Thursday, August 31, 2017

Detroit Tigers trade Verlander

Whoa. Who saw that coming? But in a way, it makes sense. The Detroit Tigers have officially waved the white flag of surrender on this season. Not that it was any big surprise, given they're the second worst (barely) team in the American League and have been woefully out of any playoff scenario for quite some time.

Conversely, the Houston Astros, Verlander's new home, are in a "go for it now" mode. This is something the Tigers did not long ago, pillaging their farm system for free agent mercenaries, that have since come and gone. They never did quite make it over the top. Thirty three years and counting since the Motowners last won a World Series, and it certainly appears they're in full-blown rebuild mode now.

True, Houston is literally under water now in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but it is also one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with money coming out of their ears. Detroit has been shrinking in population, recently went through bankruptcy proceedings, and is hardly a place most out-of-towners would rank high on their "must see" tourism lists.

Yet it is somewhat surprising the Astros would be willing to pick up Verlander's albatross contract when he is an aging pitcher clearly on the back side of his bell curve.

Note to Tiger fans. Miguel Cabrera might well be the next to go. Yes, his fabulous Triple Crown season of not long ago has disappeared in the rear view mirror, but some other team might take a flyer on him and his equally ridiculous contract, hoping he can bounce back and have another decent year or two left in him. But there's no question his production, and day to day health have dramatically declined in the last couple years.

One of the few good hitters the Tigers had, J.D. Martinez, was already dealt for "prospects". As was catcher Alex Avila, who was experiencing the best season of his career. An anomaly perhaps. Yet it should be noted that two of the "hot-shot prospects" the Tigers got in return are potential third basemen.

This does not bode well for one Nick Castellanos, their current starter at that position. Never much with the glove, NC is typically a .240 or so hitter, without much speed. A journeyman at best. His days in Detroit would seem numbered as well.

Last year's American League Rookie of the Year, Tiger pitcher Michael Fulmer, hasn't won a game in two months.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler, also with a whopper contract, has seen age quickly erode his stats as well.

Would anybody else be interested in any of these guys?

Hard to say.

But Justin Verlander, the former Fastball Flakes man, whose entire career to date has been spent in Detroit -- is there no longer.

No doubt Tiger fans will miss him.

But hey, JV now has a legitimate shot at winning a championship with the up and coming Astros. They're young, loaded with talent from top to bottom, and look to remain highly competitive for years to come. The exact opposite of what has happened with the Tigers.

It was no secret they were slip-sliding away and their future looked bleak.

It just got a whole lot bleaker without Kate's old man.

Oh yeah, these guys could be bad, REALLY bad for a few years, before and if they turn it around. And given so many other teams have been infinitely wiser in recent years with their rosters, salaries, and farm systems, very painful times may linger in Tiger-land for quite a while.

See ya, JV. You were a stud there for a while. A couple no-hitters, MVP, Cy Young Award, and all that. But of late, you've barely been a .500 pitcher in Detroit. Great one game, bombed the next.

You're in a better place now.

Or will be, as soon as all that dad-burned flood water finally goes away.

Dumbest play of the week

OK, all pro football fans "get it". The NFL's preseason is, and has long been pretty much a joke. To borrow the words of a Sports Illustrated scribe not long ago, trying to judge a team's potential by their preseason play is like judging the food by reading the menu of the restaurant next door to the one you're going to actually eat at. In a word -- useless.

The Detroit Lions went a sparkling 4-0 in the 2008 preseason. They would then proceed to go 0-16 in the regular season, setting a standard of futility and ineptness that can be equaled, not likely, but never topped, or out bottomed. The greatest here we go, then massive thud of all time. 

And we all know that the third preseason game is the only one in which teams actually try, for maybe a half or so. 

The fourth one is for the scrubs, marginal players, trying to make their ways onto the roster. 

But every once in a while, even a meaningless game like this results in a totally duh, have you no brains whatsoever moment. 

Such was the case when the same Detroit Lions faced off against the Buffalo Bills on the shore of Lake Erie.

Late in the fourth quarter, with time running down and the Bills enjoying a somewhat (who cares?) comfortable lead, they had the ball inside their own 10 yard line.

Garbage time.

Still, even at that point, the coaching staff, if they're paying the slightest bit of attention, is evaluating players.

Buffalo came out in a "tight" offensive formation, which resulted in Detroit packing all 11 defenders "inside the box". 

And what did the Bills do? Ran a draw play. To absolutely nobody's surprise, the overwhelmed running back was sacked at the one yard line. This play had about as much chance of succeeding as your average snowflake does of surviving long in the Amazon rain forest. 

But that's the thing. This, of ALL times, is when a team should show some imagination, and go for the gusto. They have nothing to lose by doing so. So try a trick play, or at least throw the ball -- dammit. Maybe they'll learn something they can pull out later when the games actually matter.

If I'm the owner of the Buffalo Bills, looking down from my luxury box to witness this, I'm outraged. I would say the following ----

What the hell was that? I'm paying you guys millions of dollars and that's the best you can come up with?

The first thing I do is dock the offensive coordinator 10% of his salary. If he squawks, I fire him.

The second thing is I dock the head coach 10% of HIS salary for both having hired this unimaginative troll in the first place, and not overruling such a ridiculous play call when it came through his headphones. And I don't want to hear any guff out of him either, or he'll be looking for another job too -- tomorrow. 

I'm a billionaire and can afford to eat their salaries, but I won't tolerate a single second, or play, of totally wasted time. It's not only insulting to me, but our fans as well. 

Lord knows it's been quite a while since this team has been competitive -- a trait the Lions certainly share -- what with those pesky Patriots kicking everybody's butts in our division and elsewhere around the league, but I fail to see the point in just ramming one's head against a brick wall when other options were available. At least TRY one. 

It has to be dumbest thing I've seen since certain tweets from on high and watching Congress in action lately.

Like those folks, the Bills might not be any good this year -- again -- either. 

But I will not sit idly by watching my team, scrubs or not, just mailing it in. 

Get after it, as best you can, or I'll get after you.

Yes, I could come down into that nasty smelling, sweaty locker room and have a not so pleasant chat with you folks in person. I dare say you wouldn't find me to be a nice guy under such circumstances.

Yet there is an easier, better way for somebody in my position.

The next time I see stupidity like that from my team, how about if I zap the Wifi capabilities in the locker room?

Or the hot water in the showers mysteriously goes on the fritz?

All easily enough done.

Don't mess with me any more fellows.

Whatever your capabilities are -- LET'S GO.

I will settle for no less. 


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Brad Ausmus and sour grapes

There is little doubt that Detroit Tiger manager Brad Ausmus will be history when this season mercifully concludes for the Tigers. Is their plunge towards the nether regions of Major League Baseball all his fault?

Probably not. He's stuck with a bunch of grossly overpaid and under performing aging players. Though the Tigers have one of highest player payrolls in MLB, they're also one of the worst teams. This is not a recipe for a manager's continued employment. Somebody has to be the fall guy, and will be BA.

But his recent comment regarding Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies, showed his lack of class.

He referred to it as "pinball baseball". Indeed.

Yet Coors Field, besides being a beautiful facility, offers some of the most exciting baseball. Because it's at "altitude", the ball likely flies a bit farther than it would in other parks. A hitter's paradise and pitcher's nightmare? Maybe.

But who really wants to see pitchers' duels in 1-0 yawners anyway? Fans go to the various stadiums wanting to see some action, dammit. Home runs, balls up the gap for doubles and triples, stolen bases, hit and run plays, stuff HAPPENING.  Who cares if the precious pitchers' ERA ticks up a notch while playing there? Both sides have to play under the same conditions, and it's fun baseball, not the dreary, stodgy type evidently espoused by the likes of Brad Ausmus, unless it's his team that romps, instead of the other way around, of course. A bit of hypocrisy may be afoot there.

Nonetheless, if I'm the Colorado Rockies and saw BA's comment about "pinball baseball", I would have issued a response. That being.....

"As regards the Detroit Tigers manager recent slur on our facility, we can sum up what we think of him in one word. PinHEAD.

If any further explanation is warranted, the poor misguided man need only look at the standings. Our team is currently 14 games better than his. We are the thick of the playoff chase while his sad sacks are floundering into oblivion.

He's got a bad team and he knows it. If he doesn't, refer back to the original word mentioned above.


Who BTW, has this really nasty habit of spitting through his teeth every 3 or 4 seconds. Does he do that at home with his wife and kids? While driving in his car? At his place of worship -- if any? While sitting down at a restaurant?"

Yep, Brad Ausmus may or may not be highly thought of in Detroit among his own players, fans, and media.

But he's WAY out of line when he starts insulting other facilities such as Coors Field, when his own team plays in the dreary confines of Comerica Park.

And hey, one is named after a wildly popular beer. The other after a banking facility that is always on a mission to gouge customers out of even more money. One can feel pretty good after a couple of Coors, totally voluntary, but maybe not so good when those pesky interest rates of Comerica come crashing into your latest statement -- which is mandatory.

Yet in the end, it's "Pinball" vs "Pinhead".

One has long been a fun game at an arcade, still is, and comes in many varieties.

