Saturday, July 29, 2017

State of the Tigers

Here's how I see it. The Tigers have dug themselves a hole that will take them years to crawl out of. 
To wit --
Verlander, once an ace, is no more than a journeyman these days with a ridiculous salary. For whatever reason, he no longer even attempts to throw his once-devastating split-finger pitch.

Fulmer has been hailed as great by Detroit pundits, but he's actually little better than average.

Cabrera's triple crown season seems like a long time ago. Of late, his production has nose-dived drastically. Throw in another mega-contract for a player clearly on the back side of his career, and who else would touch him?

Kinsler remains a good, but not great all-around player, but he'll start eroding soon as well.

Waiting for Castellanos to blossom into a force is fool's gold. Ain't gonna happen. He's a .240 hitter and far less than average defensive third baseman.

JD Martinez could hit, but was a defensive liability in rightfield. Now he's gone for prospects that -- well, who knows?

Victor Martinez likely couldn't play for any team but the Tigers. Who needs a 38 year old DH, hitting maybe .250, who is slower than molasses in winter on the basepathes, and can't play a defensive position?

Guys like Romine, Matouk, and Presley are little more than band-aids. The best they can come up with.

Catcher-wise, Avila surprisingly hit well this year, but he's terrible defensively and can't stay healthy. His daddy being the GM certainly works in his favor. A little nepotism anyone? McCann has a great throwing arm but can't hit a lick.

The bullpen remains little more than cannon fodder.

Iglesias is an injury waiting to happen. Always has been.

If there was any doubt about Ausmus lasting beyond this season, it's gone now. He's the lamest of lame ducks, given the Tigers' record, but it's not his fault if he's stuck with a roster of bad news bears players.

The Tigers are now 11 games under .500 and fading fast. Yet I don't see how Avila has many cards to deal.
The farm system was once basically looted in a "go for it now" mentality acquiring short-term free agents. They never got over the hump and the mercenaries have since gone elsewhere.

Yeah, I get it that local scribes are "homers", but it's laughable when they suggest Verlander should have been the Cy Young winner last year with a 16-9 record, while Rick Porcello was chalking up a 22-4 mark for the Bosox. And BTW, what were the Tigers thinking letting that guy, especially considering his young age, get away?

Yep, they've painted themselves into the proverbial corner, and they'll have to pay the price for it in the foreseeable future. The proverbial piper has finally come to collect and he won't be denied.

They're already bad, but this has all the makings of getting uglier than Congress and the White House in years to come.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kyrie Irving is-----

Actually, a lot of things. A great basketball player to be sure.

But also start checking several boxes when it comes to being injury-prone. A finger problem. A bad toe. A broken hand after a moment of stupidity. How about a cheek bone? Let's add a bum knee.

Yep, Kyrie's gone through more than his fair share of medical specialists along the way.

He's also been very fortunate.

Irving wound up at Duke for his freshman college year. Few would doubt Coach K and the university itself are among the elite in the world of college sports. Academic standards have always been high. With the exception of the boys' lacrosse team being wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct a while back -- which was proven to be nothing more than a cruel hoax perpetrated by an incompetent prosecutor and a lying "victim" looking for her 15 minutes and a cha-ching, the Dukies are pretty much squeaky clean when it comes to the world of ethics. You just don't hear about one of Coach K's boys getting in trouble.

But being a typical "one and doner", Irving declared for the NBA draft after one year in Durham. OK, that was his option.

Then he was lucky enough to get picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It could just as easily have been a sad sack team, like Charlotte, Detroit, Sacramento, and a few other back-water places few NBAers really want to go to.

In an incredible stroke of fortune, guess who was on the way to Cleveland as well in the near future? That Lebron guy, and Kevin Love, along with a really good cast of supporting players.

Two years ago, Kyrie Irving was part of an NBA championship team, when the Cavs upset the highly favored Warriors of Golden State. Irving doesn't get that ring without the mega-help that the Cavs had enlisted to play on the same team with him.

Meanwhile, Kyrie's been cruising along making 16, 17, 18, and it will keep going up to 19 and 20 million bucks a year for playing hoops. Throw in endorsements, and it's likely twice that amount. First class airfare, staying in 5 star hotels on the road, limos -- it's all part of the package.

In short, Kyrie has led a blessed life indeed to date. He's also been a "star" player wherever he's gone from high school, college, playing in the Olympics for team USA, etc.

Yep, most would consider this living in the lap of luxury. It surely beats the heck out of pumping septic tanks, super-sizing customers at a fast food drive through window, or being on the road-kill clean-up crew for a local government entity somewhere -- which is about all his "formal" education would otherwise get him.

But now Kyrie has a problem. Playing on a pro team making huge bucks that made the NBA Finals the last three years in a row isn't good enough.

He wants to be more of a "focal point". So he went to Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and asked to be traded. Incredibly, though he has no say-so whatsoever in such a thing, dear Kyrie even listed the teams he would "settle" for. The Cavs, of course, are under no obligation to do anything. Irving's still under contract to them. And even if they trade him, it could be to ANY team -- see some of the not-so-good possible destinations listed above.

To sum up, most of the media, per their usual politically correct ways, have somehow decreed that the fault lies anywhere but with Kyrie. They'll go on and on trying to blame somebody else for the friction and/or dissatisfaction that has settled in with Irving and the Cavs.

They are wrong. It is entirely of Kyrie Irving's own selfish doings and sense of entitlement.

All his life he's been treated like a king, and paid accordingly, because he can dribble and shoot a basketball.

And now he wants even more.

Indeed, opinions are in no short supply as to how this could have happened to poor dear misunderstood Kyrie.

Your truly has one of his own.

Can you spell.....


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Ilitch mystery

As owners went, Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings was a bit reclusive. Such are the ways of billionaires at times.

He certainly wasn't "out there" like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavs, or Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavs, among others. Even the cheese baron, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots was spotted here and there.

[Idle thought. Given his artery clogging empire, Kraft should have owned the Green Bay Packers. How perfect would that have been?]

Yet once in a while, Mike Ilitch would emerge from his ivory tower to make an appearance.

[Idle thought II. Supposedly, the fans own the Packers. They can buy in, but never sell. Kind of like a Hotel California scenario. Check in but never leave. Scary. Yet that begs the question -- who and how decides who the front office personnel is in Cheeserland?]

But since Ilitch's death earlier this year, his son Chris, ostensibly the controlling partner of both the Wings and Tigers, seems to have become almost CIA spookish. As in, we kind of know he's out there somewhere, but it's all top-secret hush-hush classified information.

Dad wasn't afraid to spend lavishly in pursuit of championships. Indeed, the Wings would transform from also-rans in the NHL to winning 4 Stanley Cups under his ownership. He shelled out whatever it took to procure great players.

