While putting the finishing touches on preparations for the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day festivities...
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I saw a hilarious Christmas related comic strip this week that kind of fit me perfectly:
New England Patriots - The Patriots wrapped up another AFC East division championship last Sunday with their 41-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins. At 11-3, they are in control of their own playoff destiny and are looking to win out to seal home field advantage through said postseason play.
The game didn't initially start out to be a study in offensive fireworks for the Patriots. In fact, it was Miami that opened things up on the first drive of the game with a 50 yard pass play on the first play from scrimmage. But the Pats defense stiffened up after that and forced Miami to settle for a field goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, this was when the Pats got their first big play of the afternoon. Jamie Collins blocked the attempt and Kyle Arrington scooped up the ball and ran it back 62 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Despite that big play, the first half seemed like it was played in an almost neutral gear. The Patriots scored another touchdown and Miami put up a couple of field goals. But with 5 seconds left in the half, the Dolphins made things VERY interesting when QB Ryan Tanneyhill hit Mike Wallace for a spectacular 32 yard TD strike. While they had to go to replay to confirm the catch, there was no doubt that it was a legal catch. The TD sent the teams into the halftime break with the Patriots up just 14-13 and momentum clearly in favor of the Dolphins.
I don't know what the Bill Belichick and his coaching staff said and did during halftime but when the third quarter started, all that supposed momentum Miami had going for them just about instantly evaporated. In all, the Patriots put a 24-0 beatdown on the Dolphins in the third quarter and turned the game from a tight "what's going to happen" contest into a complete laffer.
I guess that's what happens when you are a student at the...
Tom Brady ended up passing for 287 yards and 2 TDs on the day. He got picked off once, but the most talked about play was early in the 3rd quarter when he had a 17 yard scramble that ended with a fiery reaction from the QB and lit a fire under the rest of the team.
The run game managed to balance things out with the passing game this week. On the ground, the Patriots racked up 108 yards. While LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen had TD runs, it was thought to be forgotten Jonas Gray (shown below) that led the team with 62 of those yards.
The Dolphins managed to shut out Rob Gronkowski (shown first) during the first half. The tight end finished up the day with just 3 catches in all, but he racked up 96 yards and score on those three balls. Julian Edelman (shown 2nd) had 7 catches for 88 yards and the other TD through the air.
While the majority of the highlights came from the offensive side of the ball, let's not forget the contributions of the defense to the victory over Miami. The run defense held Miami to just 76 total yards.
Not only that, but the defense harassed Tanneyhill all day long. While he had a lot of passing yards on the day, given how the Dolphins played from behind and couldn't run the ball worth a damn, it was still a pretty good day for the "D". They sacked Tanneyhill four times, including 1.5 sacks by Chandler Jones (see below 1st), a sack each for Rob Ninkovich and Sealver Siliga. Dont'a Hightower (see below 2nd) managed to get credit for 1/2 a sack as well.
The Patriots also picked off Tanneyhill twice, once by Patrick Chung and then by Duron Harmon (see below).
With a big lead and no real comeback rally by the Dolphins, the Patriots cruised through the fourth quarter adding a field goal for the final margin of victory. The win sets up the Patriots for big things headed into the playoffs if they can win out the rest of the regular season. After the way the season started with iffy offensive production, it is nice to be in the driver's seat in the AFC. Now the team just needs to finish the job and seal up the next two games.
It's always easier said than done, but here's hoping for the best...and with the Patriots clicking like they are, the best is always possible.
In other NFL related news, I read an article on SI.com this week about former Philadelphia Eagles player Danny Watkins. He was another one of those can't miss first round draft picks who ended up being tagged with the "BUST" label. You can learn more about him and why he never met expectations HERE.
BOSTON RED SOX
There were a few deals made on Friday that changed the makeup of the roster. The Red Sox brought back reliever Craig Breslow on a 1 year deal. Then late night on Friday, they traded oft-injured Will Middlebrooks to San Diego for catcher Ryan Hanigan.
Hanigan will be the backup catcher and serve as a mentor to Christian Vazquez. While it was probably a necessary trade to get rid of Middlebrooks, the deal also became necessary when David Ross signed a 2 year deal with the Chicago Cubs on Friday. I liked Ross. I know his bat wasn't there last season but he was a pretty good guy behind the plate and everything I ever read about him says that he was good guy in the locker room as well.