The other is merely biding time until he gets broomed. Still the same old spitting Brad. Boring as ever. Ain't no changing the stripes on that old cat. He is, ptui, what he'll always be. A loser.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Matthew Stafford. Good, bad, and ugly

So the quarterback of the Detroit Lions has signed a five year contract extension worth $135 million dollars? Hurray for him. Not exactly Mayweather, Buffet, Gates, Winfrey, or Trump money, but he won't be eating ramen noodles any time soon either.

This is a good thing, maybe.

But Stafford, despite continuing to be hailed in Detroit as some sort of super-hero, has been far from it.

The man is 29 years old, entering his ninth NFL season, and has, to date, posted a 51-58 career win/loss record. A somewhat less than mediocre winning percentage of .468.

On top of that, he has yet to lead his team to a single playoff victory. Not one in his previous eight years. There is little reason to believe it will happen this year either, given the same over-hyped but talent/coaching/brains shy version of the current Lions.

Is any sane person to believe a QB with such career stats deserves to be the highest paid player in the NFL?

That's not only bad, but pitiful. Only in Detroit could they be desperate enough to shower such a player with boatloads of money and come up with such a deal.

Thing is, by agreeing to stay with the Motown puddy-tats through the year 2022, Stafford has all but sealed his fate.

By the time that contract expires, the modern day Georgia Peach will be 34 years old. Pretty much on the back side of his career bell curve. True, that Brady guy in New England keeps on rolling like the energizer bunny, but no reasonable person would confuse Matthew and Tom. One has always been elite, the other mediocre. One gets it done when it matters most. The other falls flat.

And by the time 2022 rolls around, if Stafford is even capable of playing, no other team will be interested. It's entirely possible the next five years will go by and he STILL won't win a playoff game. Get to the Super Bowl, let alone winning it? The ultimate pipe dream/fantasy. Ain't gonna happen. Not with that bunch.

So yes, he'll be fabulously wealthy and the next few generations of Staffords will have nothing to worry about financially.

But if he ever aspired to a "ring" -- and isn't that the ultimate goal of most players? -- he just kissed it goodbye by signing away the rest of his career with the ever-hapless Lions.

It would have been interesting to see which other teams might have made a pitch for him had he played out this year and became a free agent. No doubt, he could have started for some, but certainly not all.

Forget New England. Even if Brady hangs it up after next year, they have that Jimmie guy waiting in the wings they've groomed all along.

Pittsburgh? A maybe, but only if Big Ben called it quits. The Steelers wouldn't pay mega-bucks for a guy like Stafford to ride the pine.

No way would he displace Russell Wilson in Seattle.

Nor Derek Carr in Oakland.

Eli in Giants land? Uh-uh.

Matt Ryan in Atlanta or Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay? Puh-leeze.

The Cowboys have a young stud named Dak Prescott, so would have little use for Stafford.

The Skins in DC are committed to Kirk Cousins. Ditto.

Drew Brees in New Orleans will only be displaced when he decides to retire, which evidently isn't quite yet.

There are likely a few teams that might consider taking on Stafford, but at a reduced price. Forget his gaudy passing stats, the fact remains he's far under .500 after eight seasons as a starter. Period. And his over-hyped regular season comeback heroics pale in the face of his play-off chokes.

Also true is there are several teams that would be glad to have him. Let's say Cleveland, Jacksonville, Miami, Houston, KC, Philly, San Fran, the Jets, Bears, and Denver -- maybe. Charlotte has already committed to Cam Newton, he of the once promising future, but also the same guy that can't get over the funk of being blasted in the Super Bowl a couple years back.

Yet in the end, Matthew Stafford, a Georgia native, has decided to ride out what is left of his useful career with the Detroit Lions.

That would seem to make him Ernie Banks-ish, with one huge difference. The former star of the Chicago Cubs never had free agency available to him. The north-siders, woeful as they were, owned his butt. He made it into the Hall of Fame, and rightfully so, but never got anywhere near sniffing any sort of championship. He was stuck. Not so with Stafford. He had choices.

And as the past 60 years of the Lions have proven, with no help in sight ----

That's just ugly.

Pity. As they say, the dude could have been a contender.

But as the old song (House of the Rising Sun) goes, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and making the wrong decisions has been the ruin of many a poor boy.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Pitying Floyd Mayweather

Yeah, I get it. On the surface, the premise of pitying a guy like Floyd Mayweather sounds ridiculous.

After all, here is a dude worth several hundreds of millions of dollars. He has a fleet of luxury cars, likely several mansions here and there to rival the one of Jed Clampett, and his pick of the day among a virtual harem of women eager to share his company. Throw in a yacht or two, a wardrobe of fancy clothes, shoes, and other accessories that would fill up your average warehouse, add a private jet and all the other goodies, and why, pray tell, would anybody feel sorry for him?

But we should. This is a very shallow, insecure man, with a serious ego problem.

It is no great secret that Floyd Mayweather has in the past been a notorious woman beater. These little "problems" have all been made to go away through buying them off. The power of money indeed.

And he leaves a long trail of former wives, girlfriends, and mothers of his children in his wake. Yet these same, ahem, ladies, continue to dutifully follow along in his entourage. Well gee, I wonder why? Did I mention money?

Good grief, the man even calls himself Floyd "Money" Mayweather. And flaunts it like no other sports figure has ever done in the past. It's not only shameful, but embarrassing just having watched it over the years.

But a boatload of money and fame does not necessarily make a man.

Floyd Mayweather tossing around $100 bills like they are confetti to somehow try and impress people only further proves his inferiority complex. Wearing underwear with C-note designs all over them? Really? Does that sound like a dude at peace with himself?

Or more like a glorified pimp trying to strut his stuff?

Over his boxing career, it is true Mayweather has gone undefeated. After fighting the usual assortment of bums to make a name for himself, and the full backing of the media machine hyping him every step of the way, Floyd then realized his opportunity to shape his future.

When he finally got around to fighting decent opponents, it was always on his terms. He would set the date. And venue. And guarantee himself the lion's share of the purse. His own people would select the ring-side judges as well as the referee within the ropes during the actual bout. Everything was oh so carefully choreographed -- to his advantage.

And just recently he has pocketed upwards of $250 million dollars for, ahem, "fighting" a man that had never before participated in his sport.

If one does the math, that equates to Floyd Mayweather having earned roughly $180,000 a SECOND, every tick of the AA battery powered clocks on so many walls, while in the ring against Conor McGregor. Do you see something horribly wrong with this picture?

And who, pray tell, was dumb enough to click on the "rent" pay-per-view button that cha-chinged them for a C-note over such a farce? Certainly not I.

With any luck, we have seen the last of Floyd Mayweather, and it can't come too soon. Good riddance.

While there will always be those that shower praise upon him for his accomplishments, the same sort of folks also cheered on the likes of Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, and Barry Bonds back in their hey-days. All turned out to be terribly flawed individuals in one way or another.

So let Floyd Mayweather ride off into the sunset -- please -- and enjoy the fame, money, and other worldly possessions he has amassed during his career. Some misguided folks will likely even consider him a sort of hero. Heavy on the misguided.

But for all of that, Floyd Mayweather was, is, and will always be nothing more than a small little man at heart, a petty individual continually beating his own drum in search of those that would admire him for the wealth he has accumulated. Sorry dude. Like the Beatles once sang way back in the 60s, money can't buy ya love.

And for that, he deserves neither acclaim nor hatred.

Merely pity.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Funny, or just dumb?

See the lady in the stands in DC watching her beloved Nats take on the NY Mets. See the Mets close the gap in the ninth inning to only trail 5-4. See yon lady wring her hands in despair. OMG, a Chicken Little moment appears to be upon her. The sky is falling. Woe is me.

See the Nats over 20 games ahead of the Mets, and 13 ahead of their closest division rival. They're already a lock for the postseason. So what gives with this woman?

Then again, maybe it just dawned on her that she had to skip a house or rent payment to attend such a meaningless game in the first place. OMG indeed.

So funny -- or just dumb?

See the latest and greatest flashlight commercial. You can freeze them in ice. Run over them with cars. And like the Timex watches of old -- they just keep on ticking -- or shining. That's nice, but who's dumb enough to freeze or run over a flashlight in the first place?

See the stranded lady motorist who has her hood up, is outside the car leaning up against the grill, but has her trusty flashlight blinking on the fender. If anything, it is sending a signal of "please mug me, take my money and other belongings, and otherwise abuse me at your pleasure".

Funny -- or just dumb?

See the same commercial show a camper (not seen) with a fire going within a foot of his/her tent -- totally unsupervised. Guess what happens if the wind shifts just a tad and blows the flame in the direction of the tent? The handy-dandy flashlight isn't going to help. Getting out of a tent up in flames can pretty much put the kibosh on an otherwise joyful excursion in the out of doors. Is this the audience the flashlight people are targeting? Careless idiots?

Funny -- or just dumb?

Remember the recent whack-em-all contest between the Detroit Tigers and NY Yankees. Batter after batter on both sides were plunked by pitched balls, including a beaning.

