Sunday, August 21, 2016

OH, COME ON!

Here we go again. 
Ryan Lochte has fallen into the professional athlete pit of lying about some aspect of their personal life. Nobody but the perpetrators - Ryan and three cohorts - really know exactly what went on that fateful night in Rio, but we know now it wasn't what the boys first reported. There are some people who say that it was no big deal, that no one was hurt or that it was just a boyish prank. Bull roar. 31-year old MEN do not commit boyish pranks. Whether you agree or not about the severity of the "prank," what is terribly wrong about this is that 1) they brought up this story out of the blue. 2) they had to be pinned down for better than two days before confessing that is was "...kind of exaggerated."  They lied. Let me say that again - they lied.
In his latest interview, Lochte has said that he didn't abandon his friends and wants to stand up for them. That's easy, Ryan. Get on a plane and go back to Brazil.  But he won't. 
What will happen to him now? He should be punished severely. A-Rod took PEDs, lied about it, recanted and took his punishment - a one year suspension and lost millions of dollars. Lochte may get suspended from professional swimming - if there is such a thing - and may lose endorsements. Whatever it ends up being, it won't be enough. We have got to stop this practice of lying to the public. 

More thoughts on the Olympics
** Usain Bolt is the best Olympic athlete ever. Just ask him and most of the sports writers. But he is not. Oh, he's best in his field, the sprint races, but I didn't see him toss the discus, do the long jump or the high jump. He didn't go near the water (a good thing in Rio) or run any long distances. You want a true athlete, maybe the best Olympic athlete ever, I give you Jim Thorpe.
** Question - why won't Gabby Douglas ever smile? She just didn't look like she was enjoying herself. That's too bad. She is a great gymnast and this is probably the last time she'll ever be on the Olympic stage . Celebrate the team's - and your - accomplishments one last time.
** There were far too many disqualifications  in the track events this year. Are the participants (I almost said combatants) trying too hard? Is there attitude - do anything you can to win? I never saw so many elbows flying in the races. Who do they think they are? Basketball players?
** As usual, NBC did a horrible job of broadcasting the Olympics. Since everything is tape-delayed, don't you think they could have done a better job of covering the events? They would show two or three attempts on the high bar or the shot put, for example, which turned out to be an American failing on an attempt and then the gold medal winner. In their defense however, we do know what the grandparents went through preparing the athletes and how they suffered watching then. Please, less dramatics and more sports. Oh, and could we please, please have more commercials.
** We're number one - and maybe number two. 
The USA Woman's team won the gold so easily that assistant coaches, Dawn Staley and Cheryl Reeves, could have played in high heels and the team wouldn't have been threatened. 
The men's Team plays for the gold today. Vegas has established them as 15-point favorites.

Baseball news. 
** The Mets pitching staff, thought to be one of the best in preseason, has fallen apart due to their many injuries. It's been suggested that perhaps the additional strain of the post season contributed greatly to their physical problems. There may be a case for this, since it happened to Kansas City this year and the San Fran Giants a few times. Lets see how there "highly-respected"  pitching coaches deal with this one. 
[I've noticed that baseball announcers absolutely can't mention the name of a pitching coach without adding the "highly-respected" tag to all of them. If they are all highly-respected, why are so many of them looking for work every year?]
** The Yankees Gary Sanchez is waking up the whole baseball world with his magical appearance. Sports writers are saying they've never seen a rookie begin their career on such a high note, but it doesn't meant he can sustain it. You may remember a fellow named Shane Spencer, who broke in with the Yankees in September of 1998. In 27 games, he .379 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs, including 3 grand slams. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of his career which only lasted 6 more years. 
But, in the meantime, you have to admire the ability Sanchez has shown.
** So the Tigers refused to reschedule a start time of a game for the Red Sox. Should we feel sad for the Sox? If they had changed - at the last minute, I might add - I would feel sorry for the thousands of fans who had tickets for the regularly scheduled time. They are the ones who are severely inconvenienced.
** Have we been wrong all this time? Michael Kay announced that it has been scientifically proven that diving into first base to beat a throw DOES get you there faster. For years, they said running through the base is the fastest but now we know differently. Of course, it also increases your chances of getting hurt. 
** Gary Sanchez has in effect shown he is the best catcher on the roster for New York and Austin Romine has proved he'd be a more than capable back-up, and since both are much younger than Brian McCann, isn't it time for the Yanks to trade McCann?

Goodbye John 
I have to admit that I didn't particularly care for John Saunders when he took over as moderator for the Sunday morning Sports  Reporters for Dick Schaap, whom I loved. But over the years, Saunders grew on me. His style was a little different than Schaap's, but he proved to be knowledgeable, friendly and obviously respected by the other panel members. I wasn't really aware of the the number of positions he held and the scope of his activities and I certainly wasn't aware of his long term physical ailments. He became to me, one of those guys I liked to listen too and while I didn't always agree with his point of view, I respected his comments because of the way he presented them and the logic behind them. 
Goodbye John,we will all miss you.

