Dreams Blog

July 18, 2014

From John Shea’s (SF Chronicle) All Star Notes
“The Rod Carew statue outside the park shows his classic pose, crouched stance and bat parallel to the ground. He said he developed it after Nolan Ryan kept striking him out, and suddenly Ryan’s pitches appeared straighter. Ryan didn’t like it, Carew said, and yelled at him, “Stand up, stand up.”
Parallel MLB Universe
The Sports Curmudgeon looked at the other side of the statistical coin to show that MLB collects these numbers: “Speaking of individual player stats, consider White Sox catcher, Tyler Flowers. He has 257 at-bats this year and he has struck out 102 times. If, instead, he had 102 hits in those at-bats, he would be hitting .397. For his career, Flowers has struck out 303 times in 786 at-bats so this year’s level of futility at the plate is only slightly greater than normal for him.”
The Washington General
I received this notice from ESPN.com news services: “Louis “Red” Klotz, the mastermind of the Washington Generals and other teams that traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters and regularly lost for more than 60 years, died Saturday (July 12th) at the age of 93.
Klotz formed a working relationship with the Globetrotters in 1952, putting together the Generals in addition to the Boston Shamrocks, New Jersey Reds, New York Nationals, International Elite, Global Select and World All-Stars to face the famous traveling team and mostly lose.
He was a player, coach and owner at various times throughout the partnership.
Klotz scored the winning basket the last time one of his teams beat the Globetrotters. While playing for the New Jersey Reds as a 50-year-old player/coach, his last-second shot lifted his team to a 100-99 victory on Jan. 5, 1971, in Martin, Tennessee.
He became the first non-Globetrotter to have a jersey retired, when in 2011 he received the honor in his native Philadelphia. He is one of six people to have his jersey retired by the Globetrotters, joining Curly Neal (No. 22), Goose Tatum (No. 50), Marques Haynes (No. 20), Meadowlark Lemon (No. 36) and Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13) as those to receive the distinction.
“The Harlem Globetrotters organization is extremely saddened by the passing of Red Klotz, and our deepest sympathies go out to his entire family,” Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said in a statement. “Red was truly an ambassador of the sport and as much a part of the Globetrotters’ legacy as anyone ever associated with the organization.
“He was a vital part of helping the Globetrotters bring smiles and introduce the game of basketball to fans worldwide. He was a legend and a global treasure. His love of the game — and his love of people — will certainly be missed.”
Klotz briefly played in the NBA, joining the Baltimore Bullets in the 1947-48 season and serving as a member of the squad that defeated the Philadelphia Warriors in six games to win the 1948 title.
Penalty-kick Shootouts: Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) talked about World Cup shootouts, “I’m not among those vehemently opposed to this manner of settling a game, but I always loved this by Ian Thomsen, then with the International Herald Tribune: “The equivalent of taking Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson off the Augusta National after 72 even holes and ordering them to settle the Masters at the Putt-Putt miniature golf course on Route 17 somewhere outside the city.”
Jenkins Recap
Bruce told us, “Give full glory and credit to the Germans, who scored a long-awaited victory in the storied Estadio do Maracana. Wish all those Argentine fans a safe trip back home. And for Messi? Maradona vowed that he’d “lay out the red carpet” if Messi returned with a World Cup title. The man in the parallel universe would have settled for his country’s blue and white. As it stands, it’s little more than an empty dirt road.”
Dwight’s (Seattle Times) Slight
Dwight riddled this question:
“Q: What’s last thing that a FC Barcelona player wants to hear from new teammate Luis Suarez?
A: I’ve got your back.”
The Sports Curmudgeon’s Home Companion
The SC passed Wrigley Field while on vacation and thought of Garrison
Keillor’s explanation of the Cubs’ jinx, “Garrison Keillor – normally not one of my favorite entertainers – offered an excellent alternative hypothesis to the futility of the Cubbies over the past 106 years:
“It’s the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field in Chicago, which was built in 1914 on the site of the old Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. And right there is the key to the story of the Chicago Cubs. This team is the living embodiment of Lutheran theology, which if I need remind you is not about winning. It’s not about being No. 1. It is about taking the back seat and being of service to others.
“The Cubs have been of service to so many other teams. They have pulled other teams out of losing streaks. Batters who were in painful slumps have recovered their confidence against the Cubs.
“It’s a good Lutheran team you’ve got there on the North Side of Chicago.”
Cubs’ fans have tried myriad ways to exorcize the demons they believe afflict their team; perhaps – if Professor Keillor is correct – they should try something new. Perhaps the Cubs’ owner needs to go and nail a document of 95 Theses on the Bud Selig’s door. After all, none of the other exorcisms has worked…”
Perry Patter
From the Sometimes These Items Just Write Themselves file comes word that among those gored (in the thigh) this year was Bill Hillman — co-author of “How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona.”
AND
Tour de France cyclists say spectators taking selfies while standing in the road of oncoming competitors is putting the riders in danger.
Too bad this fad hasn’t caught on at the Running of the Bulls.
Need A Chuckle?
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) told us to “Just say the words ‘Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles’ – then remember that John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase played in them.”
Late Breaking News
“The Left-field fence,” Dwight said, “Caught fire during the minor-league Lancaster (CA) JetHawks annual Fireworks Night.
In other words, third base was only the second-hottest corner.”

