Friday, July 29, 2011

Peter King and the Outlaw Josey Wales.

Actually, if you've ever seen the move, Josey Wales was a peaceful, law-abiding citizen until he got screwed over by the Feds and went postal. Sound familiar?  But that was just a movie. Make-believe stuff.

On the other hand, Peter King, Sports Illustrated's pro football "guru", is very real, and recently said he counts the Detroit Lions amongst his surprise picks to contend for the Super Bowl. I'll go along with that.

If they get to the Super Bowl, let alone win it, not only would I be surprised, I'd be amazed, incredulous, dumbfounded, and thunderstruck. What comes after thunderstruck? I dunno, but count me all in for whatever it is.

Yet I suppose anything's possible.

The Klingons could invade Planet Earth tomorrow.

Jesse Jackson could present the Grand Imperial Wizard of the KKK with a lifetime achievement award.

Rush and Hiillary could go skinny-dipping together.

Jim Leyland could host Saturday Night Live.

Tiger Woods could play a golf tournament and be completely ignored by the media.

I could get a million pageviews on this blog post.

All theoretically possible -- but I wouldn't bet on it.

As for PK of SI? I've been a longtime subscriber of that mag, and have checked out his picks over the years. For some reason, every time I look at the results, I think of Matt Millen. Let's just say that while he may be highly respected by some people for his so-called expertise -- I'm not one of them.

PK's got a sweet gig at SI and I think he should stay there. If he'd wanted to make big bucks, he could have tried his hand at being a REAL handicapper in Vegas. Thing is, the wise-guys seem to have this pesky little policy whereby you're supposed to get a lot more right than you get wrong. Given what I've seen of King's picks over the years, he might have been sleeping with the fishes by now.

Like Josey once said -- "A man's got to know his limitations."

It appears Peter King has figured that out.

Too bad the overkoolaided local media can't seem to come to grips with the same thing regarding the Lions.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Speaking of drugs. 2

We've had it backwards all along. While the politicians were/are trying to hold athletes such as Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, etc feet to the fire about steroids and the like -- it's all been bass-ackwards.

If anybody needs performance enhancing drugs -- it's THE POLITICIANS.

The thought here is they need some injections. How about starting off with massive doses of human growth hormone to make them start acting like adults rather than spoiled children?

Exceptions would have to be made -- of course. No testosterome for Sarah Palin. That could get scary.

And Boehner gets an exemption. I don't know what he may have got into once upon a time, but I think it's a safe bet to say you don't turn orange because you smoked too much weed. Whatever it was, he's had enough.

Halcyon is a potent drug. It's a little bitty pilll that puts one into a state of "conscious sedation". You're walking and talking, but basically you don't have a clue what's going on, and have no remembrance of it later (kinda like writing this blog). On doctor's orders I took a couple of those before an oral surgery a while back. They work -- or so I was told by a lady friend that was nice enough to drive me to and from the office.

Give those to the talking heads on the 4-letter network. Wonder if we'd be able to tell the difference?

The scariest thought of them all?

Caputo on speed.

Speaking of drugs. 1

I'm thinking maybe a few local media folks need to start "dropping", (being urine tested for illegal substances in their bodies).

Now far be it from me to get snooty over drug use, because back in college I did a little "esperimenting". But that was a long time ago, and that stuff wore off -- I think.

Beats me what sorts of mind-altering drugs are available on the streets these days, but it appears a few reporters have tapped into it.

Why do I say that?

Because they're mentioning the Detroit Lions and the word "formidable" in the same sentence.

Whatever it is they're taking has just GOT to be illegal. And if it isn't -- it damn sure ought to be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jahvid the Nutt

So Jahvid Best, a running back for the Detroit Lions, supposedly couldn't get into the players' parking lot because he forgot his code? That's funny.

The apologists are quick to point out that it's been a long time since he needed it. Hogwash.

I highly doubt this is some 15 or 20 digit number like a Swiss bank account. If it was, NONE of the players would be able to get in. Chances are, it's more like a 4-digit PIN for an ATM. Bet Jahvid doesn't forget THAT one.

The coaches expect this guy to memorize a couple hundred page playbook, and he can't remember how to get into the parking lot?

I take it back. That's not funny.