See a Detroit area columnist rant and rave how Yankee pitcher Betances should be suspended for days, weeks, maybe months. Yet in the next paragraph, see yon scribe come to Tiger Miguel Cabrera's defense for his assaulting behavior on the field. Miggy should not be suspended, maybe not even fined. Can you say "homer"?

When the league got done handing out penalties the following day -- several players were suspended and undisclosed fines levied -- Betances went unscathed. No suspension. No fine. No nothing.

Cabrera got nailed the hardest with a seven game suspension -- currently on appeal -- good luck with that -- and methinks yon Detroit homer might well be popping Xanax like M&Ms.

This is the same guy that hypes the Detroit Lions every year, but then rips them when they turn out to be their usual "lead-em on, let-em down" disappointing selves. Then blames it on the team. No mention of the Honolulu blue and silver Kool-Aid he was dishing out by the tanker full going into each season to the ever-gullible fans.

Leave us not forget, these are the same folks that get into games for free -- no skipping a house payment for them -- take an elevator up to the press box for the best seats in the house -- get free concessions while there -- and are further paid while doing so.

Yet they can turn right around and whine about the outrageous prices average fans have to cough up for much lesser accommodations?

Not sure what that is. Neither funny nor dumb quite seem to be appropriate.

But whatever it is -- it ain't right.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

The absurdity of the cable TV folks

This is something you would expect might happen in a third-world country, still struggling to feed itself -- not in a highly tech-savvy empire such as the United States. (Although to be fair, the so-called richest country on the planet should be ashamed of itself for still having so many homeless and starving people on their streets).

Nevertheless, as this is written, the much bally-hooed "fight" between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather should have been starting any minute.

It's not like the pay-per-view cable TV folks haven't had ample time to prepare. This bout has been months in the making.

But yet on the very cusp of the main event going off, there's a problem.

The pay-per-view system has crashed, perhaps due to a lot of late, likely drunk or high suckers trying to click and cough up $100 for what one Sports Illustrated writer recently -- and rightly -- referred to as a "glorified cholera outbreak".

Thing is, both McGregor and Mayweather have been dutifully training for this spectacle. As it drew nigh, they were no doubt on very regimented schedules. Especially on the night of the actual fight.

Every minute was already planned out. Eat, rest, nap, warm up, whatever.

Then it all got put on hold because the cable folks suffered a "technical malfunction"? This is ludicrous.

These guys are sitting in their dressing rooms waiting for the tech nerds to solve a problem they should have long anticipated and been ready for?

And the ring-side audience that coughed off mega-stupid bucks to be there sit and twiddle their thumbs? They likely had flights to catch at McCarron to get out of town. Now those could go by the wayside as well? If so, these will not be happy campers waiting for the next one.

Yep, America might well be a leader in many things, but having well thought out plans -- on a lot of fronts in recent years -- doesn't appear to be one of them.

Mohammed Ali the greatest? Hogwash

Many continue to think Mohammed Ali, the former Cassius Clay, was the greatest boxer of all time.

To which I say -- hogwash.

How can he be the greatest when he got whupped five times?

Sure, like most other up and coming fighters, Clay fought a lot of bums. So did Rocky Marciano. The difference is Marciano wound up with a perfect 49-0 record after having got in the ring to face several world class fighters himself.

Not so with Ali. He was defeated by Joe Frazier fair and square in their first bout. True, Ali would come back to avenge that loss, twice, but it was still a loss.

Ken Norton beat up Ali in their first go-round. It was said at the time that Ali suffered a broken jaw in the early rounds of that fight, but continued to soldier on anyway. Again, I consider that hogwash. It was likely a ploy to make him out as some sort of hero.

Hey, I watched that fight when I was in high school on a black and white TV. Anybody that has a broken jaw, and continues to absorb blows, would see their face blow up into grotesque proportions -- not to mention nobody could withstand the excruciating pain that came along with it.

I saw no evidence of that, hence I consider it little more than a myth to further enhance his image. He got beat, Period.

Yes, he would avenge that loss as well, but still it was a loss.

Leon Spinks -- that's right -- LEON freaking SPINKS whupped Ali. Forget Ali won the rematch. Does that sound like something that should be on the resume of the "greatest of all time"? I hardly think so. Leon Spinks???

Though a former sparring partner, Ali made the horrible mistake of getting in the ring with one Larry Holmes, who was a more accomplished version of Ali even during his heyday. Holmes was just as fast, perhaps faster, and packed harder punches. He would absolutely demolish Ali in the ring. Loss #4.

Let's not forget the Rumble in the Jungle when Ali rope-a-doped a clearly physically superior George Foreman into punching himself out, and came back to knock out the future grill man.

Notice Ali never offered Foreman a rematch. He likely knew George wouldn't fall for the same trick again, and was too scared to get back in the ring with him. Yet every time Ali had been whupped, his opponent gave HIM a rematch. Except for Holmes, who was probably willing, but even Ali had enough sense not to challenge him again.

Finally, pitifully, Mohammed Ali limped out of his career with a loss to Trevor Berbick. He stuck around too long, like so many others.

In the end, it still adds up to five losses, a couple of them very lop-sided, and at least a couple others shameful.

So tell me one more time how this guy, may his loud mouth rest in peace, is even in the conversation among the greatest of all time? Because he said he was? And had his media mouthpiece, sucker Howard Cosell hyping him all along the way? I'm sorry, that's not good enough. Not even close.

The official record says Rocky Marciano was 49-0, with 43 knockouts.

Mohammed Ali was 56-5, with only 37 KOs.

Decades ago, the computer folks compiled a simulation of what would have happened had Ali and Marciano met in the ring during their primes. I watched that and regret to this day I didn't tape it for posterity.

They foresaw Rocky getting cut and otherwise dinged up for several rounds, not able to catch up with the elusive Mohammed to slug it out.

But they also predicted Marciano would eventually outlast Ali through sheer determination and toughness, to take him out in the later rounds.

At the time, many were outraged. NO WAY could this have happened, they screamed from on high -- or down low -- depending on how one wishes to look at it. Ali was/is is the greatest, everybody knows that. Well, not quite everybody, including yours truly.

Thing is, you can bet that particular video segment has been buried deeper in the vaults of the TV folks than your average rock plummeting into the depths of the Marianas trench. We'll never see it again -- but it was there once upon a time. I witnessed it personally.

Clay/Ali brought a lot of attention to boxing, and he was an OK champion, when he wasn't losing the title, only to regain it. It is likely nobody has ever been a more self-serving pitch-man than Ali was, though the Mayweather/McGregor dynamic duo of late are certainly worthy of Hall of Egomania Shame mention.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Yankees/Tigers brawls

Due to all the batters hit by pitches, some even beaned, there's plenty of blame to go around between these two clubs for the farcical third gradish rumble they just put on that technically passed as a Major League Baseball game.

But most of the fault lies with the Detroit Tigers. They are no doubt frustrated. The Tigers started the season 6-2 with high hopes, and have since slowly been swirling down the proverbial porcelain receptacle. The once proud team finds itself woefully out of any playoff possibilities, and only the hapless Chisox, which already waved the white flag this year by dealing their ace pitcher -- Chis Sale -- have a worse record in the entire American League. Add to that the Yankees had absolutely pummeled the Tigers in Detroit for the first two games of the series, and it came as no great surprise they would lash out.

Michael Fulmer, rookie of the year in 2016, and considered an "ace" by Detroit standards, pretty much started the melees by plunking a couple Yankee batters. Retribution was likely to follow -- and so it did.

The Tigers were thumped by a couple heaters themselves. Fair enough. What goes around.....

One would think that should have been the end of it. But no. Per usual in such situations, the benches kept emptying with the players -- and managers/coaches jawing at each other on the field. As if they're really going to accomplish anything worthwhile by doing so.

No athletes this side of the NBA are sorrier wimpy fighters than Major League Baseball players. Despite all their bodies covered with so-called manly tats, the hoopsters are downright girly when it comes to truly getting it on. Pansies. OK, soccer players. Ink or no ink, they're flat-out pitiful indeed.

What continues to be truly comical is the "bull-pens" coming on to the field when these things happen. Evidently, somebody woke them up from their naps, card games, and Ipad apps to let them know their presence was required on the field. Those guys probably had no idea what had transpired -- but let's run all the way across the field to join the mob. This is not a show of force. It's a show of stupidity.

See a Yankee get up in the face of Tiger Miguel Cabrera with a few choice words. See Cabrera get physical and violently shove him, even throwing a couple punches. In real life, mere words are never an excuse for a physically assaulting response. Had this happened on the street somewhere between two average citizens, it would be Cabrera that would be heading off to jail in handcuffs.

Tiger manager Brad Ausmus also found a way to go berserk. He rightfully got ejected from the game. Then again, BA also no doubt knows he's playing out the string as far as being the manager. With his contract expiring at the end of this horrific season by the Tigers -- color him gone.

True, it's not his fault. He can only play the cards (players) he's been dealt by the Tigers' laughable and inept front office. But make no mistake -- he'll be the fall guy.

When it was all over, the Tigers had escaped with a win, a rare occasion these days. This is a team that is bad and will get worse in the future due to aging players with exorbitant contracts (see untradeable) as their skills continue to decline. The Tigers are stuck with them due to their own "brain trust" (LOL) incompetence.