Mount Saint Joseph - After playing in her team's Tuesday night game against the College of Wooster (she scored the first basket of the game and MSJ won 66-65), Lauren Hill officially retired from basketball. The decision was made so that the school didn't have to apply for special permission from the NCAA for Hill to keep playing as she has stopped taking classes at the school. Her coach announced that she'll stay on as an honorary coach as she continues to raise money for cancer research. You can read more her final game appearance in this article.
The USA Today newspaper had a profile on Hill that appeared in Wednesday's edition. You can read that HERE.
Catholic University - The Cardinals split their two games before the Christmas break. They beat Gwynedd Mercy 65-55 and then lost to Lebanon Valley 76-54. The team is now 5-4 on the season. My ex-player Amber didn't play in the first game. Against Lebanon Valley, she saw 2 minutes of court time and had a personal foul on the stat line.
Last Sunday saw the remaining five college teams that I follow in action, and in what I'm sure is a statistical oddity for my rooting interests, all five of them ended up winning on that day. Here's what happened:
Hartford - The Hawks beat Sacred Heart 68-63 to improve to 5-6 on the season. Cherelle Moore (pictured below) led the team with 20 points.
Shanise Bultron (photo below) had an interesting game for herself. She scored 12 points in the first 4 minutes of the game, then scored one more point the rest of the way to finish with 13 points. She had 5 rebounds, a career high 5 assists as well. She also turned the ball over five times.
Amber Bepko had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals while Deanna Mayza hit for 11 points, then added 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
You can see highlights from the game below.
Missouri State - The Bears picked up their second win of the season (now 2-7) with a strong 68-58 victory over IUPUI.
Kenzie Williams (pictured below) led the way on offense with 29 points. Tyonna Snow saw her first game action of the season after being out with an injury. She had 17 points and 4 steals.
Later in the week, Williams was named the MVC Player of the Week, the third time she's won that award.
On Friday night, the Bears faced off against Arkansas State. While Kenzie Williams had 20 points and Hillary Chvatal added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Missouri State lost 78-62. Tyonna Snow scored 10 points but led the team with 6 turnovers.
In fact, turnovers played a huge role in the game. The Bears turned it over 23 times in the game and Arkansas State converted those into 35 points. They shot 59.6% for the game which offset Missouri State having a 36-24 edge in rebounds.
The team is now 2-8 on the season.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee found themselves in a struggle when they played Rutgers on the road. They trailed deep into the second half but eventually pulled ahead and came away with a 55-45 victory. As strange as it is to stay about Tennessee, the win was their first road victory over a ranked opponent in more than a year. They outrebounded Rutgers 54-42.
Ariel Massengale (pictured below 1st) scored 13 points top the scoring chart for the Lady Vols. Jasmine Jones (pictured 2nd) had 12 points and 6 boards, but turned the ball over 6 times. Isabelle Harrison (pictured 3rd) had herself a double double with 11 points and 13 boards.
The Lady Vols next survived a nailbiter over Wichita State 54-51. In order to win, they had to overcome 18 turnovers.
Isabelle Harrison scored 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while Alexa Middleton (pictured below 1st) added 10 points. Cierra Burdick (pictured 2nd) also scored 10 points. She added a career high 17 rebounds. Burdick also turned the ball over 5 times.
Yesterday afternoon, the Lady Vols stunned Stanford 59-40 and raised their record to 9-2. Ariel Massengale (shown 1st) came off the bench to lead Tennessee with 18 points. Bashaara Graves had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Isabelle Harrison (shown 2nd) added 10 points of her own along with 7 rebounds.
(All photos from Tennessee game galleries, except last one from Yahoo)
Boston College Men - The Eagles debuted their new gold uniforms (see below) in their Sunday matchup against Binghamton.
The game also saw the returns of Eddie Odio and Lonnie Jackson to action. They'd both been out with injuries.
As for the on court action, the BC ended up improving to 6-3 for the season after picking up a 63-49 win. Dimitri Batten (pictured 1st) scored 18 points to lead BC. Aaron Brown added 16 points and Olivier Hanlan (pictured 2nd) had 14 points.
(Photos from BC game galleries)
You can see highlights from the game below.
Boston College Women - The women's team was the 2nd half of the home doubleheader with the men's team and they ended up with a 64-58 victory over New Hampshire. The Eagles built the lead up to 13 points in the 2nd half but UNH rallied to cut the deficit to just 3 points with 1:25. The most telling factor on defense for BC was holding their opponents to just 1-13 from three point range.