Likewise with the Tigers. Their payroll has consistently been in the upper echelons of Major League Baseball for several years. Alas, they would win two American League pennants, but could never get over the hump in the World Series. It wasn't for lack of ownership dough.

But now that Ilitch the elder has passed on to the great (if a bit greasy) pizza pie in the sky, it appears the days of free spending are over.

This seems strange, given the massive amounts of money television contributes to professional sports franchises for the broadcast rights. Some have claimed teams don't need to sell a single seat at a single game, and will STILL turn a hefty profit from ad and paraphernalia sales. Call yours truly skeptical regarding that claim, especially given the preposterous player salaries the free agent market and labor/management negotiations have created in the last couple decades. But I dunno. Let's just say serious bucks are changing hands somewhere, and the average fan is footing the bill one way or the other. Those $10 watered-down draft beers and $8 soggy hot dogs aren't by accident.

Nevertheless, it would be nice if Chris Ilitch showed his face once in a while and actually uttered a few words to the public.

Hey, his daddy left him a billionaire heir. The least he can do is mingle with the hoi-polloi on occasion.

Though it might go against his blue-blood heritage, it's really not that daunting a task.

Distasteful? Maybe.

But hey. It's Detroit. Most everybody's only sense of taste is in their mouths anyway, the afore-mentioned greasy pizza notwithstanding.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Justin Verlander thing

OK, the KC Royals knocked off the Detroit Tigers again. No big surprise there. Though the front office of the Tigers (and their fans) are no doubt loath to the idea of totally rebuilding, it appears they won't have much choice but to blow it up and start over before long. The current team in its current state is not sustainable and will only get worse over time.

Former "ace" Justin Verlander escaped without another loss on his record, but obviously didn't get a win either.

In fact, he hasn't won a game in a month. Only two in the last two months. His record stands at 5-7, with a mediocre 4.50 ERA over 100 games into this season.

For that matter, Verlander has only had one decent year since 2012, that being 2016. Other than that, he's been the definition of a "journeyman" pitcher.

Yep, he's a horse and capable of throwing 120-130 pitches in any given start, but what good is it if he can't rack up wins?

Throw in the fact the Tigers still owe him almost $80 million for the remainder of his ridiculous contract (three more years plus pro-rating the rest of this one), and the Fastball Flakes man starts looking a lot more like an albatross around their necks than a serious asset to the team.

Hey, if you're going to shell out way north of 20 million every year to a guy that only plays every 5 or 6 days, it's certainly not unreasonable to expect he'll win more games than he loses. But that has not been the case.

As the trade deadline quickly approaches, it is rumored teams such as the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers might have an interest in Verlander.

The Dodgers have certainly been cruising along this year, holding the best record in all of baseball. But their ace Clayton Kershaw might have an injury that sidelines him for a while.

Since their historic World Series championship run last year, the Cubs just can't seem to get any traction this year, despite their talent elsewhere, and their starting pitching has been a main reason why.

Money isn't a problem to either of these franchises, but why would they consider bringing Verlander on board, even if the Tigers could work out a deal with either of them?

The LAST thing the north-siders and la-la landers need to do is trade off promising young prospects or established position players for a pitcher that is clearly on the back side of his career. And a hugely overpriced one at that.

The Cubs were champs last year. The Dodgers are coming strong. The Tigers appear to be going down the tubes.

Verlander's from Virginia, has spent his entire major-league career with the Tigers, and likely wants to finish it there.

It's difficult to imagine how and why he could, or would prefer to go somewhere else at this point.

It is the opinion of yours truly that if Tigers GM Al Avila has a lick of sense -- which is debatable -- he'll try to unload #35. It would shed a huge salary and he just might, repeat MIGHT, get something halfway decent in return to build on in the future.

The only question is --

Is anybody else dumb enough to bite?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The NASCAR Indy problem

Well OK, Kasey Kahne won the 2017 Brickyard 400. The two fastest cars on the track, teammates, somehow figured out a way to wreck each other.

Good. Both Kyle Busch and Martin Truex drive for Joe Gibbs racing. You remember Joe. A deeply religious man. Red, white, and blue to the core. Mom, apple pie, and ---- Toyota?

Yep, he became quite the hypocrite when he sold out to a Japanese auto company for cars and engines. So screw him, his cars, drivers, and teams. The very definition of NASCAR -- has "National" as its first word, not international. This is an American race and series, dammit. Buy and drive American or get the hell out.

But enough on that rant. NASCAR has a much bigger problem to worry about. Falling attendance at tracks and rapidly dwindling TV ratings.

It's certainly true that, once upon a time, the Indy 500 was the "greatest race on earth". Yours truly used to make his annual pilgrimage to the famed track every year back in the days of yore. So many legendary names of Indy car racing were involved that I won't list them here.

And it was a tough ticket to get. The track would be packed, both in the stands and infield every year.

Then came the infamous "feud". One faction of Indy car brass wanted to drastically change the rules, and the other refused to go along with it. As both sides continued to stand fast, it all but ruined the sport. Attendance and fan interest plummeted.

At the same time, NASCAR was enjoying a rising tide of popularity. They had a bunch of big-time name recognition going on as well, the marketing department was in overdrive, and there wasn't an empty seat in the house at their over 30 races each year. At one point, it was the second largest revenue sport in America, though always far behind the mighty NFL.

But look what has happened in recent years. The Indy 500 has rebounded to almost, but not quite its former place of eminence in the world of racing. They're selling out again.

On the other hand, NASCAR has taken a ratings nosedive.

At this year's Brickyard 400, once a huge draw for motorheads, the number of empty seats was astonishing. Entire sections of bleachers with nary a soul sitting in them. Even on the "front stretch", prime viewing, attendance was sparse.

Of the roughly 400,000 fan capacity at Indy, including the infield crazies -- which I was once a proud member of -- it appeared they could only sell a fraction of them -- maybe 20% -- if that.

Also true is NASCAR has lost a few "name" drivers to retirement in recent years. Gordon, Stewart, and Earnhart Jr. is next. But the one-time magic of the "good ole boys" packing the tracks everyplace they go appears to be over.

And it's not just at the Indy venue. At most races during the year, one can see a noticeable absence of butts in the seats, and the TV ratings continue to fall.

Maybe this is what happens when a once proud mega-franchise markets a sorry competitor such as Danica Patrick to the heavens. She was never any good -- never will be. A total waste of sheet metal, tires, first class equipment, competent pit crew, racing fuel, and a wreck waiting to happen.

Or it could be that America has finally wearied of the "roundy-round" series and turned its attention -- and sports bucks -- in other directions.

