Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. It appears that this is one of those days…you know the days when you sit down to write and the words just don’t seem to come easily. Since I have re-written the past sentence about 7 times, this Wednesday definitely qualifies. When this happens to me, I just start writing and hope that I eventually find a groove. I hope each of you had a great Easter Weekend. This Easter was a much different from my family’s normal Easter. This year, Julie and I made another dash to the valley to watch UTPA play UC Bakersfield. This was the first Easter that my family has not been together. I know it probably sounds odd, but doing the egg thing has continued to be a tradition in my family…until this year. Although Blake has not been playing regularly, we decided to make the trip down south. Because Sunday was Easter, the weekend series began on Thursday. We watched the game online but because Blake was not in the lineup, I worked while the game was on. I actually dozed off and was awakened by a text from Carl Spackler. Pan Am was down 1 to 0 and ace Sam Street’s unbeaten season was in jeopardy. The Broncs had managed to load the bases, but they were down to their last out. Blake was announced as the pinch hitter. Here is a video to document the moment. It has been a tough few weeks for Blake and it was nice to see him have a successful moment. For the record, the wind was howling in from center field, if you watch the path of the ball, you can see the wind catch it. The Broncs took 2 of 3 from Bakersfield…helping their quest to make the end of season conference tournament. Next week it is a trip to Chicago to visit Chicago State. I hope the weather cooperates…
Tuesday night was a big night for one of my all-time favorite players. Albert Pujols became the first player to hit HRs 499 and 500 on the same night. I know that many have written off Pujols as over the hill, but I had a feeling that once healthy that he would return to the formidable hitter that we watched for so many years in St. Louis. With 8 dingers in April, there is no longer any question regarding his health. So, I wonder how many HRs Pujols has left in that big bat of his. At 34 years of age, is it possible that Albert could reach 600? Is Willie Mays mark of 660 within his reach? How about 700? It will be very interesting to see how this year plays out. Are we seeing the resurgence of Albert or is this just a brief flash of history? The way the ball was jumping off his bat on Tuesday, I am betting on the former.
The penalties for the Brewers/Bucs skirmish were handed out on Tuesday:
I have no problem with the suspensions given, but wonder why Gerrit Cole escaped without even a slap on the wrist. Gomez has been vilified for his bat flip and exaggerated watching of a ball that did not leave the yard. I generally am an old school advocate, but in this case I think that Cole was as much to blame as Gomez. Many have lambasted Gomez, but as I watched the replay on the MLB channel, they showed examples of several other Brewer teammates guilty of the same act. Yes, I know that there is a proper way to play the game. It would not be my style to flip the bat and admire a ball…but I read something recently that gave me pause. Here are the words that made me reconsider:
“There's a larger issue, one that gets kicked around now and then, the one about the energy inherent in the Latin American game. Gomez is from the Dominican Republic. There, the ball field is not a somber place. There is a code, and that is to live the game. Celebrate the good stuff. Mourn the failures. Get on with the next inning. It's OK to laugh. It's OK to have fun. You want to keep the fun to a minimum? Throw a better pitch.”
It truly is on Gerrit Cole to throw a better pitch. If he has an issue with Gomez, the time honored method of sending a message is with a plunking. But, this again is the “old school way”. What harm did Gomez do for his team? Gomez would probably not have scored on that ball off the wall, so he had to slide instead of arriving at 3B standing. It was Cole that provoked the brawl by jumping in the face of Gomez. For Cole to escape without any punishment is odd, I think. In case you missed video that caused Maldonado to receive 5 games off…here is the video.
Boston Strong...was there any doubt that there would be a big turnout for the Marathon?
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the Easter Bunny is chillin after a busy night in the neighborhood.
NBA: Playoffs and firings
The second season got under way last Saturday as 16 teams start the grind to the ultimate goal of the NBA Finals. Most teams have a longer shot than others, there are some teams that on the surface look like a dominant team but have more holes and questions. The Pacers are the East’s #1 seed but despite winning 56 games are in so much turmoil and after the Hawks who are serious underdogs as the #8 seed stole game 1 in Indy the turmoil deepens and many wonder if the Pacers are built to get through two rounds where inevitably the Heat will be waiting. A #1 seed shouldn’t break a sweat in the first round but you have the feeling that they will be sweating in their matchup with the Hawks who despite winning 38 games seem to be the worst matchup for the Pacers. They play at a frenetic frantic pace and males their big man Roy Hibbert look like he’s running in quicksand. This series looks like it will go the distance and the Pacers will be all sorts of worn out for the next round.
