Sunday, February 19, 2017

GETTING STARTED ON A NEW SEASON

Goodbye, Mike
Mike Ilitch, billionaire owner of the the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings, has died at 87. You won't be able to find a smarter, more dedicated owner in all of sports. He wanted to win so badly, he was willing to spent big money to get one. He didn't just throw money around like George Steinbrenner, he always put his money where it would do the most good. He acquired players who filled the needs of his teams, not just buying the biggest names available, but getting those players who could strengthen their weaknesses. He was also dedicated to the city of Detroit, spending money to help out a city in one of the most desperate financial crises in the USA. He will definitely be missed.

The Blame Game 
It seems interesting that the last two Super Bowls were lost by the offensive coordinators: Darrell Bevell, of the Seattle Seahawks and Steve Sarkisian, of the Atlanta Falcons. Both men called for passing plays near the end of the game when a running play almost assured his team of a win. Why? Is it pride? Both men will have excuses...sorry, I mean reasons, but the bottom line is still winning and neither coach chose the most logical way to get that win.

Well that didn't take long.
Two days into the start of spring training and already the Yanks have two guys hurt. Two of the youngest kids on the team. Tyler Austin broke his foot when he fouled off a pitch during batting practice and Mason Williams has an inflamed knee.

That's no help, Manfred.
Rob Manfred, baseball's Commissioner, wants to shorten the length of games. Good idea, but his first suggestions aren't going to help much. Limit the amount of time the managers have to decide if they want to challenge a play to thirty seconds. That may save 15-20 seconds at most. He also suggested having batters take first base on an intentional walk without having the pitcher throw 4 balls. Again, not particularly helpful. Besides, as a purist (which means I'm old), I think that's a mistake. There is always that chance that the pitcher may throw one away and making a situation that much worse.
The real answer, of course, is right in front of you. KEEP THE BATTER IN THE BOX AND THE PITCHER ON THE RUBBER. Now was that hard? This is really where the most time is wasted. You could shorten the commercial time between innings, but that's just being silly, isn't it?
Keep trying, Rob. The intention is good.

They already have a rule.
They're going to change the strike zone by moving it up a couple of inches. They've tried this before. They have raised it, lowered it and widened it.  It's interesting that the official rule hasn't changed in over 20 years, just the umpire's interpretation of the zone. Of course, every umpire has their own strike zone. They'll never be able to fix that.

***THEY SAID IT***
"If Super Bowl 51 had gone much longer, it would have run into the Super Bowl 52 pregame show."  -- RJ Currie
"In talking about the fiasco that is the NY Knicks franchise: "If Phil Jackson were alive today..."  -- Gene Wojciechowski  
"How about that historic Super Bowl LI? The intensity, the physicality, the incredible display of athleticism. I’m talking about Lady Gaga at halftime."  -- Brad Dickson
"Kyrie Irving is questioning whether dinosaurs existed. Fool, he could have just asked  Tim Duncan, who lived with them."  -- Janice Hough
"The Spurs have clinched their record 20th straight winning season. Even more remarkable is that they did it with the same starting lineup."  -- Jim Barach
"Winnipeg Jets star Dustin Byfuglien loves ice fishing. He has to be fast, though: He only gets two minutes for hooking." - RJ Currie
"There is a report that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria might sell the team. You thought the death of Fidel Castro was celebrated down here? The departure of Loria might run a close second."  -- Greg Cote
"The Atlanta Zoo has named a species of cockroach after Tom Brady. In related news, Falcons fans gave the same name to their local bookies when they had to square up."  -- TC Chong
"The Baylor football program is a  mess. I think everybody’s pretty much in the barrel, but I don’t know if anybody knows where the bottom of the barrel is."  -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article132024634.html#storylink=cpy

"The NY Post said the ring girl who MMA fighter Andrew Whitney accidentally socked in the jaw was okay. Just okay? I've seen her pictures; she deserves a standing-10 count."  -- RJ Currie
"NFL owners moving their franchises to new locations with taxpayer-subsidized stadiums. For folks with no farming background, it’s amazing how well they know how to milk a cash cow."  -- Norman Chad
"Organizers of the Westminster Kennel Club Show  took hundreds of dogs and dozens of cats and placed them under one roof. Well, I certainly can’t think of anything that could go wrong here." -- Brad Dickson
"The Atlanta Falcons fired defensive coaches Richard Smith and Bryan Cox. When asked what the tipping point was, coach Dan Quinn listed 31 points in row."  -- RJ Currie
"University of Washington basketball player Malik Dime slapped two Colorado fans. Well, who hasn’t wanted to do that at one time or another?"  -- Brad Dickson

CP-




 

Friday, February 10, 2017

IF IT AIN'T BROKE...