As it turned out, five Yankees got ejected from the game, and three Tigers. Eight is the most given the boot in any MLB game in quite a long time.

No doubt, Tiger fans blame the Yanks -- and vice versa. Such are the ways "homers" roll.

But here's one thing yours truly is fairly certain of ----

After reviewing the tapes of this clusterf--k of childish actions, reactions, tantrums, and other outbursts, the fines are going to roll as well.

Oh yeah, the league office is going to pad their already bulging bank accounts by zapping a few of these clowns in their wallets.

And THAT is certainly well deserved.

Boys, boys, behave yourselves.

If not, we're gonna ding ya......

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mayweather/McGregor prediction

Now that was about a dumb commercial. Some pharma company is advertising a new miracle drug that causes less major bleeding. Hey, I don't want ANY major bleeding. In fact, none at all would be preferable. Why would anybody in their right mind take these pills? And, oh yeah, if you experience nausea, diarrhea, a swollen tongue, dizziness, numbness, or even sudden death -- by all means stop taking them and call your doctor right away. Please.

On to the M and M boys.

It just so happens I have a friend, let's call him TT, that is a third degree (dan) black belt. Though he's learned the discipline of being peaceful (anything to avoid a confrontation), which is typical of someone at that martial arts level, there is no doubt whatsoever this is a man capable of hurting somebody, seriously and quickly, if given no way out.

We recently chatted regarding the upcoming Mayweather/McGregor bout. Here is his take:

Though many, including the odds-makers, view Floyd as the favorite, he disagrees.

On the plus side, he cedes Floyd is clearly the superior boxer. Also this fight will be held in his own back yard, Las Vegas. Further, he assumes the ring-side judges will be predisposed to favor Floyd if the bout goes the full 12 rounds and a decision has to be rendered. Basically, he sees no way Conor can win such a decision.

But on the minus side, he points out a few things.

First, Mayweather was/is asking for disaster when he agreed to fight with 8 oz. gloves. These much more resemble the fist pads in octagon fights than the puffy 16 oz. nerf gloves used in most high level boxing matches. Advantage definitely McGregor.

TT considers Mayweather to be a "paper" champion. True, he was/is undefeated and has boxed against many good opponents, but his style has always been that of pitty-pat and run, rather than actually fight. TT doesn't think Floyd can seriously hurt Conor with such tactics, but conversely says if Conor ever connects with a solid shot, Mayweather's in deep trouble. This dude CAN hit, HARD. Plus he's lightning fast and will find a way to cut off the ring to "engage" here and there. Major disadvantage Mayweather.

Third are the age and conditioning factors. Though he's typically in great shape, Mayweather is also 40 years old.

Conversely, McGregor is a training machine, fanatical. And only 29, at the peak of his strength/endurance ratio. He would have no problem whatsoever with getting "gassed" during the fight.

Huge disadvantage Mayweather.

His prediction?

He sees McGregor ending the fight early via knockout, likely in the first 3-4 rounds. He'll be all over Mayweather from the opening bell, and Floyd will only be able to pitty-pat, escape and run so many times before he gets caught.

Yet yours truly has pondered one question, which hasn't been addressed, since this "fight" was agreed to. Why, pray tell, would Mayweather want to do it?

Most peg his net worth at somewhere around 400-500 million, so he obviously doesn't need the money. Plus he "retired" 49-0, undefeated, the same record as heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano over a half century ago.

And doesn't it follow that if he were to lose this bout, his entire legacy would take a serious hit? He got in the ring under conditions entirely dictated by his own camp with a guy that has never professionally boxed before, fighting with less than half his potential skills-- and lost -- maybe even got knocked out? Oh my, how his name and rep would take a beating.

On the other hand, McGregor has already been defeated three times in his own world of fighting. If he loses this, other than bragging rights, no serious harm done, plus he'll get a boatload of money himself for his trouble. He can easily slide back into the mixed martial arts world and likely continue to fight for quite some time.

But TT had an answer for that. People like Mayweather never know when to say quit. It has been the downfall of other champions, notably Mohammed Ali. They keep coming back, long after their prime, and eventually get their brains beat out by younger, stronger, faster, hungrier fighters. Humiliated in the sport they were once so great at.

He sees the very same happening to Mayweather when he gets in the ring with McGregor, whom he calls an "animal" not to be trifled with.

According to TT, Mayweather is a man clearly past his prime, was an arrogant fool to accept this fight with a younger, much more physical superior opponent, and he's going to pay for it.


Far be it from me to disagree with a third degree black belt who's been doing this stuff his whole life. On the way up the ladder, he no doubt kicked a lot of butt, but also got trashed himself along the way. Goes with the territory. In other words, TT's been there, done that, and it's a pretty safe bet the man knows what he's talking about.

Yet we shall see.....

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Know what I hate?

First and foremost -- liver. I don't care how you fix it, it's still nasty, vile stuff. And who wants to eat what's basically the oil filter of an animal?

Other than that, I can't really say I truly hate anything or anybody -- just have preferences -- sometimes strong ones.

I don't hate my ex, even though it was she that cheated, not me, then proceeded to try and rob me blind in divorce court. Can't say I like her much any more though.

Nor do I hate various factions spewing their own hate. Left/right, lib/con, Dem/Rep, protesters/counter protesters, etc., etc. They are entitled to their opinions -- both ways. It is when one tries to impose their will and beliefs on the other that problems happen.

Which brings me to sports.

Sure, I root for some teams, but I don't hate their opponents. What's the point in that? The other guys/gals are just trying to do their jobs for somebody else.

Though I've been accused of it in the past, I never hated Tiger Woods. It's just that, even during his hey-day, I smelled something fishy about this guy, which would later be borne out. So no, I never cared for him much but, like any golf fan, yours truly was certainly entitled to root for or against him. I chose against.

In the NFL, I always thought Peyton Manning was over-rated, but I didn't hate him. I've long respected Tom Brady, didn't much care for Michael Vick, am fond of the Packers -- but not the Cowboys, loved the Raider Nation attitude and characters, and pretty much frowned on all things New York. Gimme John Elway any day. Keep Dan Marino. Gimme Barry Sanders over Emmett Smith. I wish thoughtful, objective people like your typical offensive lineman would speak up more, while loud mouth rabble rousers like your typical defensive back would put a sock in it.

Always liked the Celtics. Never cared for the Lakers. I'll always think more of Bird than Magic.

Back in the NASCAR day, I rooted for Awesome Bill Elliott and then Jeff Gordon. Thought Dale Earnhart Sr. was little more than a bully on the track. On that note, the very wreck that killed him at Daytona, ostensibly caused by Sterling Marlin, was a move Dale himself had pulled on countless others over the years, sending them into the wall. What's good for the goose --- but this one ended tragically.

Currently, I admire the class and success of Jimmy Johnson, a Chevy driver. Yet turn up my nose at Kyle Busch, who seems to think he owns the track and everybody should get out of his way.

While on that note, what gives with KB running "junior" league races all the time? Wouldn't that be a bit like a Major League slugger playing in a minor league game on a day off to belt out a few home runs against inferior pitching? You don't see the likes of Jimmy Johnson doing that. Busch league stuff indeed.

And BTW, dear Kyle and his fellow stable of Toyota drivers should be an affront to American race fans. Hey, the "N" in NASCAR stands for "National", as in American. If they want to run Japanese cars and motors, let them go to the land of the rising sun and create their own racing league. Good riddance.

Still can't figure out how Roger Penske, a Chevy man for decades, flip-flopped into running Ford gear in NASCAR. What's up with that? Loved ya, Rog, but boo/hiss on that move. You forgot where you came from.

Always been a fan of the Maple Leafs, but rooted against the Canadiens.

Think the NFL is tough? Australian rules football is for REAL men.

Now that the above-mentioned Eldrick Tont Woods appears to be finally kaput, I love the competition among so many outstanding golfers on the tour these days. Dustin, Jordan, Rory, Jason, Bubba, and that bunch.

Still root for the oldsters like Phil and Davis III on the rare occasions they get into contention in any given tournament.

Idle thought: The PGA has a senior circuit, called the "champions". Good for them. Those guys can probably still beat anybody on your block. But I'm pretty sure we don't want to see the same sort of 50 and over thing when it comes to mixed martial artists in the octagon or, heaven forbid, a Major League Baseball geezer league. That probably wouldn't play so well, and neither would the participants. Only in golf can they get away with this.

Well OK, there might be one other thing I hate. Long an Indy 500 fan/groupie for decades, having gone to several races in the past, I'm appalled that those very same nice people from Japan, who have flooded the American market with their various automobiles and decimated the electronics industry, have now invaded my beloved Indy with Honda motors in so many cars.

But other than that, I can fairly state that hate has nothing to do with it.

Just a matter of preferences and opinions.

So go do what ya gotta do and hate away at this or that if you must, from politics to exes, to everything in sports. This is your right.

Just don't try and feed me liver.

That will cause a problem....

Huh, come to think of it, I don't hate all things Notre Dame either, but it's getting close.