That's hilarious.

Only the Lions could have a story like this.

Brandon Inge. Throw da bum out

It appears Brandon Inge's baseball career is approaching it's end. To which I say -- it's about time.

How that guy ever lasted for 10 years on the Detroit Tigers doing what he did, and raking in tens of millions of dollars, is mind-boggling. Let's count the ways.

Yep, a few years ago, he hit over 30 home runs, then signed a long-term contract for a ridiculous amount of guaranteed money.  Yet he never came anywhere close to driving in 100 RBIs, and it's been diwnhill ever since.

He was a slow runner and always struck out a lot.

His career batting average is about .230. Sorry, but major-league 3rd basemen are expected to generate more offense. There's PITCHERS in the National League that hit better than that.

Detroit Tiger fans will say he was a fantastic defensive player with his glove and arm. Really? He never won a "Gold Glove", so evidently others were better than he was. Besides, Inge is the guy Tiger fans saw on TV everyday. What they don't seem to realize is all the other major league 3rd basemen were making the same plays, but they seldom saw them. And those guys could hit.

A few years ago, the Tigers made Inge a catcher, which was his original position, BTW.  He hated it, and whined, whimpered and cried his way back into playing 3rd base. I thought it was incredible that he was still in the major leagues at all, yet the club gave in and let him have his way. I began to wonder if maybe Inge had a video of the manager or somebody in the front office doing something they shouldn't have been doing.

A fan favorite? That was likely due to the fact Inge appointed himself as a spokesman to the press. He always had something to say, while the good players quietly went about their business. Hell, these days, a lizard, a duck, cavemen, and osme goofy lady selling insurance out of shoeboxes at a sanitarium are spokespeople. Maybe the Tigers should sign them too. If they went up to the plate and swung hard 3 times, they probably hit as good as Inge. For that matter, Ronald McDonald was a fan favorite as well, at Mickey D's, and they sure as hell draw a lot more people every year than the Tigers. That didn't mean he could hit, though. Inge is like Santa Claus. He has maybe one good day a year when he shines, but other than that, what good  s he?
Mercifully, Brandon's back in the minor leagues. Yet he's still guaranteed almost $12 million bucks over the next 2 years. That's crazy.

Here's what I know. I don't want to hear any more whining coming out of Inge. To put that in perspective, 6 million bucks a year comes to a little over $16,000 a day -- EVERT DAY -- 365. For that kind of money, I'd  go play Tee-Ball with the Taliban. I'd only have to last a couple months, and I'm good for life. I might even consider asking my ex-wife out to a fancy dinner for old times sake. Hmmm. Nah, probably not. They'd have to pay me A-Rod money for that.

About 70 years ago, Lou Gehrig, after having been stricken with ALS, made his famous speech at Yankee Stadium saying he was, "the luckiest man alive". It was a tear-jerker.

These days, that dubious honor may have passed to one Brandon Inge, for vastly different reasons.

I don't see anybody crying about this.

And why is it every time I see his mug I think of an old VW beetle with the doors open? I dunno, but back in the day they had flowers on them -- not tats. Most of them stunk too, but again, for different reasons.

Must have been the incense. Right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The owners and players reached a new collective bargaining agreement. After 4 months of constant newsprint, on-line chatter, godzillatera bytes from talking heads, decertification, lokouts, law suits, lawyers, judges, and "anonymous" sources -- it's finally done.

This should come as a surprise to nobody. You name the union and/or the company come contract time, and they'll screw around for weeks or months trying to score PR points, while accomplishing nothing.

Then magically, just before their carriage is due to turn into a pumpkin, or more realistically start taking money out of their OWN pockets -- presto -- a deal will be struck. It leaves one to wonder -- so what in the hell was all that BS for the last few months about?

It's kinda like the federal government right now. We have Obama dude playing a game of chicken with Agent Orange from Ohio. While trying to hash out another CBA of a sort, they would have us believe our country is approaching Armageddon as the clock ticks down to doomsday.

I don't believe a word of it. Like the NFL, they'll work it out because they have to. Failure is not an option, and all that crap.

It's interesting to think of the alternatives. Had the NFL folks not reached an agreement, there would be no pro football. People would be disappointed, but they'd move on to other things.