Then again, I, for one, have never quite got my head around NASCAR holding its equivalent of the Super Bowl -- the Daytona 500 being the biggest "game" -- on the first week of their season.

Add in the fact they won't let a race end when it's supposed to, but rather make it go into overtime, or double overtime, with crazy restarts and sure to be resulting wrecks, along with the nutty scoring system even the Almighty probably scratches his head trying to decipher, and maybe they've finally reaped their just desserts.

But it ain't looking good right now.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rocky mountain high mystique

Recently, Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated penned a lengthy article on how and why pitchers for the Colorado Rockies face such a nightmare.

It's the altitude, of course.

The poor hurlers struggle to catch their breath in such rarifed air, and balls go zooming out of the park far more than at any other venue. Needless to say, their collective ERAs suffer accordingly.

As most scribes and talking heads are wont to do these days, Chen had a bazillion geekish statistics to bolster his argument.

Because the altitude at the Rockies home field offers 20% less "air", then breaking pitches will spin 20% less, hence "breaking" that much less as well. Fodder for opposing batters.

All of which is balderdash when one takes into consideration the other unmentioned side of the equation.

If the air is that much thinner, then it logically stands to reason fastballs should meet that much less wind resistance and travel 20% faster. A guy that normally throws 95 MPH should now have a heater somewhere around 115 MPH on the radar gun. Try getting around on that.

Chen cites an above average amount of runs scored at Rockies home games. Well dang, shouldn't that work both ways? So what's the problem?

And if the "thinner" air is that much of a factor, as in the above-mentioned 20%, then why is it we've never heard of record-setting home run blasts? Nowadays, anything over 420-440 feet is deemed a "monster shot" by the hyperventilating announcers in their never-ending quest for superlatives.

So if those can happen at all other Major League ball parks -- and they do on a regular basis -- then shouldn't we hear about balls travelling 20% further at Coors Field? Like of the 500+ variety? When's the last time you heard of one of those being hit into "orbit"? You haven't, because it hasn't occurred.

This seems particularly odd in the age of (allegedly) "juiced" baseballs, bats custom made to fit every hitter, and the same hitters being in much better shape (stronger) than they ever were in days of old.

Evidently, we're supposed to believe a pudgy first baseman named Norm Cash that played for the Detroit Tigers decades ago hit several homers over the roof of the former Tiger Stadium, estimated to have traveled well over 500 feet, with deader balls, but no current sluggers can come anywhere near matching it. Does that sound logical?

And hey, let's face it. Both the Rockies and their opposing team on any given day play under the same conditions. If the venue is so conducive to run production, shouldn't that work both ways as well?

Far be it from yours truly to doubt the intent and veracity of Albert Chen, and SI in general, but excuse me if I call myself skeptical.

As the Bard once famously penned himself --

This could well be another classic case of Much Ado About Nothing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chump of the day

Here was the setting. The Detroit Tigers were visiting the KC Royals and getting pummeled. This is what can happen when a major league team throws the ball around on the field defensively like a bunch of little-leaguers that have been over Ritalined and their pitchers are basically serving up batting practice.

In the ninth inning, with the Tigers a whopping 12 runs behind and already one out while at bat, they had a runner on first base. Typical baseball etiquette, if there is such a thing, would have seemed to dictate they just get the darn thing over with. No way were they coming back from such a deficit. Take the beating and move on.

But no. The runner decided to steal second base. Of course there was no throw from the catcher. The Royals likely didn't anticipate such a bush league chump move and would quickly go on to close out the lop-sided victory.

So technically, the Tiger runner, who isn't worth naming, gets a stolen base added to his stats. Good for him.

But if I'm Kansas City, I'd file that away in the memory banks for a later date.

Next time this clown comes up to bat when the two teams are playing each other, perhaps one of their pitchers will drill him with a 95 MPH heater in the ribs.

Want to act like a chump?

We'll treat you like one.

By all means, take your base. And one more thing.....

How does that feel?

OJ Simpson to be free

First off, it's about damn time.

Yeah, I get it. Lots of people still, and always will think OJ brutally murdered Nicole and Ron. They are entitled to their opinion, but it has never been anything more than arm-chair prosecutorial speculation.

They weren't there. Nor was I. Nor were you. During the criminal trial, the jury saw all the evidence, lack thereof, and heard all the testimony from relevant witnesses. We didn't. And they came back with a not-guilty verdict. Twelve people and it was unanimous.

That should have been the end of that.

But no, a civil wrongful death suit followed, pushed hard by Ron's parents. And Simpson was found culpable. Here's a question -- How can one be found guilty of wrongful death when a previous jury said he didn't do it in the first place? But that's the way it went down. Ron's family would get a judgment of over 30 million dollars against OJ, attempting to loot him of all assets forevermore.

Yet a couple things were also in play. By that time, OJ was happily living in Florida, where state laws made him basically untouchable. And his NFL pension, a handsome sum indeed, was off-limits. Florida's a great state with tons of things to do year-round, and Simpson could live the life of ease playing golf every day, swimming, hanging out with babes, and whatever else he chose.

But then he did something incredibly stupid. Going to Las Vegas with a couple friends and attempting to retrieve memorabilia he thought rightfully belong to him was a colossal mistake. So was one of his pals having a gun in tow.

So he got jacked up on a whole range of charges. Armed robbery, kidnapping, anything the prosecutor could think of. They threw the proverbial book at him.

And the verdict quickly came back guilty, on all charges. Did he commit a crime in Vegas? Sure. But upon sentencing, it quickly became obvious the "system" was out for "payback" on a verdict they strongly disagreed with in the first place.

So they hammered him. Nine to thirty three years in a penitentiary, for crimes that any ordinary individual would have received far less punishment for. It was a blatant miscarriage of justice done by those with wrongfully vengeful attitudes. And sadly, the public cheered.

There was never any kidnapping, nor was anyone physically harmed in that Vegas hotel room. But yes, it was a stupid thing to do in the first place.

Fast forward nine years and the perception of many has done a complete about face regarding OJ Simpson.

He's not only been a model prisoner, helping many other inmates in various positive ways, but even the guards at the pen regarded him with high esteem. To have done nine years behind bars with nary a complaint for acts that rose nowhere near that level of punishment finally resonated with many in the public as well -- as if they ever counted in the first place. Everybody cheered when his final parole was finally granted. After all, he'd already been paroled on all the charges but simple robbery, and nine years was WAY over the top for such an infraction.

So OJ, now 70, but mistakenly thought to be 90 for a brief humorous moment by a clueless parole official, wants to go back to Florida to live out the rest of his days.

It's probably a pretty safe bet that Orenthal James Simpson will be a model citizen from here on out. He's seen the not-so-fair wheels of justice up close and in person grind away, and it hasn't worked out exactly well in his case. Nine to thirty three years for what more probably should have been a 3-5 sentence.