Good grief, the real Notre Dame is a cathedral in Paris and they call themselves the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana? Really? Then again, the Fighting French wouldn't exactly have the same ring to it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The sorry state of the Detroit Tigers

As they've always said, before every baseball season starts, hope springs eternal. All major league teams and their fans/local media can hardly wait for the action to begin.

One hundred and sixty two games is a lot, and a whole bunch of things can happen over that time, and usually do.

Young upstarts come along getting hot. Veteran players with high expectations fail to live up to them. Injuries definitely occur. Last year's contenders can quickly become this year's bums -- and vice versa. And on any given day, or night, the last place team can beat the first place team. It happens all the time. A very strange game, major league baseball.

Which brings me to the Detroit Tigers. Their expectations were generally modest going into this season. No one seriously thought they were as good as their division rival Cleveland Indians but maybe, just maybe they could grab a wild-card spot into the post season if things fell right.

To be honest, yours truly thought they would be about a .500 team, maybe a few games over. Wild-card? Possible, but not probable. Too many other projected better teams in the American League. But who knew?

Indeed, the Tigers got off to a pretty good start. Way back on April 12 they sported a 6-2 record.

Sadly to say, it would be their high water mark of the entire season.

They gradually went into a funk, falling many games under .500.

But wait, then came reason for hope. By June 4, they had clawed their way back to .500 at 28-28.

Fast forward to the present and the Tigers appear to be in free fall. They've lost eleven out of their last thirteen, have fallen fourteen games behind the Indians, and are a whopping 15 games under .500. Hopelessly out of any play-off possibilities. Only the woeful Chicago White Sox are worse in the entire American League.

If there was any doubt before, manager Brad Ausmus is definitely a goner after this season. His contract will be up, and though he's highly respected by his players and most others around Detroit, there's no way he gets re-upped.

Thing is, it's not his fault the Tigers have become pitiful. Ausmus can only play the cards (players) he's dealt by the front office (GM), and they've been running mighty cold lately. And the team is in such disarray it likely doesn't matter who the Tigers bring in next to make out the line-up cards and keep changing pitchers. But somebody has to be the fall guy, and that will surely be Ausmus.

You know it's a bad sign when your team's two "best" pitchers, old pro Justin Verlander, and Rookie of the Year in 2016 Michael Fulmer only have .500 records themselves. JV was a few games under, but made it back to 8-8. Now in his mid 30s and clearly on the back side of his bell curve, does this sound like a guy a team should be committed to paying a ridiculous $28,000,000 a year for the next few?

Fulmer hasn't won a game in over 2 months.

And this is the best of the bunch?

Elsewhere, they've got other aging veterans that are locked into long-term mega-buck deals, and their production has been quickly slip-sliding away as well.

No other team is going to touch these guys. The Tigers are stuck with them.

True, they have a promising young player here and there, like Mikie Mahtouk. But for every one of those they have duds elsewhere. This guy is an injury waiting to happen. That guy has Roberto Duran-ish "hands of stone" defensively. A designated hitter pushing forty that runs with the speed of molasses in the Yukon, and is only hitting .240? Who else in the league could he possibly play for?

The Tigers went for the gusto a few years back, looting their farm system for mercenaries that might bring them a championship. And they got close, but never quite over the hump.

Now those hot-shot free agents have gone elsewhere, and the Tigers' brass finally decided it might be a good idea to try and restock their minor league system with a few prospects. That may work out someday, but likely not any year soon.

This team is bad and will get worse, probably much worse, before they get better. Every single facet of their being points in that direction. Let's not forget that currently the Tigers have one of the highest player payrolls in the entire Major Leagues, but also one of the worst records. That does not equate to success, or even being semi-sensible about such things. How could they possibly have gotten themselves into such a colossal mess on so many fronts?

But it is what it is, and all the spin in the world ain't gonna make it pretty.

Here's wishing them well and god bless.

But methinks they're in for some mighty rough times in the next few years.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The national anthem sit-down war

Pretty much all football fans are aware of the argument that continues to rage over whether players are right or wrong if they choose to not stand during the playing of the national anthem. Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Fran 49ers, and currently unemployed at last look, was the first. Others have since joined in.

Because there's no law against it, refusing to honor the anthem is a matter of choice. Sort of. But there's a way of looking at this that hasn't yet been mentioned.

If I'm the head coach of an NFL team -- or college for that matter -- I gather my players in the locker room and tell them the following......

Alright guys, listen up. I understand we live in America and the Constitution gives us many rights. We are much more fortunate in that respect than many other countries around the world.

I also understand our society is far from perfect. A lot of people, probably several in this room, have beefs about one thing or another. I'm not here to take sides on that because I don't live in your skin.

I am here to bring this team together to be the best it can be. Though a lot of you make more money than I do, I'm still your boss. A wacky system, I know, but you guys report to me -- not the other way around.

For the purposes of this argument, let's consider this football team a company, like so many others in this country. They come in all different shapes and sizes and peddle various wares, but their main goal is to be successful.

Personally, I couldn't care less what you do before or after work. That's your time and none of my business. Unless you run afoul of the law, or do something deemed unethical under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, you can have at whatever floats your boat. Not a problem.

However, besides the law, many companies have their own in-house "shop rules". Whether it's a factory, department store, fast food joint, construction outfit -- you name it -- when you hire in you agree to abide by those shop rules while on the job. Break one of those and chances are you'll be disciplined in one way or another. Maybe a pay cut, demotion, time off, or even fired.

Most, but not all, of those companies don't try to pry into your personal lives either, or tell you what you can and cannot believe in. They could run into big legal trouble by doing so.

So here's the deal. What you do during the off-season, or even during the season when you're not at one team function or another is, again, none of my business.

However, as you know, the national anthem is typically only played before games we participate in. Not at practice, film study, in the weight room, etc., etc.

And it doesn't get more ON THE JOB for you guys than being in a stadium full of fans, at home or on the road, just before the most important thing we do happens -- playing a game. All our livelihoods depend on succeeding more than failing.

So consider this a shop rule. You're going to put your personal gripes aside for a couple minutes and stand for the anthem.

When the game is over go out there and protest all you want. But not AT the game/on the job. Most other companies would not tolerate this of their employees while they're on the clock, and neither will I.

What I personally believe in is irrelevant. But I do know we all work under the umbrella of the NFL or NCAA, and those parent companies are patriotic in a large way.

That's why you see those giant flags on the field, color guards, and the fly-overs by fighter jets all the time.

Whether it's right or wrong to do such things at athletic events is not my call to make. I just work here, like you guys.

But I won't tolerate anything that distracts from team unity or causes a media circus, which sitting out the anthem clearly brings about.

Again, this is America, and you're free to do a whole lot of stuff. Including chumping the anthem.

But as the head coach, I'm also free to cut you. Which I will do immediately if you do that.

You would then be free to seek employment with all the others teams in the league.

Maybe somebody would pick you up, and I'd wish you well in all your future endeavors.

But it ain't happening HERE.

And last time I looked, that hasn't worked out so well for Colin Kaepernick either.

Any questions?

Monday, August 14, 2017

The incredible Detroit Lions Kool-aid factor

You'd think they'd learn eventually. I mean, how many times do you have to be ripped off and slapped around before you stop doing whatever it is that keeps resulting in such punishment?

But no. Detroit Lions' fans, and their homer media, bless their collective pollyannish, if horribly misguided (dare I say "please shaft me again") hearts, appear to be back for another round of abuse at the hands of their beloved puddy-tats.

Since Super Bowls began, over 50 years ago, the Lions remain one of only four teams to have never even MADE it there -- let alone win it. The other three are all "expansion" teams. To wit, the "new" Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And they haven't won a single playoff game in over a quarter century. In fact, they've only won ONE in the Super Bowl era -- PERIOD.

It is a shameful record of failure indeed.

But never fear, as Lions' fans typically go, with their ever-gullible media force-feeding them massive doses of the Honolulu blue and silver Kool-aid, by thunder, this just might be the year.

How do they know that? Because the Lions defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the first preseason game this year.

Never mind that the Colts are riddled with injuries, including on both offensive and defensive lines, had many starters out for various reasons -- including QB Andrew Luck -- and are just trying to get healthy enough to start the regular season. Also never mind the Colts aren't projected be a very good team anyway.

Nevertheless, the bandwagon has started again in Motown -- or is that Notown? --  Blowtown? -- when it comes to pro sports. All the rest of their teams appear to be bottom feeders as well. But that's a story for another day.

Let's face it. During all the years William Clay Ford owned the team (and he closed the original deal on the very same day JFK got shot in Dallas way back in 1963 -- not a good sign), they were never more than mediocre in their best years. A good player here and there -- see Billy Sims, Barry Sanders, and Calvin Johnson -- but also a parade of clown head coaches and a hopelessly incompetent front office.

Now that not-so-slick Willy has passed on, the team is owned by his 90 year old widow Martha and their kids. Mustang Billy remains busy trying to keep the Ford Motor company afloat, so he's pretty much a non-factor. That leaves the ivory tower "girls". Does anybody think for one second these silver-spooners know the difference between a draw play and a Broadway play? Good luck with that.

Adding to the stupidity was dear Martha bringing on one Rod Wood, an estate manager, (what's a few more wasted millions?) who by his own admission knew nothing about pro football, to be president of the team.