The feds going on strike? That's a joke. Cut off the paychecks and perks to everybody in Congress, everybody in the White House, the Supremes along with all the other judges, the millions of bureaucrats, and especially the IRS.

Thet'd have an agreement in 5 minutes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Liking Cadel Evans in the yellow jersey

Kinda cool having an Aussie win the Tour de France. We Yanks have had our years with the likes of Armstrong and Lemond; the French and Spaniards have had their fair share of glory as well. But this is the first Aussie, and I'm happy for him and his country.

Just a hunch, but I'm thinking when Cadel gets home, one problem he WON'T have is finding some mighty fine "sheilas" to spend a little quality time with. While he'd  probably pass on the boring flat stages, a whole new perspective might be gained about going up and down mountains. Time trials could get interesting too. Nothing like staying in shape, right?


Or was that Joe Hachem, that won the World Series of Poker a while back? No matter. Bet he did OK too.

I can do without the crocs, but wish they'd export their variety of football over here.

Now THAT'S a man's game.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick Shot 4. Tiger's caddy

Steve Williams, Eldrick's long time caddy, just got kicked to the curb, and he's not happy. I don't care.

Here's a guy that made his living fixing divots, polishing clubs, probably shining shoes, and running interference for his massuh while humping a golf bag.  Lord knows he washed a lot of balls over the years.
Kind of a modern day Steppen Fetchit in reverse, except the black comedic actor from long ago wasn't arrogant.
By the way, most estimates have Williams making somewhere around 8-10 million dollars for being Tiger's boy.

Don't go away mad, Stevie. Just git.

Quick Shot 3. A commercial

Clicked on the Tour de France just in time to hear the following comment, accompanied by a full-screen logo, of course.

"This race is brought to you 'commercial free' by Nissan".

I know they think we're dumb. Do they think we're THAT dumb?

Quick Shot 2. Mario and Rod

Overheard from those loveable Tiger announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen----

"He wasn't anticipating a wild pitch".

Well, gee. I thought everybody knew when one of those was coming.

C'mon Fox. Are these guys the best you can do?

Quick Shot 1. Kobe

Kobe Bryant's talking about playing in Turkey. I don't care if he plays in turkey, hamburg, bologna, or pastrami on rye. In fact, I don't care if he plays at all.

Quick question -- what's he ever done for me except serve as a minor irritant?

Quick answer -- Nuttin'.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Le Tour de France.

Since Lance Arnstong retired, most Americans don't have a horse in this race. But there's some very strange things going on.

Did I see that right or was it a replay from years past? Some car, whether a "chase" vehicle for a cyclist, TV folks, or maybe security people, driving alongside the pack, then suddenly veering to the right, side-swiping a couple of riders? They crash immediately into the rider to their right, which crashes into another one, and it's like dominoes. The guys on the outside get pushed into a ditch. Trailing riders get caught up in it like a NASCAR crash at Daytona without all the built in safety gear. Arms and legs flailing as they hit the pavement, or trees, and hopefully don't roll over cliffs.

I don't know what they do in France to the driver of that car, but in America, they would be charged with multiple counts of felonious negligent operation of a motor vehicle causing serious injury, and likely wind up with a prison term. Yet nothing happened. Must have been a cop.Only they could get away with that. Maybe France isn't so different after all.

Without getting into the drug issue that's plagued the Tour de France for many years, I dare say those guys devote their young lives to this, train like maniacs, and are the epitome of fitness.

They monitor everything. Their diet, body-fat, respiration, pulse rate, blood pressure, and probably other things we don't even know about. Lance Armstrong was once said to sleep in an oxygen-poor tent at night, so when he woke up the next morning for another leg of the race, his cardio-vascular system would overcompensate trying to make up the loss of oxygen when exposed to the natural atmosphere, hence making his bloodstream oxygen-rich -- giving him a temporary boost. If so -- now THAT S being serious about having the tiniest advantage.

I doubt anyone would claim the Tour de France cyclists aren't in tip-top shape. They push themselves to the absolute limits of endurance. Whether it's flat stages, time trials, or up and down the Pyrenees and Alps, in blistering heat or pouring down rain, it's almost a super-human effort and every llittle thing counts.