The Heat are going to toy with the playoff neophyte Bobcats who will become Hornets 2.0 when they are dismissed from the playoffs. I’m thinking sweep but the Horn-Cats might get a home win to make it look respectable.
The more interesting series in the East might be the Nets and Raptors which might bubble over into an international incident when the Raptors GM said before Game 1 basically “Fuck the Nets” but the remark seemed to galvanize the Nets who steamrolled the Raptors before a stunned and sullen Air Canada Centre crowd, the Nets took game 1 and you just have the feeling that this will be a knock down drag out affair, the youthful Raptors do look a bit star struck while the aged Nets will try to not let body parts rust and fall off
In the West the Spurs…blah blah blah… You already know I’m saying little about the team that is supposed to be so underappreciated but how do you ignore a team that won 62 games?? They should have no trouble with the aged Mavs.
The best series in the West is either the Blazers-Rockets or the Clippers-Warriors the former looks like the scoreboard operators will get a workout while the latter looks like it could pop off to a physical confrontation at any time. The No Cal-So Cal dichotomy used to be Lakers-Kings but these teams seem to have a real nasty hatred for one another. The Warriors stole game 1 Saturday afternoon and this series look like it will go 7 tense games, the scores will be high and the intensity even higher.
While the best of the best go at it in the NBA playoffs, the other half is dealing with the realities of not making the playoffs. Three teams are hunting for coaches, to no one’s surprise the Knicks gave Mike Woodson, a capable coach by anyone’s measure had to take the fall for the mess that the Gotham club had become. With Phil Jax taking the reigns as team president you just had to know that Woodson’s days were numbered whether they made the playoffs or not. They didn’t and that just made the call even easier. Rumor has it that Steve Kerr may be in line for that job, but the pundits are basically clamoring for the Zen Master to take the job but let’s keep it real. Jackson will be 69 by the time the next NBA season starts and there is a real rebuild project that is going on in MSG, this isn’t a team that is ready to win now or next year. One has to wonder why Jackson would try to do a reclamation project when all he has to build around is Melo. Steve Kerr might be the best answer and one still has to wonder if he can make things happen in NYC.
The Jazz gave Tyrone Corbin the gate after two seasons to no one’s surprise. The Jazz finished dead last in the West and are a long long way from contenting. This is a team that needs a lot of parts and not a lot of help is coming. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Rick Adelman decided to hang it up after 2 lackluster seasons in the Twin Cities, Adelman had won in every stop he had been in, took Portland to two Finals, made the Kings a respectable squad in the late 90s and early 2000s, and kept the Rockets viable in a deep west but he seemed distracted (in fairness his wife has been battling cancer) and never really had the Wolves in any kind of contention. So the speculation here is that the Wolves might try to make a splash with a big name college coach. I’m hearing rumbles that they are trying to woo longtime Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to come coach. I just can’t see Izzo leaving East Lansing where he is pretty much the king snake in the state and at a school where he has made the tourney 17 years running. A better fit might be Fred Hoiberg a former Timberwolf who is as much beloved in the Cities as he is in his current job at his alma mater of Iowa State.
Phat Dap /Head Slap
Knowing how much I detest the Spurs this is something. I have to give dap to the Spurs Gregg Popovich who gave best wishes to longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager who is battling a recurrence of Leukemia and while everyone here in Hoodwood echoes Pop in wishing the sartorially splendid Sager well in his recovery, Pop was especially effusive to Craig Sager, Jr. who was filling in Sunday for his father during the Spurs-Mavs game. Pop needled the fils Sager about not being his dad but was quick to add that he was looking forward to answering questions from the pere Sager soon. As grumpy and laconic as Pop tends to be toward the press, his comments were right on point and classy.
A what are you thinking to the Seattle Seahawks who inexplicably dealt for former Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor. No dis to Pryor who really needs a stable QB situation to develop in, won’t get one in Seattle where they have some guy name Wilson on their squad. That guy just won a Super Bowl for them and is third in salary at QB behind Pryor and Tavaris Jackson. Someone needs to explain this move to me.
