Dreams Blog

January 25, 2013

   

What Was that?

Was all of that Garnett-Anthony business a “Melo-Drama?”

Ravens Blindside Patriots

Bill Plaschke (LA Times) quoted Ravens’ Terrell Suggs after he aired his feelings for the Patriots. “Terrell Suggs finished the locker room parade by pointing down the hall to where the Patriots were trudging inside and hollered, “Tell them to have fun in the Pro Bowl. Arrogant bleeps!”

Unhealthy Violence

In the wake of learning Junior Seau’s brain condition at the time of his death, Dan Daly (DC Times) wrote: “Back in the Dark Age — about three years ago — the NFL refused to acknowledge the sport’s connection to head injuries and brain disease. Testifying before Congress in October 2009, Commissioner Roger Goodell also defended the league’s policy on concussions. The scene was reminiscent of tobacco companies denying a link between smoking and lung cancer decades earlier.

The NFL has come a long way since then, spurred by the bevy of lawsuits. But evidence of its negligent past continues to surface. The National Institutes of Health said Thursday that Junior Seau suffered from the same degenerative brain disease — chronic traumatic encephalopathy — found in dozens of other players, some of whom committed suicide like Seau.

“The finding underscores the recognized need for additional research to accelerate a fuller understanding of CTE,” the league said Thursday in a statement. “We have work to do, and we’re doing it.”

Better late than never, although more research and more studies don’t address immediate needs. The NFL has taken steps in that area by revising tackling standards and protocol for in-game head injuries. That’s great.

But making changes on paper is much easier than making changes within the culture.

The current mindset still is closer to the old psyche, when getting your bell rung and playing through injury were badges of honor while management looked the other way.”

NFL’s Mindset

For years we’ve been hearing the stories of NFL players “playing hurt.” Joe Theismann explained, “You basically avoid the medical staff.You keep moving. The coach says, ‘How are you?’ and you say fine, unless it’s so bad, in your mind, that you just can’t move. There are times when you probably look like a baby fawn being born, but you feel like you’re OK. It’s what separates the good players from the guys that want to be great. That willingness to go as far as you can go.

“Robert (Griffin 111 of the Redskins) is such a fierce competitor. If he’s not on that field, it feels like a loss. And he hates to lose. Period.”

Is playing hurt a good way to go or is it an excuse by owners to keep an asset in play making THEM money?

I don’t think that booting kickoffs is the answer either. It STILL is one of the most exciting plays of the game and can remain so with only a few tweaks- eliminate chop blocks, head first blocks, and blocks from behind

Tebow?

Are the Jets telling us that Tim Tebow might not be leaving because they hired David Lee as the QB coach? Lee isn’t a “West Coast Offense” guy as is the new OC, Marty Mornhingweig. But then again Lee IS a “Wildcat” guy, so look for more team identity confusion.

To sign the correct players, a team MUST know who they are.

Earl Weaver Quotes

Thomas Boswell (DC Post) was the Orioles’ beat writer and was able to get a lot of column material over a nine year period. “On managing: “A manager wins games in December. He tries not to lose them in July. You win pennants in the offseason when you build your team. . . . Smart managing is dumb. The three-run homers you trade for in December will always beat brains. . . . I don’t welcome any ‘challenge.’ I’d rather have nine guys named Robinson” (Brooks and Frank).

Stan WAS The Man

John Shea (SF Chronicle) gave us only a few of Stan Musial’s legendary numbers. “Stan Musial struck out 18 times in 1943. The entire season: 157 games, 617 at-bats. Averaging one strikeout per 34.3 ABs. By comparison, Mark Reynolds whiffs every 2.65 ABs.

In an amazing career, one of Musial’s most amazing gifts was his ability to put bat on ball. In ’43, he didn’t strike out until his 28th game, in the nightcap of a doubleheader. He struck out once in his next 21 games.

We all can appreciate Musial, who died at 92’;/, as a hitter. His smooth and powerful left-handed swing during 22 seasons, all in St. Louis, provided a numbers nirvana. All types of juicy stuff jump off his career stats page, including 3,630 hits (fourth all time), 725 doubles (third), 475 homers, .331 average, .417 on-base percentage, seven batting titles and 24 All-Star Games.