But still, the powers that be have to get in one last dig. Even though OJ has been given the green light to his freedom, it won't happen for at least a couple more months -- October 1 at the earliest. This is absurd.

They've had nine years to sort out the paperwork when this day finally came, so what, pray tell, is the hold-up, no pun intended, now that it has?

He should be released tomorrow, if not sooner, and while first class airfare probably shouldn't come as part of the deal, at least given a bus or train ticket to take him wherever he wants in Florida. A couple more days on the road likely wouldn't bother him much as he ponders the past -- and future.

Nevertheless, at long last, after all the arm-chair quarterbacking, speculation, media sniping, and the outrageousness of his time being incarcerated, he will finally be free.

And did I mention it's about damn time?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Detroit Tigers trade prospects

OK, the very good hitting, but poor fielding JD Martinez is already gone to Arizona for handful of the proverbial "prospects".

Once again, former ace Justin Verlander took the mound, and pitched fairly well, but couldn't close the deal against the KC Royals. Well over the halfway point of the season, the Fastball Flakes man has a pedestrian 5-7 record. Besides, with three mega-cha-ching years left on his contract, he's not likely to gather much interest from other teams.

Southpaw reliever Justin Wilson's stock was riding high, and he might have been worth a player/prospect or three. But he entered the same game against the Royals with a 3-2 lead, and not only blew the save, but lost the game in the bottom of the ninth (4-3). His market value just took a major hit in the eyes of general managers elsewhere around the league, who were no doubt watching.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos? Forget about it. Who wants a .250 hitter that is terrible fielding his position?

Designated hitter Victor Martinez is now 38 years old. Can anybody even remember if and when he was capable of playing a position -- any position? Besides being slower than a tortoise on the base pathes, his hitting has dropped off as well. The Tigers are stuck with him.

Former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is showing the effects Father Time takes. Never much defensively, he appears to be on the back side of his career bell curve as well. Throw in a Verlander-esque contract to boot, and he's not going anywhere.

Lately Cabrera has mouthed off about the political situation in his native Venezuela. He needs to shut up about that. Good grief, he's become a multi-multi-multi millionaire playing a game in America, and shouldn't that be enough? If he wants to make a difference in his native country, here's an idea -- quit playing baseball and move back. Otherwise, zip it. Nobody cares.

Manager Brad Ausmus, on the last year of his contract, his become the lamest of lame ducks. Is it his fault the Tigers have so far stunk it up this year? Probably not. That rests with GM Al Avila, who is and has been the player procurer. Ausmus can only put them out there and hope they perform to the best of their abilities -- which hasn't been much. But he'll take the fall. No way will he be back for another season.

It must be nice to be Alex Avila. Once a Tiger, then shipped out, and now a Tiger again. Life can be good when your dad is the GM. A little nepotism anyone?

Thing is, as underwhelming as the Tigers have been this year, things are shaping up to be much worse in the near future. This team has too many oldsters, is WAY too heavy with contract obligations, and looted their farm system trying to get over the hump in recent years -- which they never quite made.

The piper has finally come-a-calling. This could get seriously ugly for the next few years......

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

JD Martinez. The first domino?

The Detroit Tigers traded right fielder JD Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three "prospects". A good move? Maybe. One never knows about prospects. If even one of them turns out to be a star for many years, the Tigers would have done OK.

Martinez himself was far from a complete player. Sure, he could hit, but was also a defensive liability in the outfield.

But JD is probably good with the trade. After all, he's of Cuban descent, went to a school in southern Florida, and spent his early Major League years with the Houston Astros. In other words, hot places. Playing in Detroit in April or October had to be quite the cold culture shock to his system. Arizona ought to suit him just fine.

He's also coming up on free agency, and will likely demand and command a huge raise. This is a problem Detroit no longer has to worry about.

Yet the Tigers find themselves in quite the unenviable position of being far closer to the basement of the American League than in contention. At this posting, only the Chicago White Sox sported a worse record.

However, something called the elusive "hope" seems to be in endless supply when it comes to Detroit. See the long hapless Lions as Exhibit A. Six decades of futility and counting, but dammit, this just might be the year. Right.

What's misleading is how the Tigers still have a theoretical shot at the post season this year. This is only because they play in the AL Central division. Mysteriously, the Cleveland Indians, far and away the superior team, have yet to gain traction this year. Is the hangover from having the World Series snatched away from them at the last second in 2016 still lingering? Maybe. But the Tigers are a mere 6-7 games out with roughly 70 left to play. Doable? Hmmm.

Looking around the rest of the Major Leagues presents a much more sobering picture. If the Tigers were in the.....

Al East -- they'd be 10 games behind.
Al West -- 21 games out.
NL East -- 15.
NL Central -- 11.
NL West -- a whopping 23.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, JD's destination, are very much in the thick of the wild-card race and are 12 games ahead of the Tigers at this point. A definite upgrade.

Thing is, could Martinez be only the first domino to fall if the Tigers decide to clean house and go into the rebuild mode they've been long overdue for?

At least he had some value. As mentioned above, he can hit, if nothing else.

Looking at the rest of their roster, it's difficult to see which players other teams might be interested in.

Justin Verlander, one time ace, has regressed into merely a journeyman pitcher. Plus he has three more years of a guaranteed whopper contract as baggage.

Miguel Cabrera, just a few scant years removed from the glory of a Triple Crown season, has also taken a huge step backwards in productivity of late.

Both these guys are clearly on the back sides of their careers, with major long term contract issues. So who would want them?

Michael Fulmer is a promising young starting pitcher, but not great by any means. The Tigers seem to think he's worth his weight in gold, and he might well be some day, but that day is not here yet. Fulmer could as easily flame out ala Mark Fidrych from yesteryear. One never knows. If the Tigers want quality players in return for what has become an obvious rebuild situation, Fulmer's trade stock will never be higher than what it is now.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler remains a quality player in every way. But his biological clock is ticking as well. To hang onto him trying to salvage respectability for an otherwise inferior team wouldn't seem to make a whole lot of sense either. In a year or two, his value will no doubt diminish greatly.

Though it goes against their always proud grain, the Detroit Tigers might be wise to take a lesson from the Boston Celtics. There has never been a prouder franchise in all of sports than the Celtics. Championship banners galore hang from the rafters in their building.

But GM Danny Ainge wisely blew it all up and started over. Sure, the Celts were terrible for a few years. Growing pains that come with the territory. But look at them now. They've acquired several really good young players, still have high draft choices coming out of their ears, and are poised to become a force in the Eastern Conference of the NBA, and stay there, in future years.