No disrespect intended for the memory of the true hero that Pat Tillman was, but he doesnt deserve a bust in Canton. Honor his memory like the have done with a great layout and display, but a bust in Canton may be too much. Ten years after his senseless death, the talk has been going around that he should be named to the Hall of Fame. I may be in the minority btu I disagree. Tillman was a one of a kind individual, but im not sure that warrants a bust in Canton. 26 NFL players were killed in wartime service to their country, none of them have busts in Canton. Peter King made a great counterargument in his monday morning QB column and I agree with him but if you think Im wrong convince me otherwise. Ill listen.
Blue Jacket fan was quick to hit me up and brag about their team winning its first playoff game and that they snatched home ice advantage but were quick to lash out at your humble scribe when I needled them about blowing a 2 goal 3rd period lead in the span of 2 minutes...ya'll still aint ready for primetime...
Speaking of Hockey, that Blackhawks-Blues series is gonna get way ugly before its over. And stop whining Blackhawk fan Brent Seabrook went high on that hit and got what he deserved (a match penalty and game misconduct)
Am I the only one not happy about ESPN getting NFL playoff games...the NFL was the last league to have all of its playoff games on free TV, we'll be seeing a Super Bowl between 55-65 in London on HBO, I'll bet...
Bernard Hopkins won a heavyweight title Saturday at 49...49! Hey the AARP called and...then again Im not clowning on him. He could knock me into next summer.
Mike Holmgren says that he regrets not coaching the Browns in his two years stint as the team president...why do I get the feeling the Phil Jax willsay the same thing in couple years about the Knicks?
Am I the only one that though it cool that an American won the Boston Marathon? Or am I just a jingoistic homer?
And why can I get used to interleague baseball games every day? Probably the same way I thought and Astros-Mariners game was interleague and not to division foes...
Your humble scribe will be in Phoenix next month for Princess Katie's graduation and will be posting a column from the desert southwest. Anyone know of good eats and things to see and do there? When I was there for her Quincenara in 2011, I didnt see that much. Im gonna be out there a week so I'll have more time...anyone has any suggestions it would be much appreciated.
A year ago, I was in Washington DC for work when I received a text message from my daughter that a bomb exploded at the Boston Marathon. So surreal. Washington almost immediately folded up shop and was on high alert.
One of my colleagues had taken his kids to the Red Sox game earlier in the day, with the intention of heading to the finish line at the end of the game. Neither of the kids were of a mind to head down, so they just left the area.
Such a scary time in the city. A week or so later, suspects identified, began a wild chase, the city of Waterown locked down for the better part of the day. I was driving to western Connecticut from Massachusetts. At the state border, there were several state troopers…and for every few miles thereafter. I knew it had something to do with what was going on in Boston, but wasn’t sure what – it turns out there were reports that the suspects had taken a car and were headed to New Haven. Later, the report was that they had jumped a train. Neither was true.
In the midst of this, Boston stood tall. In the immortal words of David Ortiz, “this is our effing city.” The Red Sox rode #BostonStrong to the World Series Championship. It was an amazing run.
Today, the 118th Boston Marathon will be run. There will be noticeable changes – there will be no bandit runners this year; and bags will have to be mesh or clear. Even at the Lexington, Mass revolutionary war reenactment has new security measures. Earlier this week, some dunce deliberately put some bags on the finish line – the bomb squad detonated the packages.
It does make me wonder what the hell is wrong with people. It’s more than just attention getting. For every Tsarnaev out there who carries out a remarkably cold act, there is another couple of idiots who think it’s a good idea to try something like it. It’s easy to lose sight of this fact, but of the 117 other races, 116 went off without a terrorist attack. While taking a look at security procedures makes sense, I have to question the wholesale throwing out civil liberties. I should be able to walk down the street carrying my crap and not get hassled because I’m not carrying it in a mesh bag. It is still a public space.
The race will be the largest ever. The race will easily be the most emotional ever. At 11:05 AM, the Red Sox will throw the first pitch to Orioles batters. About 1:30 or so, the Fenway crowd will empty out into the streets and make their way to the finish line. There will be several winners – men, women, wheelchair, the athletes who have fulfilled a life long dream of running the marathon – but I wonder if the general public will be among the big losers. I question the willingness to give up these liberties without a much larger conversation. I wonder how much of the “enhancements” are really overreaction.