***THEY SAID IT***
"The U.S. was striving for its first ever Olympic medal in table tennis. When you consider the roughly 180.5 million ping-pong tables in basements around the country, how is this possible?"  -- Brad Dickson
"The closest I ever got to make the track and field team in high school was when they asked me to shag javelins."  -- Tony Chong
"US men were DQ’ed in 4 by 100 relay. Thanks to  Ryan Lochte for  making sure this isn’t most embarrassing American men’s team story of these Olympic games."  -- Janice Hough
" From the You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up file comes word that Wednesday’s Twins-Astros game in Minneapolis was rained out — on Umbrella Night."  -- Dwight Perry
"There is a new world record in the 100-meter dash. It was set by Ryan Lochte running through the Rio airport to board his plane and get out of town."  -- Brad Dickson
" The jockstrap worn by Joe Frazier in the Fight of the Century sold at auction for $10,000. And Johnny Depp thinks he just paid a lot for support"  -- RJ Currie
"The last time golf was an Olympic sport was in 1912. NBC showed the replay on tape delay in 1916, due to the games being cancelled that year due to The Great War."  -- Tony Chong
" A-Rod signs one-day relationship contract to retire as Madonna’s boyfriend."  -- TheKicker.com
" Tom Brady missed tonight’s Patriots Bears game after he sliced his right thumb getting dirt out of a cleat. Gisele: “my husband cannot throw the football and clean his shoes at the same time.”.  -- Janice Hough
"The last Olympics that didn’t lose money for the host city?” asked Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Los Angeles, 1984.  “The last Olympics at which the IOC didn’t make a ton of profit, even though it doesn’t really do anything except collect money? Athens, 750 B.C"  -- Scott Ostler

"America’s latest gymnastics sensation begs the question: What’s the over-under on how many American babies will be born in the next year named Simone?"  -- Janice Hough
"And in fight-memorabilia news, the boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier in the 1971 “Fight of the Century” sold at auction for $606,375.  Which makes one wonder what Elin Nordegren’s infamous nine-iron might’ve fetched."  -- Dwight Perry

A diver from Russia landed on her back and scored a 0.0. Well, the Russian judge gave her a 9.85."   -- Brad Dickson
"I can’t see Aaron Rodgers brother Jordan bragging about being chosen on the Bachlorette. The Green Bay QB’s reply? Munn’s the word."  -- RJ Currie

CP-
  

 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

GOODBYE A-ROD

No more drama
A-Rod bowed out last night in a sea of emotion, mostly from A-Rod himself. In a rare attempt to show that he's actually human, Mgr Joe Girardi sent A-Rod out to play third in the 9th inning of a 6-3 Yankee win. What a nice gesture, I thought, until Girardi removed him after one out. Okay, so maybe he wanted to pull A-Rod before something embarrassing happened, but the way Betances was pitching, the odds were small. In fact Dellin struck out the side. But A-Rod did get one final ovation before he began the embracing of every single teammate, coach, trainer and maybe hot dog vendor in the stadium.
Goodbye A-Rod, I will miss you.

Wait, this isn't right
** The pre-season analysts decided that the Mets were the favorites to win the NL East while the Yankees would be fighting to stay out of the cellar in AL East. A look at today's standings show the Yanks at three games over .500 while the Mets are one game under and 101/2 games back in third place.
** The Yankee broadcasters seem to use the same descriptions all the time. "Gardner is flying around third." "Hicks is unleashing that gun." "Teixeira is chugging into third (or second or home)." Always 'chugging.' Well last night, Tex stole 2nd base and stole it by such a margin, the catcher never even threw to 2nd. I think 'chugging' can be retired now.
** The St. Louis Cardinals, perennial winners of the NL Central, are mired in 2nd place, 14 games out of first. They're chasing the Chicago Cubs, currently on an 11-game winning streak.
** The US Women's soccer team was eliminated from the tournament by Sweden in the preliminary round. They aren't going down without a fight, though. US goalie Hope Solo called the Swedish team "cowards," because they played a defensive game, which underclassed teams will do to keep from being blown out. Solo should just keep her mouth shut.
** Mets manager Terry Collins issued a tirade Thursday night after the team had been swept three straight by the lowly Diamond backs. He said, "There has to be a passion to come and play, and if they didn't start acting like professionals, I will find players who would.  This starts tomorrow. And I'm going to tell them that." The Mets promptly went out and lost to the lowly Padres.
** Move over Bobby Bonilla. Not to be outdone, the Cincinnati Reds will be paying Ken Griffey, Jr., $3.5 million a year for nine more years. For the record, Ken Griffey, Sr. never made more than $1.1 million in a season.