...then lets break it.
The latest bit of insanity to come out of baseball is this new rule they will experiment with in the rookie leagues this year. They will start every extra inning with a man a second base. Is this baseball's answer to the hockey shoot-out? Or soccer's?
The non-purists who came up with this one state what they consider good reasons for the change. It will speed up the game, it will add excitement  and if it shortens the game, it could save wear and tear on pitcher's arms. It will do all that but at what cost? As it stands, baseball has the best "sudden death" of any of the major sports. Soccer players run their hearts out only to have the outcome determined by penalty kicks which seem to get made 90% of the time. Look at pro football. How fair was the ending to the last Super Bowl? Basically, that game was decided by a coin flip!

No. they should leave it alone.  Each team gets a shot and the only advantage goes to the home team because they hit last. If the game goes longer than 10 or 11 innings, then you test the whole roster of each team. They continue to experiment with the strike zone. they will raise the lower portion of the strike zone by about an inch. This is supposed to improve the chances of batters to get a hit. Maybe it will, maybe not, but the process will be in the hands of the players and that change will eventually sort itself out without contaminating the sport as a whole.

One change they are considering is a protective helmets for pitchers. These look more like visors to make them more unobtrusive for the pitchers. Maybe not the best answer, but a good start.  Here's what it looks like:
 http://d2s3dt9f4iyeup.cloudfront.net/images/resized_v1/0c5fe097-cd60-45b5-a43d-fbff4c24cbd5.jpg

Pitchers & catchers report on Valentine's Day and actually throw in earnest on Wednesday. It can't happen too soon for me.  Even the Leftcoastsportsbabe blog is mostly politics. Let's give her something besides the President to write about.

There is a rumor - a rumor, mind you - that after losing to St. Bonaventure in Olean, NY, the St. Louis Bilikins bus driver drove off and left the team stranded. Can losing to the Bonnies be that embarrassing?

***THEY SAID IT***
"Spring Training starts next week.  About time. February is kind of a comedy wasteland for sports humor.  Although to be fair, in New York, the Knicks and Nets are doing their part."  -- Janice Hough "If Atlanta had won the toss and scored a TD in O.T. — meaning Tom Brady never got to respond — the hue and cry to change overtime would have been deafening. Change the rule: give both offences and both defences a shot in overtime."  -- RJ Currie
"There will be a lunar eclipse Friday.The moon was supposed to disappear last Sunday as part of Lady Gaga's elaborate Super Bowl halftime show."  -- Brad Dickson
"Coach Bill Belichick will be playing at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am. So what’s happened to “No Days Off”????"  -- TC Chong

CP-

Sunday, February 05, 2017

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS! PITCHERS AND CATCHERS!

Just nine days now until players start to don the fabled Yankee pinstripes. Pitchers & catchers report on the 14th and begin workouts the next day with the full squad due to begin on Sunday the 19th. I can hardly wait.

** Yes, yes, I know. The Super Bowl is tonight including what is usually the most imaginative commercial ads of the year. So if one bit of entertainment disappoints, you have a second chance to be entertained.
The Patriots are favored by three and the Falcons have the hottest quarterback in the game right now, so the odds are good that it will be a good game. I'll be rooting for the Falcons while Annie-O  will be rooting against the Patriots. She is a member of the ABB club, as in Anybody But Brady. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30, that is, if the pregame shows are over with by then.

