violation of rule 12 - 1a which is actions detrimental to stock car racing and 12.8 a behavior penalty.
Kurt responded with an appeal to the 3 member appeals panel. They upheld NASCAR's penalty
Kurt took his appeal to the Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss who also upheld NASCAR's ruling.
SHR announced that Regan Smith would drive the Daytona 500 in Kurt Busch's place.
Kurt may not participate in any NASCAR sanctioned race or event. His lawyer Hardin said," We will continue to exhaust every procedural and legal remedy we have available to us until Kurt Busch is vindicated."
NASCAR says," We will set forth clear guidelines for his return."
It sounds like to me that this will be a road to recovery type thing but not for drugs. I can't help but think that the NFL Ray Rice incident played a huge factor in what just happened to Kurt. I'm not the biggest Kurt fan but this really smells of revenge more so than she wants to help him. If the facts are correct, she went to his RV and woke him up. He asked her repeatedly to leave and she wouldn't. Granted, I think he should've called security but he didn't. I don't condone slapping, punching, kicking, etc another person but I think there's more to this story than meets the eye.
KYLE BUSCH OUT OF #18 AFTER WRECK IN XFINITY RACE
So Saturday was race #2 of the Daytona 500 weekend. It claimed the other Busch brother as it's victim. Seems funny how these drivers find those walls that didn't get the safer barrier yet. Yes, there are stats that say the most wrecks are in these areas so we'll put barriers in those places.
On lap 112 of 120 laps Kyle tapped his team mate in the rear and lost control. He slid off the track and went nose first into the inside turn #1 wall which is 850 feet long. Kyle did get out of the car under his own power but laid down in the grass immediately. His leg was put in an air cast and he was transported to the hospital for treatment.
JGR announced that Kyle sustained a compound fracture of the lower right leg and his left foot was fractured. They also announced that Matt Crafton would be subbing for Kyle in the Daytona 500. No word on the races following.
Tony Stewart sent out a get well tweet to Ky Bu. No words of advise on the leg?
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY RESPONSE
A media event was held where the track president Joie Chitwood said that this will not happen again. That they did not uphold their responsibility for a safe race. That they will fix this now. As they were speaking tire packs were being put up in front of that wall. Also they will be adding the safer barrier to every wall at the track.
Now that's taking responsibility.
DAYTONA 500 NOTES
Our top 10 best at the track are Ky Bu - Kenseth - Ku Bu - Dale Jr - Stewart - Gordon - Johnson - Hamlin - Bowyer - Logano
Well to start with we can cross out the Busch Brothers. That is just so weird to say. Like I said before, this is a crap shoot but talent plays a roll too. Kenseth, Stewart, Harvick, Keselowski, Gordon, Dale Jr and Johnson are my main picks. These guys can haul the mail and they have the equipment to do so. Will there be a surprise winner? I think it will be one of these guys but there will be surprises in the top 15. There always is.
I'm about all snowed and arctic tundra blasted out about now. Bet there's few here as well. But it's race day. Doing my best Snoopy dance right now. Be safe folks
It’s here. No more countdowns, no more crossing dates off the calendar, and no more staring at pictures. Pitchers and catchers are reporting and baseball is back.
There are a lot of pleasant memories in my life—things from my childhood and growing up on a farm. School or vacation memories. Places and events and birthday parties, times spent with friends. Lots of great music.
But I’m telling you right now, stack them all up (and they go well into the hundreds if not thousands) in a list—and the best of them pales in my mind to the absolutely real baseball times that come rolling back forty and nearly fifty years later.
The glove itself—the smell of worn-in leather, the soggy long leather thong that you chewed on between plays, and later when you got older the different smell that neatsfoot oil gave off as you rubbed it into the pocket of your mitt after school.
Your first pair of stirrup socks and the first time you put them on. The first time you actually put on a baseball uniform with pants, as opposed to the team t-shirt you wore in Pee Wee ball. The worn out fitted green cap from the year after fourth grade when I played on the Twins, with the vinyl band inside, that I wore for three years until the band was cracked and broken and the hat—blood and sweat and dirt stained—didn’t fit anymore.
The feel of the ball as you rolled it from hand to hand, gripping it, turning it over, simulating various pitch grips or just flipping it into the air. One summer, I think it might have been 1968 and my first little league season, I think I carried a ball with me everywhere I went.
The smell of fresh cut grass, whether on a hot Saturday afternoon or a humid dusky evening in a sultry Indiana summer. Kicking at it between pitches until you wore out a dirt hole, staring in at a far off batter from Centerfield while you pounded your glove.
Strapping on catcher’s equipment for the first time, and striding to the plate—clicking and clacking all the way—like you were a knight headed to the joust.
The tears welling up and the sting the first time you got hit by a pitch. The hot flash of adrenaline the first time you drilled one into the gap. Being out of breath when you slid into third base and thinking your head was going to explode your grin was so big.
That out of body experience of running as hard as you could to a point you only generally aimed at, thrusting your glove out, and feeling the ball thwock into the pocket as you fell to the ground, your arm raised in the air…only then realizing that you had actually caught the ball and you had no idea how.
The smell of popcorn or hot dogs in steamed buns. The free coke you got at the concession stand after every game. Large if you won, small if you lost.
Do I even have to say it? The crack of the bat. The pop of a fastball hitting the catcher’s glove.
The first time you entered into a major league park and realized Bob Gibson was a real human being…even more impressive and intimidating that he was in pictures. Seeing Lou Brock or Ted Simmons or Joe Torre for the first time. There was no cable television when I was a kid, and you got The Sporting News once a week—so it was a big deal to see these guys in person.
Speaking of The Sporting News, learning to score a game and read a box score. The first time you wrote 6-4-3, or 2B, or colored in the diamond when someone scored. The horrible struggle to comprehend and figure out an earned run average. Why was batting average so much easier?
The roar of the crowd the first time you saw the home team drive in a run and win in the bottom of the ninth. The dejected look of the visiting outfielder as his gait slowed and he watched the game winner sail over his head and into the stands.
I’m sure you have your own list. To paraphrase Terence Mann from Field of Dreams, “…memories…so thick you have to brush them away from your face.”
Get ‘em out. Every single one. Baseball is back, spring is upon us, and hope breathes eternal. Play ball.
(Due to technical difficulties...I had to help Hoov post this blog. Great blog Hoov! I am just sorry that lame ass Spruz would not allow me to post his pictures)