Dreams Blog

July 11, 2014

NBA Snake
The Daily News referred to Jason Kidd as being shifty and being “A common snake.” Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) quoted Harvey Araton (NY Times) as saying, “New York Times columnist Harvey Araton referred to Kidd’s “well-chronicled reputation as a viper” and cited his various indiscretions from the past: facing domestic-abuse charges, pleading guilty to DWI and conspiring to get coach Byron Scott fired when Kidd played for the New Jersey Nets.
What if the Bucks, fearing a wave of negative publicity, back off Kidd’s desire to run the team? Then he’ll simply be the head coach in Milwaukee, possibly the NBA’s least attractive destination. A fate well deserved, some would say.”
A Cup Recap
Ann Killian (SF Chronicle) gave us her impression of the American appearance in the World Cup tournament:
‘It would have been a breakthrough.’ “According to Landon Donovan – left off the U.S. team but providing commentary for ESPN – the back-to-back losses to Germany and Belgium proved where the United States is compared with the truly elite teams.
‘That’s the level we need to aspire to,’ Donovan said. ‘We need to develop the technical skills so we’re the team creating 25 chances.’
“This is exactly what Klinsmann meant when he said our country isn’t capable of winning the World Cup, not yet. He was skewered for his honesty, but it’s a simple fact. Though the games with Germany and Belgium were close, and with a little luck the U.S. team could have pulled the upset, the talent divide between that level and the Americans was obvious.” (b: that divide wasn’t that great. We took them all to OT’s. Now we’re seeing good new players like 19yr. old Julian Green and 20yr. old DeAndre Yedlin, arriving.)
A Stunning Defeat
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) talked about the Germany-Brazil shocker- well I guess to the really knowledgeable it wasn’t a surprise. “Then the game was played – and for Brazil’s 7-1 loss, there will be no forgiveness. There can be no rationalization of a disgrace. Most observers were immediately calling it the most astonishing, inexplicable match in World Cup history, and surely the critiques were more severe among Brazil’s devoted populace.
Fans were in tears well before halftime, and those were the people who weren’t in shock. Normally goals are a treasure in this sport, something to be appreciated and replayed in the mind. In Germany’s hands, they were as common as groundballs to the second baseman. However one places this match in historical perspective, there’s no question that a seven-minute stretch in the first half, where Germany’s lead grew from 1-0 to 5-0, has no equal in the World Cup’s realm of the unexpected.”
Bruce Jenkins then talked about Argentina’s Messi: “When it comes to Messi and Argentina, there are no fond memories of the past. He’s the most technically brilliant player in the world, but until this World Cup, he’s had a tenuous relationship, at best, with his home country. And it all goes back to a tiny little kid who needed one of American sport’s dirtiest words – steroids – to become whole. Messi was so undersized at the age of 10, his parents sought medical advice. Without treatment, they were told, he would grow no taller than 5 feet as an adult. Thus began a series of human growth hormone injections, effective but also expensive, to the point where neither Messi’s parents nor his soccer club could afford to pay. The HGH treatment was a five-year plan, and when Lionel was 13, his family moved to Barcelona, where he could join the world’s most prestigious club and not have to worry about finances.
He grew to just 5-foot-7, but as the world soon discovered, his was a towering presence. Graced by the midfield genius of Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, among other stars of the football galaxy, Messi became the centerpiece of an elegant, technically superior powerhouse. What a contrast of storied performers. It now seems obvious that Argentina needed to move on from Maradona, with his history of underworld associations, cocaine abuse and countless other unsavory episodes. On Saturday, as Messi’s phenomenal dribbling led to Gonzalo Higuain’s goal, the only one in the quarterfinal against Belgium, it seemed the transition was complete. Argentina will meet the Netherlands in the semifinals, and it seems entirely possible that Messi can orchestrate a long-awaited championship.
FIFA Questions
The Sports Curmudgeon posed questions about some future World Cup locations selections: There are more chapters to be written here, but as things stand in 2014, there are a few questions we all should keep an eye on as time marches forward:
1. The 2018 World Cup Tournament will be held in Russia. What could possibly go wrong there?
2. If Sepp Blatter thinks the only issue involving the 2022 bid won by the Qataris is the climate, is he ready to tell the world how he – and his august colleagues – did not know that it is hotter than Hades in Qatar in the summertime back when they did their voting?
3. What contractual pressures can individual clubs and national leagues – and international competitions such as those run by UEFA – put on FIFA with regard to moving the World Cup to the winter?
4. How come one of the 2022 major sponsors – Emirates Airlines – located in Dubai has not found it important to register its discomfort with the alleged human rights issues regarding their neighbors in Qatar?
These kinds of issues can keep me focused on international soccer politics and practices for the next few years. However, I prefer to close here with an issue that Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle honed in on back when the vote was taken to assign the tournament to Qatar.
‘The government of Qatar is still questioning the need to sell beer at World Cup matches in 2022. Isn’t Qatar in the desert? Yo, vendor, gimme a hot chocolate!’”
Far Out
Dwight Perry(Seattle Times) told us, in case you missed it, that 7/2 was world UFO day. “In keeping with the theme, 87 people swore they saw Dennis Rodman drive by.