** The Syracuse Orange made a terrific showing yesterday, beating 9th ranked Virginia 66-62. The win was Jim Boeheim's 1000th win...or his 899th, depending on whether you believe in the NCAA or not. After being stripped of 101 wins because of some infraction, Boeheim had a great comment about the penalty. "I know I've been here for 1000 victories even if the NCAA doesn't see it that way," he said. The ruling makes no sense to me. The NCAA says Syracuse lost those 101 games, but no one was given the wins. That means for three years Syracuse played 101 games in which NO team won. I guess that's only logical in Indianapolis, the headquarters of the NCAA. They may be good at sports but lousy at math.

Which brings me to another point: When a University gets penalized for some infraction by being barred for post season play, the coach  leaves and goes to another school, leaving the team in the lurch. Doesn't it make sense that those penalties should also follow the coach too? That may help keep coaches from deserting a school because of a situation he was responsible for. And what school would want to hire a coach that would result in no NCAA tournament for the school?  Guess that's too logical for the NCAA.

***THEY SAID IT***
"The Patriots, who came so close to doing it nine seasons ago, have landed the trademark rights to the slogans “Perfect Season” and “19-0.”  “We’ve got dibs on 0-16,” said the Detroit Lions."  -- Dwight Perry
" So can someone explain to me why Baylor still has a football team?"  -- Janice Hough
"The Oakland Raiders may not be moving to Las Vegas. It appears they wanted fans to purchase a 3 drink minimum for games."  -- Tony Chong
"The Australian Open featured a match between Anastasia Sergeyevna Pavlyuchenkova and Natalia Konstantinovna Vikhlyantseva. I’m happy to report there were no injuries when the scoreboard collapsed midway."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Westminster Dog Show announced it has added three new breeds. Said the dogs, “Yeah, last year’s after party got pretty wild"  -- Seth Meyers
"Ex-NFL star Deion Sanders, 49, says not even Usain Bolt could have beaten him in a race when Sanders was in his prime. In Bolt’s defense, though, he would have been only 5 or 6 at the time."  -- Dwight Perry
"Ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson said he sometimes smoked pot before games. Which was evident in his career game stats, where he averaged 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.7 pizzas.”  -- Jim Barach
" New 49ers GM John Lynch says SF is going to “aggressively recruit” talent to “make us even stronger.” Well, it would be hard to make the team much weaker."  -- Janice Hough
"Tickets for the eight-day U.S. Curling Trials in Omaha are on sale. I’m thinking watching people push a stone with a broom starts to get old by Day 7."  -- Brad Dickson  [To my Canadian friends: I didn't write it., I just reported it. - CP]
"Assistant coach Rocky Seto is leaving the Seattle Seahawks to enter the ministry. Every so often, the needs of the many are outweighed by the needs of the pew."  -- RJ Curry

CP-



Sunday, January 29, 2017

HELLO AGAIN

It's been a while. I could say I've been busy, but I'm retired so we know that's bull. I'm just lazy.

I like to call today, "Sports Dead Sunday." There is nothing earth shattering going on today in the world of sports. The closest we come is the Michigan-Michigan State basketball on in about an hour.

It's Pro-Bowl Sunday
That's when the "best" professional football players perform together in a game. That's if you ignore the fact that the two "best" teams are not represented because they play next week. Because football is such an orchestrated sport, they have to adjust the rules, otherwise it would be mayhem out there. Fewer and fewer people are interested in watching this game. In fact, I think the players wives don't even attend. It's in Florida now, at least when it was in Hawaii, the wives could spend time on the beaches. 20% of the players chosen beg their agents to get them out of it. This game came about to replace the 2nd place bowl where the two teams that lost in the conference championships played. Vince Lombardi once called that the "Hinky-Dink Bowl."  The Pro-Bowl is no step up.

Tennis
The Australian Open concluded last night at 3:00 AM. If you wanted to see that, you basically had to give up on Sunday altogether.

NBA All Star Game
That's not for three weeks, so at least those people who like basketball with very liberal rule restrictions do have something to watch, such as, players who dunk and then posture & preen, where walking is something the players do to go back to the locker room, because in the game 3, 4 or even 5 steps without dribbling is permitted. I wonder if it occurred to anyone that with the size and ability of today's players, they should widen the lane about five feet, increase the size of the court about 10 feet (width & length) and raise the basket to 12 feet? Might be a more interesting sport.