So why do so many cars and motorcycles associated with the race pull right in front of those world class athletes and force them to inhale exhaust fumes?  Doesn't that seem a little nuts? Try riding 10 or 20 miles, let alone over a hundred,  on your bicycle in rarified air while dodging pedestrians and breathing exhaust fumes. Theh go get some blood-work done immediately. I'm thinking your doctor, upon seeing the results, might want to ask you a few questions too.

And why do the French add so many letters to words that aren't pronounced? Take "Champs Elysees", where the tour finally ends, for example. They pronounce it Shahm Eely Say. Why not just call it Champ Boulevard? English speaking announcers often refer to the "peleton". Gimme a break. It's the pack. And what, pray tell, does riding on "his cups" mean anyway? They have more than one? I understand testoeterone is a big deal with these guys, but multiple cups is getting a little ridiculous..Or largely ridiculous. Or something.

At any rate, I wish all those riders well and may the best poor emaciated devil ride into Paris in a couple days for all the glory that awaits him.

As for me? Forget bicycles. Lately, it's been too damned hot to even ride the Harley.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and pissed off people

It was never about steroids -- it was about lying -- and that's a joke.

Did Bonds and/or Clemens take steroids and/or other performance enhancing drugs? I don't know, and unless you were in the room to see it and knew EXACTLY what might be in a pill, cream, or needle -- you don't know either. Even if they did, there was nothing illegal about it at the time anyway. No, it's not about that.

It's about politicians being outraged that somebody might dare lied to them in their own House, or Senate. If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is. Some of those people will go on national TV, look straight into the camera, and lie to millions of viewers. They'll  lie about the opposite party. Come primary time, they'll lie about people within their OWN party. They'll lie to their constituents back home. They'll lie about slush funds, bribes, and other corruption. They'll even lie to their wives and kids for years about a mistress or girlfriend, until they get exposed (ignore the pun). Not ao amazingly -- they don't get prosecuted.

In a nutshell, a pack of liars is trying to hold others accountable for possibly lying to them. While doing so, they'll routinely sic another pack of cops, investigators and prosecutors on the defendant(s). All of this runs into millions of taxpayer dollars. They have an unlimited budget and don't care. In an ironic sort of way, besides paying exorbitant sums to legal eagles to defend them, defendants are also subsidizing a small part of their own prosecution through their taxpayer dollars. One would think that in a perfect world, the IRS would offer some sort of deduction for that, but alas, they seem to suffer from the same affliction that ailed the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and my ex-wife. Ahem.

The point is -- people are getting pissed at the hypocrisy of it all. Besides getting dragged into jury duty they don't want, and possibly being sequestered for days, weeks, or months, they may only ever hear "selected"evidence while both the prosecution and defense are lying away. In the meantime, prejudcied talking heads will yap away on TV and social networks. Yep, it's become a joke.

Yet maybe there's a positive sign coming out of all this nonsense. Despite expending thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, the feds crashed and burned at the Barry Bonds trial. Could they have learned from that?

Maybe. Consider the Clemens' trial was for basically the same reason. Allegedly lying. Throw in questionable evidence, shady prosecutorial witnesses that would be blown up on cross-examination, and a few subpoonaed athletes that really didn't want to be there, and what happened?

A mistrial, just as it got started. The prosecution threw something out to the jury that the judge said was highly prejudicial and would undermine a fair trial. The judge went on to say even a first year law student would have known better than that. So after all the time, energy, and money that they devoted to it -- why would the feds do something so seemingly boneheaded?

Maybe because, given current public sentiment about any and all things having to do with the feds, they suspected they couldn't win and didn't want to suffer the embarrassment of another Bonds outcome being trumpeted world-wide.

In the meantime, the tainted evvidence the jury wasn't supposed to hear has gone viral. The judge has scheduled a hearing for September to decide whether to hold a new trial. Don't count on it. Where will they possibly find an unbiased jury? If there's one thing the politicians understand, it's publicopinion as an election year draws close. They wouldn't dare. It's over.

As for me? I hope Roger and Barry did what they were accused of. Looking a bunch of liars in the eyes, lying right back to them, and getting away with it.