But Lion fans have taken great heart that Bob Quinn, formerly of the New England Patriots, has been hired as general manager. His task is to oversee the draft and negotiate contracts. Basically, he's in charge of what players get signed for a chance to make the team.

Could he indeed be the "miracle worker" the Lion faithful have waited so long for?

Maybe. But he was only a scout for the Patriots. The Detroit media made a huge deal out of the fact that Quinn was "allowed" in the "draft room" for the Patriots. Well gee, give that man a gold star for evidently being able to keep his mouth shut (see no leaks to the press) when the important decisions were being made by his superiors in Foxborough.

Only the Lions would elevate such a person to the level of general manager. But Quinn would have been a fool not to jump at the opportunity.

After all, he got a long term contract (so did Matt Millen not that long ago -- and how did that turn out?), worth millions upon more millions of guaranteed Ford dollars. No matter what happens, he's financially set for life.

The bottom line is thus:

Though the Kool-aid addicts are once again shooting up in Detroit, over one meaningless pre-season win, this team isn't going anywhere this year. The still have WAY too many holes and liabilities compared to their precious few assets.

And let's not forget that these same Lions' fans, and the same media, were trumpeting them to the heavens when they went 4-0 during the 2008 pre-season. They would go on to post an 0-16 regular season, the worst in league history.

Yep, that was the year, like all the others over the decades, until the wheels completely fell off.

BTW, wasn't Ford the car company that brought consumers those laugh a minute exploding Bridgestone exploding tires a while back? And the Pinto that would sometimes erupt into a flaming inferno when struck from the rear?  Let's not forget the classic Edsel, from back in the 50s. How did that work out? Strangely enough (or maybe not), it debuted at just about the last time the Lions were half-way decent and Willie Clay was beginning to show an interest in investing in them.

Hey, the Lions have exploded here and there over the years, and certainly gone up in flames.

The above-mentioned Barry Sanders left millions on the table -- even huger bucks back in the 90s -- when he walked away from the team, because he knew they had no chance, ZERO, of being Super Bowl contenders any year soon. He was right. Had he stuck around, he likely would have put the all-time NFL rushing record so far out of sight, it would never be approached again. But he got out with enough money, his body intact, and most importantly, his sanity.

The same could be said for Calvin Johnson, the best receiver the Lions ever had. He wearied of their incompetent ways as well and took a hike with likely several more outstanding years in front of him rather than continue to get his brain and body beat up -- and for what? This clown organization?

Matthew Stafford, the Lions version of the Georgia Peach, is WAY over-hyped in Motown. Sure he throws for a lot of yards. That's because the Lions have never had a running game, so he HAS to throw a lot.

But while the Kool-aiders think Stafford is some kind of elite quarterback, most objective football people rank him somewhere in the middle of the NFL pack of starting QBs.

If he's got any brains, he'll play out the last year (this one) of his contract and hit the free agent market. True, there are many teams he couldn't start for. But there are also those contenders that would pay him big bucks to come, and maybe be the difference of getting them over the top.

Either way, he'll be financially set for life, if he isn't already. So why stay in the dregs of Detroit, which is pretty much an armpit big city anyway? Stafford has NO chance of winning a Super Bowl there.

Yep, the Kool-aiders are back out again in force, but they're as dumb and gullible as they've always been.

Get real. The Lions project to be an "average" team this year. Somewhere between 9-7 and 7-9. Maybe, just maybe, if everything goes right, they make it into a wild-card playoff game. Only to be blasted like they have every other year they've made the playoffs, which aren't many over the decades.

Besides the bumbling Fords, the inheritance guy Wood, and the probably not-so-mighty and vastly  overrated Quinn, as long as they stick with clueless Caldwell as head coach, they have sealed their fate.

And it will be the same as it always been.

But hey, like Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum once famously said -- there's a sucker born every minute.

In the magical kingdom of the Detroit Lions, it's gone on for generations.

Keep zapping the sappies in their wallets and hearts....

If they're not smart enough to eventually wise up, then who's fault is that indeed?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What I want to hear just ONCE from a pro golfer

Call me Jason. Or Jordan. Or Dustin, Ricky, Bubba, Rory, or any other name you want. I'm a pro golfer out on the PGA tour.

But unlike all the other guys, I'm not consumed by the desire to win majors. Tiger was obviously the worst, He was obsessed by it. For that matter, even winning lesser tournaments doesn't particularly concern me.

Sure, I give it my best when I play in one, and would love to win it. But if I don't, something else takes a much higher priority.

Making the cut.

It's not cheap doing what I do. Flying all over the country (and sometimes abroad) to various tournaments (while paying for my caddy too) comes with a cha-ching. So do motel rooms or rental houses for a week. And we have to eat. Sponsors are a god-send, but not everybody has them. To those without, we have to cough up dough for golf clothes, shoes, thousands of balls, gloves, and all the rest. It can get expensive.

Everybody seems to be caught up in the hype of statistics, wins, particularly majors, and the ever-fanatical press keeps feeding the flames of the gullible masses.

Hey, I get it. Though Jack was the best, and Eldrick had his decade of dominance, I don't kid myself that I'll ever approach that level.

And you know what? That's fine. We can't all be superstars.

I'm just out here trying to make a living and I'm very cool with knocking down a few million a year while playing golf on some of the finest courses in the world. The food and accommodations at such places are absolutely fabulous.

And c'mon, it surely beats supersizing people at a drive-through window somewhere or being a prison guard, much less an inmate.

Life is good, and my caddy is pretty happy too. Every time I make a cut and get a check, he gets his cut and check as well. I'm pretty sure he'd rather be doing this than his old job of carrying bags for old rich people that can't break 100 at their local ritzy country clubs.

So let the media rant and rave about titles all they want. And let the golf fans continue to eat it up. Further, I wish the best for my compatriots out here on tour that are also obsessed with winning, winning, WINNING, dammit, and their legacies eventually.

I couldn't care less. So I feel no pressure standing over a 3 foot putt that might get me a win. If it goes in -- great.

But if it doesn't, that's OK too. Second place at any tour event comes with a pretty hefty paycheck, as in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And who cares about trophies? I had a bunch of those from when I used to play little league baseball as a kid, and a few when I was a halfway decent bowler as a teenager. I'm not even sure where they are any more. Maybe my mom threw them out or sold them in a garage sale for a couple bucks. No big deal. The same will be true of any hardware I might win as a professional golfer someday.

Such things come and go and nobody else cares, so why should I?

This whole mania about winning is vastly overrated, and for those that I suspect have some sort of inferiority complex, thereby making them feel like they always have to prove the elusive "something".

Personally, I'm comfortable with myself. I'm a nice guy, have a wife and a couple kids which I love more than anything, and just so happen to be a pretty decent golfer or else I wouldn't have qualified to be out on the PGA tour.

Sure, wins would be great, but if I can make more cuts than I miss, or even rack up a handful of top-10 finishes in any given year -- everything is just peachy, especially when it comes to the financial thing. I'm happy, my wife is happy, my caddy's happy, and the kids are well taken care of.

No worries.

So what's the problem?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The (wink, wink) Tiger Woods affair

Everything about this developing story seems to be horribly wrong.

We know that dear Eldrick was found asleep and subsequently incoherent in his vehicle a few months ago. It was damaged, had two flat tires, but glory be, nobody seems to know, or wants to, how that could have come about.

Well OK, he had no alcohol in his system. But by his own admission was maxed out on pain killers and anti-depressants. In other words, a menace on the highway. Driving under the influence. Big time.

As the story goes, only a not guilty plea can be entered without the defendant, Tiger, being present in the court room. So said his attorney to the judge.

But wait a second. In the same paragraph, the prosecutor said Tiger had already agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving. So which is it?

At that, presto, Tiger went off into rehab somewhere. Again. No doubt, this was another celebrity justice condition of his plea. Go into a country club facility, behave yourself for a month or two, and everything will be just fine.

Worse, he'll only be fined a couple hundred bucks, chump change, be on joke probation for a short time, and have his "record" completely cleared if he can act like an upright citizen for a few months.

This is wrong, though the prosecutor, as if she's fooling anybody, stated that Woods isn't being treated any different than a common citizen would be.

Hogwash. The average John or Jane Doe, under the exact same conditions, would not, repeat NOT be afforded the same VIP treatment Eldrick is about to receive. Even if a first time offender, their record would be forever and the system would come down a lot harder on them.

A few hours of community service? That's a joke as well. Tiger can probably spend them giving bimbos putting lessons at one of Trump's fancy golf resorts. Anybody else would likely have to pick up trash on the side of interstates somewhere. Or mow lawns at churches. Can you picture Eldrick pushing a mower around? Not me. Ain't gonna happen.

And there's the thing. The penalty should be commensurate with the financial status of the perpetrator.

Sure, a couple hundred dollar fine would hurt your average minimum wage earner, or someone unemployed trying to barely scrape by.

But it's a joke to a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Want to get his attention? Hit the almost billionaire with a $100,000,000 fine, make him "drop" every other day or so like anybody else would have to, and no, his record NEVER goes away. Good enough for the common man/woman -- good enough for Eldrick.

