Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I usually struggle to write a blog this time of year. Football is over and baseball has not yet begun. But this year is a bit different. The Longhorns are playing good basketball this year, so I have been paying a bit more attention to college basketball. Basketball is a great spectator sport. Unlike any other sport, there is no barrier between the players and fans. I must admit that in my youth, I have been guilty of being a “spirited” fan. My senior year in high school, we used to head over to the Longhorn’s Gregory gym and cheer on what was becoming a very talented Texas team. We loved to sit behind the basket and cheer loudly. Since some of you only know the modern gymnasiums, it is tough to describe what the atmosphere was like at “old” Gregory. Capacity was probably only 6000, but the fans were very close to the action…and damn it was loud. The last game I attended at Gregory was against the Texas Aggies. I guess everyone has seen the Aggie yell leaders, dressed in all white with matching buzz cuts. There was a group of 4 of us behind the basket that were giving it to the yell leaders the entire game. What we were yelling was pretty silly really…stuff like I can’t see, get your ears out of the way. Does your Mom cut your hair? Do you shop at the same men’s store? No profanity, but a constant chatter. What was funny to us is that we got the crowd around us involved in the Aggie yell leader heckling. One guy in particular was getting upset, which of course only egged us on more. The game was a tight game that saw Texas pull away late. Freshman Ron Baxter stole the ball late and slammed the ball home with a rim rattling dunk. One of my buddies stood up, pointed at our yell leader friend and said…that one is for you. He took two steps toward my buddy before the other yell leaders pulled him back…sputtering and red in the face.
"Old" Gregory Gym
While in the pep band at SMU, our main job was to play and make a ton of noise. Of course, since we prepared for the games with beer at a place called Cardinal Puffs…the making noise part was pretty easy. I watched some great basketball and really loved being so close to the floor. Heckling was part of the deal, but the players understood that was our job…and in most cases, they seemed to enjoy it. The best heckling was done in a clever way. Our unspoken rule was no profanity and it wasn’t really good unless it was funny. Basketball can be a very intense game. The best games are often settled at the end of the game. During the final moments, the volume of noise is amazing, but I am not telling you anything that you did not already know.
This week there was an incident in Lubbock, Texas that has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Oklahoma State suffered a last second turnover and Tech raced up the floor for a game clinching dunk. Marcus Smart attempted unsuccessfully to block the dunk and ended up partially in the stands. Words were exchanged with a fan (Jeff Orr) and Smart gave Orr a shove. Those are the facts, but not the entire story. Jeff Orr, may or may not have used a racial slur toward Smart. Some think that what Orr said in some way changes the act of shoving Orr…it does not. Players do not go into the stands and confront fans, they just don’t. I laugh when I hear someone say, if the fans said that or this that I would knock him out…no you wouldn’t. The difference between you and a college player is that they know that they are held to a higher standard than a dumb ass fan. Marcus Smart knows better than to do what he did and so does each collegiate player in the country.
From all I have read, Marcus Smart is a really good guy. He is not doubt frustrated by the recent play of his Cowboys and criticism that he is king of the floppers. To watch the turnover against Tech and know that OSU was going to lose another conference game surely had to hurt. A fan calls him a piece of crap and he snapped. What many are missing in all of this is what this will mean for other players considering coming back to school. Marcus Smart turned down a chance at the NBA last year to return to Oklahoma State and play another year of college basketball. Nobody does this, but Smart did. Damn it makes me proud for him even though I don’t know him. This is a good kid that made a mistake. Smart will learn from this and use the experience for what it is…a life lesson.
Hopefully, Jeff Orr will learn something from this as well. While I have patience and understanding for a kid playing the game…I am less inclined to give Orr a pass. Jeff Orr sat in the same seat in college that I did, playing in the band yelling for his team. But that was long ago. There is a bible verse that says “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” It is difficult to explain why Mr. Orr drives hundreds of miles to cheer for his alma mater. I suspect that Thomas Wolfe would have something to say about this behavior. Wolfe’s words about not being able to go home again seem very appropriate here. Hey Jeff Orr, college is over. I get that it was incredibly fun, but what was okay for a college kid is not okay for a grown man.