The stodgy old sports traditionalists will look down their nose, throw out the usual snide comments, and attach asterisks to their stats.

For what they've already done, in more ways than one, they're in my Hall of Fame.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top Ten fantasy list

Some of the following can never happen, and the rest are likely improbable, but if Brandon Inge can make 7 or 8 million bucks a year for what he does -- then anything's possible.

This is my own personal wish list (for now), and if you can think of better ones -- lay em on me. Who knows? There's been sequels made of dumber things -- I think.

10) Jim Leyland actually laugh.
 9)  Matt Millen apologize to Detroit Lion fans.
 8)  New Pistons' owner Tom Gores changing DTE Theatre back to Pine Knob.
 7)  Just one week without hearing the name Lebron or Tiger.
 6)  Joey Chestnut walking into a $10 all-you-can-eat coney joint with a serious appetite.
 5)  Kyle Busch trying those same racing tactics with Dale Earnhart Sr.
 4)  Lions' owner William Clay Ford on the sidelines at a game acting like he cares.
 3)  Meadowlark Lemon giving so many little kids a lifetime memory -- one more time.
 2)  A sports telecast of any sort that isn't sponsored by a Japanese car company.

And the #1 thing on my wish list in the sports world?

Danica Patrick waking up one day soon with Serena Williams' cup size.

That would most definitely "start the gentlemen's engines".

Friday, July 15, 2011

A look at the dark side. What happens if....

Maybe there's too many rules. You name the sport and there's umpteen thousand rules that go along with it. The PGA, NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and others have libraries full of rules. There's so many rules that sometimes people don't even know they're breaking them. This is out of control.

As an example, pretend you never heard of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, and ask yourself this-- wasn't it fun watching the likes of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds club all those home runs at the time?

Maybe we should get rid of the rules. It sure would be a lot cheaper. Chemists are hard at work developing new untraceable drugs, labs look for ways to detect them, the chemists counter with masking agents, the labs re-counter, and on it goes. All of this costs an enormous sum of money. In the end, guess who winds up paying for it? You do.

Let athletes take whatever they want to. Baseball players hitting 100 home runs? Bring it on. Nowhere is the drug snafu more prevalent than the Tour De France, currently underway. I find it boring, but if those guys started peddling UP a steep mountain at 80 MPH, it would certainly get my attention. Maybe then, they could get on a real TV network. As long as they know what they're getting into, I have no problem with that. If their heads explode when they're 40 years old, then hey -- I hope they had a good time for a few years.

Same with football. Too many rules. Let a defensive lineman start helmet-slapping an offensive lineman, like they used to, and the guard or tackle will get his arms and hands up where they should have been anyway. Hence, no more holding calls. Want to eliminate "cheap shots"? Cut the tops off the helmets. It might look weird, but nobody would lead with their head anymore. And what other purpose does it serve, anyway? Nobody lands on top of their head, and it would keep them cooler, too boot.

Hockey? Get rid of the linesmen. For that matter, get rid of the lines. One ref whose only job is to keep track of how many guys are on the ice. Forget the penalties. They'll even out in the long run. Let them use whatever sort of sticks they want. And lose those nets behind the goals that are there to protect fans. If a fan wants to sit there -- and a 90 MPH puck hits them in the mouth -- well -- they should have been paying attention.

The only rules I see in the NBA are the stars get preferential treatment. We can do without that.

While we're at it, how about scrapping all this golf etiquette nonsense? Besides Manny and Floyd, wouldn't you love to see Phil and Tiger throw down just one time and get it over with?

NASCAR? When a couple of those boys have a feud, they use their cars to settle the dispute. That just costs their sponsors a bunch of money to fix the cars. If they want to come across as macho, then they should walk the walk. One word. Octagon.

The NCAA might as well give it up chasing infractions by this coach or violations by that school. Much like a local sheriff might crow about a small drug bust to the press, while the REAL players glance at the news and smirk, the NCAA will trumpet their latest sanctions and penalties on UNameit State. What they don't seem to realize is while they're busy plugging holes in an outdated dam, the tsunami has come and gone, and is regrouping. All those investigators don't work for free either. That filters down to higher ticket prices and concessions. So why should I care if a some rich "boosters" want to give a talented athlete some cash or a car? I don't. It would be a disadvantage to smaller schools? Get real. With a few exceptions, football is the elephant in the room when it comes to college sports' revenue. No matter how good a team might be from a smaller school, they're already locked out of glory anyway. It's called the BCS.