BC managed to lock things down the rest of the way as they upped their record to 6-4. Ashley Kelsick (shown below 1st) led the Eagles with 14 points. Kelly Hughes (shown 2nd) scored 12 points and grabbed 9 boards to go with 4 assists and 2 steals (3 turnovers). Nicole Boudreau added 11 points.
(Photos from BC game galleries)
You can see videos of game highlights and post game comments from Hughes and coach Erik Johnson below.
The bowl preparations are underway so there is nothing to report in terms of games. This week, I bring you coaching news.
Wisconsin - Despite AD Barry Alvarez trying to spin things as if the decision hadn't already been made, the Badgers made what was reported last week and hired Pitt coach Paul Chryst as their new head coach.
Nebraska - I don't think you will see Nebraska and ex-coach Bo Pelini breaking bread any time soon. Pelini got hired as the new coach at Youngstown State but after that happened, reports about a meeting he had with his Cornhusker players after being fired hit the wires. He apparently verbally and profanely blasted the school administrators and the athletic director. Not content with being his verbal punching bag, the school fired back. You can read this article to learn more.
Boston College - In what I consider a great move, BC has agreed to a six year contract extension with coach Steve Addazio. The new deal runs through 2020. While it might be foolhardy to believe he'll actually be the coach until the end of the deal, this gives Boston College a sense of stability with their football program. In his two years in charge, he's brought BC football back to respectability with a pair of 7 win seasons and 2 bowl games.
Addazio seems to be developing a nice base of talent and if he can get some solid QB play once Tyler Murphy is gone, maybe...just maybe, he can make BC a threat in the ACC again.
Boston Celtics - Due to time constraints this week, there will be no separate The Celtics Report post. Instead I'll try to be relatively brief in talking about the week that was in Celtics-Land. The first bit of news is that the team has released Vitor Faverani, who never recovered enough from his knee surgery to get back on the court in any meaningful way.
In regards to the Rajon Rondo (with Dwight Powell thrown in) trade, I am not happy about it because it is a sure sign that the team has given up on the season in my mind. Especially since there are reports that the team is also shopping Jeff Green. At this point, I'm a couple of injuries away from getting a phone call.
I know that the team wasn't going anywhere this season, but the trade leaves the team just one step above what the 76ers are doing. It isn't deliberate tanking like Philly, but it is darn close. And I say this realizing that the Celtics are actually on a three game winning streak after winning their first post-Rondo game on Friday night.
But before we go into that game, lets go back to Boston's 105-87 win over those deliberately tanking 76ers. Kelly Olynyk found a magic touch for this game (or just took advantage of the barely there defensive effort) and scored a career high 30 points to go with 9 rebounds. Avery Bradley had 15 points while both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass added 14 points. Evan Turner hit for 12 points and dished out 6 assists.
It was Bass scoring 18 points and Green's 16 points that helped power the Celtics to a 109-92 win over the Orlando Magic. Jared Sullinger added 16 points and Olynyk had 15 points and 6 boards. Tyler Zeller finished with 10 points and 7 boards. It will go down as the last game in a Celtics uniform for Rajon Rondo. He scored 13 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 15 assists (6 turnovers).
Friday's 114-98 win over Minnesota was keyed by 21 points and 8 rebounds from Kelly Olynyk (see below). Jeff Green scored 18 points and had 7 rebounds. Jared Sullinger had a double double with 14 points and 10 boards. Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller also had 14 points in the game. Evan Turner finished with 10 points.
The Celtics find themselves in the Marcus Smart era now, assuming Smart can actually stay healthy for a long enough period to fully take over as the point guard. They've quietly fashioned another three game win streak and stand at 10-14.
The questions surrounding the team still resonate as much as they did before the Rondo trade but all the problems the team has will be magnified that much more should they really hit the skids.
Sacramento Kings - The Kings organization set themselves up for a lot of heat this past week when they first coach Michael Malone after less than two years. While the team was an abysmal 28-54 in his first season, you can't blame him entirely for the mess that he was handed for a roster of players. The fact that the team was an improved 11-13 at the time of his firing showed he'd helped improve their fortunes.
But the big problem for the coach was that his philosphy differed with team ownership and management. They wanted to see an uptempo pace to the way the team played and stuck him with players he didn't want.