NHL All-Star Game
They have really bastardized this game. It's now three-on-three. Not being a hockey aficionado, I have no idea why. Why don't they just schedule a series of fights on the ice. I understand that most fans prefer that anyway.

Major League Baseball
Just 16 days until  pitchers and catchers report and 24 days until the games start. There might still be one or two more blockbuster deals in the works, but probably not. Please hurry.

I believe the Superbowl pregame show started about an hour ago. This is a 24-hour, 7-day event which will allow us to learn the intimate details of every player, coaching staff and front office personnel of both teams. "Everything you ever wanted to know..."

The Syracuse Orange is probably the most exciting college team in the country. You never know which team is going to show up: The team that shoots the lights out and plays defense like they really have seven men on the court, or the team that will miss dunks, and plays defense like they're lugging around 30lb backpacks with their hands tied together. Good Orange vs. Bad Orange, your guess is as good as anyone else's.

This is distressing news. ESPN is cancelling "The Sports Reporters" as of the end of May. One of my favorite shows. I can't believe that a show that offers such insight on sports without resorting to making controversial remarks just for the purpose of sensationalism (see Stephen A,. Smith), would be deemed unworthy. Well, ESPN was never know for intelligent decisions.
As long as we're on distressing news, rest in peace, Mary Tyler Moore. Perhaps the funniest scene in television is the funeral scene for Chuckles the Clown.
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=funeral+scene+for+chuckles+the+clown&view=detail&mid=0559DBBE84751FFBE8AF0559DBBE84751FFBE8AF&FORM=VIRE

***THEY SAID IT***
"Next Sunday, Animal Planet is airing another Puppy Bowl. My, how the mighty have fallen. Rex Ryan is coaching the North team."  -- Brad Dickson
"Disgraced QB Johnny Manziel tweeted some advice on using Twitter to President Trump.The Book of Revelation clearly states the first sign of the Apocalypse is that Johnny Manziel is the voice of reason."  -- Argus Hamilton
"Several L.A. County businesses stepped forward to help bail out the struggling Lennox Little League, including a $1,200 donation from the Jet Strip club. What, you’ve never seen a baseball field with brass foul poles before?"  -- Dwight Perry
"Four 30-somethings reached the men’s and women’s finals at the Australian Open. On display were tennis’ greatest forehands, backhands and old hands."  -- RJ Currie
" After losing a bet, LeBron James had to eat raw garlic. Twenty minutes later he became the first player in NBA history to clear the lane just by exhaling."  -- Brad Dickson
"Seahawks assistant coach Rocky Seto is leaving the NFL to enter the ministry: “If he really wants to be around a lot of people praying every Sunday, he should join the 49ers."  -- Janice Hough
"Johnny Manziel has an autograph booth during Super Bowl week. He is charging $99 to sign items people bring. So far no NFL teams plan to bring a contract and the CFL has announced that none of their teams has $99 to spare."  -- TC Chong
"An all-Russian tussle at the Aussie Open went to a tie-breaker. After three sets, Anastasia Sergeyevna Pavlyuchenkova was deadlocked with Natalia Konstantinovna Vikhlyantseva at 14 syllables."  -- RJ Currie  [and 32 letters each - CP]
"LeBron James is complaining about the Cavalier front. We always thought that LeBron WAS the Cavalier front office."  --  Mike Lupica
"The Florida Panthers used a team ticket agent as backup goalie. He didn’t make any saves. However, he did make sure everybody had good seats."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-


 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

...AND THEN I SAID -

Sometimes jokes just write themselves. A few remarks from past years:


After a few productive years in Montreal, Javier played for six different team in 8 years.

Javier Vasquez has signed a 1-year, $7 million, no-trade contract with the Florida Marlins. The no-trade clause is at the request of the other 29 teams.

Brett never could make a decision...and stick to it.
 On Brett Farve being undecided on retirement: His agent says if Brett is healthy, he'll play. Obviously, mental health does not figure into this scenario.
"Flash" made a career out of being the backup guy, both on the field and in the booth.
John Flaherty caught a foul ball hit back into the TV booth. He was very excited. "I haven't caught a ball like that in 6 years," he said. Unfortunately, he retired 4 years ago.