Notes from the Rio Olympics 
** Why it necessary to say "Rio" Olympics? Is there one going on somewhere else in the world?
** I enjoy Women"s gymnastics because of the beauty and fearlessness of the participants. At least these ladies look like real women, unlike years ago when the 12 & 13 year old girls were competing. They didn't even look like females. They looked like refugees from a POW camp. Silver medal winner Aly Raisman is actually 22 years old.
How do these girls hold it together when they fall or fail badly when competing? I give them all a lot of credit.
** I still don't understand this. Why do the ladies in the "Women's Porno-Beach Volleyball" have to wear those skimpy costumes (I refuse to call them uniforms)? Look at what the men wear. Shorts to their knees and full t-shirts while the women wear sports bras and barely-there shorts designed by Victoria's Secret. The women don't like it either. One former medalist says the biggest problem is, "You get sand where there shouldn't be sand." 
The Track & Field competitors aren't much better. Skimpy tops and bikini shorts on most of them. Some of them are wearing a much larger pair of shorts and, lo & behold, they run just as fast. 
** I'm not crazy about all these 'Up Close & Personal' stories that accompany NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games (yes, the ones in Rio). I understand that it's their attempt to develop a relationship between the competitors and the audience so we will participate in the emotion of the event. I root for the US athletes, I don't need to know how his grandmother felt watching him compete. I know a lot of viewers - probably mostly women - like it, but I don't. I just want to see the competition. Sorry, but that's how I feel. 

You can take him out of the Majors, but...
...he's still Yasiel Puig. Sent down to the minors after 31/2 years with the Dodgers, Yasiel continued to be the fun-loving guy he always has been . His first day in Oklahoma City and after a loss, he posted a video of himself and teammates partying. Puig claims he was just "...getting to know his teammates." I don't know what he found out other than what they like to drink.

***THEY SAID IT***
"#‎SFGiants‬ manager ‪#‎BruceBochy‬ was out of the hospital and back on the bench today. Unfortunately the Giants offense is back on life support."  -- Janice Hough
"Isn’t it time to put names on Yanks jerseys? This would be for the benefit of fans AND team mates."  -- Tony Chong  
"Forbes described the movie Suicide Squad as middling, filled with poor choices and one of DC’s biggest summer letdowns. No wait — that’s Bryce Harper."  -- RJ Currie
"“N.Y. Post lays off 36 employees after cutting its A-Rod Pun Headline Department."  -- SportsPickle.com
"Nike’s Olympic ad campaign from a few years ago came to mind. It declared, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.” The worst thing to happen to sports while I have been on this job remains Nike."  -- Phil Mushnick
"Do not adjust your TV set, that is the actual color of Ryan Lochte's hair."  -- Brad Dickson
"Rams coach Jeff Fisher released receiver Deon Long after he was caught with a woman in his training-camp room after curfew. The 2016 Rams, obviously, are not to be confused with the Kenny Stabler-era Raiders."  -- Dwight Perry
"A-Rod wanted to play 3rd base in his final game with the Yankees. Joe Girardi said no – “”We are still in the business of trying to win games.” Right, that’s why New York traded away their star closer AND their star set-up man. -- Janice Hough
"Scientists in Sydney, Australia, estimate the global cost of physical inactivity will exceed US$67 billion this year. This includes $20 million or so the Yankees will spend on A-Rod."  -- RJ Currie
"There are 306 events at the Summer Olympic Games. NBC is focusing on all events involving attractive people who are mostly nude."  -- Brad Dickson
"Tim Tebow is now trying out for Major League baseball. As Bob Uecker would say, “Sorry, we don’t need any second base coaches.”  -- Tony Chong

CP-
  




 




Sunday, August 07, 2016

HERE AND THERE...AGAIN

A new kind of balk call
Umpire "Balking" Bob Davidson threw a guy out this week and it was a fan. This was a good thing. The fan had been riding Davidson hard but then he went over the line and started cursing. Davidson had security evict him. "There were women and children around and no one should have to put up with that kind of behavior." Good for you, Bob. (I never thought I'd write that sentence)

Does this make sense?  
The Yankees are paying A-Rod $21 million to sit on the bench - and another $21 million next year. This is classic, "Play me or pay me." A-Rod is not is the starting lineup today.

Oh yeah, the Olympics.
An American won the first medal in the 2016 Olympic Games. Ginny Thrasher won the gold in the Air Rifle competition. Air rifle? It's a good thing she didn't shoot her eye out.

Another A-Rod story 
The Yankees are supposed to have a press conference this morning and said that A-Rod and Joe Girardi would be available for questions afterward. I wonder what this is going to be about. Maybe...

[ The Yankees announced that A-Rod Would be taking over the team but that Girardi would still be the manager. A-Rod was quoted as saying, "Joe is still a member of the coaching staff. I can't tell you when he will actually manage a game, I have to look at the match-ups, but he's still a valuable member of the staff and we have the utmost confidence in him."  ]
 This is one of those statements that can fit any circumstance. 