Let’s not miss the truth of this matter…there are Jeff Orr’s all across our country. They are at college and professional games and sadly probably at high school events as well. For some, it is the reason that they choose not to bother attending sporting events. Why subject yourself or your family to idiots? I don’t have an answer for this behavior, or a solution. I know that in Philly that they set up a judge to actually bring fans in and have them booked at the football games. Increased security helps, but obviously does not eliminate the boorish behavior. In England the hooligans got so bad at soccer games that they developed a network to identify and ban said hooligans from soccer matches. England is also putting teeth to the charges of hooliganism…as in prison time. It more or less broke up the gangs by keeping them away from the matches and putting offenders in jail. Maybe it is time that schools begin to identify these rabid fans and begin to invite them to stay home?
What is more troubling to me is the behavior of the general public. Once again, it is react instantly and assume the worst. In case you have not heard the ESPN magnified recording, it clearly has the voice of Jeff Orr calling Smart a “piece of crap”. Perhaps Marcus heard something else or maybe he realized that he needed a good reason for the shove. Whatever, the reason…the truth seems to be exactly as Orr said it was. I am not sure if everyone is on edge because of the harsh winter or what, but there seems to be quite a bit of hostility oozing from many. It is a very good thing that our court system does not operate like the court of public opinion. I got to thinking that maybe everyone just needs a song to make them feel better…
The words of this song are simple and also very true. Why look for the negative in everything? While this is prevalent in all aspects of life, I have noticed that it is particularly evident in the sports world. Everyone wants to bash the Olympics because the venue is not perfect. For many of these Olympic athletes, they are having the time of their life. This sort of reminds me of American golfers when they have to go to Europe and play. They complain like crazy because the US golfers are not used to playing on courses that are a bit rough. The Europeans are used to playing on courses of questionable condition…so they just compete. Has Russia done a great job preparing for the Olympics? Hell no, but the conditions are the same for everyone. These are the Olympics and for many athletes, the high point of their competitive careers. Relax and enjoy these fine athletes competing like crazy…because that is what is so cool about the Olympics and sports in general.
While on the Olympics, I have to give a nod to the creativity of one Russian athlete. Snowboarder Alexey Sobolev put his phone number on his helmet. Although the IOC heavies eventually made Alexey put tape over the number, it was too late. Sobolev received so many nude pictures and texts that his phone literally quit working. Sobolev finished 12th in the slopestyle competition, but many would say he was the big winner in these Olympics.
With the heat that Russia has taken over their screw ups, apparently they figured that a distraction was needed. So…we get the distraction of beauty. I am torn between laughing and being distracted. Here are a few samples…
I saw this late and had to add...the Canadians have devised a clever way to keep other athletes out of their beer. The passport scanner. Only Canadians are allowed in the beer cooler. Very cool...
Michael Sam announced to the world this week that he is gay. I think for most of us, we read or heard this and shrugged. Okay, no big deal…right? If you do not believe that what Sam did required courage, you probably are like other players and most fans. If the guy can play, then who cares about his sexual preference? The question has long been asked…is professional football ready for an openly gay player? The truth was revealed after Sam’s admission. The players may be ready, but apparently management is not. Hidden behind the veil of anonymity several GM’s and assorted management types have concluded that the NFL locker room is “too fragile or immature” for a gay player. Another anonymous quote was even more puzzling…“This is a lot more okay in society than it is in lots of locker rooms. Some locker rooms are still stuck in the ’50s.”s? I have a difficult time believing this to be true. It is more like the suits running the NFL are stuck in the 1950s. I don't believe that Michael Sam should be compared to Jackie Robinson, but apparently some in the NFL are stuck in this time period. What Jackie Robinson did took great courage. But, in one sense, I guess Sam does have something in common with Robinson...he is the first acknowledged gay in the NFL, just as Robinson was the first black in baseball. Thankfully, most of society has moved way beyond the 1950's mentality. It sad and embarrassing that football executives refuse to evolve. If I was a team owner, I would have to ponder my choice in personnel if this was the thinking of my management team. Grow up guys...