But we don't talk about the past.
Mark McGwire's wife Stephanie is expected to give birth to triplets this week. Apparently, Mark is still using those "performance enhancing" drugs.

Nick was on a first-name basis with the EMTs in four cities.
It seems like Nick Johnson is injured again. I think he has Mt Sinai Hospital on retainer. He no longer has a number on his back, just a Red Cross.  

Even now, the "panda" has that weight fluctuation thing down pat.
In a effort to positively affect his weight problem, the Giants put Pablo Sandoval on a food regimen this winter. And it worked: he positively gained weight. His trainer said, "We were doing all right until he escaped.

Beloved by reporters all over the country.
During an interview, Nick Swisher doesn't need a question, just a microphone.   

 If you've ever been to San Francisco, you know what a drop that is.

With Melky's .305 batting average and 18 home runs, the Giant pitching staff is organizing a ticker-tape parade down Divisiderio Street, which is appropriate, since, like the Giant offense, Divisiderio Street is all downhill.

Of course, that's when he did decide to run.

Cano ran the bases without a care in the world...or a brain in his head.
I hope this joke doesn't get my cousin Judy all riled up again.

The Yankees will have a ceremony honoring Roger Maris before the game tomorrow. No truth to the rumor that Bud Selig will throw out the first asterisk.

 A couple of "Manny being Manny" remarks.
 *Manny Ramirez was arrested yesterday on a charge of Battery during a domestic dispute. Manny may be retired, but it appears he can still hit.
*Manny Ramirez made a tremendous diving catch of a throw...intended for someone else. He's still the only major leaguer in history who has been credited with an interception.

 Joe Torre did overuse this guy. He once brought Scott in for relief during a Father/Son game.
Scott Proctor had a huge number of appearances a few years ago and has signed with the Yankees. He joined the Scranton Wilkes-Barre team on Tuesday. His arm is expected to join him in a few days.
I guess Scott Proctor wasn't available.
You know your pitcher isn't doing well when the grounds crew drags the infield AND the warning track in the fifth inning.

Bobby's the man.

ESPN is upset because Bobby Knight cursed on live  TV. What's the big deal? When you hire Bobby Knight, why are you surprised when you get Bobby Knight?

This could also apply to umpires - and I'm not going to mention Joe West's name.
Is a deaf referee a problem? I don't think the deafness is any problem, especially when you consider that there seem to be a number of refs out there who are blind.

Okay, I lied.
Actually, I consider Joe West to be the 2nd best umpire in the majors. All the other umpires are tied for first.

Catchers used to go to the mound just to catch their breaths.
 AJ Burnett has said he wants to be "unstoppable" this year. You led the majors in wild pitches with 25, your third time leading the league. Yankee catchers already think you're unstoppable.

I love Scott Boras. Couldn't write a blog without him.
Scott Boras can't get a contract for Johnny Damon. He can't even bring out his usual routines, the One Dumb Owner or the 'Mystery Team,' because no one is that dumb and it's no mystery.

Bobby Valentine is another guy that makes my day.
*Bobby Valentine says he's been booed in two different countries. It seems to me, that that's because he's only managed in two different countries.
*Boston has been voted the smartest city in the U.S. If that's true, how do you explain hiring Bobby Valentine? 

I'm not sure that this is a joke.
You can't say the Yanks aren't doing everything they can for Mariano Rivera since he was injured.  He has seen at least four different doctors, had x-Rays and MRIs. They've done everything but send him to Lourdes.

I guess I'm the only "They Said It" today.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

AROUND THE SPORTS WORLD

There are things that happen in sports that I just don't understand.


What? And get hurt?
Stanford Cardinal football star Christian McCaffrey has announced he will not play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 30th against North Carolina. But he has a good reason: he wants to use the time to prepare for the NFL draft. Apparently the money is more important that exercising his loyalty to the school and the team. He's on a scholarship so Stanford has been paying for his education, room and board for the past 3 and a half years. But that means nothing when he's preparing to amass his personal fortune in the NFL. If I were Stanford, I would rescind his scholarship and tell him to immediately pay for his last semester, move out of the football dorm and turn in his meal ticket. If he hasn't gotten his grades yet, hold them until he either pays for next semester or plays in the game. Sorry McCaffrey, but this isn't the "Christian" thing to do.