Who has time for the games?
The Brazilian Olympic committee has made 450,000 condoms available to the athletes.  What sport is that? I would love to see the image they put on the medal for that one.

Back and forth 
When you walk into a ball park, you often hear the phrase, "You can't tell the players without a scorecard."  This was never truer than in the case of this years Yankees. The Yankees have shuttled so many players, so many times the 110 miles from Scranton, PA, to the stadium, that some of them never bother to change uniforms. I understand that some of the players are asking for mileage

We lost a good one 
Mark Teixeira has announced his retirement. He will definitely be missed. Power from both sides of the plate and a glove that must have had stick-um in the pocket. I will always remember the way Michael Kay described Tex's arrival at one of the bases: "...and Teixeira chugs into 2nd." Chug is the only way to describe his running form with his cheeks puffed out and his mouth in an oval shape. But he always went all out. I don't believe he will be elected to the Hall of Fame, but he deserves a spot in Monument Park. Goodbye, Tex, and thank you.

Where is Billy Martin when you need him?
Paul Clemens of the San Diego Padres was forced by the umpires to change uniform tops before he was allowed to pitch because he had pine tar all over it. "Before he went up, he put more pine tar on his bat than a lot of guys use in a year," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He managed to get it all over his uniform." He had to wear a generic top that had the name "Player" on the back. Not to be out done, Teammate Jon Edwards taped over his name with the name "Player #2." 
George Brett would be so proud.

***THEY SAID IT*** 
"Drug dealers in Rio are selling cocaine in Olympic packaging, HuffPost Brasil reported. Don’t know about faster or stronger, but they’ve got higher covered."  -- Dwight Perry
"Loved watching ‪#‎Olympics‬ as a child in all kinds of time zones. Waiting to see a world record 4 hr later just doesn’t compare. @NBC sucks."  -- Janice Hough
"UNRio Olympics bumper sticker we’d like to see: We’re up to our waist in human waste!"  -- TC Chong
"Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio will be an NBC correspondent during the Olympics. For goings-on in Brazil, she’ll keep you abreast."  -- RJ Curry
"Body parts floating in the Olympic water venues? Well, critics warned it’d cost an arm and a leg to get there."  --  Dwight Perry
" He's not fazed by the exorbitant World Series expectations put on the team: “I didn’t come here for a haircut ... I came here for jewelry.” -- Cubs pitcher Jon Lester
"The Australian delegation complained about blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring in the Olympic Village. Then, after evacuating their rooms due to fire, they were robbed. During opening ceremonies, they were the athletes flipping off the crowd."  -- Brad Dickson
" Mark Teixeira announces retirement from disabled list.”  -- Fark.com
"Brett Favre said he wanted his induction speech at Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement to mirror his career. Which explains why he quit speaking and then re-started three times." --  Dwight Perry 
"Tom Brady’s suspension is so restrictive, he’s basically forced to stay home with his wife. That’s four weeks with supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Tell me when to start crying."  -- RJ Curry
"Dateline New York: John McEnroe throws out ceremonial first pitch for Mets, says “You cannot be serious” when no one calls it a strike."  -- Dwight Perry  [Must be D. Perry day at the Picasner home.]
 "Ahead of the Summer Olympic Games, USAToday.com had an article titled “Everything you need to know about rhythmic gymnastics.” Nothing. I need to know absolutely nothing about rhythmic gymnastics."  -- Brad Dickson
 
 CP--










 
 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

HERE AND THERE

** Buyers or sellers? 
That's the big question in all the sports columns these days. The writers change their position daily, all depending on whether a team wins or loses that day's game. 
Except, it seems, in New York where the columnists insist they are not fooled by the Yankee's latest winning streak. Sell, sell sell. GM Brian Cashman says he's willing to be overwhelmed so he's just waiting...and waiting...and waiting. So it becomes a poker game: the buyer or the seller. In the end, if a true contending team has a hole they need to fill, they will pull the trigger at the last minute.

** Follow the rules
Mike Scioscia  has filed a protest of Wednesday night's game with Kansas City over a ruling made by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. While running to first base, Raul Mondesi was hit in the back by a throw from the LA pitcher. Scioscia claims Mondesi was running outside the lines when he was hit but Cuzzi failed to call the infraction. He said in his judgement, Mondesi was starting to turn into the base and therefore is not out. 
Rule 5.09(a)(11) 
The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a
batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot
lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted
to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride,
reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole
purpose of touching first base.

Seems pretty clear cut to me. There is no judgement here. Why does Cuzzi feel he could decide that?