Dreams Blog

July 5, 2014

Thank You, Sports Curmudgeon
Jack Finarelli, the SC, sent along a post while on his National Park road trip saying that a lot of super-star athletes don’t have success trying to manage, “My hypothesis, which is not testable, is that great players are great because of their instincts or because of their physical prowess. Neither of those things is “coachable”; therefore, the great player has difficulty explaining to his young wards how to do what he had been so good at doing. Consider a few examples:
Ted Williams: He was the single best hitter I ever saw play baseball. Anyone who doubts he was a great player is an ignoramus. As a manager for 3 seasons, the closest his team came to winning the AL was 23 games; cumulatively, his teams were 41 games below .500/
Alan Trammel: His first season managing the Tigers produced 119 losses for the season. He lasted two more years and those years combined to have his teams, 38 games below .500.
Wilt Chamberlain: He actually coached an ABA team for a year. The San Diego Conquistadors – usually referred to as “the Q’s” in headlines – finished 37-47.
Bill Russell: Russell’s initial success as a coach probably had a lot to do with the fact that Bill Russell was also a player on those Celtics teams. In the late 70s, Russell had a stint with the Sonics and it was undistinguished; the Sonics missed the playoffs in 2 of his 4 seasons there. Later, he coached the Sacramento Kings and did not finish out the season; when he left, the team was 17-41.
Norm Van Brocklin: Yes, the Vikings were an expansion team when he became the coach. Nonetheless, in 6 seasons there, he posted one winning record and a cumulative record of 29-51-4. Later with the Falcons for six and a half years, his cumulative record was 37-49-3.
Forest Gregg: He had three coaching stops – Cleveland, Cincy and Green Bay. (The man had to love cold weather, no?) His cumulative NFL coaching record was a less-than-exciting 75-85-0.
Otto Graham: As a QB, Graham had a record of 114-20-4; as a coach for the redskins from 1966-68, Graham had a record of 17-22-3. The disparity there speaks for itself…
Yes, there have been a few great players who went on to be pretty good coaches too. Billy Cunningham comes to mind; so do Mike Ditka and Yogi Berra.”
Paul Pierce
Ohm Youngmisuk (ESPNNewYork.com) reasoned, “Still, the Nets turned their season around with Pierce playing a big role in the turnaround with his move to power forward after Brook Lopez was lost for the season.
League sources say the Nets, in a perfect world, would like to secure Pierce to a short-term contract starting at $6-to-$8 million a season. They own his Bird rights so they can offer him more than anybody else. If Pierce, who shares the same agent (Jeff Schwartz) with Kidd and made $15.3 million this past season, is turned off by the recent developments and wants to find his way to a reunion with Doc Rivers with the Clippers, the Nets should give him enough financial reason to return.
If the Nets don’t have Pierce’s leadership this coming season, this season could start off even worse than last season’s Cyclone roller coaster-like start.
They have to adapt to a new coach, a new staff and a new system again. Deron Williams and Lopez are both coming off surgeries and the franchise will have to take it very slow with them in training camp and at the start of the season.
If the 38-year-old Garnett returns, he and Lopez will be on a minutes and likely games restriction. Livingston likely won’t be back and Andray Blatche and Alan Anderson also could sign elsewhere. ESPN.com sources reported that the Nets recently revisited trade talks from last season with the Cavaliers involving Jarrett Jack as a contingency plan for Livingston. But sources say Cleveland has put that deal for Marcus Thornton on the backburner. So the Nets may have to find another point guard.
Much of the team’s star core will be either making its way back from surgery or be a year older and slower.
That’s why the Nets need Pierce’s leadership even more to help keep things together.
Kidd is gone. The Nets need to make sure Pierce doesn’t leave too.”
Jenkins- World Cup
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) commented on “Suarez The Biter, “Suarez, after biting an opponent for the third time in his career explained, ‘I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent.’ Wow, I’ve seen cheetahs less deliberate than that.”
My Take On The Cup
European players are supposed to be more talented than the Americans. But from what I see, they’re only more dramatic with supposed injuries. They seemed to whine and moan a lot to the officials who allowed themselves to be influenced by such histrionics.
Dwight Perry’s Patter
“Michelle Wie got a congratulatory bouquet from actor Adam Sandler when she won her first U.S. Open. ‘I feel that’s the biggest prize in golf,’ Wie said, ‘getting flowers from Happy Gilmore.’; Hey, it certainly beats getting a tin cup from Kevin Costner.”
Well, duh. Everyone knows you can only get Trout with a hook or a sinker.”
“Anthony Castrovince (MLB.com) asked Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, ‘What did you say to plate umpire Quinn Wolcott to get yourself ejected from the game?’
Pierzynski’s answer: ‘Give me a new ball. One you can see.’”
Quote Marks From Dwight
“Steve Schrader (Detroit Free Press) on the Pistons chances of landing LeBron James: ‘About the same as getting bitten by a shark and a soccer player on the same day.’”
“R.J. Currie (SportsDeke.com) on second-seeded Li Na’s upset loss at Wimbledon: ‘Barbora Zahlavova Strycova overwhelmed her- 23 letters to 4.’”
Clothing Option
Dwight Perry said that, “NBA pundit predict that second round draft-pick Thanasis Antotokounmpo will have an immediate impact on the Knicks.
The need for long-sleeved jerseys, for one.
Marcus Browne
Marcus, who I think is the real-deal, is a light-heavyweight and is now 11-0, with 8 KO’s.