It was a horrible way to treat a coach and when they lost DeMarcus Cousins to illness, the team went into a tailspin. Ownership used this bad spot of play to fire Malone and put Tyrone Corbin in as interim coach. You can check out the this Yahoo! Sports article to get the full breakdown on the "doomed partnership" between Malone and the Kings.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Girls Soccer - The local paper announced their girls soccer all-stars and my former players Brianna and Paige got mentioned. Brianna was named as an All-Star and Paige got an honorable mention.
Girls Volleyball - The All-Star announcements saw Raelyn get an honorable mention.
Football - Josh got an honorable mention in the All-Star announcements for his efforts on the field for the Wareham football team.
Girls Winter Track - In a dual meet that featured ORR, Wareham and Fairhaven, the ORR team beat Wareham 63-23. My ex-player Rachel won the 1000M event in that matchup with a time of 3:28.7.
Wareham lost the matchup against Fairhaven 43.5-42.5. My ex-player Paige won the 1000M in 3:30.7 and took the mile event in 6:08.1.
Basketball Round Up:
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - On Friday night, Savahna's team beat Blue Hills 52-49 to pick up their first win of the season (1-1). She didn't play in the game though.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The first game of the season was against Falmouth Academy and the Storm ended up dropping the opener to them 60-41. Isabella didn't score in the game.
ORR Boys Varsity - The Bulldogs opened their season with two dominating wins. They annihilated Case 94-45. Raekwon (pictured below #12) had 6 points in that game. On Friday night, they played Appponequet and blew them out 69-50 with Raekwon scoring 7 points.
Wareham Boys Varsity - Wareham picked up two wins in their first two games. They opened up with a 68-55 victory over GNB Voc-Tech and then Thursday night, they held the top scorer for Sandwich to just 5 points by employing a diamond and one defense. They gritted out a 62-59 win. Josh didn't score in either game.
You can read a season preview about the team HERE.
On Saturday afternoon, they dropped a 64-63 decision to Bishop Stang. Josh didn't score in the game for Wareham. But my former player Jake had 10 points for Bishop Stang (2-0). Wareham drops to 2-1 on the season.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The girls lost to GNB Voc-Tech 56-37 earlier in the week. In that game, Tieyanna scored 11 points, Gabby and Erica had 3 points and Kali finished with 2 points. On Friday, they played Barnstable but lost 61-50. Gabby had a good game on an individual level with 13 points, Tieyanna also scored 13 points while Erica added 2 points.
Below you can see some game action photos of my ex-players from the team's season opening loss to Bishop Stang.
First up is Gabby and the first pic is just amazing as it captures her focus and intensity as she prepares to shoot a foul shot.
Gabby driving to the lane
Gabby on defense:
Below is a couple of shots apiece of Kali (1st) and Tieyanna:
(all photos by the Wareham Courier's sports editor Adam K. Ellis)
Upper Cape Girls JV - The JV team has a 3-0 record after two wins at the start of this past week. They beat Cape Cod Tech 25-11 on Monday night. Laurina didn't play in the game (she had to work), while Ann Marie started at point guard and scored 2 points. Against Sacred Heart on Tuesday, the jayvees won 31-14. Laurina played but I don't have any info on any stats. Ann Marie again started at point and scored 2 points.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams are also 3-0 but it came with a bit more of a challenge than they would've liked. In their Monday game against Cape Cod Tech, the game was a 64-27 blowout. Michaela was 1-8 from the floor and 1-2 from the foul line for 3 points. She had 2 assists and 4 steals plus 4 rebounds. She committed 3 turnovers and 1 foul. After the game I talked to her and said that she was rushing her shots, not setting them up or squaring to the basket. She agreed with what I had to say.
But Tuesday's game against Sacred Heart revealed the flaws Upper Cape has working against it even when they are winning games. The Rams led 17-4 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime. They scored the first 9 points in the third quarter to lead 28-9. But then Sacred Heart essentially punched Upper Cape in the mouth. All game long they'd played up on them defensively but now their pressure really paid off as they forced one turnover after another. Upper Cape was discombobulated, played bad defense themselves and couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. The third quarter ended 32-23 in Upper Cape's favor.
It wasn't a pretty game, but the Saints kept coming. In the fourth quarter, they cut the lead down to 37-33 and the Rams FINALLY called a timeout. It broke the momentum and Upper Cape ended up escaping 41-35. But when faced with a team that didn't back down away from them, you could see Upper Cape had trouble adjusting their game. And the body language was terrible from their team leaders. They got burnt badly on a couple of out of bounds plays that Sacred Heart ran, they couldn't hit free throws and they had more than the 16 turnovers I actually caught sight of. There were no picks set to get the guards free of their defenders.