What's in a name? 
The NY Yankees minor league team in Staten Island held a contest to ask their fans to come up with a new name for the team.  Some of the suggestions were the S.I. Heroes, the Bridge Trolls, the Rock Pigeons and, my personal favorite, the Pizza Rats. These names would be able to compete with the nicknames of some of the other teams in the NY-Penn League, like the Crosscutters, the Scrappers, the Monsters, and the ever-popular Muckdogs. In a rare moment of sanity, team officials decided to to keep the original name - The Staten Island Yankees.

What a relief.
New Orleans Drew Brees, who is arguably one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFC, was not chosen for the Pro-Bowl game. At least he won't have to come up with some lame excuse for not playing in the game. Besides, they aren't even playing in Hawaii this year. The game is in Florida and what fun is that? They should just drop the game anyway. The only way you can tell it's football is because they wear the uniforms.

He did it again.
Duke University's petulant basketball player, Grayson Allen, is at it once more. Last year he was censured for tripping an opposing player during the game and now, he's repeated the action against a player from ELON. He was given a technical and sent to the bench where he proceeded to throw a tantrum. How long will Coach K put up with this nonsense? 

Something for nothing?
The Boston Red Sox have traded long time pitcher  Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for a minor leaguer who has a chance to become a backup utility player...sometime. Maybe. This was salary dump, pure and simple.  Buchholz has never lived up to his promise, having one good year in his ten years with Boston. Boston GM Dombrowski, going against the baseball standard of never having enough pitching, said that having seven pitchers vying for five spots was too many. He must be thrilled that he found some suck...I mean team, to take him on. I wonder if Philly could use a center fielder? The Yankees have an extra one.

 It ain't sports, but...
A bus driver in Illinois has sued McDonalds over the pricing of their Extra-Value Meals, stating the price of $5.90 was $.41 more than if he purchased the the 2 cheeseburgers, medium fries and medium drink separately. Wouldn't you think someone in that huge organization might have sat down and said, "Hey! You know what? If You just buy..." But no, they didn't. Whatever financial genius that was responsible for this has a future as the General Manager of a baseball team.

I have nothing to add.
Skip Bayless was on FB live when he used his own official page to comment “Skip you are the man!!! Love the new show on FS1!!!”

Good bye, Craig.
The long time TNT sportscaster has died after a two year fight with leukemia. He will be remembered for his friendly and humorous personality, his sports acumen as well as his outrageous outfits.  

 Image result for craig sager's outfitsImage result for craig sager's outfits
  
His courtside interviews were a joy to behold. God bless you, Craig. We will miss you.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Fire crews were called to the Palace of Auburn Hills this morning. Two-alarm blaze, unknown origin. Well, something’s was on fire and it’s sure not the Pistons."  -- Janice Hough
"Anyone else secretly hoping Jose Bautista gets shipped to Boston? Only Tom Brady could deflate that ego."  -- RJ Currie
"Six years ago, Rus­sia opened the melted-down Chernobyl nuclear plant to curiosity seekers. Speaking of which, the 49ers are also offering tours to the public."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Baylor women’s basketball team defeated Winthrop by 108 points, 140-32. Unfortunately, Baylor was favored by 109 points, so the team didn’t cover."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Browns will lose one home game next year to play an NFL game in England. At first the team protested, but Cleveland fans insisted."  -- RJ Currie
" Cheerleading may become an Olympic sport. When pushing an object down ice with a broom is already an Olympic sport, the bar is not set terribly high here."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-

Saturday, December 17, 2016

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

** I wrote back in October that I thought the World Series managers were over-using their closers, particularly Terry Francona. While some writers applauded the innovative use of the bullpen, others felt the same as me. Aroldis Chapman just came out and said that he felt that Joe Maddon in situations that didn't require using a closer, such as starting the 9th inning with a 7-run lead in game 6. Chapman said he went into game 7 with a tired arm which could have cost the Cubs dearly. Maddon said he talked to Chapman every time before he used him and asked him if he minded pitching multiple innings and he said he was fine with that. Come on, Joe. What's do you expect him to say? "I'm the closer. I only pitch in the ninth inning?" However, they got to the W. S. so you might as well ride the horse that carried you there and let next year take care of itself. Or you do what the cubs did: let him go to another team.