In line with that topic, here's one that always irritates me. Umpires grant a batter timeout whenever he asks, regardless of the situation. There's no judgement here either.
Rule 5.04(b)(2)
Umpires will not call “Time” at the request of the batter or any
member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or
has come to a set position even though the batter claims “dust
in his eyes,” “steamed glasses,” “didn’t get the sign” or for any
other cause.

It doesn't say that the umpire has discretion here, it says he CANNOT call time.  Just like the players, I'm never going to win an argument with the umpires either.

** Baseball by legislation
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants to improve the pace of play so that the length of games becomes more reasonable. I'm all for that. Rather than deal with the real problem, he's trying to skirt the issue with rules changes that make no sense. The latest suggestion is to limit the number of pitching changes in an inning or a game. That would have a major impact on the game. How can you limit a manager from changing the personnel in order to give his team the best chance to win. the manager already has the limitation that a pitcher MUST pitch to at least one batter before he can be replaced. That rule eliminates a lot of stupid moves. 
Speeding up the game should be easy. Keep the batter in the batter's box and the pitchers on the mound and on the rubber. Everybody wanders around like they're playing Pokemon. If your batting glove is loose, tough. Never mind checking the position of the fielders. They know their job, do yours. 
It'll never happen.

** I've got to feed my family after all 
The qualifying offer to MBL free agents will jump to $16.7 million next year. I don't understand all the money they pay these guys anyway, so what's the point?

***THEY SAID IT***
"The Arizona Diamondbacks concession stands are offering a 3,540-calorie sundae. It has to be towed to the stadium."  -- Brad Dickson
"MMA fighter/boxer Brock Lesnar reportedly failed two PED tests. First clue came when both specimen cups melted."  -- Dwight Perry

"Eagles LB Nigel Bradham was arrested in Miami for aggravated assault; he allegedly beat up a 50 year-old hotel worker who didn’t get his umbrella set up quickly enough. Is Bradham trying to get traded to the 49ers or Cowboys?"  -- Janice Hough
"Charles describes his erratic golf game: “Golf is fun, until you hit somebody in the head.”  -- Charles Barkley
"A 61-year old Brit plans to televise himself getting buried alive on British TV. Here in North America, we simply watch the Atlanta Braves."  -- RJ Currie

"The American Red Cross, saying supplies are running low, is soliciting blood donors. Fortunately, there’s an MMA fight every couple of months."  -- Dwight Perry

"Tim Duncan is stepping aside after 19 seasons. You know what a San Antonio Spurs player calls it when you leave after 19 years? “Early retirement.”  -- Brad Dickson

CP-

 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

VEECK...AS IN WRECK

That's the title of a bio for Bill Veeck, former GM of the Chicago White Sox. He may be one of only two baseball front office personnel who thought of baseball as a GAME, not a business. He wanted not only the players, but also the fans to have fun with the game. He was the first to shoot off fireworks after a home team homer, he sent a midget up to pinch hit in a regular season game and he designed some of the craziest uniforms baseball has ever seen. There were failures. He sponsored a "Disco Night," where fans got a discount ticket if they brought a disco record to be destroyed. They collected them onto the field where they were lit on fire. Unfortunately, the fans thought of other things to light on fire. Ten cent beer night was a riot - literally.
He sent players out to play in shorts. He also designed a uniform top with a collar. It didn't really matter to him whether the players liked them or not, he wanted people in the stands, and If he couldn't do it with a winning team, he was going to find other ways.
When the Sox had a throwback game in which the collared uniforms were to be worn, Chris Sale, current ace of the White Sox staff, decided he didn't like them, I mean REALLY didn't like them. He took some scissors and cut them up. At first, I read that he just cut up his but later reports had him cutting up several of them.The Sox responded by saying, "You've made your point, now go home." So he was scratched from his scheduled start that night. The Sox say they are "...investigating further," which is a nice way of saying they are trying to decide what to do. For $9.1 million a year, I'd play naked. That would teach them. 

 The Giants win the pennant, the Giants....
Actually, they just won a one game, their first since the All-Star break. And the Yankees lost. So things are back to normal, right? I hope not.

This is a big game for us.
Girardi starts off every interview with that statement since before the All-Star game. Sometimes he says it's a big series or a big homestand, but the message is the same: Win Every Game. Maybe he's putting too much pressure on his players. George Steinbrenner eventually found out that that philosophy didn't work. 

Tell your statistics to shut up. 
The ESPN experts have picked their top 100 players of all time. Check out these lifetime numbers
.325 batting average, 361 homers, 2200 hits, 1537 RBIs in a 13 year career.  Pretty good numbers, but Hall of Fame category? I don't think so and I don't think he should have been #15 on the all time list. Who was it? Joe DiMaggio.  (My Dad would kill me)

Strong rumor. 
According to Fox Sports, the Yankees are close to trading Aroldis Chapman. He's a game changer if not a post season giant. Teams interested (that we know of) are Washington, San Fran, Cleveland and the Cubs, all teams in first place. It makes sense that they'd be interested. The Yanks will get a lot but not as much as they'd get for Miller, who's locked in for two more years at reasonable money. Chapman is a 2-month rental.