I hope that during practice the team gets their act together. And I hope someone teaches their post players how to hit those 2 foot bunny shots she gets so many of in the course of the game. In the three games, she probably could've had about 30 extra points if she would hit those shots.
Michaela was 1-6 from the floor and 1-4 from the foul line for three points. She had 6 rebounds and forced 3 jump ball calls. She turned the ball over twice.
Food - It was a last minute kind of thing, but I went out to dinner with my friends Brian and Chad on Wednesday. We went to The Boston Tavern in Middleboro, Mass. I enjoyed it. We started off with some chicken tenders and onion rings for appetizers. The tenders were huge and the honey BBQ sauce (on the side) was just the right touch. The onion rings were flaky with the breading and delicious.
For the main course, I ended up going with their Tavern Burger. I was going to be a little more adventurous in what I had to eat but since it was my first time at the place, I went with a safer choice. Instead of my usual French fries, I went with the mashed potatoes. I'm not normally a fan of the skin left in style of mashed potatoes, but these were actually quite good.
It is a place that I would definitely go back to for another meal.
Comics - The full list of both Gold and Silver level sponsor books for the 2015 Free Comic Book Day can be seen HERE.
TV - A couple of shows finished their series runs this past week. White Collar ended with a final episode that tied things up neatly enough, but I wasn't overjoyed by how things ended. I guess it makes sense given the characters and their motivations, but I just felt there should've been something MORE.
HBO's The Newsroom wrapped up its three season run that gave us an idea of where all the character either did end up or would end up. It wasn't all that heavy on dramatics but there was a fantastic musical turn by series star Jeff Bridges in the midst of the episode. He performed a version of the Tom T. Hall song "That's How I Got To Memphis". I had never heard the song before but it was done so beautifully that I wish his version would get released.
You can see it below.
And it looks like there will not be any more 24, if this article on Kiefer Sutherland on TVGuide.com is the final word on things.
You can check out the first trailer for the 3rd season of the BBC America science fiction show Orphan Black below.
Movies - With Sony and movie theaters caving in to terrorist threats should they screen the movie The Interview, I guess it was only a matter of time before some creatively insane though hilariously funny person on the Internet would come up with the following:
Music - I stil can't release my best of lists yet, but the Classic Rock Bottom message board's Top Ten Albums is being released. I'm part of the voting body for these and the albums list is being done in a day by day countdown fashion. This is the overall tally of everyone's votes, not just mine. However, I was asked to write the summary for #9 on our list, Accept's Blind Rage. You can check out what I had to say HERE. Oh and the majority of the Classic Rock Bottom Awards have been announced. You can check out that list HERE.
There's a couple of videos out I thought you might want to check out. There's a lyric video for the title track to the upcoming Black Star Riders album The Killer Instinct.
Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon has a new solo album called World Peace. You can check out the song "Born Free" below.
Christmas - I know that most everyone is going to be busy with the conclusion of the holiday season this week. I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
By the way, if you have a book lover in your life, wouldn't this make a great themed Christmas tree?
Here's my favorite Christmas song for your listening enjoyment.
It's not Christmas Eve just yet, but it's close enough for late shoppers to push the panic button. What does my wife really want? How about my little kid who wants everything? How about my college kid who professes to want nothing? How about my cousin Fred who wants money? Or my niece who wants a husband? Sometimes you just have to rely on Santa Claus to do the heavy lifting.
Sports fans may have slightly different wish lists than your niece or kids, but Santa has a big sleigh, or so I'm told. It might not be quite that big. As usual, not everybody gets what he wants.
We have, however, managed to 'obtain' a sneak peek at the letters to Santa from a variety of places, and in the finest journalistic tradition, we splash them all over the front page for your cheap voyeuristic thrills!
Oakland: Please Santa, don't send the Raiders to LA... again. Oh yeah, while you're at it, can you figure out what's wrong with the A's and let them know?
San Francisco: Dear Santa, thank you for the Giants' last few years. How about one more? And can you get us some new Niners? These ones are broke.