Apparently, Congress has decided to enter the conversation regarding the Redskins team name. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) delivered a letter to Roger Goodell that chastised the league for allowing the use of a racial slur (Redskins). It was also intimated that the NFL’s tax exemption might come into question if they could not “get on the right side of history”. First of all, why does the NFL receive a tax exemption? It is a farce that the NFL makes money hand over fist, but is not held to the same standard as millions of other business owners. Goodell has previously pointed out the Redskins name has been used for 80 years and has actually honored Native Americans, instead of slandering them. There does not appear to be any quick compromise to this matter. The Washington Redskins responded to this threat in this way… "With all the important issues Congress has to deal with such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don't they have more important issues to worry about than a football team's name? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means 'Red People' in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic." Actually, the Redskins make a very good point.
I love cleverness…in books, movies, jokes, advertisements and even business. I saw a picture this week that literally exudes the definition of cleverness. I got a big laugh and figured I should share…
The feel good story of the week has to be the story of Kevin Grow. Grow is senior student manager for the Bensalem Fighting Owls. Despite having Downs’s syndrome, he was called upon to take the court with 2 minutes left in the final home game. It was obvious that the opponent helped Kevin initially, but as Grow warmed up…he needed no help at all. In his 2 minutes Kevin knocked down three 3 point shots and ended with 14 points in all. Just an awesome story!
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I think a good product would be "Baby Duck Hat". It's a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.
I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "I'm off the team, aren't I?" "Well," said Coach, "you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you're wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times." It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...
This guy is an Awesome GM. He just gets it . keep up the good work Ben
It’s been a week after Thanksgiving hope everybody had a good one.
Let’s get into it right away. Two fan favorites have left the Red Sox and I can see bothsides . It simply breaks down into the business of baseball. I think most Red Sox fans expected that Jacoby Elsbury would test the Free Agent market and get his pay day. The Red Sox offered 5 years probably more than they wanted too. GM ben Cherrington isn’t Theo Epstein. Cherrington wasn’t going to give a 30 year old outfielder with injury problems more than 5 years and I’m guessing he was reluctant to offer 5 but that was probably the minimum it would take to keep Elsbury. I also think the Red Sox basically didn’t want end up tied down with another Carl Crawford type deal.
Which the Yankees very well might have IfElsbury keeps his injury track record up. The Yankees will efgt a few good years out of Elsbury. A decent bat and great speed and good defense. As far as Elsbury is concerned really can’t blame him for taking his payday. This was it and it will probably be the only huge contract he gets and it’s amonster. The kid plays hard when he is healthy and the lst couple injuries were kid of freaky. I wish him all the best he created some good memories as a Red Sox.
As far as Jarrod Saltalamaccia goes the Sox offered him 2years . he wanted 3 looks like he will be a nice fit for the Marlins. He calls a decent game has a good bat and his arm is fair to slightly below average. He got a decent pay day for a catcher. 3yrs 22 million. And he moves back to his native Florida. He is a kid I hope does well no matter where he plays. Of course he will go from playing in front of 40K every night to playing in front of 400 . But hey not everytonehas the intensity of Boston night in and night out.
The Sox will use AJ Pryzinski just signed to a 1year deal and David Ross as catchers while they develop a couple of kids in the minors that are a year or two away . they also have Ryan Lavarnway who has major league expierence.