Dreams Blog

June 27, 2014

Carmelo Business
I think that Stephen A. Smith (ESPN.com) gave the best synopsis. “Now that the New York Knicks have both a president of basketball operations and a coach with a championship pedigree, one would think there should be no problem luring players with winning ability to a city that’s been starving for a title since 1973. But as we sit here today, the focus having shifted to compiling a roster that should reap such dividends, the attention now rests squarely on Carmelo Anthony.
Unfortunately, none of us are sure if Melo’s attention is aimed primarily at the Knicks. But the Knicks would need it to be if they’re hoping for any success in the near future.
Understand, the possibility of getting LBJ is slim. Annually, James is competing for championships. He’s doing so surrounded by palm trees and gorgeous weather, for a first-class organization led by a first-class executive in Pat Riley with five titles his resume. He’s doing it in a place devoid of state income taxes and with a cheaper cost of living, with all of it serving as its own recruiting tool for prospective free agents-to-come.
What LeBron cares about is the roster he’s playing with. The organization assembling it. And being happy, because the future is bright wherever he lands.
Cup Thoughts
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) gave his opinion of the growing American presence. “It’s certainly true that the confederation featuring North and Central America has been a force in Brazil, thanks to the resurgence of Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica, but there’s a bigger story developing: the power, elegance and style of South America.
For the moment, put aside Costa Rica’s stunning 1-0 victory over Italy, undoubtedly that country’s greatest sporting moment in 24 years. From this vantage point, the 2014 World Cup is a team full of dancing Colombians (erasing bitter memories of the past). It’s a precision goal from Chile and two gems from Uruguay’s Luis Suarez (who Dwight Perry quoted Fark.com referring to Suarez as ‘Chewy Luis’). It’s Neymar leading Brazil and Lionel Messi rekindling Argentina. It’s the fact that nobody discounts any of these teams as the tournament roars on.
This has been a satisfying World Cup for Major League Soccer, which has players scattered throughout the event and some of the very best, including Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley (among others on the U.S. team), Australia’s sensational Tim Cahill and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar … From last year’s debacle in the Colorado snow – losing a World Cup qualifier to the U.S. in blizzard conditions – Costa Rica somehow has become the first team to advance from a group including Italy, England and Uruguay. And it’s doing it with players who, for the most part, compete for second-tier clubs.”
Woof!
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) sent along these groaners:
“Attention, cycling buffs
The World Naked Bike Ride was held last week in Portland. Just think of it as The Chafe for the Cup.”
(More On Naked Bike Ride
The Sports Curmudgeon warned us, “Actually, I think there is a far more important message contained in that brief note. Go to Google Images and search for “World Naked Bike Ride Portland”. Now that you have viewed a couple of those images, here is the important lesson for everyone:
Never – as in NOT EVER – should you consider buying a used bicycle in Portland, Oregon.”)
Dwight’s Headline
“At STLtoday.com, on Colorado’s MLB-worst 4.89 ERA: ‘Rockies Horror Pitchers Show.’”
Dwight told us that, “An American Legion baseball game in Juneau, Alaska, was briefly interrupted because a bear was roaming along the outfield fence. It nearly became the first game called on account of game.”
The Oakland A’s signed a new lease to remain in plumbing-plagued O.co Coliseum for another 10 years.
In honor of re-upping during the World Cup, any sewage blockages experienced in the next three weeks will be referred to as stoppage time.”
I’m missing Ralph these days because he represented an era when baseball on television was zoned for total viewer comfort, for relaxation, contemplation and laughter, and where the people with the microphones let the game come to you rather than shovel it at you with both hands.
Ralph
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) remembered radio broadcasts. “In that place, you were basically just hanging out with Kiner and with his broadcast partners Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy at WOR, or you were hanging out with Harry Kalas and his Phillies sidekick Rich Ashburn on WPHL, or you were hanging with the Gunner or with Harry Caray or with Jack Buck or Marty Brennaman or, on occasions too rare, with Vin Scully, the ultimate in plush baseball monologue.
You enjoyed their company, even if Ralph’s essential contribution for nine innings was to say that all of so-and-so’s saves had come in relief appearances.”
More SC
All NFL nose tackles are big human beings. Eagles’ nose tackle, Bennie Logan, added some weight in the off-season as suggested by the Eagles’ coaching staff. Reportedly, he is now a solid 319 lbs. A reporter covering the Eagles must have asked Logan about adding weight to an already sizeable frame and this is how Logan justified his 319 lbs:
“Most people, when they picture a nose tackle, they picture a 330-plus guy, just clogging up the middle. But the way we play our defense, you’ve got to be able to run. And I don’t feel I’d be able to run or do the things our coaches, in our scheme, require us to do. That’s why I’m not 330, or put on that much weight.”
For most “normal folks” purposely adding weight to get up to 319 lbs would be sufficient to have family members put such folk in the Fitness Protection Program.”
Shredded
Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) wrote that, “NCAA president Mark Emmert makes it too easy for his detractors when he does something as preposterous as claim that big-time college athletes are “not hired employees conducting games for entertainment.” That must come as a surprise to the TV networks that pay billions for the rights to entertain America with college football and basketball. And those stadiums and arenas on campus aren’t built with entertainment in mind?”

Dreams Blog

June 20, 2014

Foggy Patent Office
Darren Rovell (ESPN.com) wrote, “
The U.S. Patent Office ruled that the Redskins’ trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name. Of note:
• The ruling involves six uses of the “Redskins” name trademarked by the team from 1967 to 1990. The team’s logo remains a trademark legally held by the team and is unaffected at this time.
• If the decision stands, it would mean the team can continue to use the name, but it would lose a significant portion of its ability to protect the financial interests connected to it.
• The Redskins have appealed. The cancellation for trademark protections will be on hold while the matter makes its way through the courts. That process could take years.
• This is the second time the federal trademark board had issued an opinion on the case. A similar ruling from 1999 was overturned on a technicality in 2003.
• If the Redskins were to lose the rights to their trademarks, the question will be whether state and common laws would allow them to retain their exclusivity of use. “The law is really unclear on this,” said Fordham law professor Sonia Katyal, who specializes in intellectual property. “We haven’t really had something like this where you have a team and so many other interested parties involved, so we’re treading new ground.”
Although the Redskins name and past logos are involved in the decision, the trademarks that were”
Did you get that? BTW- About that technicality- “In 1999, a panel ruled to cancel the trademarks after a battle with Native American groups. The decision was later overturned on a technicality after the court decided that the plaintiffs were too old and should have filed their complaint soon after the Redskins registered their nickname in 1967.” Never mind what is right or wrong.
Dwight Perry’s (Seattle Times) Headlines
“At Fark.com: World Cup referees run 6 miles during a match-
2 additional miles after making a game-ending call against the home team.”
Perry’s Posts
“A Yankees-A’s game in Oakland was delayed when the field-lights suddenly went out.
Apparently some smart-aleck flushed three clubhouse toilets at the same time.
“According to BaseballReference.com since 2004,there have been nearly seven times as many home runs hit on 0-2 counts (1806) as ones hit on 3-0 counts (267).
(b. Really these guys need to get a life)
From Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle)
“Luckily for Brazil, they were placed in el Grupo de Flopo.”
Scott rented an RV for his visit to Germany for the 2006 games. He called it the “Roadenhogginblogginwagen.”
“Pabst Blue Ribbon’s owner is thinking of buying the Buffalo Bills. The new name will grow on you. The Buffalo Beers.”
Postcard From Yosemite
The Sports Curmudgeon set this along while on holiday with his “Long Suffering Wife.” “I got to the bar area too late to see the USA’s first goal against Ghana; I got there 4 minutes into the game. After Ghana tied it in the 82nd minute, I hoped that the US could hold on for a tie because Ghana had the better part of the game for at least 60 minutes of the game to that point. Only a few moments later, a US sub – pressed into action due to an injury to a starter – scored the winning goal with only 4 minutes of regulation play left. The win puts the US in a good position to advance because Portugal lost its opening game to Germany 4-0. In a tie situation, that kind of goal differential will be hard to overcome.”
Fisher Prince Derek Fisher is furthering his learning at the knee of the “Zen Master” so he must be the “Zen Journeyman.” “How-Evah!” Stephen A. Smith (ESPN.com) talked about Fisher, “So it’s nice to see Fisher as the Knicks’ new $5 million man. To know him is to be sincerely happy for the Knicks’ new coach, who’s epitomized nothing but professionalism and competitiveness throughout his 18-year playing career. But Fisher can only coach what he has. Jackson, in all likelihood, only wants to preside over something worthwhile. And the best way for him to pull that off now is to keep Carmelo Anthony in a Knicks uniform for several years to come, utilizing his “connections” to help formulate a roster worth paying to watch at MSG. There’s an awful lot at stake if the Knicks fail in this quest. And, obviously, there’s a chance we might not just be talking about Melo. Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) gave his opinion on the free-agency, “I’m skeptical that free-agent Carmelo Anthony would leave so much money on the table in New York just for the chance to join the Heat. I also can’t believe Anthony would strengthen Miami’s title prospects- short of the Heat being allowed to play with two basketballs.
Dwight Perry’s (Seattle Times) Patter “In the light of new corruption claims over Qater’s 2022 World Cup bid,” reported Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, “a FIFA vice president has supported a new round of bribed voting.” “Phil Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open but has finished second a whopping six times. ‘Darned if I can explain it,’ said Phil’s new swing coach, Marv Levy.” “Headline at Fark.com: Knicks decide that Derek Fisher will be their next ex-coach.” “Steelers center Maurice Pouncey, slated to make $3.863 million this season, will more than double that next year after he agreed to a five-year, $44 million contract extension. Or as they call it in snapping circles, a considerable pay hike.” Ah, The French The Sports Curmudgeon had this comment, “I read somewhere that national teams entering the World Cup tournament traditionally generate team slogans for themselves. They are motivational adages if you will. I like the one for the French team this year: ‘Impossible is not a French word.’ I took 2 years of French in college in order to fulfill my foreign language requirement and even with that rudimentary exposure to the language, I can tell you that “impossible” is indeed a French word – and in fact, it is spelled exactly the same in French as in English.”