** During the silly season, teams try to fill the holes in their lineup or their pitching staff through the use of trades or signing free agents. Who they try to acquire depends on a lot of factors. Can he play defense, can he run, how long a deal is he looking for, is a draft pick involved, or - the big one- how much money is he going to cost us? But here are two I have never heard before. "We're not interested in player X. Our fans hate him." The other - "Our players don't want him on the team." Interestingly, they're talking about the same guy - Jose Bautista. Baltimore fans are upset about the way Joey Bats flips his bat after hitting a home run. Texas Ranger players hate him so much, their shortstop punched him in the face and knocked him down around 2nd base during a game. Somebody's not playing well with others.

** Part of the new labor agreement for MLB sets definite starting times for getaway games. They will also regulate starting times for games if a team played a night game in a different city the day before. This is good thing. Obviously, weekday afternoon games draw significantly fewer fans than night games, so home teams are reluctant to schedule an early game especially against a "premium" opponent, such as NY/Boston. There have been times when this has happened, sometimes,it appears, just out of spite. Looks like front offices don't play well with others, either.

** In spite of his repeated assertion that he is retired, speculations continue that David Ortiz will return for one more year. He had a great year, not just for a retiring player, but a great year for anyone. He continues to say that he can't handle the pain in his feet and he dislikes all the traveling, but if he did come back, no one would mind - except me and all the other Yankee fans.

** For the first time, 6 teams will be paying a luxury tax this year.
Dodgers  $31.8 million
Yankees  $27.4 million
Red Sox  $4.5 million
Tigers      $4.0 million
Giants      $3.4 million
Cubs        $2.96 million
That's a total of $74 million which the 24 team owners will line their pockets with.

** The Minnesota Golden Gophers have ended their threatened boycott of the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27th against Washington St. The team was protesting the suspension of 10 players because  of an alleged sexual assault accusation. They reversed their threat when the school's Board of Regents assured the team that the suspended players would get a fair hearing.

**Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has guaranteed that his team will win their next game against the 0-13 Cleveland Browns. Really went out on a limb there, eh Marcell?

** The real bad news comes out of Seattle where it appears that Dwight Perry's column, Sideline Chatter, will be eliminated by the powers that be. Dwight's sense of humor was a continuing delight to his readers for 17 years. Unless something changes we will lose a very entertaining column as of January 1st.

***THEY SAID IT*** 
"Temperatures at Soldier Field for the Green Bay-Chicago game this Sunday are expected to be at or near 0 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff. Or as Packers fans and players say “positively balmy."  -- Janice Hough
"Tickets for the Buffalo vs Cleveland game are going for as low as $10. Some fans are saying that if you threw in a hot dog and a beer along with the $10, they might be interested."  -- TC Chong
"How about those lurid green Seattle uniforms on Thursday Night Football? At any given time, it looked like 11 grinches stealing the Rams' Christmas."  -- RJ Currie
"College football bowl season is about to begin. I’m probably most looking forward to the Boise State Broncos playing the Baylor Bears in the inaugural Alliteration Bowl."  -- Brad Dickson
"Major League Baseball announced a crackdown on rookie hazings. Fortunately for Minnesota, being forced to dress in a Twins uniform isn’t included in the ban."  -- Dwight Perry

"Lions CB Darius Slay, on the Pro Bowl being in Orlando instead of Hawaii “It’s really pointless.” Uh, has the Pro Bowl ever been anything but?"  -- Janice Hough
"Ronda Rousey has reportedly said the holiday season isn't all that jolly for her. Must be hard at Christmas to forget being decked by blows of Holly."  -- RJ Curry
" Old joke rehashed: One poor Bills fans left his pair of tickets on the dash and forgot to lock his car. He came running back and…. too late, there were now 4 tickets on the dash."  -- Tony Chong

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