Oh Yeah?
For any of you who don't believe that cheerleaders are athletes, check out this picture from  RJ Currie's blog.
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jg6XLHw1lGE/V4-c-64UDjI/AAAAAAAAIOE/F15w7CBcueMZGoSYdAgisYHcKrYTT3pQwCLcB/s1600/wisconsin0.jpg

***THEY SAID IT***
"While competing for the Indiana Pacers, Jeff Teague will live at home with his parents. “Teague missed tonight’s game against the Celtics after being grounded by his mom."  -- Brad Dickson
"Pitcher Chris Sale was scratched and sent home from his start today following what the White Sox said was “a “non-physical clubhouse incident.” Hmm, if they trade Sales to the Nationals who have Papelbon will Washington become the first clubhouse with thermo-nuclear capability?"  -- Janice Hough

"Gisele forcing Tom Brady to get part-time job during his suspension.”  -- SportsPickel.com
"The NFL announced it will put computer chips in their game balls. So will they be GPS enabled so tracking can go from locker rooms to restrooms and beyond?"  -- Tony Chong
"There’s speculation that a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card — minted sometime between 1909 and 1911 — could fetch more than $3 million when Goldin Auctions puts it up for bid in September. And, at the opposite end of the memorabilia stock-market spectrum, Johnny Manziel Browns jerseys were reported selling in Cleveland for $1.99 — and Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys in Oklahoma City were going for 48 cents."  -- Dwight Perry

"Julia Webb set a world record for running a half-marathon while pushing her 9-month-old daughter in a baby stroller. She later thanked the person who made it all possible: her babysitter who didn’t show up."  -- Brad Dickson
" SF Giants not only got their first win in a week, they had their first lead in a game in a week.  They have now held a lead for exactly one inning since the All-Star break."  -- Janice Hough

 [Ms. Hough lives in San Franciso and is a big Giant fan. It's been a tough week for her. - CP]
"Did you see Rob Gronkowski whaling on an air guitar onstage with Paul McCartney? The receiver did such a good job at pretending to play, he was mistaken for Randy Moss."  -- RJ Currie

Finally, this quote from a very brave individual:
"Craig Sager of TNT and TBS, who has been diagnosed with terminal leukemia, blew folks away with his words in accepting the Jim Valvano Award: “I have run with the bulls in Pamplona. I have raced with Mario Andretti in Indianapolis. I have climbed the Great Wall of China. I have jumped out of airplanes over Kansas. I have wrestled gators in Florida. I have sailed the ocean with Ted Turner. I have swam the oceans in the Caribbean. And I have interviewed Gregg Popovich. Mid-game. Spurs down seven. If I’ve learned anything through all of this, it is that each and every day is a canvas waiting to be painted — an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning . . . I will never give up, and I will never give in. I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me."

CP -  




 


 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

IS A WINNING STREAK ALWAYS GOOD?

Not in the case of the Yankees current streak. New York has 10 days left to decide if they are going to trade off some of their most valuable pieces in return for some good young prospects or stand pat and hope this aging lineup has enough in the tank to get them to the post season. It'll never happen.
This four-game streak is false hope. If history repeats itself, two steps ahead will be followed by three steps back. That's not a winning formula. Maybe this posturing to stand pat is just a ploy. "We believe we can get there with this team, so we're not selling...unless we get blown away." If they're right, by July 30th, teams will be ready to blow them away. The Chicago Cubs, for example, are one top notch closer from running away with it. And who is the top closer? Why it's Aroldis Chapman, of course. Unless it's Andrew Miller.  "Uh, Mr. Cashman, here's the deed to the farm."  Could happen.

So for the next 10 days, the rumor mill will be the most interesting stories around.

Best line of the week
While watching Oriole third baseman Ryan Flaherty hit, the Yankee broadcast crew asked their partner John "Flash" Flaherty if Ryan was any relation. Flash, a perennial bench warmer in his playing days replied, "No, no relation. The only relation is that he's batting ninth."

You can't. It's our last hope.
Joe Torre recently issued a directive telling managers NOT to argue balls and strikes, as it slows down the game and impacts the integrity of the sport.  Instant replay has all but eliminated arguments on plays in the field, so what's left? Instant replay has shown us that umpires are right over 90% of the time. However, unofficial replay by the networks show us that ball and strike calls are missed far more often. It's illegal to argue those calls, but players and managers have consistently chirped away from the dugout when an umpire has consistently made calls that disagree with their take on the pitches. Usually, both sides will complain  which tells you that maybe the umpire is wrong. The problem arises when the umpire develops "rabbit ears," and feels he has to throw someone out, which is the worst solution.  Has Torre been away from the game that long that he forgot this? 