Dreams Blog

June 13, 2014

Possible Landmark Decision
J. Brady McCollough (Pgh Post-Gazette) is covering Ed O’Bannion’s suit against the NCAA for using his image on a video-game without his permission. Here is some of that, “The room was mostly quiet as the tall man in the tan suit jacket waited on Judge Claudia Ann Wilken to make her appearance.
But O’Bannon, 41, who sells Toyotas in Las Vegas less than a decade after his professional basketball career ended overseas without the glory he imagined as a youth growing up in Los Angeles, would soon be put to work. As the face of this lawsuit aiming for injunctive relief that would free current and former college athletes of the restrictions the NCAA’s eligibility rules placed on players’ ability to sell their own names, images and likenesses while they are in school, O’Bannon would give his testimony first. There would be no opening arguments, only the announcement by attorneys to Judge Wilken of a huge development in a case that was once tied directly to O’Bannon’s: The lawsuit brought by former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller accusing the NCAA of conspiring to use college athletes’ likenesses in video games without compensation had been settled for $20 million.
Keller was supposed to go to court in March 2015. Without that date on the docket any longer, O’Bannon was alone as he marched his 6-foot-8 frame up to the stand at Judge Wilken’s left. O’Bannon’s words likely wouldn’t mean as much to Judge Wilken’s eventual decision as those of the second witness — Stanford economics professor Roger Noll would later outline the ways that, in his expert opinion, the NCAA runs its business like a “cartel” — but it was O’Bannon’s name on the case.
Through the questioning of his client, Hausfeld’s goal was to create the impression of the Ed O’Bannon who wore No. 31 in UCLA blue and gold, a basketball player “masquerading as a student,” as O’Bannon put it. Drum Beats Big Chief Triangle hired a new coach, Derek Fisher, the Knicks; I hear he’s getting $25million over 5 years. That sure is a lot of money to pay someone who has NEVER been a head coach. I’m going to wait and see if Fisher wears an earpiece, while coaching, that is directly connected with Jackson who might really be the coach with “One degree of separation. More Drums We had the Derek Fisher intro-presser described by Johnette Howard (ESPNNY.com), “Fisher absolutely knocked his news conference out of the park Tuesday in his introductory appearance as the Knicks’ 26th head coach. (It only feels like 24 of them have been hired in the past five years.) We’ll have to see if he’s just as good at actually winning games, which would be nice since the Knicks reportedly gave him a five-year, $25 million contract. They’re paying him like the Erik Spoelstras and Tom Thibodeaus of the league, though he’s never coached a game. But in the half hour or so that Fisher fielded questions, with Jackson sitting to his left, beaming like a proud dad, Fisher didn’t set a foot wrong once. Fisher exuded poise and intelligence and the sort of no-nonsense logic that made him sound eminently capable of confronting challenges head on. Before anyone could ask him, he admitted the concern that he’s never been a head coach is “factually true,” but said, “I am experienced. … Basketball is a game that I’m experienced playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping other people achieve the greatest gift in the world that a professional athlete can have, which is being a champion. “That I do have experience in.” Fisher’s speech is even marbled with many of the same themes Jackson touches on when he’s at his Zen Master best. Buzzwords and phrases like “commitment,” “accountability,” “re-establishing a culture of success,” “embracing the challenge” and “living greatness daily” all came up. Jackson said Fisher excels at speaking to other players’ “spirits and hearts” and Fisher said the Knicks job was “an opportunity that spoke to me right away.” Whole Lotta’ Love Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) recognized the competitions to sign Timberwolves Kevin Love, “The Timberwolves want draft picks, and the Celtics have a bundle, including this year’s No.6 selection. They’d like to snag Love, hold onto Rajon Rondo, then lure Carmelo Anthony and old friend Paul Pierce off the free agent market.” “(Greg) Popovich is rightfully appalled by one of the NBA’s worst-ever ideas: interviewing coaches during the game. He gives those terse, tension-filled answers as a form of protest, and good for him. One problem: His stance is often hilarious. The exchanges have become must-see viewing.” Moninaro Marinara Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) wrote: “Whenever an athlete receives a bazillion-dollar contract, media and fans feel compelled to exhaust themselves in a debate over, whether the jock is worth this fortune. And in every instance, from the deal Colin Kaepernick just signed with the 49ers back to the larval stages of pro sports, the answer has always been the same. An athlete is worth whatever the team’s owner is willing to pay.” “What does it say about women’s tennis in 2014 that 99% of the coaches and personal trainers are men? By now, you’d think women strategists and glorified babysitters would be more visible at the highest level.” Dwight (Seattle Times)Perry’s Patter “Just when you think MLB can’t possibly come up with yet another statistical sub-category, along comes this nugget. The Yankees are 12-1 this season when a rookie pitcher starts a road game.” Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) quoted, “Albert Chen of SI.com, after Boston manager John Farrell and two of his acting successors were ejected in a 3-2 win over the Rays: “It wasn’t clear who was next in the line of managerial succession for the Red Sox. Maybe Secretary of State John Kerry?” Quite The Cut-up Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote, “There has been a spate of Tommy John surgeries 40 years after the first one. It must have been so weird having a major surgery named after you. ‘Don’t I