Happy Easter all! I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you and yours! When I got home from work Saturday night, I had to do my job of playing Easter Bunny...The wife had all the stuff stashed...But I had no idea just how much...Some things are getting lost in the communication, because we text more lately, since we work opposite schedules...Well, she went a bit overboard...There are still a few bags of candy stashed, that will be taken to our respective work places to get rid of it all...Damn these kids are spoiled...But seeing just how excited Molly was, and even Little Beeze who lead the scoring in the egg hunt, made it worth it...Even if it was too early to wake up....
So, I'm still very much out of the loop when it comes to news and sports...When I get home from work, I may catch a bit of a late NHL Playoff game, or a west coast baseball game...But I mostly nod off in the chair with that...Although Chicago and St. Louis' 3 OT playoff game kept me up...Way too late!
So I thought I'd get into a topic that has been on my mind for awhile now...I pretty much have always been willing to share anything in my blogs, but I've held back a bit lately...I had an incident a couple months ago that slightly rattled me...And since, has had me questioning where we are as a society, and where I am as a human...
It was a Saturday night...My daughter had a couple friends sleeping over...We had eaten a mess of Chinese food...Then, around 8:00PM my wife remembered our son was suppose to go to a birthday party the next day, and we hadn't gotten a gift for his friend...So I ran up to the Wal-Mart that's less then 5 minutes away...When I was walking back to my car, A guy popped out, and demanded my phone, and wallet...I had my keys in my hand, so I was already plotting what to do...I didn't see a weapon, and told him I didn't have a phone, and had no cash...He demanded again...I told him my cards were all maxed out, it's not worth it...(Give me credit for trying to at least defuse the situation)...He got agitated, and demanded again, and stepped closer, I reached toward my pocket, with the hand that had my keys, and then I swung and unlocked his face with a key...He bounced off the car and ran...
Some one saw a bit of it, ran over and called the police...They were there in seconds...I gave them a description, even saying he has a keyhole in his face...I went home, put an ice pack on my hand, and sat alone in the kitchen, trying to calm down...I'm pretty sure I broke something in my hand, but I never got it checked...My wife came in and kept asking what was wrong...I kept trying not to tell her, because I didn't want her worried, plus I didn't want the kids to hear...Eventually, I told her, which lead to her worrying, and saying, "What if he had a gun?" My first response was, "Then I would have kept punching him." Now, if I actually saw a gun, I would have reacted differently...I assume...But calming myself down, turned into calming her down...So the tension lasted for a longer then I would have liked...
Now, I've never been a very trusting person...And I would classify myself as cynical...But I feel like I've become worse since this event...A couple weeks ago, I was driving to the store, and a older woman, older then my mother, was walking across the street, holding up a finger, asking me to wait...I rolled down the window, and she asked where I was going, which lead me to abruptly respond, "What do you want?" She said her "mother fell in her apartment and needs help, could you give me a ride there?" I very rudely said no and drove off...
As I was driving, this was my thought process...'what was this little old lady going to do to me'...'what kind of scam is she really pulling off? What an asshole I am!'....'wait, how the hell old is her mother?...fuck that, something shady is going on.'
Later in the evening, I thought about it more, and really wondered, 'what the fuck is wrong with me?' Then, a week later, coming the opposite way down the same street...There she was, doing the same thing, stopping cars, and asking for a ride...I felt validated...'Old bitch is running some fucking scam!'
As I drove by, and noticed multiple car ignore her, I had two thoughts...'Does everyone in this town know about this lady?' followed by, 'What is wrong with all of us, that we are so unwilling, or afraid to take an old lady at her word, and help her out?'
Is this really what we are, or are becoming? I won't deny being a negative fucker most my life, but it's gotten worse since some piece of shit tried to rob me...The thing that really bothers me, is I know, there is so much to be happy and positive about...My kids show me that every day...But the evil shit seems to be doing it's best to stuff the good shit down...And I know, I'm not alone...I saw other people blow that lady off...
There was a time, including in my lifetime, that I or some one else wouldn't have had a second thought about helping that lady out...Now we say fuck her...What happened?