Welcome Ichiro

Even though he turning 40, signing Ichiro Suzuki would be a good move by the Yankees. He’s a 10 time All-Star and Gold Glove winner who has chalked up 2606 major league hits in the 12 years he’s been in the league. His speed and strong throwing arm hasn’t diminished to date and would earn him a lot of starts in the corners of the Yankee outfield.

Tough Entry

Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) reflected on the recent MLB-HOF election with Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle), “And you thought baseball voters had it tough this year?                                                                                     “Can you imagine the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if it had a character clause? It would be Barry Manilow, Taylor Swift and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. …                                                                   Ty Cobb, on an average day, broke seven or eight Commandments before breakfast.”

Knicks-Nets

Bruce Popper (Record, Hackensack) enjoys the growing rivalry between NY & Bklyn, “It’s not Yankees versus Red Sox yet, and to tell the truth, it’s not even Knicks versus Celtics or Heat yet. The Knicks spent a decade down, and the Nets have dropped in recent years and even this season disposed of their coach, Avery Johnson, after just 28 games. That move played out in public like reality television, with the Nets the featured attraction on NBA TV’s “The Association” and Johnson left to play the role of the jilted lover.

“The place was loud,” Brook Lopez said afterward. “It was exciting.                                                                                        “And if they meet in the postseason?                                                 ‘A whole ‘nother level,’ Lopez said. ‘It’d be a lot of fun.’                 “Maybe it will be, but we won’t know for a while. The rivalry is over for now, all but the shouting.”

Geezer Report 

Mike Bianci (Orlando Sentinel) talked about Ozzie Osbourne and his gang, “Did you see where Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath are reuniting and putting out their first album in 35 years. I’m not saying these guys are old , but I hear they’re recording a sequel to “Iron Man” called “Iron Deficiency Man.”

 