Los Angeles: Hey Santa, how much longer do we have to go without a football team? Steal one for us from someplace, willya? Oh, thanks for swiping the Dodgers. Can you give 'em more money to throw at a pennant? And thanks for swiping the Lakers. Can you fix 'em? And thanks for the Kings, but nobody around here can ice skate except them.
San Diego: Santa, we don't have much down here except great weather and pretty girls. We can live with the Padres. Just don't give the Chargers back to LA, willya? Nobody's gonna drive 100 miles up 405 to see them. Manana, Baby.
Arizona: Hey Santa, just one thing. Can Iron Man throw the ball and read defenses?
Dallas: Howdy Santa. The Boys need some help here. Nuthin' much. Just a miracle cure for Murray would be nice. And the playoffs. Like fer once?
St. Louis: Hey Santa, can we have our football cards back? We mean with the capital C?
Detroit: Santa, can you get Bobby Layne off our backs? Give the Tigers a farm system? The Wings are fine; can't ask for help everywhere at once. Let's see how they do without Boston to worry about.
Boston: Santa, this is easy. Could you please help us beat NY without anybody getting hurt, help Cinci beat Denver, and let us slide into the last week vs. Buffalo playing the subs? I don't think there's much you can do for the Bruins except make Chara, Orr and Esposito young again.
New York: Yo Santa baby, we got so many bad teams it's hard. Why don't you talk to my staff and then we'll do lunch, know what I'm tawkin' about?
Philadelphia: Hey Santa, whazzup wit dis Sanchez character? Give 'im a clue, willya? Whazzup wit d' Phils? D' Flyers? D' Sixers? Whazzup wit everything? Whadda we look like, chopped liver? Flip us a bone, willya?
Cleveland: Santa, can you please take Johnny back and get us Cutler? Cousins maybe? Give us back the Rams? No, scratch that. Thanks for LeBron.
Atlanta: Dear Santa, the Braves are ok but we all like football around here too, y'know.
Green Bay: Dear Santa, could you please never make us play another game in Buffalo?
Chicago: What's the use, Santa? We write every year. We still got the Cubs. We still got the Sawx. We still got the Bears. All you give us is the Black Hawks. We're not even Second City anymore.
Pittsburgh: Dear Santa, thanks for helping a little with the Pirates. But these days all we care about is the Steelers. Got any defense in your bag?
Buffalo: Dear Santa, thanks for Green Bay. Got any more?
Miami: Umm, Santa, that perfect season was a long time ago. Just sayin.
Denver: Santa, just keep Manning upright. Tell him not to block anymore.
Cincinnati: Dear Santa, can you get the Bengals some brains? It's all they need.
New Orleans: Dear Santa, don't let anybody laugh when we win the division. Not too loud anyway.
Boise: Dear Santa, how about moving the Jags here? We got a nice blue field.
Jacksonville: Dear Santa, how about not moving the Jags to Boise or anywhere else?
Tampa: Zzzzz... huh? What? Time for bed already? Gimmee a Bud Light first. I wanna see Warren Sapp.
There's more, but that's all I got. Anybody got anything else off the wire?
Ring a ling ling ling. Ring a ting ting. Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. You better not pout. You better not cry. Cause you're bumming that dog out. That's why. Wow. Only 5 days till Christmas. I might do my shopping on Monday......Or Tuesday. I'm pouting. Santa's helper is pooped. Been busy busy busy packing out orders, picking orders, hand delivering packages directly to the trucks and doing all the things I normally do just much faster. I kind of look like that dog right now.
Lets see here. In the land of Left Turns awards are still being given out, team swaps are happening, drivers are still active in other forms of racing (that would be a given), NASCAR is making new rules, some drivers are getting married and tracks are handing out deals on ticket packages. So lets check out some fast stuff.
BRIAN VICKERS HAS HEART SURGERY
Yet again Brian was not feeling well and from past experience he knew he needed to get a check up. After a few tests it was determined that his body was rejecting the artificial patch that was put on his heart back in 2010. So it was off to surgery for repairs. Now he will not be starting the 2015 season at Daytona in February like everyone else. MWR has said they will work with their sponsor Aaron's to decide on a replacement driver till Brian can return.
KID ROCK TO HEADLINE PRE RACE SHOW
Well lets see here. We have the U.S. Air ForceThunderbirds providing the thunder with their flyover at the Daytona 500 and now Kid Rock is added for the pre race show. Sounds like things are coming together. Only 63 days to go....