Girardi has been turned loose 
The Yanks have to go on a huge winning streak if they are to have any chance. If they can't, Joe Girardi's job may be in jeopardy. He's actually changed the line up, going against what players have been used to, regardless of the toes he may be stepping on. Switching Gardner & Ellsbury, benching A-Rod, trusting the other pieces of the bullpen, and letting pitchers go beyond that magical 100 pitch count. I guess he figured it can't hurt anymore. As my dad used to say, "If you're gonna lose the hand, you might as well deal the cards."

Let's fix the game...even the parts that don't need it. 
The  Talk show, Mike & Mike in the Morning, recently conducted an informal poll asking fans to call in suggestions on how to improve baseball. Some suggestions were pretty good, such as two actual double headers (two games, one ticket) for each team per season. Or release managers from the idea that everybody on an all-star team HAS to play. 
Some ideas are not so great. Shorten games to seven innings. Okay, for the second game of a double header, but that's all. Or add a concession item to each ticket such as a hot dog as part of the purchase price. Ever eaten a ball park hot dog? Will teams be able to resist increasing the ticket price to cover the cost? You can't expect the Yankees to absorb the cost of the hot dog, even in $1250 seats.

The rest of the dream team 
The catcher chosen was Johnny Bench. Hard to argue that one, but the 2nd man was Josh Gibson. Probably a great player, but he never played in a major league game so it's hard to evaluate his abilities. Yogi Berra is probably a better pick.
The right handed pitcher was Walter Johnson with Pedro Martinez as #2.  Two good choices.
The lefty chosen was Sandy Koufax. Those of us who saw him pitch know this was correct. #2 was Randy Johnson. You could do worse, but other lefties would fit, too. 

Interesting facts
** Even though the Mets have a better record by two games, the Yankees are closer to first place in their respective divisions than the Mets. George Steinbrenner would be so proud.
** All five teams in the NL West are sporting losing streaks, led by the Giants 5 in a row.
** Despite the fact that they are 41/2 games out of first, the Dodgers lead all of baseball in attendance, averaging over 44,700 fans per game. Tampa Bay has the lowest, drawing a meager 16,600 per game.
** Who would have thunk it? A-Rod will DH and hit seventh today while Didi Gregorius will hit sixth. 
** The Korean All Star game featured a Bunting contest as part of the festivities. MLB players said, "Bunt? What's a bunt?

***THEY SAID IT***
"According to a new study, up to 10 elbows a day world-wide are thrown out taking selfies. Only 10? Gordie Howe would throw more elbows in practice."  -- RJ Currie
" Omaha, Neb., has landed the U.S. Olympic curling trials in 2017. Officials say the event could pump as much as another $327 into the local economy.”  -- Jim Barach
"He told me you have to play hard all the time,” minor leaguer and future Twin Miguel Sano in 2013 told the Hartford Courant. Who is “he”? Robinson Cano, apparently the same Robinson Cano who for nine seasons with the Yankees we watched jog to first base."  -- Phil Mushnick
"Christopher Correa, the St. Louis Cardinals’ former scouting director, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for breaking into the Houston Astros’ computer system to get at its player-personnel database. No hard feelings? Rumor has it that the Cards’ next game in Houston will be Hack Wilson Jersey Night."  -- Dwight Perry
" The new Kevin Durant shoes cost $150. His last pair sold for $180. The only person who can afford Kevin Durant shoes is Kevin Durant."  -- Brad Dickson
" The Big 12 is thinking of expanding in football, from 10 teams to 12. Arithmetic, what a concept."  -- Janice Hough
"Last week, in Spain, matador Victor Barrio was gored to death by a bull. What a barbaric sport! Now to the latest cage-fighting highlights."  -- Phil Mushnick
"Omaha is hosting the Olympic Curling trials. Apparently that's an athletic event."  -- Brad Dickson

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Friday, July 15, 2016

TO SELL OR NOT TO SELL

...that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the minds of the Yankee front office to bite the bullet and sell off most of an aging and basically non-productive lineup or continue on into mediocrity until next year.
Joel Sherman, NY Post sports columnist, says the Yanks are split between buying or selling. Cashman and the rest of the baseball operations want to sell, owner Hal Steinbrenner and President Randy Levine want to hold fast. Levine, of course, is the genius who decided that $2500 was a "reasonable" price for a single ticket to a game, and that a portion of the fans who sit in the centerfield bleachers only need to see 2/3 of the field. What will happen? I believe, as Woodward & Bernstein once said, "Follow the money." 

 If you're going to do it, do it.
If the Yanks are going to do it, they have to perform well in the next 10 games. Make that very well. The Red Sox, Orioles and the SF Giants games will determine the Yanks future. All I can say is, please leave Miller and Betances alone, everyone else is fair game. 