Dreams Blog

June 6, 2014

Disgraceful
A news report said that 47% of the eligible UFT voters approved the new contract that calls for 18% raises- but ZERO back pay for recently retired members.
This sounds like, “I got mine- I don’t care about you.
Time Issues
Bob Molinaro (HamptomRoads.com) wrote, “In a story by Sports Illustrated baseball writer extraordinaire Tom Verducci on how to combat the glacial pace of big league games, he cites a half-inning of a recent Dodgers-Mets game in which there were no runs, no hits, and just three balls put into play that took 21 minutes and 44 seconds.
It’s not just that games are taking longer. The problem is that so little is happening when pitchers and batters conspire to go deep into every count. Is anybody old enough to remember when hitters went after the first pitch?”
Alain Vigneault Compared to Joe Torre
Ian O’Connor (ESPN.com) spoke with Brian Cashman who said, “A player’s coach doesn’t need to care more about soothing a player’s ego than he does about winning a title. “It’s probably a very stressful time for the Rangers,” Cashman said, “but they’ve got to focus on the fact that being up 3-2 is the position you want to be in. When a team like Montreal has nothing to lose in a series the public and the fans already believed was over, you have to match that level on the other end. It’s a hard thing to create, but I think Vigneault already showed he’s coaching like there’s no tomorrow by pulling his goalie. And that’s a good thing.” Over the phone Wednesday, Cashman started reading from the Bill Walsh book, “Finding the Winning Edge,” in which the hall of fame coach revisited his decision to bench Joe Montana in favor of Steve Young in a January 1988 playoff loss to Minnesota. Montana had already won two of his four Super Bowls, and yet Walsh wasn’t afraid to sacrifice him in the middle of his prime to give his team a jolt. Alain Vigneault isn’t Bill Walsh or Joe Torre, not yet, anyway. But he’s shown the nerve of a potential champ by twice pulling his own franchise player, Lundqvist, in these playoffs. If it means giving the Rangers a better chance at winning the Cup for the first time since 1994, you bet he’ll go for the hat trick.” Quoted By Dwight Perry (Seattle Times)
“Greg Cote (Miami Herald): U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsman surprisingly left Landon Donovan off the World Cup roster.
It’s an outrage according to quadrennial American soccer experts who have not watched a match since 2010 and could not name another U.S. player.”
“New Titans backup QB Charlie Whitehurst lost his bid to get his usual uniform number when he lost an arm-wrestling contest with the incumbent wearer of jersey No. 6, Brett Kerth.
Kerth is the punter.”
“Lemurs are the world’s most endangered mammals, according to one study.
Coming in a close second: Chicago Cubs.”
“Norman Chad on NBCSN: “Nothing But Costas and Soccer Network.”
Dwight wondered, “Shouldn’t hitting a single, a double, a triple, and an inside-the-park home run in one game be known as a motor cycle?”
Watch For It
Tampa pitcher David Price is getting a reputation for being a “Head-hunter”. He hit both, Red Sox David Ortiz and Mike Carp in one week and used the usual excuse that he was trying to claim the inside part of the plate.
Modern hitters don’t remember pitchers like Sal Maglie, Don Drysdale, or Bob Gibson who had hitters look for a soft spot to fall down when they got in the batter’s box.
Perhaps we’ll see one of the offended hitters drop a bunt down the first base line so they could run over the fielding pitcher.
Remember, NL pitchers have to bat and are targets themselves.
Oh, BTW- David Ortiz homered twice off Price in last season’s ALDS.
More To Watch
So the former CEO at Microsoft Steve Ballmer agrees to pay $2billion for an NBA team valued at $550million (that was the value of the Milwaukee Bucks when they were sold in May).
So after dropping this much and living in Seattle as he does, what are the chances that the Clippers will stay in LA? I wonder if any though was given to the history of Seattle’s poor attendance record for basketball.
Derek Fisher
I hope Phil Jackson isn’t taken in by Fisher’s glib tongue. He was once head of the NBAPA (but was bounced) and accused the owners of being disingenuous and being dishonest. This was after several requested contract releases were granted in order for him to tend family business.
Brad Rock (Deseret News) said, “I won’t say Fisher is a fake, a` la Lance Armstrong. As far as I know he hasn’t taken performance-enhancing drugs. But his moves have certainly enhanced his resume, at the expense of some teams. Now he stands to become a head coach, without a day of experience.

I stopped taking everything he says at face value when he left Dallas. All I really know about the 39-year-old Fisher is he’ll never be an All-Star, but his career as a politician has already taken flight.”