SPRINT ANNOUNCES THEY'RE LEAVING NASCAR AT THE IN OF 2016
Their contract is up at the end of 2016 and they plan on moving in another direction. The NASCAR sponsorship platform has been a good one but it's time to move on. NASCAR so far has not announced who they are courting to take Sprints place but said they are confident they'll find a replacement sponsor.
I still remember when it was Winston Cup. Wonder if the government will back off and let them come back. I could see it being called The Winston Vape NASCAR Series. Isn't it much safer to vape than smoke? I'm thinking not. Chemicals are chemicals but I need my racing.
FAT BIKING IN NEW PLACES
Look at the tires on that thing. They're 4" tires with 10 psi in them. I heard of this bike a couple years ago but they were being ridden in urban settings on snow. Now somebody figured out you can ride them on sand.
These are very stripped down bikes with coaster brakes with 80 mm rims. The rear hub can be changed to have gears. Costs you between $499 & $699. Now if you want disc brakes, 100 mm rims and an up graded frame to 4130 chromology that'll cost you another $200.
Pretty damn expensive for a stripped down bike. I'll pass. No motor.
GORDON ASKED ABOUT RETIREMENT......AGAIN
He says that even in May when his back was so bad that he could barely get out of bed or into a car he knew he didn't want to retire. Could his back dictate his retirement? Sure but for now it's.....Nope, I'm racing.
MOTORSPORTS FACILITIES TO GET TAX BREAKS
The Senate and the House of Reps have voted. Motorsports facilities will get tax breaks similar to amusement parks for them to depreciate new construction over 7 years instead of the life time which is around 25 years. Now all they need is Mr Obama's signiture and it's a go. Of course the IRS is not too happy.
NEW PIT ROAD RULES
So as if letting the pit crews decide on how many lugnuts to tighten wasn't enough they came up with even more fun. Last year NASCAR installed cameras all over pit road. In their dry run testing they discovered all kinds of infractions by the pit crews and drivers. NASCAR has decided they want less officials on pit road BUT they will be watching through those cameras. Cut and dry video evidence will rule.
What are they looking for? For starters they will be watching when the pit crews jump off the wall. The rule says that they may be in the pit stall as soon as their driver is over the back line of the stall directly behind their stall. NASCAR says there were a lot of guys split seconds to fast leaving the wall. Expect penalties there.
Another rule being addressed is the drivers driving through other pit stalls on the way to theirs. I'm not sure if they will be enforcing that one only during pit stops when everyone is coming down at the same time or even when it's just one driver.
They will also be clamping down on keeping control of tires too. The rule state that a crew member must be in control of a tire at least half way to the wall. Some teams will help other teams but now they must be behind the wall to help.
Should be an interesting pit road this coming year. Strategies are being planned already.
So we need to take a break for safety. Tree safety that is. Large safety cones are good for under the tre to keep dogs and over excited kids in the proper lanes for gift giving. I hope this helps.
To all you Gabbers and others I wish you all a happy, safe and joyous Christmas. I'm still wishing for some miracles and well wishes for those in not so nice circumstances as well. Take care all
After an eight year hiatus, it’s a pleasure to be back and have a regular weekly writing gig! For my first post as a Saturday Feature on You Gab Sports—and given the season—I thought I’d revive one of my old holiday blogging traditions, and create my fantasy Christmas list: the (tongue in cheek) things I’d most like to see this holiday season. So let’s assume I’ve been good this year (no small leap, that) and cut right to the chase: here’s my 2014 list for the man in red.
CHIIIIIEEEEEFFFFSSSSS!!! I’m a lifelong Chiefs fan, and nobody has enjoyed the Chiefs renaissance more than me. But with improvement comes higher expectation and frustration. I know it’s only season two of the Andy Reid era, but I LONG for some professional consistency. How can you pound the Patriots by 27 (it wasn’t that close), and lose by 16 to Tennessee (it wasn’t that close)? How can you lose to Oakland at all? How can you run the ball all day long on whomever you want, and when you get inside the five you call the most listless and uncreative series of rollouts and non-descript pass plays? And darn it, I LIKE Andy Reid, but I wish he were more decisive in the red zone, and I wish he didn’t look like a four year old about to wet his pants when it gets to the last two minutes of every game. I know, I know…it’s just nice to be relevant again. But relevance is relative.