When are they going to fix the All Star game? 
Yes, it's great to showcase all that talent and see them perform against each other, but why make the outcome so important? I've said it before: managers try to get everyone in the game even at the expense of the outcome. Under the previous rules, the starters had to play the first three innings, except in the case of an injury. Starting pitchers often pitched the maximum of three innings. Because of the roster size and only the best players were on the team regardless of their team affiliation, there was very little drop-off in talent when substitutions were made. Do that and let the winning side determine the home field advantage of the World Series. If they continue with the current system, eliminate that home field thing. How come BB Commissioner Manfred doesn't see this? 

Nobody expected this.  
What if they had an MVP-type season and then never showed up again? David Ortiz is doing just that. He may be having the best season of his career and he's calling it quits at the end of the year. He's been getting some well-deserved accolades wherever he goes and is getting gifts and mementos along with the cheers. He really can't change his mind and come back now, can he? Would he have to return all the gifts? What if he comes back and is terrible? He should continue with his retirement plan and go out on top. I mean, really on top!

I just wanna play...kinda.
A-Rod has told the Yankees that he'd be willing to play first if it would get him into the lineup. Unless, of course, they wanted him to do silly things like catch the ball. I don't know how playing first would get him into the lineup more with choices like Teixeira, Refsnyder, McCann and Headley  all better options. Why not put Rothschild out there? He's not doing the pitching staff any good.

Baseball's Dream Team.
ESPN has put their experts to work to determine the all-time best players at each position. Here's the results.
1B - Lou Gehrig (#2 Stan Musial)
2B - Rogers Hornsby (Jackie Robinson)
3B - Mike Schmidt (George Brett)
SS - Honus Wagner (Alex Rodriquez)
LF - Ted Williams (Bobby Bonds)
CF - Willie Mays (Mickey Mantle)
RF - Babe Ruth (Hank Aaron)
 Hard to argue with the choices since they were all great players. Personally, I think you should be able to stick TWO Right Fielders out there because it's really hard to choose between Ruth & Aaron. I would disagree with Jackie Robinson as the #2 choice behind Hornsby. Joe Morgan would be a better choice.
Pitchers and catchers will be announced later this weekend. It's interesting that the careers of 4 of the 7 occurred before the 1940's.

Well, we really didn't mean it.
The  Miami Marlins offered a promotion to discount their ticket prices for a specified game by one percent for every home run their superstar Giancarlo Stanton hit during the Home Run Derby. He hit 61, but when fans went online to buy their tickets, they discovered they were held to a 25% discount. The Marlins answer: The site they use to control discounts only "allows" discounts up to 25%. So the typical "Not-My-Fault" defense is still in play.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Why hasn't ESPN told Chris Berman that people can't stand him?" - Phil Mushnick
"Brock Lesnar was extensively drug tested before UFC 200. Contrast that with the WWE policy that calls for competitors to be drug tested every 10 years. And even then it doesn’t have to be your urine."  -- Brad Dickson
"In order to drum up all star votes for their third baseman Jake Lamb, the Diamondbacks brought a live lamb into the clubhouse. It's a good thing no one thought this up when Moose Skowron was playing."  -- Dwight Perry
"Las Vegas has landed an NHL team. Game tickets start at $75 with a 2-drink minimum."  -- TC Chong
" Swedish soccer referee Danny Kako said he once caught a player urinating on the pitch. If ever a guy deserved a yellow card."  -- RJ Currie
"Vince Wilfork, 6-foot-2, 325 pounds, appears naked in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue. Did Tommy Lasorda turn them down?"  -- Brad Dickson

"Tuesday was David Ortiz’s last All-Star game as Big Papi is retiring. The Red Sox slugger could become even more beloved if he takes Joe Buck with him."  -- Janice Hough
" Telling Bill Belichick he can’t have his starting quarterback for one-quarter of the regular season is like informing Bill Gates he’ll have to scrape by for three months with no new checks coming in. Somehow, you think he’ll manage."  -- Greg Cote
" There is already an official toilet of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I’m just glad sport isn’t overly commercialized.”  -- Brad Dickson
"The Game Has Changed, Continued: Let the record show (fat chance) that the 2016 All-Star Game ended with an infield double play fully enabled by Rockies batter Nolan Arenado’s disinclination to run to first, where he was out by 6 feet."  -- Phil Mushnick

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article89411302.html#storylink=cpy

"Olympic sponsor Coca Cola couldn’t be more pleased that the games will be held in Rio this year. They say the water around the venue is the same color as their world famous soft drink."  -- TC Chong 
"Two city employees in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, have been collecting pay for years without working. Coincidence? Both, when caught, were wearing Bobby Bonilla jerseys."  -- Dwight Perry

"The WWE suspended wrestler Roman Reigns for 30 days. Considering you can win a WWE title by hitting a guy from behind with a folding chair, what do you have to do to get suspended?"  -- Brad Dickson

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