Anybody that thinks the double standard doesn't still exist in a large way -- is crazy. A rich person committing the exact same crime as a poor person might get sent off to a Club Fed somewhere. You know, tennis courts, pools, saunas, hot tubs, masseuses, gourmet food, and definitely no bars.

The poor guy will get thrown in a slammer. Brutal guards, a community shower every three days or so, good luck with that, and trying to merely survive among the animals that would just as soon stab or rape him as an every day occurrence. This, while having to eat food most dogs would turn their noses up at, and bars everywhere.

Would I wish harm to come to poor Eldrick? Of course not. He made a mistake and should pay for it.

Yet the punishment should not only fit the crime, but also be tailored to the ability to pay.

 I mean, c'mon. If the Prez, a multi-billionaire, is eventually found guilty of colluding with the Russians to fix the election last fall, do you really think fining him a few hundred bucks, clearing his record if he miraculously behaves himself for a few months, and doesn't otherwise wreak havoc during any probationary period would get his attention?


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Justin Verlander debacle

Sound the trumpets, send in the dancing girls, and by all means declare another national holiday. Something truly momentous has occurred in the world of sports.

What could it be? Has Tiger come roaring back on the golf tour and reclaimed his rightful, ahem, cough, gag, place as the #1 player in the world?

Not exactly. He just went into rehab. More about that later.

But Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, glory hallelujah and bring on the rose petals, has finally got his record over .500 this year.

Yessirree, the Virginian is now the proud owner of an 8-7 record. It only took 113 games in the 2017 season to get there.

And hey, you can have him for the low, low price of only 28 MILLION dollars a year. Such a deal.

But why would any other (sane) baseball club want to touch this guy with a ten foot pole? His ridiculous contract runs for another two years and at age 34 is clearly on the back side of his career.

Let's not forget dear Justin only plays in every fifth or sixth game. He can't hit or field a position. Nobody knows if he can run, because he's never had to. Yet for his valiant efforts as a starting pitcher, JV rakes in roughly a cool million every time he takes the mound. Guaranteed, win or lose. Then gets 4-5 days off. This has to be one of the greatest jobs in the world.

Add in the fact Detroit Tiger fans continue to idolize this vastly overpaid and underworked "athlete", who is nothing more than an average pitcher, and JV is defecating in tall cotton indeed.

This is also why the typical family of four likely has to skip a house payment to attend a game. There's a reason why ticket prices are so high, watered down beers cost 10 bucks, nasty hot dogs another 8, and whatever that glop they call nacho cheese they put on stale chips will set you back another Abe or so.

That reason is Justin Verlander and his ilk. You, as fans, have to pay for this guy making such a ridiculous salary. And he's struggled all year to finally get his record -- barely -- above .500?

The absurdity of it all is mind-boggling. It ranks right up there with those ever-lovable folks at the Pentagon being exposed a while back for charging the taxpayers $800 for a manually operated fastener impeller (hammer), and $600 for a pivoting hygienic insulator (toilet seat). Remember that? And the people wonder why their country continues to wallow in debt? HELLO??

As for dear Eldrick Tont Woods, no, he won't be returning to the PGA golf tour any time soon, if ever, let alone recapturing any glory. His day has come and gone and he'd get his brains beat out on the tour by the bevy of young studs out their today, much like what he once did to a former generation during his ten years of dominance.

But wait a second. Tiger got busted for DUI (driving under the influence of drugs) while obviously dazed and confused at the time? Way back in May?

And it took him 3 months to finally decide to enter rehab when by his own admission he's had a problem with an addiction to pain killers for years?

Probably a good thing he got popped by the cops, or else he might still be out there as a menace on the highway somewhere.

Yet dang, even after that messy (and costly) divorce from Elin, Eldrick still had plenty of dough. Hundred of millions of it.

So why, tell me WHY, he didn't have enough sense to hire a driver to cart him around town or wherever he wanted to go in one of his luxury cars?

Good grief, lots of guys or gals would jump at the chance to be his chauffeur, and he could certainly afford to pay one $100,000 a year or so. What a great job that would be and only chump change in the world of Eldrick.

But no, he had to get stupid about it.

Just like the fans that keep going to games when somebody like Verlander happens to be pitching. A million bucks for every start for a clearly average pitcher these days?

Get outta here......

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The floundering puddy tats

That would be the Detroit Tigers, of course. It's laughable how gullible their fans and the local scribes that keep feeding them the Kool-Aid remain.

Since before the season started, yours truly has been preaching these guys aren't any good. Playoffs? Forget about it. They might -- MIGHT -- be a .500 club if everything goes their way.

But the Motown sappies just keep on coming. Amazing.

After getting broomed at home by the visiting KC Royals a little more than a week ago, things seemed to die down a bit. Even the hard-cores started to recognize the possibility their beloved Tigers might not be a very good team.

Then bam. The puddy-tats improbably won 2 games at the Yanks and the first two games at Baltimore. Presto, a four game winning streak. Enter the dreaded hope again.

After all, as one scribe put it, the Tigers were ONLY five games out of a wild-card berth. And I laughed again. Fool.

Just as quickly, the O-Birds took the next two games and the Tigers went to Pittsburgh where they've lost the first two games in that series as well.

BAM. Right back to 10 games under .500 and taking on water fast.

The pollyannas still see the Tigers having a shot at a post-season berth.

I see them as slugging it out with the Oakland A's for 14th place out of 15 teams in the American League, with only the woeful Chisox being any worse.

In fact, out of 30 total Major League teams, the Tigers check in at #23. Ten will make it to the playoffs.

With only 50 games remaining, does any sane person REALLY think the Tigers are capable of rattling off a big-time winning streak to get back into semi-contention?

Not I.

Look at their roster. What few decent players they still have are aging and obviously on the back sides of their career bell curves. Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler for starters. Plus, these players have whopper contracts the Tigers are evidently stuck with. They've gone from "stars" to "journeymen", and why would any other team be interested in their services when they'll surely continue to digress as they get even older?

In the meantime, the Tigers have been plugging in a few no-names, basically whatever they can drag up from their looted farm system, and hoping they can contribute.

To be fair, some of these guys have had shining moments. But just as often, if not more so, they appear overwhelmed by the Big League atmosphere and will likely fade back into oblivion before long.

The Tigers seem to be one of those teams, rarely successful, that refuses to acknowledge it's time to blow it up and start over. Other highly successful professional sports franchises have done just that over the years. See the Dallas Cowboys, and mostly recently the Boston Celtics. They both took trips into the nether regions, only to emerge stronger than ever.

Yet the Tigers and Detroit faithful are never willing to wave the white flag of today, so tomorrow can be more promising. Pride rules the day, if horribly misguided.

In sum, these guys are going nowhere this year, or in any year soon given the current make-up of the team. It will only get worse.

True, they went for the proverbial gusto not long ago, spending big bucks on temporary free agents passing through town, but also shot their future in the foot by depleting their farm system to obtain them. They never quite made it over the hump and now they have to pay the price for such short-sightedness.

Was it worth the shot? Maybe. But given it didn't work, now they have to face a large dose of cruel reality.

And that is -- just like I've been saying all along -- these guys just flat out aren't any good.

Only in Detroit could the ever-elusive "hope" remain. Kind of like the Lions. Every year just might be the one they make it to the Super Bowl -- but it never is, of course. Nor will it be this year.

Tease, tease, tease. Chug, chug, chug the Kool-Aid.

But it is what it is, and it ain't pretty.

P.T. Barnum was absolutely right. There's one born every minute.

But they seem to be breeding even faster in Detroit.

Pity, but laughable.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Really dumb baseball stats

As any baseball fan knows, the geeks (and not a few scribes) have been hard at work lately coming up with stats from hell. Here are a couple and why they don't matter.

OPS. This supposedly stands for "on base percentage plus slugging". Gone are the days when we judged hitters on such things as batting average, homers, and RBIs.

OPS was created to make even marginal players look good in the stats department. The last guy on the bench typically has one of at least .700. That sounds a whole lot better than saying he's batting a woeful .200.

But if a guy hits a solo homer in a game, then comes up the next three times with the bases loaded and strikes out every time to see his team lose by a single run -- presto -- his OPS is a whopping 1.000. Four times up and four bases, even though he pretty well stunk it up.

Another scenario. Same guy gets hit by a pitched ball. Next time up, whiffs at strike three but the ball gets by the catcher and he makes it to first base. Then reaches base on an error by an infielder. Then grounds into a fielder's choice with less than two outs, so he's on first again.

Four times up, and four times getting on base. A perfect 1.000. Looks great on the stat sheet, but what has he actually done? Nothing.

Even more offensive is the dreaded WAR. This supposedly stands for "wins above replacement". The logical question would seem to be -- who is the replacement such player is being compared to?

Take Nick Castellanos, third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, as an example. His WAR is somewhere around one, which is supposedly not so good. But we never hear of a negative WAR, as in this guy is costing his team games. NC is batting around .240, and has been a butcher as a third sacker. He may as well have a meat cleaver on his left hand as a fielder's glove. Plus he's slow of foot on the basepathes and prone to bonehead decisions.