Indiana basketball. Again, I’m a lifer. I know they’re just kids, etc., etc. But the incident earlier this year: when sophomore Devin Davis and freshman Emmett Holt were out after midnight and drinking, and the latter hit the former with his car…putting Davis in the hospital with a head injury...c'mon man. This behavior is out of bounds in my book virtually any time for college athletes. But this was the night before the first intra-squad scrimmage. The first time you—as a freshman—are going to wear the jersey of one of the most storied basketball programs in college history in front of your home court fans…and you’re out getting drunk? Underage? Driving? That’s stupid in any scenario…but do you understand what a privilege it is to have your talent, and to get this honor? Unfortunately this has not been an isolated incident; I’m certain it’s not reality, but it feels like this group of Indiana players has had more “character issues” in the past nine months than in the collective history of IU basketball. I wish this team had more respect for its school, its fans, and the opportunity they have. I’m hopeful this has been a learning experience and that they get it now. I also wish IU basketball were more relevant, but as you know relevance is relative.
College football playoffs. Why is it that football at every level—from pee wee to high school to every level of college except FBS—can figure out how to have playoffs and a meaningful championship, but they can’t get it done for FBS? Mind you, the NCAA (an entity that could be a whole wish-list rant unto itself) does this at every other level of football it plays, save FBS. Today (Saturday, Dec 20th) at 4 pm Minnesota State Mankato takes on Colorado State Pueblo for the Division II championship; they’ve played four games each after the regular season to get there. So you can’t figure it out for the FBS? A couple more games? Don’t use more practice as an excuse—the bowl teams are practicing anyway. And don’t tell me school work; first off, most of them are off school for the holidays at that point…and as I’ve heard somewhere before the bowl teams are practicing anyway. Figure it out you idiots. Gimme a real FBS playoff already.
College football playoffs, part two. Please tell me this talk of a super conference is lunacy. Please tell me you’re not going to take the 64 best teams in college football and create NFL, Jr. Don’t you get that the upset—Appalachian State beating Michigan, Boise State beating Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic beating anybody—is what makes sport interesting? What keeps it alive and fun for both fan and player? If you think this approach works, ask the state of Indiana how their high school basketball tournament is doing since they retooled to “class basketball” after the 1996-1997 season. How’s it going now that the Milan High School’s of the world are beating Versailles and Osgood and Montezuma, and don’t get the chance to take out Muncie Central for the most storied state championship in sport history? (Author’s note: these small schools don’t exist anymore and Muncie Central is irrelevant—and much smaller itself—but I’m making a point…) Never mind, I'll tell you: this former iconic American sporting event is now dead, irrelevant; (do I need to talk about relevance again?) and "Basketball State Champ!" signs are more common across the state of Indiana than corn stalks. Do me a favor college football powers, and check out David and Goliath in the Bible. The ultimate upset. Today you’d have David squaring off against the Philistine’s best rockslinger in the under 125 pound class; and Goliath would be battling the number three ranked Sumerians, or maybe Alabama. Drop this super conference ridiculousness and let’s exchange this “gift” for socks, or maybe a tie.
Accountability. At every level. Kids in school, parents at home. Parents at little league. Little league coaches. Cops on the street. People on the street interacting with cops. Idiots who think looting or setting fires or blocking traffic is a sensible form of protest. Race baiters who think it’s ok to use the same flaw you’re criticizing to create issues where oftentimes they aren’t. Congress in general. Come to think of it I’d pretty readily give up numbers 1 through 4 of the list above for a healthy dose of accountability across the board. Unfortunately it’s right up there withWorld Peace on the likelihood scale…
Toys. C’mon this list can’t be all serious-like. We all know how it is to open that beautifully wrapped package to find underwear or a sweater, for cryin’ out loud. How ‘bout a GI Joe? The USMC version, with the scar under his right eye and the silver suit and the Mercury Space Capsule—still my single favorite Christmas present ever, back in 1968. Or Hot Wheels? Or Barbie? (that’s a nod to my female demographic out there…not for me personally) Maybe even a sled if you have snow, or a bike or wagon if you don’t. Christmas. Toys. Make it happen Santa.
So there you have it, The Hoov’s Christmas Wish List 2014. I’d add one more thing: that each of you have a joyous holiday with the ones you love, or in whatever way that makes you happy; and an appreciation for whatever you can be thankful for, big or small. Put a smile on your face and enjoy the season! For my part, I’m thankful to Jeff Thomas for thinking of me for this Saturday feature spot on You Gab…it’s great to be back! Happy Holidays!