Of course, none of this will ever take place. It would make a lot of bureaucrats and paper pushers go get a real job, and we all know that will never happen.

Thing is -- the rules are making things boring. Let's try it without them for a while. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn't. One way to find out.

Yet in all honesty, I have to confess I liked the rules that slam-dunked that red-vested weasel in Columbus.

But that was just me..  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to fix the All-Star game. It ain't Playboy bunnies

The major league baseball All-Star game is a shell of it's former self. Pitchers like Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia couldn't participate because they didn't have enough "rest" since their last start, and even a baseball icon like Derek Jeter opted out -- evidently because he'd rather have the time off. Scribes and talking heads have used up a lot of trees and sound bytes raising hell about this, but none of them seem to have any ideas on how to fix it. I do.

1) Instead of 3 days, pick a week in July and set aside 8 days for the All-Star game. The last regular season games prior to the break will be played on a Saturday. The All-Star game itself will be played on the following Wednesday. That would give all pitchers almost 4 days rest. Besides, the most they have to go is 2 innings anyway. When the game is done, everybody gets about 5 days rest before the regular season resumes the following Monday. Also, it would give the players ample time to spend with family, go party, or whatever it is they wanted to do.

2) That would necessitate making an already too long season even longer, you say? I'm not sure starting a couple days earlier and ending a couple days later would be that big a deal anyway, but there's a better way. Have each team play one doubleheader every month throughout the season, and presto, that problem goes away. I think the poor dears could handle the terrible strain that would put on them, ahem, and the fans would love it.

3) Years ago, players voted on the All-Stars. Nobody knows players better than fellow players.They got it right.  Nowadays,  fans do the voting. Big market teams have an advantage. More people, more votes. While it's technically democratic, it often turns into a popularity contest that has little to do with how well a particular player is performing that year. Then again, the fans are the ones paying for everything in the end, no pun intended, so if they want to vote Alfred E. Neuman in as the starting shortstop, that should be their prerogative. Chances are he wouldn't show up either, but let's leave the voting process alone for now.

4) Now the toughie. What about the guys that are voted in, whether they deserve it or not, like Derek Jeter, that decide not to show up? (BTW, Jeter said he was too "mentally exhausted" to go to Phoenix, but somehow he manged to get to Miami -- go figure). A Commissioner with some kahunas, and obviously Bud-Man is not the guy, could solve that problem. A fine. Not the ordinary run-of-the-mill $10 or $25  thousand. To a guy making Jeter money, that's laughable. Why not do something that would get his attention? Base it on the fan voting. If he got a million votes and didn't show up -- that's what the fine is. A buck for each fan that voted for him. This would go to charity. However, it would be collected by the league as a fine and donated to the charity of THEIR choice -- not Jeter's -- so he doesn't get the tax write-off either. Now THAT woudl get his attention. Some hunky rookie phenom that's tearing up the league got about the same number of votes that he's due to make in dollars for the second half of the season? It wouldn't matter if a 100 Playboy bunnies were begging him for some "private time" on a desert island.

Do the math. He'd be at the game. Trust me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Derek Jeter, 3000 hits, and a very bad idea

Congrats to Derek Jeter on joining the 3000 hit club. That's quite an accomplishment. Yet somehow it seems strange. Love them or hate them, the NY Yankees are the most storied franchise in the history of baseball. As such, they have had many Hall of Fame players over those many years. It seems hard to believe that Jeter is the first one to reach that milestone. A quick look at a few names....

The Mick? 18 seasons and 2415 hits.
Yogi? 19 and 2150.
The Babe? Yeah, he spent a couple years as a pitcher in Boston before somebody figured out his bat was more valuable than his arm, but in the end -- 22 seasons and 2873 hits.
Lou Gehrig? The original Iron Man? He "pipped" Wally in 1925, and went on to play 14 seasons with a career batting average of .340, while never missing a game, before ALS struck him down in 1939. Surely he must have had 3000, right? Nope. 2721. His record of 2130 consecutive games played stood for 56 years, which brings me to....