In short, the Tigers can't have it both ways. They tried the short-term free-agent route, but could never quite get over the hump for another championship -- and their drought now stretches way back to 1984.

The make-up of the current team certainly isn't going to get it done either. Way, WAY too many liabilities and not nearly enough assets. It is what it is, and it ain't pretty. Did I mention cellar dwellers? It's coming one way or the other. To prolong the agony of the inevitable defies logic and business sense.

This team is going nowhere in the near future as it is.

Much better to sell/trade off what few assets they have and hope to rebuild for a more promising future in years to come.

As the trade deadline approaches -- we'll see.....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Roger Federer

All hail Roger Federer, king of Wimbledon -- again. His eighth title at the historic venue.

What's truly amazing is that throughout the entire seven rounds of play, Federer never dropped a single set. Twenty one up, and twenty one down.

All in all, perhaps his performance can be summed up in this manner.....

Not too shabby for an old dude with four rug rats in tow.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams

With her now not so little sis Serena (presumably) happily gestating away -- sometimes known as being seriously preggers -- knocked up if you will -- it was up to Venus to carry the day at Wimbledon for the Williams family.

Into the ladies' final she went against a relative unknown -- one Garbine Muguruza, a Spaniard.

Thing is, Venus is now the ripe old age of 37. Garbine a mere 23. Is the former old enough to be the latter's mother? Perhaps, in some parts of the world and certain mountainous regions of the United States. Ahem.

Many thought the ageless wonder would cruise to another major title over the young upstart. But it didn't turn out that way.

Venus had a great chance in the opening set to take control of the match. Yet at the most critical time -- she choked. Garbine would quickly recover and take the set 7-5.

And then the wheels fell off. In the second set, Williams was torched 6-0. Humbled, blown away, terminated by a vastly superior opponent.

Add up one unforced error after another, throw in several double faults, get caught loafing on a very playable lob shot over her head, mix in the dogged play of Garbine, and what do you get?

The only lady in the world to have defeated both Williams sisters in the final of a Grand Slam event.

And now a word from our sponsors.

If you're a sports fan, you've seen the commercials. Some insurance company seems to have a way of bronzing anything that causes mayhem, and hence having to pay out on a policy. A dog, a moose, you name it. That would seem to beg the question -- if one of your kids does something stupid and you have to file a claim, will little Billy or Kimmy have to wind up on the wall of your den before you can collect? Sounds like a scary proposition. That's some kind of deductible indeed. Brr.

Nevertheless, here's to Garbine Muguruza, ladies Wimbledon singles champion of 2017, and a worthy one indeed.

Even more amazing is Venus handled the defeat with grace. This is not normally a trait attributed to the Williams family. With Serena, it was always something when she lost. Her knee hurt, or ankle. Or she had cramps, a headache, an ingrown nail, diarrhea, nausea, or maybe it was one of those pesky right wing conspiracy theories that kept her from victory. Something. Anything but take defeat like a well, lady, and admit she just got whupped. It happens.

It remains to be seen whether yon Serena will return to the tennis tour after she becomes a mother. And if so, how effective she might be. At age 36, her biological clock is definitely ticking away too.

But maybe she can pull it off. After all, Roger Federer is the father of four and he's still going great guns -- poised to win yet another major event.

Yeah, I know. But equal rights are equal rights -- right? Mom, dad, what's the difference? Any more it's getting harder and harder to tell who's who anyway.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Michael Fulmer hype

Sadly, fans in Detroit will believe just about anything when it comes to putting a positive spin on their sports "heroes".

Every year is going to be the one for the Lions, but never is of course. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is the best thing since Joe Louis Arena -- since rendered obsolete -- but knowledgeable football people grade him out to be slightly above average on the NFL scale of starting QBs. Matthew will soon be obsolete too, likely never having won a single playoff game.

The Pistons had a world-class arena in the Palace, totally bought and paid for. New ownership pumped somewhere between 10 and 15 million bucks into it to spruce it up even further. Then they turned right around and abandoned it to move back into the dregs of downtown Detroit where they'll have to pay rent. Does that make sense? But, by god, they just might make the playoffs this year.

The Red Wings have been long overdue for a total rebuild. Barely eking their way into the playoffs in recent years, only to be quickly blown away by vastly superior teams was somehow thought of as success in the Motor City. The proverbial piper has finally come-a-calling. They look to be a mess for the next several years.

As the trade deadline approaches, the Tigers don't know what to do. They've tried "buying" in a big way before for short-term talent, but could never make it to the finish line. Thirty three years and counting since their last World Series championship -- and it ain't happening this year either. Do they "sell"? Maybe, but what other teams would be interested in what they may have to offer? Guys on the backside of their careers with whopper contracts in tow? The Tigers have already looted their farm system for the above-mentioned short-term talent in the past.

And then there's Michael Fulmer. He is seen in Detroit as an ace pitcher. But is he really?

True, he garnered American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. Yet he sported an 11-7 record. Not bad, but certainly not eye-popping. The AL must have had an otherwise weak crop of rookies for him to walk off with the honors.

This year the Tigers and their ever-faithful media would have people believe he's become much much better. Yet after 21 starts, he owns a 9-6 record, Again, not bad, but hardly the stuff of your typical "ace".

The Tigers' hype machine would have people believing Fulmer, should he be dealt, is worth several good players, prospects, etc, in return. But is he?

Also true is he's only 24 years old. He could get better, a lot better. Or he could go the other way and flame out quickly. Nobody knows for sure.

[As an aside, former Tiger "ace" Justin Verlander just got clocked again by the Toronto Blue Jays. JV is now 5-7 with an ERA approaching 5.00. How many teams do you think are standing in line to pick up the remaining 80 million bucks of his guaranteed contract? But the Tigers still think he's "special". God bless em, but it doesn't make much sense.]

One thing that appears to be an absolute certainty is the Tigers, in their current state, don't remotely resemble a team capable of making a deep post-season run, if they even get there, which is also highly doubtful. They're only a game or two removed from the cellar of the entire American League. They'd have to play above .600 ball for the rest of the year to qualify. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

But currently they're hyping Michael Fulmer like he's the next coming of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Clayton Kershaw, take your pick.

And let's not forget who the Tigers -- in their infinite wisdom -- let get away in recent years. Max Scherzer, currently of the Washington Nationals, started the All-Star game this year. Rick Porcello, still a youngster himself, posted a 22-4 record last year for the Bosox and won the Cy Young. The seemingly ageless David Price is still cruising along.

Yet, by thunder, they still have Michael Fulmer, who's a combined 20-13 over his career with the Tigers so far. Pretty good, definitely better than average, and so far has come at a reasonable price. But that will change when talks of his next contract rolls around.