It is telling that the Tigers recently offed a decent hitter, though pitiful outfielder in J.D. Martinez, and a so-so reliever in Justin Wilson -- to get back a couple "prospects", both of which are third basemen. Dear Nick's days in Detroit would seem to be numbered.

Comparing Castellanos to a really good third baseman via WAR would seem to dictate he show up far on the negative side. Conversely, comparing him to a cardboard cut-out playing third would likely have the opposite effect. Maybe.

Good grief, put a cardboard cut-out in the batter's box, and it will probably get hit or draw a walk once in a while too. Did I mention "on base percentage"?

Yet another is how pitchers get blamed for "mistakes". This typically happens when a batter smokes a pitch into the bleachers somewhere. But are they really mistakes?

Hey, somewhere along the line every pitcher has to throw pitches in the strike zone, or else every opposing batter would gladly take a walk.

I don't want to hear about 95 MPH fastballs. Every major league hitter can catch up with those.

But there's the thing. A pitcher can make the "perfect pitch", say on the outside corner at the knees, and a batter might hit it for a homer anyway. It happens. Or they can leave a hanging breaking ball up in the strike zone, typically a batting practice pitch, but the batter might swing and miss at it. So which was a mistake indeed?

Forget all this stat nonsense. Good pitchers find a way to get batters out. Good hitters find a way to hammer the ball. Good fielders make sparkling defensive plays. Good runners find a way of taking an extra base here and there.

None of that has changed.

It's like the political polls these days. Stats can be shaped to make somebody look good when they're actually terrible at their job.

Give me a starting pitcher that wins twice as many games as he loses and I'll call him a star. Give me a hitter that's batting somewhere around .300, can occasionally go deep, fields his position well, has a decent arm, a bit of speed, or lacking that, brains on the basepathes.

It's not the proverbial brain surgery, though the "metrics" zealots would have us believe so.

Baseball and its players are what it's always been.

Some guys are just better than others, and all the geek-stats in the world trying to make the below average ones into heros is nothing more than Pollyannish propaganda.

Such is the politically correct world these days, which yours truly thoroughly detests and will always rail against in the name of calling em like I see em, and let the chips fall where they may.

Thou shalt not call a bum a bum any more. So they say.

Ah, how I yearn for the good old days. because the da bums are still out there making WAY too much money.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Colin Kaepernick. Conspiracy?

Everybody knows that Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Fran 49ers, has been the subject of much discussion recently. On and on go the talking heads with their different theories as to why he hasn't been signed by any other NFL team.

Some suggest he has been "black-balled" by the league owners -- which would constitute the dreaded "collusion" for his refusal to stand for the national anthem in games last year. Good luck ever proving that one.

To be sure, the NFL and its fans are quite the patriotic, red, white, and blue bunch. How else to explain the giant American flags displayed on the field before many games, the presence of the military "color guard",  and the fly-overs by fighter planes?

Actually, the latter is no more than a colossal waste of jet fuel at taxpayers expense. There's no good reason -- none -- for this to happen.

Taking history into account, it appears America has come full circle in it's appreciation for the folks that serve in the armed forces. Everybody's a hero now days. This stands in stark contrast to the attitude the returning soldiers of the horribly misguided Viet Nam war faced upon returning home. They were spat upon and demonized as "baby killers".

Though other political wars continue and many innocents continue to die -- see "collateral damage" --  there is little doubt the American public has come to see things quite differently.

Politics and the revival of hawkish nationalism aside, the Kaepernick question remains. Why is he still in a form of purgatory?

Sure, he had every right to do what he did regarding his "stance", or lack thereof, regarding the anthem. But that doesn't mean everybody else had to like it either. And most certainly, millions definitely did not.

Another question so many continue to dance around, but you just know they want to imply, is -- has the ugly head of racism popped up again, and this is only happening to Kaepernick because he's black?

That would appear to be the proverbial double edged sword. It could be there is some merit to that line of thought.

After all, if Kaepernick were a white man in the same situation, do you really think such a fuss would continue to be made over his plight? Likely not.

One Jay Cutler, former QB of the Chicago Bears, with similar not-so-good stats over the last couple years remains in purgatory and unsigned by any other team as well. But you don't hear the outrage over Cutler.

The point is well taken that teams such as the NY Jets have a handful of QBs on their roster, none of which can be mistaken for stellar, or even average. So why, indeed WHY haven't they reached out to Kaepernick and offered him a roster spot? Or Cutler for that matter? Remember the double-edged sword.

Well OK, let's look at some stats.

In 2014, arguably the high point of Kaepernick's stint with the 49ers, he threw for 19 touchdowns, gave up 10 interceptions, 3 fumbles, and had an overall quarterback rating of 67.7. The team went 8-8. A mediocre year for both CK and the 49ers.

2015. Six TDs, 5 picks. 1 fumble, and a QBR of a woeful 46.5, while the team slid to 5-11.

2016. 16 TDs and only 4 "picks", a dramatic improvement, but he coughed up 7 fumbles. QBR of 55.5. Meh. And the 49ers were a horrific 2-14 with CK at the helm.

So at his best, Kaepernick was actually only average as NFL quarterbacks go. And lately he's been terrible.

Whether or not he would be a "locker room cancer" for any team that signed him is an open question, but there can be little doubt him exercising his freedom of expression rights would create quite the backlash among fans in most any NFL town.

The LAST thing owners want to do is alienate their fans. This is not to say CK was wrong in what he did, but there are two possible valid reasons why he remains unemployed.

First, it would be a public relations nightmare for any team.

And second, it might just be that he flat out isn't good enough. His recent performances and stats speak for themselves. But nobody wants to talk about that.

Hey, when it comes to race, remember Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens was allowed to keep playing after he escaped a murder conviction by the skin of his teeth -- because he was still a terrific linebacker.

Ray Rice, of the very same team, after that pesky elevator incident with his wife -- was not. Because his production as a running back had taken a nose dive.

Looked at another way, does anybody seriously think Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Matt Ryan would be on the outside looking in if they had done the same thing as Kaepernick? Of course not. These are premier QBs. CK was decidedly not. A difference. Big one.

So for those that continue to protest Kaepernick not being offered a job by another NFL team -- I would offer the following ----

Yep, a lot of factors may be in play, some perhaps dubious.

But it might just be other teams have taken a hard look and determined, gasp, he's....just.... not... good... enough.

Or worth the hassle -- take your pick.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why the NY Yankees won't win

Basically, it's because they're too dumb.

Yeah, I get it. They've been flirting with the AL East lead all year and recently acquired starting pitcher Sonny Gray -- definitely a keeper -- from the Oakland Athletics to hopefully put them over the top.

But it's not going to work. Stupidity rarely prevails, though that pesky Dubya did get elected Prez and, incredibly, re-elected back in the 2000s. Go figure. Ahem.

However, the Yanks went into full-blown duh mode in a game against the hapless Detroit Tigers. Here was the scenario ----

At home, the Bronx Bombers, after a long rain delay, found themselves trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning. They had put runners on first and second and up came rookie slugging sensation Aaron Judge.

On the mound for the puddy tats was one Bruce Rondon. Detroit can't seem to figure out whether Rondon belongs in the majors or minors, but keeps giving him chances to prove his worth with the big boys.

To date, BR is sporting an ERA of a whopping 12.00. Not good as pitching goes. To be fair, that number is likely higher than some IQs in the White House and Congress these days, but not so good when it comes to a major league pitcher.

Per usual, Rondon was all over the place in his first three pitches to Judge and the count ran to 3-0.

This is when the obtuse factor kicked in, but first a little history from a legend.

Former Bosox slugger Ted Williams once famously said a batter is probably only to get one good pitch to hit in any at bat. Don't take it. Don't foul it off, and don't miss it. Hit it and hit it hard somewhere. Sounds reasonable enough.

So you just knew what was going to happen on Judge's 3-0 count. And yep, there it was. A thigh high fastball right down the middle. He took it for strike one.

The next pitch was a slider down and away, out of the strike zone -- that Judge swung at and missed. 3-2. Ditto on the following pitch. Another slider in the same place with the same whiff. Yer out. He had missed his one good chance at 3-0..

Next up was one Gary Sanchez. He's capable of "leaving the yard" as well. Same scenario. 3-0 count and again you just knew what was coming next. Same thing. Fastball down the middle that he took for strike one. Then more junk sliders out of the strike zone he swung and missed at.

So two Yankee sluggers, with their team down 2-0 in the 8th inning, and two men on base in front of them inexplicably stood in the batter's box and watched the "one good pitch" they were going to see sail past them for strikes.

One would think Yankees manager Joe Girardi and his coaching staff would have enough firing neurons and synapses to recognize the obvious was coming and turn his hitters loose on 3-0 counts knowing full well they'll get a prime pitch to hit -- likely the only one.

But no. As the late, great, famed Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell was fond of saying -- they stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched them go by.

And this is just dumb baseball.

Somewhere in his cryogenic state, Ted Williams likely twitched as well.

"Whatzamattuh with you guys? The one good pitch was right there for both of you and you didn't have common sense enough to pound it? Then you wound up striking out on junk pitches, which should have been ball fours and a walk?"