Pardon My French
Brad Rock (DereretNews) wrote, “Following Nicholas Mahut’s first-round loss in the French Open, a reporter began the press conference by saying, “Congratulations.”
“Congratulations?” Mahut said. “I lost.”
Reporter: “You lost? OK. So what happened out there?”
Mahut: “Are you serious? Did you watch the match?”
Reporter: “No, I didn’t. I was told that you won. I’m sorry.”
Mahut (awkward pause): “Questions in French, please.”
Brad suggested that the reporter skip Greg Popovich’s pressers- at least for his own safety.
Game 5
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) criticized the Heat-Pacers, “Game 5 of the Heat-Pacers series became a dreary spectacle when James, picking up five fouls in just 13 minutes, played only 24 minutes. We’ll say it again, echoing Pete Newell’s suggestion from long ago: Eliminate the foul-out rule. From the sixth foul on, it’s two shots and the ball for the opposition. Superstars are the attraction – and this would take a tremendous amount of pressure off the refs.”

Dreams Blog

June 6, 2014

Disgraceful
A news report said that 47% of the eligible UFT voters approved the new contract that calls for 18% raises- but ZERO back pay for recently retired members.
This sounds like, “I got mine- I don’t care about you.
Time Issues
Bob Molinaro (HamptomRoads.com) wrote, “In a story by Sports Illustrated baseball writer extraordinaire Tom Verducci on how to combat the glacial pace of big league games, he cites a half-inning of a recent Dodgers-Mets game in which there were no runs, no hits, and just three balls put into play that took 21 minutes and 44 seconds.
It’s not just that games are taking longer. The problem is that so little is happening when pitchers and batters conspire to go deep into every count. Is anybody old enough to remember when hitters went after the first pitch?”
Alain Vigneault Compared to Joe Torre
Ian O’Connor (ESPN.com) spoke with Brian Cashman who said, “A player’s coach doesn’t need to care more about soothing a player’s ego than he does about winning a title. “It’s probably a very stressful time for the Rangers,” Cashman said, “but they’ve got to focus on the fact that being up 3-2 is the position you want to be in. When a team like Montreal has nothing to lose in a series the public and the fans already believed was over, you have to match that level on the other end. It’s a hard thing to create, but I think Vigneault already showed he’s coaching like there’s no tomorrow by pulling his goalie. And that’s a good thing.” Over the phone Wednesday, Cashman started reading from the Bill Walsh book, “Finding the Winning Edge,” in which the hall of fame coach revisited his decision to bench Joe Montana in favor of Steve Young in a January 1988 playoff loss to Minnesota. Montana had already won two of his four Super Bowls, and yet Walsh wasn’t afraid to sacrifice him in the middle of his prime to give his team a jolt. Alain Vigneault isn’t Bill Walsh or Joe Torre, not yet, anyway. But he’s shown the nerve of a potential champ by twice pulling his own franchise player, Lundqvist, in these playoffs. If it means giving the Rangers a better chance at winning the Cup for the first time since 1994, you bet he’ll go for the hat trick.” Quoted By Dwight Perry (Seattle Times)
“Greg Cote (Miami Herald): U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsman surprisingly left Landon Donovan off the World Cup roster.
It’s an outrage according to quadrennial American soccer experts who have not watched a match since 2010 and could not name another U.S. player.”
“New Titans backup QB Charlie Whitehurst lost his bid to get his usual uniform number when he lost an arm-wrestling contest with the incumbent wearer of jersey No. 6, Brett Kerth.
Kerth is the punter.”
“Lemurs are the world’s most endangered mammals, according to one study.
Coming in a close second: Chicago Cubs.”
“Norman Chad on NBCSN: “Nothing But Costas and Soccer Network.”
Dwight wondered, “Shouldn’t hitting a single, a double, a triple, and an inside-the-park home run in one game be known as a motor cycle?”
Watch For It
Tampa pitcher David Price is getting a reputation for being a “Head-hunter”. He hit both, Red Sox David Ortiz and Mike Carp in one week and used the usual excuse that he was trying to claim the inside part of the plate.
Modern hitters don’t remember pitchers like Sal Maglie, Don Drysdale, or Bob Gibson who had hitters look for a soft spot to fall down when they got in the batter’s box.
Perhaps we’ll see one of the offended hitters drop a bunt down the first base line so they could run over the fielding pitcher.
Remember, NL pitchers have to bat and are targets themselves.
Oh, BTW- David Ortiz homered twice off Price in last season’s ALDS.
More To Watch
So the former CEO at Microsoft Steve Ballmer agrees to pay $2billion for an NBA team valued at $550million (that was the value of the Milwaukee Bucks when they were sold in May).
So after dropping this much and living in Seattle as he does, what are the chances that the Clippers will stay in LA? I wonder if any though was given to the history of Seattle’s poor attendance record for basketball.
Derek Fisher
I hope Phil Jackson isn’t taken in by Fisher’s glib tongue. He was once head of the NBAPA (but was bounced) and accused the owners of being disingenuous and being dishonest. This was after several requested contract releases were granted in order for him to tend family business.
Brad Rock (Deseret News) said, “I won’t say Fisher is a fake, a` la Lance Armstrong. As far as I know he hasn’t taken performance-enhancing drugs. But his moves have certainly enhanced his resume, at the expense of some teams. Now he stands to become a head coach, without a day of experience.

I stopped taking everything he says at face value when he left Dallas. All I really know about the 39-year-old Fisher is he’ll never be an All-Star, but his career as a politician has already taken flight.”

Pardon My French
Brad Rock (DereretNews) wrote, “Following Nicholas Mahut’s first-round loss in the French Open, a reporter began the press conference by saying, “Congratulations.”
“Congratulations?” Mahut said. “I lost.”
Reporter: “You lost? OK. So what happened out there?”
Mahut: “Are you serious? Did you watch the match?”
Reporter: “No, I didn’t. I was told that you won. I’m sorry.”
Mahut (awkward pause): “Questions in French, please.”
Brad suggested that the reporter skip Greg Popovich’s pressers- at least for his own safety.
Game 5
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) criticized the Heat-Pacers, “Game 5 of the Heat-Pacers series became a dreary spectacle when James, picking up five fouls in just 13 minutes, played only 24 minutes. We’ll say it again, echoing Pete Newell’s suggestion from long ago: Eliminate the foul-out rule. From the sixth foul on, it’s two shots and the ball for the opposition. Superstars are the attraction – and this would take a tremendous amount of pressure off the refs.”