Because the Tigers have hyped him so much, they'll have no choice but to cough up the big bucks to keep him. This is what is known as strategy in Detroit. Talk up what talent you have, hope other teams buy it -- they won't -- and wind up getting cha-chinged in the end.

And the beat rolls on.

Hey, it's Detroit.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The amazing Aaron Judge

Old timers such as myself, and baseball historians certainly remember Frank Howard. During his playing days, first with the LA Dodgers and then on to his glory years with the then Washington Senators in the late 1960s, Howard was considered a mountain of a man.

Indeed he was. At six foot seven and weighing in somewhere between 235 and 250, he dwarfed all the other players on the field.

When Howard would come up to the plate to hit, the stick in his hands more resembled a little league bat than that of a major leaguer. And oh my, when he "got hold" of one he could hit it the proverbial mile.

Alas, he was woefully slow of foot, and pretty much a defensive liability when playing the field. Little range, a below average throwing arm, almost oafish. Still, he had a long and distinguished career in the big leagues.

Enter one Aaron Judge, currently a rookie for the NY Yankees. Though he doesn't seem to possess the physical intimidating presence Howard once did, he's actually a bigger man. Also six foot seven, but about 280 pounds. A strange phenomenon, but very real.

And that same Aaron Judge is absolutely tearing it up for the Yankees this year. At the All-Star break, barely half way through the season, AJ was batting over .300, had 30 home runs, and 66 RBIs. And BTW, he can hit it a mile too. That's not even counting the fact he won the Home Run Derby at the All-Star festivities.

Thing is, he's a definite plus in the other aspects of the game. Great range in the outfield, a superior throwing arm, and speed galore for a man his size.

What he has accomplished (so far) in this, his rookie season, is better than any other Yankee EVER did. That includes names like Mantle, Maris, Berra, DiMaggio, a regular murderer's row during their hey-days.

It should be noted that one George Herman (Babe) Ruth was never a Yankee rookie. He broke in with the Red Sox -- as a pitcher no less. Then somebody finally figured out he could hit a little -- make that a lot -- so it would probably be a good idea to have his bat in the line-up every day. What happened after that, as we know, became baseball legend.

Nevertheless, Aaron Judge has taken the baseball world by storm. True, while you don't get to the Major Leagues unless you're pretty good, nobody saw this coming. Did I mention tearing it up?

Unless a serious injury befalls him (you never know), or Judge swoons into a colossal slump for the rest of the year (highly unlikely), he's not only an absolute lock for Rookie of the Year, but likely the MVP of the American League. At his current pace, he's on his way to hitting 50-some home runs, 110-120 RBIs, batting over .300, and is a defensive asset as the Yankee right fielder. Throw in enough speed to steal a base here and there and this is a talent that doesn't come along just every day or year.

On top of it all, he appears to be a genuinely nice guy. Not full of himself like so many others. Humble instead of arrogant. More "aw shucks" than "look at me".

While there will always be those that despise the Yankees for various reasons, it's almost impossible not to like this young man. He's the "real deal" in more ways than one. A poster child for baseball and the heroics it sometimes offers.

Here come Da Judge? Well, not exactly. He's already arrived, in a very big way.

And here's hoping he continues to tear it up.

As they say, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy......

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Justin Verlander dilemma

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers was once a great pitcher. Sometimes he still is -- the key word being "sometimes".

Over halfway into the 2017 season, Verlander has had about 20 starts and has compiled a rather ho-hum 5-6 record.

It seems one game he'll throw a masterpiece. Then the next, get lit up like the proverbial pin ball machine.

Just last night against the Cleveland Indians JV had an excellent outing. Alas, he would get tagged with the loss nevertheless. Baseball can be cruel that way.

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility the Tigers could ship him elsewhere to acquire a player or players, or perhaps some "prospects". Though Verlander has so far spent his entire major league career with Detroit, it's no longer a "lock" he's one of those rare "untouchable" players.

Thing is, what other team would want to take him on?

Sure, he's a horse and gobbles up a lot of innings. And the list of his past accomplishments is a long one. A former Cy Young winner, the American League MVP, and a couple no-hitters along the way are nothing to sneeze at. Plus he's racked up 178 wins along the way.

It's easy to think any number of teams would be happy to plug him into their starting rotation. But on further review, as they say, this might not necessarily be the case.

First, Verlander is now 34 years old. Not a geezer by any means, but likely on the back side of his bell curve. And does anybody really think he'll get better as he wades deeper into his 30s? It could happen, but the odds are highly against it.

Second, while he still has a decent fastball, for some reason he no longer even attempts to throw his once devastating split-finger pitch. True, he still has masterful control, striking out far more batters than giving up walks. But depending on what day it is, he can either mow down line-ups or get bombed as opposing batters rocket balls all over the park. As his manager Brad Ausmus wisely said recently -- major league hitters can hit velocity -- you've got to have the other stuff working or it likely spells trouble.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, is the matter of his (guaranteed) contract. Several years ago, while in his "prime", Verlander signed a long-term deal with the Tigers which would pay him roughly $27 million a year (on average) over its duration. This year he's making $28M.

Next year another $28M. Same for 2019. Then it slacks off to $22M in 2020, before it expires. No matter who he plays for -- or even if he doesn't play for whatever reason -- he'll get the dough.

Taking all that into consideration, which other general managers will surely do, perhaps Verlander isn't quite as attractive as some think.

Put another way, would you want to be the guy that committed around $90 million dollars of your owner's money (the rest of his contract, plus pro-rating the remainder of this season) for a 34 year old pitcher currently having a sub-.500 season whose performances go up and down like a sine wave?

It would be a risky gamble. If it worked out, you'd be looking good. If it went south, you might be looking for a job. Owners can have a way of getting a mite touchy over things like that.

If I was a betting man (actually I've been known to place a small wager here or there -- but not in this case), I'd put my money on JV sticking with the Tigers. It's probably where he wants to stay, the fans would be hugely disappointed to see him leave, and given the above reasons, yours truly can't see how the Tigers could get much back for him anyway. That's if there's any takers at all (see whopper contract again), which isn't a given.

Remember JV's much ballyhooed Fastball Flakes a few years back? I bought a box of those just to check them out. How good were they? Let's just say I didn't take a second spoonful. You've heard of a famous sugar-frosted brand that's been long advertised by a "tiger" as being "Grrrr-eat!!".  I found Tiger  Verlander's version to be "Grrrr-oss!!". But that's just me.

Fastball flakes indeed. Given his yo-yo performances of late, #35 for the Detroit Tigers just might be turning into one.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tigers and Indians

The Detroit Tigers just got slapped around by the Cleveland Indians to the tune of 11-2. A blow-out. Detroit currently finds itself 8 games back of the Tribe in the AL Central with over half the season played.