High School Football Strange Story
This is a bizaire story out of Lunnenberg Massachusetts. A 13 year old football player on the high school team who says he was a victim of hazing and the Football team was blamed for spray painting racial slurs on the families home. The Lunenberg School District forfeited the last two football games of the year meaning the seniors never got their final game on Thanksgiving which is tradition here in Massachusetts. While it turns out that the kids mother may have wrote the slurs as a hoax. Nobody understands way but she is the focus of both the police and FBI investigations as the lead subject. Basically she managed to screw the football team. I’m not sure if she thought they were picking on her son or what the reason was for her doing it. But a bunch of innocent kids paid the price for her actions. High School Football means a lot to the kids who play it . they work hard all year as do thcoaches it’s just a shame these kids lost out the hands of an adult. The truth and the reason why will eventually come out.
According to one member of the Houston Texas Antonio Smith accused the Patriots of spying and knowing the Texans plays.. he later apoligzed. Hey Smitty how about your on an awful team and you played against a coach that actually coaches and game plays and breaks down film and leaves nothing to chance other than the players on the field. Let’s face it . You won’t see Belachick standing on the field in the middle the play pretending he is watching a scoreboard but that’s a conversation for the competition committee.
Middle Lanz had a pair of games on the weekend.. He played Saturday Night at *:15 and returned to the rink Sunday morning for a 7:10am Game, They won both the only saving grace is the team they played Sunday morning . Played the game after them Saturday Night. They won both games and are 9-2 on the season.
Lil lanz was complaining on the way to his game that they never win at the rink they were playing in. They ended winning 5-1 Lil Lanz had a solid game. Getting a bunch of shots off and a couple of assists. They won upping their record to 4-5-1
My friend Pete called me this week and he wanted to know what kind of Laundry Detergent they use in Missouri.
MY apologies for this being late forgot to set the am button on the scheduling dooh hickey set for 4pm instead of 4am
He claims the kids white uniform is the whitiest aand the Chiefs red uniform is the brightest red.. I think he is right. What you think?
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. One beautiful thing about being a sports fan is that we are given endless controversial plays to discuss. This past weekend of football featured two pivotal plays that have fans loudly debating the accuracy and logic of NFL officiating. The NFL has made it clear that they want to protect their players and especially those under center. There is no doubt that Ahmad Brooks whacked Drew Brees very hard…which is his job. In truth, it appears to me that he did his job too well. The force that Brooks arm impacted upon Brees had Drew’s head attempting to separate from his body. Or as Brees put it, “I went go go gadget neck"…and compared himself to a crash dummy. In truth, the reality is that the NFL would rather flag a play that is close than lose Brees, Brady or Manning for the season. Like it or not, this is now the reality of professional football. We can all argue that Brooks did not hit Brees in the head or neck but in the chest…officials have been instructed to throw the flag when it is close. The interesting thing is that against Brady or Manning, the same hit would probably not been penalized. The hit that rode into the neck of Brees, would have been six inches lower on other NFL QBs.
Change is often difficult to accept, but players and fans must understand that what was once a great play will now draw a penalty. In truth, there was more to San Francisco losing this game than the questionable penalty on Brooks. The play that stands out just as much to me was the wide open pass dropped by Gore in the flat. If he catches the ball, it was a huge gain…if not a score. It would seem that instead of fuming about this penalty, this group should put the play behind them and get ready to play the Redskins. I still think that the 49ers best football is ahead of them and their next game against the Redskins would be a very good time to begin a nice winning stretch. I am still very much looking forward to the rematch with the Seahawks and 49ers in San Francisco in early December.
The other big play that has everyone talking is the interference penalty that was not. For the world, it looked like Tom Brady would rescue the Pats with a last second comeback. The comeback was waved off by a very confusing call. There is one thing that I have learned over the years…if it looks and quacks like a duck, it is usually a duck. The mugging of Gronk in the end zone could have been called face guarding, holding or interference. How is it possible that it was none of the above? I know that there is no guarantee that the Pats score from the 1, but they should have had the opportunity. This was a very hard hitting, good football game that was ruined by the non-call. There is no question that Carolina is for real this year. There is one thing that I admire about the Patriots…they have already put this play behind them. They know that they cannot change what has happened and are preparing for their next game.