Holy Grail?

May 31, 2014

My feeling is there is NO goblet or anything like it.
Irish monks of the 4th century were subject to British attempts at intimidation. Those abuses are still in evidence today. Those Irish monks copied ancient manuscripts to be used by literati of the day.
To get around foolish abuses, the monks writings were allegorical.
Holy Coel pronounced “kell,” for music of forbidden psalms.
More to come

Dreams Blog

May 30, 2014

No Hitter
It was no surprise when all of the Mets players said that the finger of blame was unfairly pointed at Dave Hudgens, the recently fired batting coach, because of the team’s poor offensive performance.
But he didn’t get the job done. Look at the Yankees guy, Kevin Long, and how he works with struggling players to get them back on track. I’m pretty sure that Curtis Granderson misses Long’s advice that kept him hitting near .300 with power (especially to the short right field Stadium porch.)
Hudgens went on to say that the Mets didn’t spend enough for him to do a good job. He said, according to the WSJ, “”If they want a winner in that town, then I would let the purse strings loose and let Sandy do what he wants to do,” Hudgens told “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN New York.”
Alderson then added, “”With the money that we’ve had to spend, would we expect to have better results than we’ve had over the first two months of the season? I think the answer is yes,” he said. “Look, our payroll is not the highest in baseball. It’s not in the top half of baseball. I get that. I understand that. But, at the same time, I think what we expect out of ourselves is more than we’ve gotten. So from my standpoint the payroll is not an excuse.”
You can spend a lot but that’s not a guarantee for success. You still have to spend wisely. Civil Challenge Scott Ostler talked about baseball’s new system of challenges, “In the bottom of the third inning Sunday, the Giants went into their Challenge Dance. Tyler Colvin was called out on a bang-bang play at first base. Bruce Bochy lumbered out of the Giants’ dugout and over to first base. Brandon Hicks, the batter due up, decided his bat needed a pine-tar tune-up, so he loitered near the on-deck circle. Bochy engaged first-base ump Lance Barksdale, the skipper maneuvering to face his dugout. In the past, this discussion would be heated. Now, Bochy wasn’t angry, he was buying time while the clubhouse TV watcher relayed yes or no to the dugout, then to Bochy Bochy got the go sign and formally challenged. The New York review crew upheld the call. The dance was over. Curtsies and bows were exchanged. The new system is civilized, taking much of the heat out of manager-ump interaction. Bochy was freed from ancient tradition that compelled the manager to curse the umpire and impugn his judgment. He and Barksdale could have a civil discussion while they waited for the bus.
Speaking Of Bochy
Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) wrote, “ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian weighed in with a great story about Bruce Bochy’s formidable head: “He told me when he got traded as a player, he’d have to take his helmet with him, and his new team would have to spray its colors on, because it wasn’t going to have a helmet that fit his head.” Bochy wasn’t much of a hitter, but one night he shocked everyone with a walk-off homer off Nolan Ryan. “After the game, the Padres ran a red carpet from the front of the clubhouse all the way to Bochy’s locker, where a six-pack of beer – with ice – was waiting inside his helmet,” said Kurkjian. “Terry Kennedy told me you can get a six-pack of beer in a lot of guys’ helmets. But only in Bochy’s can you get it with ice.”
Ole, Ole, Ole Bob Molinaro talked about the coming World Cup, “In preparation for the violent demonstrations that are expected at the World Cup in Brazil, some members of the local constabulary in Rio de Janeiro have been outfitted in paramilitary RoboCop-style flame resistant, head-to-toe protective riot gear. It’s an ominous, if slightly Hollywood look. Don’t blame it on Rio, though. The fault lies with FIFA, the international governing body, for accepting the Cup bid from such a volatile country.” Swiss Efficiency Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “Baby news: Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Roger Federer, parents of a second set of twins. Two pregnancies, four children: Another display of famous Swiss efficiency.”
Spoken Word
Bob wrote about Peyton Manning’s commencement address at UVA (his wife, Ashley’s, alma mater). He called for the grads to help bring ethics and values back into fashion. “When you are chided for your naïveté and you will be, remind your critics that an amateur built the ark. Experts built the Titanic.”
No Contest
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) told us that, ““No contest” was the plea entered by:
a) 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor DUI counts of driving under the influence.
b) The Oklahoma City Thunder, in losing Game 2 to the Spurs, 112-77.”
No Appeal
Greg Cote (Miami Herald) said that, “Manager Mike Redmond was ejected from a Marlins home game after an expletive filled tirade that ended with him kicking dirt on home plate. If there is a heaven, Earl Weaver was smiling.”
Can’t Bust This Bronc
Dwight Perry told us that, “Broncos pass-catcher Wes Welker says he won’t give back his ill-gotten $14,000 from a Derby Day tote malfunction at Churchill Downs.
Or to put it football terms: Hey, I’m a receiver, not a return guy.”
Quote Marks From Dwight
“Washington State football coach Mike Leach to Reddit.com on filling out coaching staff with historical figures: Head coach: George Washington; offensive coordinator: Geronimo; offensive assistant: Tarzan; defensive coordinator: Winston Churchill; defensive assistant: Daniel Boone.”
Steve Simmons (Toronto Star) on why A’s would be a great hockey team: “They’re 19-3 when they score first.”
Curmudgeon Close
The Sports Curmudgeon said, “Finally, let me close with an item from Brad Rock of the Deseret News regarding the possibility that John Stockton might become the new coach for the Utah Jazz: ‘John Stockton’s name arose last week in connection with the Jazz’s coaching vacancy. “Sources say the only way he’d take the job is if he were allowed to conduct post-game interviews via certified mail.’ ”

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