Worse, they're only a game out of last place in their division and a couple from the basement of the entire American League.

Chances they could rally and make the post-season appear to be slim or none. Even winning roughly two our of every three games the rest of the way, an excellent percentage, might not be enough. And there is precious little to suggest the Tigers are capable of rattling off a couple long winning streaks.

The pitching is, for the most part, weak. The hitting sporadic. The defense shoddy. Little to no team speed.

And the trade deadline quickly approaches. Even if they're "sellers", who's going to buy what they might have to offer? A few guys on the back sides of their careers with whopper salaries?

After being contenders not long ago, this team is in serious trouble.

On the other hand are the Cleveland Indians. They appear to have everything the Tigers don't. A solid starting rotation, a formidable line-up, stellar defense, and a few speedsters to light up the basepathes.

The question is -- how come it took them so long to start coming around and playing like they're capable of?  Could it be the hangover of having the World Series snatched away from them at the last second last year?  Maybe.

Watching the two teams play, it quickly becomes obvious the Indians are far superior to the Tigers. It almost seems shocking they're only 8 games out in front of them. Fifteen or twenty would seem to be more appropriate. These guys are the real deal. Barring a slew of major injuries, it's just another question of how far they'll be able to go. In the post-season, and color them in, anything can happen in a short series, particularly against another good team.

So let's see. Cleveland has the Cavaliers with Lebron and company. But for that pesky Golden State, the Cavs are arguably the best team in the NBA. Detroit has the woeful Pistons with a bunch of nobodies.

True, Cleveland doesn't even have a team in the NHL any more. Detroit has the Red Wings, but they were overdue to bottom out -- and have. Their future looks bleak in coming years.

The Browns of the NFL remain awful. But everybody knows that, including the people in Cleveland. Conversely, Detroit has the Lions. They, and their snake-oil peddling local media keep getting the suckers to come back every year thinking this just might be the one. It never is. It won't be this year, or the next one, or the next one after that either. Other teams around the NFL have had their ups and downs, but the Lions remain flat-liners stuck on about the equivalent of a C-minus grade in the league.

So on the one hand, Cleveland has a team they KNOW is going to lose, but Detroit refuses to come to grips with reality and still thinks they're going to win something notable.

Which is sorrier? Let's call that a push.

It likely safe to say the cities themselves aren't high on the places tourists would want to come and visit. A couple arm pits. Another push.

Yet in the sports world, hockey team or not, Cleveland's got a whole lot more going on for them right now than Detroit does.

Unless Lebron leaves again after this year -- and he might. That would upset the applecart in a big way.

But the Indians compared to the Tigers isn't even a close call.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

So they think we're stupid

Upon further review, ahem, it would appear some advertisers think sports fans are all idiots.

Well, OK, a lot of them are. How else to explain the ever-gullible Detroit Lion faithful thinking every year just might be the ONE (Super Bowl)? It never is, of course, and the last 60 years of futility would serve rather well as Exhibit A.

That is a blatant, up in your face example, but there continue to be others that are much more subtle. We see them every day on TV. Don't look now, but you're being played for a sucker.

First of all, I love Brett Favre. Always did, though, truth be told, yours truly wavered a bit with his retire, unretire, re-retire, re-unretire, bouncing around in his post-twilight years. It was -- C'mon dude. Make it official, get in line for the Hall of Fame, and quit with the stupid hanger-on stuff. It's getting embarrassing. Mercifully, for fans (and himself), he finally did.

But like a lot of ex-big time jocks, he couldn't resist the easy money that comes along with endorsing various products. Old #4 has certainly been busy in that regard of late. Trucks, blue jeans, you name it. Did he endorse sticks when throwing one for his dog to go fetch? Better yet, was that even his dog? We'll never know.

But his latest shaving razor commercial has a couple serious flaws, probably like most others of their ilk.

Look closer the next time this ad pops up on your flat screen. See Brett all lathered up with shaving cream. Hear him tout how close a shave he is getting as he drags the razor down the side of his face.

Yours truly has long suspected that the "actors" in such ads have already been super-close clean shaven just before the filming of the commercial, and that razor is merely wiping away the shaving cream, with no stubble underneath.

And Brett's latest commercial pretty well proves it. We've all seen him in the past with a full face -- and neck -- of 3-4 day growth.

But check out his neck. No shaving cream and no growth. It's already been scraped super-close clean. So how can it be his face needs a shave, but not his neck? It can't. Consider this commercial officially busted as a scam.

Adding yet another insult to the sappies, Mr. Favre claims these shavers must be superior because they contain blades of German stainless steel. What? American companies are oblivious to the concept of stainless steel honed razor sharp? Only the Teutonic tribe has figured this out to date? Does he really think Americans are that stupid? And how do we know it's stainless steel anyway? Has anybody ever cut one of those rascals apart and subjected it to a metallurgy analysis? Probably not. When it gets dull, shavers grab a new one. They don't care what's inside, as long as it works.

For that matter, even shaving cream isn't necessary. Never has been. You don't need it. The bar soap (spare me the "body-wash" nonsense at 2-3 times the price) one uses in the shower will do just fine. Lather up your face/neck with that, and it's actually easier and smoother to shave than using specialty products. Same for ladies and their legs/pits. Way cheaper too. Yours truly taught himself how to shave in the shower -- without a mirror -- and it not only saves time, but becomes second nature after a while. True, I lost a lot of blood before I finally perfected it, but anything worthwhile takes time and sacrifice. Hey, when you were a kid and the training wheels finally came off -- how many times did you fall down on your bicycle and get dinged up? But you stuck with it right?

The "miracle" of copper appears to be another scam of late. Granted, Dura-Cell's copper-top batteries have always been really good stuff, but that's only the color on the outside. It means nothing. They could paint them white, pink, or purple with chartreuse polka-dots, and it would still be the same battery.

Yet now, evidently people are being sold on the dubious claim that wrapping some sort of supporting elastic around various parts of their bodies -- which just so happen to have copper INSIDE, allegedly, will make all those pesky aches and pains go away. And by allegedly I mean -- has anybody ever cut one of these things open and inspected the innards? Probably not, because then it would be ruined and they'd have to pony up another $19.95, plus the dreaded shipping and handling fees, of course, for a replacement.

But does any sane person seriously think that applying copper --at least one layer removed from their skin -- is some sort of magical cure-all for damaged muscle tissue underneath? Please.

Not sure, but I think I spotted dear Brett hawking those things as well. Again -- C'mon Dude. Just because you made an idiot of yourself going to the Jets doesn't mean you should gouge the suckers that still admire what you once accomplished on the gridiron.