Another thing I took away from this game was that Steve Smith is a bad man. He may be small in stature, but the dude is not afraid to bring it. His one liner leaving the field was a classic…
The Bronco and KC game was pretty much what I expected. The Broncos jumped out early and did just enough to prevent the conservative Chiefs from ever really doing enough to threaten Denver. It has been said repeatedly that KC has not really been tested this year…now they have. There is no shame in losing in Denver, it is one of the toughest home venues in the league…as I said here last week, regrouping at 9 and 1 is not necessarily a bad thing. One thing that KC should take away from their game on Sunday is that Denver did not really run away and hide. The Chiefs have a great defense and do a good job running Jamaal Charles…but they really need a receiver to step up. Dwayne Bowe and Avery just do not do it for me, but they are the choices. Alex Smith does a very good job of managing the game, but needs some help. If KC expects to be successful the rest of the way, they must find a way to become more explosive on offense. . I know that most will talk about the rematch in two weeks against Denver, but they should be very careful not to overlook San Diego. The Chargers are not an easy team to run on and if Rivers gets going, he could be tough to stop.
Were you surprised that Tim Hudson signed with the Giants? I was…not so much that the Giants signed Hudson, but that the Braves did not re-sign him. Hudson was really on a roll when the freak injury sidelined him last summer. He was such a leader on the Brave’s team that I guess I just assumed that he would remain with them. Somehow, the Braves manage to let a Glavine or Smoltz go only to wind up with another talented arm ready to take their place. I guess, I can’t question this move…but it sure does seem like the Giants took a big early step forward for 2014.
I know that Yasiel Puig does many different things that annoy fans. From the bat flip to sometimes throwing to the wrong base…Puig has made a definite splash in baseball, but has earned himself a large number of detractors as well. This week, Puig did something that I thought was worthy of a mention. Puig entertained 50 Los Angeles youths this week at Dodger Stadium. Many of these kids who had never been to Dodger Stadium before…were allowed to play baseball on the field, and then were invited with their parents to tour the dugout and clubhouse. Once in the clubhouse, Puig hosted everyone with a meal of Dodger Dogs. There will be those that say Puig set this up for the cameras, but for the kids involved, I suspect they could care less why thy they were invited. Great job Yasiel…
I called my brother in Buffalo this week to wish him a happy birthday. In our visit we got to talking about the goof ball that tried to slide down the stadium rail during last Sunday’s football game. The guy has been banned from ever attending another Bills game and has been fired from his PR job. My brother also heard that a law suit was coming from the guy that he landed on. Although he is lucky to be alive, this is one stupid act that the guy will be living with for quite some time. Both fans involved in this accident were treated and released from the hospital. For those of you that missed the stunt…here it is:
If you have been reading my blog very long, you know that I love fishing over any other sport. Most of us that fish, grew up catching sunfish or perch, right? The cane pole and bobber adorned with a juicy worm was the required tools for any young fisherman. Whenever I hear mention of sunfish, I am immediately taken back to my youth and great times watching my bobber disappear. When I saw the picture of this sunfish, my happy thoughts regarding sunfish quickly vanished. Ugh...what an ugly fish! The beautiful sunfish that we all know has a very ugly relative living in Jamaica. Two fishermen hooked this bad boy and after a lengthy fight, managed to subdue this mutant sunfish. After almost sinking their boat, these fishermen managed to haul the fish into their boat and slowly head to shore. In case you ever head to Boston Bay in Jamaica, leave your cane pole and bobber at home...
This is what a 900 lb sunfish looks like. The fishermen initially thought it was an alien. Can you blame them?
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up.
If you're a horse, and someone gets on you, and falls off, and then gets right back on you, I think you should buck him off right away.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
The NFL opens up tonight in Denver with the Bronco’s, this years and last years sexy pick taking on the not so sexy defending SB Champions Baltimore Ravens.