That hitting streak of Joe Dimaggio, a record that still stands and will likely never be broken. The Yankee Clipper played for 13 seasons. Yes, he missed 3 years while doing a military stint during WWII, and he wound up with 2214 career hits. Even had he played through those years and got 200 per season, which are VERY good years, that still wouldn't have put him over the top.

But there's something else that's even stranger about Jeter's 3000th hit. It happened to be a home run that a fan in the left field bleachers wound up with. What did the guy do with the ball? Gave it back to the club and Jeter, while politely suggesting a couple autographed balls and maybe a turkey in return would make him happy, because he's a nice guy. Other than David G, there's nice guys in NYC?  Not sure, but they definitely have at least one gobbler in their midst.

The dude should have taken the ball home, put it in a safety deposit box, told a local sports reporter to contact Jeter, and let him know he could have the ball for, say, $100.000. That's a decent amount of money to most people but chump-change to Jeter. If Jeter refused the initial offer, all the man had to do was wait. Some people have suggested options such as Craig's List, Ebay, a new house, or even Pawn Stars -- please --  but silence would have been best. It was a historic ball, for a historic achievement, that was hit by a certain future Hall of Famer, that plays for the most famous franchise of them all.

They WOULD have called back. Now the price is $150,000 and will go up at the same rate Yankee stadium luxury suites do when the Bosox come to town. Then wait some more.

Chances are, he could have had a suitcase full of money that same day delivered to his door. Of course, he would have paid taxes on all that cash, like every good-hearted New Yorker does, but I'm thinking his net gain could have bought a whole lot of turkeys.

That was pretty dumb. Nobody from Brooklyn or the Bronx is that naive. Dude must have been from Queens. Maybe even Joisey..


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Detroit Lions and moonshine.

They still have an owner in William Clay Ford that never seems to show his face. I suppose that would be OK if the team were winners, or at least competitive, but the Lions have been neither for a very long time. Some say the reins of power have passed to his son, Bill Jr. The only things he seems to show up at are board meetings and an occasional cameo appearance at a car show. It's pretty simple. If the owner doesn't care, then I don't either. After decades of being a loyal fan -- when Barry Sanders walked -- so did I. They won't get another penny of my money until they become consistent winners, and I doubt I'll live that long. Let's take a hard look at them -- right now.

Matthew Stafford has been highly touted as a quarterback, but I can't figure out why. Without going into his injury issues, which have been well-documented, the pundits say he fully grasps the offense, shows leadership, and has a very strong arm. To all of which I say -- so what?

You name a QB in the NFL and I'll guarantee you he knows the plays and takes charge of the offense in the huddle or he wouldn't be there.

The rifle arm thing has always been overrated anyway. It's about putting the ball in the right place at the right time.Consider -- Joe Montana didn't have a particularly strong arm, and look what he accomplished. Conversely, John Elway had a cannon, but he didn't win anything until the very end of his career, when his arm was likely not as strong as in his younger years. Similarly, if a baseball pitcher can throw 100 MPH fastballs but not find the strike zone, or a golfer pounds his drives 350 yards into the woods, I'm thinking they're not going to be overly successful in their professions.

Even with a healthy Stafford, the Lions are fairly easy to analyze. One really good receiver. Nary a single feature running back. A mix and match underachieving offensive line. Sometimes tight ends catch the ball, and sometimes they don't. One really good young defensive lineman, another that's past his prime, and not much else.  A linebacking corps where probably none of them could start for another team. One safety that's hyped a lot, likely because the rest of the secondary often resembles the Keystone Kops. A journeyman punter. One place-kicker that's been excellent for a long time, but is getting old, and another young one that can kick it a mile, but sometimes doesn't know where it's going.

Throw in an underwhelming head coach and his staff, and there you have it.

Remember this. The Lions won their final 4 games last year. They finished at 6-10, which means they were a Millenesque 2-10 before that. So what did you hear then, and even now? Things are looking up. Many are predicting the playoffs. There's even been a couple hopelessly naive morons that have mentioned Super Bowl possibilities.

You've probably heard of such people drinking too much Kool-Aid.