So yeah, I still love ya, always will, but quit it with the stupid stuff -- OK? It's not like you and your lovely Ms. Brie need the money.

If you just HAVE to have your face in front of a camera hawking a product, at least make it legit.

And definitely American made.

German stainless steel?

Get outta here....

Monday, July 3, 2017

David Feherty, Nancy Lopez, and Venus Williams

David Feherty is a lot like frozen dessert queen Sara Lee. Nobody can hate him. A dashing young -- OK, middle-aged -- rascal with a devilish but always good-natured sense of humor. Sports fans know him for his proximity to professional golf and its players.

The players, both current and former, always look forward to being interviewed by Feherty. True, he lobs softball questions and pretty much toes the politically correct line, but once in a while his playful side will kick in and he'll take a poke at somebody -- all in good fun of course. They get that, and eat it up.

Recently he sat down with Nancy Lopez. You remember her. She dominated the LPGA tour in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, winning all kinds of stuff. A no-brainer lock for the golfing Hall of Fame.

Now she's 60 years old. Time flies. Alas, though dear Ms. L was always a little heavy in the stern, even during her playing days, it appears she's been taking on some serious water, or food, since she retired. Translation? That woman is bigger than a house these days. Porker, oink, oink city. Yikes!!

Cry all you want, but shut up department.

Venus Williams broke down into tears on camera when asked about her recent auto accident that resulted in the death of a passenger in the other car. The authorities have verified the crash was clearly her fault. If she is showing sympathy for the poor guy that is no longer with us, that's one thing. But if she expects people to cut her some slack, that is something else entirely.

You don't see her jammed up on a charge of negligent vehicular homicide. She'll likely throw a little money at it, and the whole affair will disappear from the public consciousness within a couple weeks. All gone and her life goes on as before. But the dead guy in the other car isn't coming back. His family grieves and will likely never see justice done.

Meanwhile, some poor slob that was attempting to dock a pontoon boat, and doing everything right, found out later that -- incredibly -- some man and his 4 year old daughter were swimming right next to his running motor. Hey, it was clearly a no-swimming zone and boat motors not only make a lot of noise, but churn up the water. Any sane person knows to give them a wide berth, lest they be caught up in the propeller causing horrific injuries up to and including death.

Perhaps a 4 year old wouldn't be expected to know any better, but her father surely should have. What could he possibly have been thinking letting his little girl get that close to the running motor on a boat?

Alas, the little girl was killed indeed. Her dad, futilely attempting to save her, had his own legs mangled, which had to later be amputated. A tragedy all around.

And the pontoon driver? He quickly found himself under arrest for negligent homicide, though he had done absolutely nothing wrong. Even if he eventually beats such a bum rap, it will cost him countless thousands in legal fees, and there will always be those that hold him accountable -- somehow -- for that little girl's death. It's a stigma he'll have to live with forever.

So let's see. On the one hand we have Venus Williams who was at fault for a violent death. But she'll walk. Because she's Venus Williams.

On the other, we have an innocent citizen NOT responsible for a violent death, but he'll get ground under the wheels of so-called justice. Because he's Joe Blow.

If anybody has a right to cry -- it's the pontoon boat driver. Notice how quickly the "system" gobbled him up, and we may never hear about him again. But make no mistake. His nightmare has only begun. An innocent man's life likely ruined.

Currently, Ms. V flew first class to jolly old England and is participating in the Wimbledon tennis tournament. More glory, fame, and the adulation of her fans -- plus another hefty paycheck. Nice work, if you can get it.

The beleaguered pontooner is out on bail awaiting his next court appearance and wondering what could go possibly go wrong next.

Venus just needs to shut up and count her blessings. In a perfect, even fair world, it would be HER getting jammed up instead of the boat driver.

Am I the only one who thinks there is something really, really, REALLY wrong with this picture?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Horn vs Pacquiao fight

It was interesting in more ways than one. Did anybody know that Manny Pacquiao was still even fighting, let alone a world champ in some division or other? I thought he retired to be a Filipino congressman. Hey, the dude's 38 years old. He isn't supposed to be getting in the ring any more with young studs like Jeff Horn.

Interesting point #1.

The welterweight bout was held in Brisbane, Australia. That just happens to be the home town of Jeff Horn. So why did so many (over 55,000) in the packed stadium appear to be rooting for Pacquiao? Yikes, if a fighter is the underdog in his home town, good luck if and when he has to travel the globe facing other world-class opponents.

And underdog Horn was. This according to all the "experts", of course. Never mind he was undefeated going in and had racked up a string of KOs against other worthy opponents in recent times.

Interesting Point #2.

It became painfully obvious throughout the fight that the commentators were hopelessly biased on the side of Pacquiao. Apparently, so was the referee. He wanted to stop the fight and give it to Pacquiao in the latter rounds, though Horn appeared to still be the aggressor.

Along those lines, Interesting Point #3.

While Horn's face was bruised and bloody, so was Pacquiao's. It happens after several rounds of guys hitting each other in the head. Yet the announcers said Horn was "a mess" while they deemed Pacquiao merely "dinged up" a tad.

Interesting Point #4.

All the ring-side commentators had Pacquiao easily winning the fight when the 12 rounds were finally finished. I saw it as a bit closer, but to be fair, thought Manny had got the better of Jeff, by a SLIGHT margin.

The ever-lovable and yappy-head Teddy Atlas, supposedly a boxing guru who knows all -- had Pacquiao winning the bout 116 - 111. A unanimous decision bordering on a beat down. Huh? He might have won it, but surely not by THAT wide a margin.

Yet given the pro-Pacquiao (and very unprofessional) rhetoric that permeated the broadcast throughout, it seemed inevitable the Filipino would retain his title as champ of -- well -- something.

Then came the most Interesting Point of all.

When the judges' scorecards were finally tallied and announced, much to the surprise of most -- including myself -- it was HORN who was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

Did he win it fair and square? I dunno. But the only folks that count -- the judges -- said so. Kind of like the jury in the OJ murder trial. Many saw it one way, but the only people that mattered saw it quite differently. And right or wrong, they got/get to make the official call.

So how could the above-mentioned Teddy Atlas have gotten it so wrong by such a wide margin? Is he that clueless? Punch drunk? Maybe.

Then again, perhaps that could lead to Interesting Point #6.

Let's see. The TV folks were obviously in Pacquiao's corner.

So was the referee inside the ring.

The majority of the fans in attendance, even though it was the Aussie's home town, had been cheering for the Filipino throughout.

Quick, somebody check where those three ringside judges were from. Bet that could be much more interesting yet.

Ah well. Manny still has his day job as a politician -- I think. And a few more million in the bank.

There's worse things for a 38 year old to ponder.....