Flacco vs Peyton…got to go with the crusty old veteran and his corp of very talented receivers.
The Broncos picked up some extra incentive with SB Joe’s picture being displayed around the Mile High City.
My first prediction of the new season: Broncos 27 Ravens 24
a few stats of note:
Manning 2 TD’s and 285 yards passing
Flacco 1 TD, 1 pick 240 yards passing
Rice 1TD one fumble
NFL predictions with ole Shorty
using the vast resources allotted him by his underworld connections
he now reveals the rest of the NFL opening weekend
Bengals 28 Bears 20
Patriots 31 Bills 17
Falcons 37 Saints 34 OT
Steelers 21 Titans 10
Lions 31 Vikings 21
Colts 24 Raiders 9
Browns 23 Dolphins 17
Panthers 23 Seahawks 21
Chiefs 21 Jaguars 7
Bucs 17 Jets 9
49 ers 31 Packers 27
Rams 38 Cardinals 21
Cowboys 30 Giants 21
Redskins 27 Eagles 17
Texans 21 Chargers 6
Now the other real games…
The Yougab fantasy league starts tonight as well and in my first match up I’m taking on Qwazier and her Steel City Rollers…or is that the Dawgs…sorry Qwa
I’m not trash talking, I need to be careful I’m the newbie here in the league.
I’ll save my trash talking for the harrymensleague that includes my sons, some friends and my daughter in law
just watch out for my Ramblers
One last footnote on the Tebow Era in New England:
The cut down last weekend to 53 players showed the end of QB Tim Tebow as #5 in your Patriots program, shirts are not redeemable at the pro shop.
Another guy we love is leaving town as well…
Mayor mumbles isn't too popular in Detroit these days, The Mayor and people of Detroit took exception to Mumbles "I'd blow it up and start over"
comment last week. Menino said after he's sorry if he offended anyone with his comment, what he ment was that they should find out what the problems are and start from the bottom up to fix them'
the actual transcript looked like this:
Menino speaking " I ahhh I wanna poligise tah the mahair ah Deroui fah sain I woulda blowed up the cee and started ovah. It's a fine cee and a good spahts town what with the Lions the Tigahas and theBeahs and the Redbirds they ahh rite behind us in Bashan with winnin. Ya gotta love Deroui"
Mumbles Menino hardly had a chance to butcher Timmy’s name, what a shame.
but wait...Mumbles does have new
TE Jack Rumsfeld and
Denver WR Wes Wekler’s replacement, Donny Magdolia to work with,
not to mention Brady’s strong protection on the left side,
old stand bys Logan Airport and Nate Sailor.
And I’m sure the Mayor will take a shot at the Defense
With big DT Vic Woolworth, LB Rodney Mayo and CB Alex Talib leading the way to another victory prade in the famous Duckboats on the Chalsrivah and on the streets in the cec of Bahsan.
The Truth is, we are gonna miss the Mayor, he's been mayor of Boston for 3 Patriot Super Bowls wins, 2 Red Sox World Championships, a Celtics NBA Championship and a Bruins Stanley Cup. Thanks Mayor.
MLB, brief update,
Boston leads Tampa by 5.5 and 8 over the Yankees and Baltimore
Detroit leads Cleveland by 8
Texas and Oakland tied.
Wildcard leaders are Texas or Oakland and Tampa
Atlanta by 15 over Wash
Pittsburgh by 2 over St louis and 3.5 over Cincinnati
LA by 12 over Arizona
Wildcard leaders are St Louis and Cincy
My closing words today are from the late Martin Luther King Jr.
( from his last sermon (Atlanta, February 1968),
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a well sung song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought. If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought. If I can spread the message as the master taught, then my living will not be in vain."
His living was surely not in vain.
have a great day and enjoy the Football weekend
don’t forget to check out Lanz right next door…I think his vacation is over…