I agree. They need to forget that stuff and start swigging tequila, or Jackie D, or even moonshine. Lots of it. Maybe they'll see things a bit differently.

Couldn't hurt.

PS. Many thanks to my Florida Chrome Cowboy amigo Mel. Kick ass while you're back in the 'hood in NYC for a few days. Always and forever, bro.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Left is right, and right is wrong.

It's not about politics. I hate politics. The placement of male earrings? This is a sports blog, and if I got THAT far off base, the boss, sports editor Jeff Kuehn, might drop on me like Dorothy's house did to the wicked witch of the east -- and I don't need that. Chances are, he'll be too busy catching up after the holiday weekend and won't see this anyway, but when there's a house flying around overhead, it's usually a good idea to stay out of the way. That "one and done" thing can take on a whole new meaning.

No, it's about lefties, aka "southpaws". I tried to research what percentage of people are left-handed, and estimates vary, but about 10% seems to be pretty close. When it comes to sports, sometimes they have an advantage, and sometimes it doesn't matter.

Being left-handed doesn't give Phil Mickelson an edge in golf. Bowling? The left side of the lane doesn't get used as much, but is that an advantage? I dunno. It doesn't seem to apply in basketball, and left-handed pitchers and hitters are commonplace in baseball. Hockey's interesting. Kids grow up to be forwards learning to shoot from both sides -- hence left wings and right wings -- and even centers. But if you're a serious hockey fan, ask yourself this --- how come all the defensemen seem to use right-handed sticks?

But there's sports where being a southpaw is an advantage. Why? Because lefties are used to facing righties, and righties are NOT used to facing lefties. Tennis would probably be at the top of the list. Think of the names over the years. People like Rod Laver, John McEnroe, Jimmie Connors, Monica Seles, and Martina Navratilova won a bushel of championships. More recently Rafael Nadal has dominated men's tennis, and some young lady I never heard of before, one Petra Kvitova, just won Wimbledon. Guess what? She's a leftie. Assuming the 9 to 1 ratio is valid, the probability of all that happening is off the charts.

This is not meant to detract from the skills and dedication of these athletes that enabled them to reach world-class status -- but they had an advantage. They presented a different look to the righties, while the righties were business as usual to them. Where does a rightie find southpaw practice competition?

Thing is, this only applies in head-to-head, mano e mano, or womano e womano competition. All the sports mentioned above besides tennis don't qualify. But boxing does.

A couple examples. "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, one of the best middleweights of all time, was naturally right-handed. He learned how to box left-handed because it gave his opponents a "different look". In his heyday he was destroying everybody. Then he fought "Sugar" Ray Leonard. For those that remember that epic battle, Hagler was clearly the dominant presence going in, but he got cocky, and for the first 2 rounds, turned around and fought right-handed. That was something Leonard was used to. Hagler lost those rounds. Had he won them, he likely would have won the fight and boxing history would look a little different.

As an aside, I was a big Tommy "Hit Man" Hearns fan when I was younger and saw many of his early fights in person. It wouldn't have mattered if he'd been ambidextrous with 4 arms against Hagler. They may have weighed the same, but so does your average wolverine and maybe a small boxer with a nasty bite. (No, not Mike Tyson -- the canine variety of boxer). If they ever fought, let's just say if you were the owner of the dog -- I hope you weren't overly fond of it, because it would get ugly in a hurry, much like that fight did.

In that regard, there's the ultimate question, of course. Why won't Floyd Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao? Yeah, Floyd might have legal problems, but before that, it was about blood testing or urine samples, or whatever excuse his camp could think of.  I don't believe a word of it.. Also, given the astronomical amount of money that fight would generate, it certainly can't be about that. Who would be dumb enough to quibble over a few bucks when the table is covered with C-notes? Well yeah, there's the NFL, but still....

On top of Manny's formidable boxing skills -- he's a leftie. Where's Floyd going to find a sparring partner that can come anywhere near simulating that? He can't. I'm thinking if Pac-Man was a rightie, maybe that fight already happened.
Does any of this make sense? You decide.

I still can't figure out the earring thing. Does that have anything to do with "switch-hitters"? Beats me.

And that house is still flying around somewhere -- lurking.

Maybe this would be easier if I lived in Kansas.