Dreams Blog

January 18, 2013

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Troubling Image
As I’m watching the NFL playoffs and I see all of the hoopla being showered around the shoulders of retiring Raven Ray Lewis, I can’t help flashing back to the news headlines of January 31, 2000.
They reported that after Rams beat the Titans in the Super Bowl there was a late night brawl where two young men from Akron were stabbed to death. Lewis and two friends were accused of the crime and cleared in a controversial court decision that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
His release still grates on a lot of people.
Mike Bianci (Orlando Sentinel) wrote, “Amid the hype and hoopla today when the Baltimore Ravens play the Indianapolis Colts in what may be Ray Lewis’ final NFL game, let us not forget Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker.
Two men dead and nobody in jail
A trail of blood that led nowhere.
And a little girl who never knew her daddy.”
OK For Melo Not To Have Been Mellow
The “hand-wringers” went off on Carmelo Anthony for going after Celtic Kevin Garnett after Garnett trashed Anthony’s wife with a lewd reference. This isn’t the first time that Garnett has done something like that and he thinks it’s OK to do it. Anthony’s reaction was understandable and warranted. If Garnett isn’t reined in he might escalate his behavior to such a point that someone might be seriously injured.
An Apt Analysis
The Sports Curmudgeon returned from a brief vacation to find eight NFL head coaches without a team. He said, “Look at the coaches who lost their jobs in the NFL this year and you will find two prevalent threads which are interrelated. Teams with bad offensive lines generally get poor quarterback play and teams with poor quarterback play tend to lose a lot of games and get their coaches fired. Eight NFL teams are looking for new coaches – or have signed new ones since the end of the 2012 season. Six of the eight coaches on the street had QB/OL problems of significant proportion…
Green Coordinator
I hope the Jets take a different road in choosing an Offensive Coordinator rather than signing a recently fired retread.
Forget personality conflicts. They don’t exist where OC’s put up good numbers.
I hope there’s a GM in place before the Coordinator is signed.
Gene Collier’s Take
Gene Collier (Pgh Post-Gazette) has no love for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and wrote: “This was Bettman’s third lockout, the second of which swallowed an entire season. In terms of diplomatic missteps, Lockout III was surely the goriest. The low point was Bettman’s comment that the previous CBA was “more fair [to the players] than it should have been.”
Too fair?
There’s no too fair.
If that were just oxymoronic, it would still be moronic.”.
Settlement
A settlement was reached in the NHL work stoppage-lockout. Scott Burnside (ESPN.com) commented, “The message last summer was crystal clear: Things are pretty good, so don’t screw it up.                                                                                                  Shortly after that presentation, the league responded by locking out its players for the third time in Commissioner Gary Bettman’s tenure.                                                                                             Take a moment at this point to bang your head on a door frame in disgust and dismay.                                                                            Now take two aspirin.                                                                                                             The problem for the NHL is that this lockout, one of its own making and flawed strategically from the get-go, will make it difficult at best, impossible at worst, to repair relationships with those it needs most to continue to see revenue growth.                                  As one person familiar with the league’s financial picture explained, you can’t kill the golden goose twice, and if the last lockout cooked that goose the first time, this one marked cooked goose No. 2.”
I remember taking my son and a young friend to see a Ranger game in the “Old Garden” with the long promenade entry-way. We arrived early and saw some of the players walking in. The kids were able to ask the players for autographs with no problem.
I think those signatures created fans for life.
How Tough Was SHE?
Norman Chad saw the settlement and asked us to remember: “Remember the June 15, 2011 riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup finals? Well, Sophie Laboissonniere — who was a Miss Congeniality winner at a Vancouver beauty pageant — just pleaded guilty for rioting that night. Miss Congeniality was rioting? That’s like a member of PETA running a dog-fighting racket.)
Baseball Writers Of America
Those writers who received HOF ballots were encouraged to use “integrity, sportsmanship, and integrity” as governing factors in choosing for whom to vote. Now with no new inductees being chosen this year the “hand-wringing” writers are raising a lot of noise to suspend those factors
Gene Collier quoted Mark McGwire agreeing with his omission and wouldn’t have voted for himself either, “I understand everything about what the Hall of Fame is all about, and I totally respect that,” said this former St. Louis Cardinals player who trashed Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in 1998. “It’s something I did and something I have to live with for the rest of my life. It’s a mistake I’ve made. I’ve owned up to it and moved on.” T.J. Quinn explained why he just can’t bring himself to vote any more. “Other distinguished commentators have pointed out that people like me are the same people who didn’t question McGwire’s numbers, while they were piling up, are now exercising — what is the term — retroactive morality. I guess what that means is that, even though I now know that McGwire cheated, I have to put him in the Hall of Fame anyway because I should have known it at the time.
Seriously?”
Spell Of Confusion
The Sports Curmudgeon cited Greg Cote (Miami Herald): “Miami Jai-Alai opened its 86th season. Roster is again led by top player Goikoetxea, who is best known for constantly having his name misspelled.”
Another SC Observation                                                                 “As I was watching the Packers/Niners game, I had this thought every time I saw DuJuan Harris’ name in one of the screen graphics: If DuJuan Harris had been born as half of a set of twins, might his mother have named his sibling DuOddaJuan?” (OOF)

 

Dreams Blog

January 11, 2013

 

Jet Recommendations
With Rich Cimini’s (ESPNNY.com) assistance I came up with these two possible candidates for the Jets’ GM slot, “David Caldwell, Falcons, director of player personnel — A Bill Polian (Bronx native) protégé who spent a decade as a Colts scout. He has been linked to several potential openings. He has spent only one season in his current role, working with highly regarded GM Thomas Dimitroff.”  And then there’s my personal preference, “Brian Gaine, Dolphins assistant GM — considered a rising star in league circles. He’s a native New Yorker, a former practice-squad TE for the Jets and a former Jets scout. He learned the business from Bill Parcells. He has a strong scouting background and knows the AFC East.” I think Gamble will be a gamble. The GM’s hire shouldn’t have to be signed off on by the coach. Well I guess now we know who the boss is. Bronxite Bill Polian gave Gamble a good word, “Gamble has spent seven years with the 49ers, currently he’s overseeing pro and college scouting under GM Trent Baalke, a former Jets scout.”  He began his career in an entry-level position with the Eagles and worked his way up through the scouting and personnel ranks. Gamble’s friendship with Ryan began when both of their fathers were with the Eagles. Buddy Ryan was the head coach and Harry Gamble was Eagle’s president.                                                                               Familiar Picture
The Woody Johnson/Rex Ryan association reminds me of the “Garden Dolan”/Isiah Thomas association.
In four years, Rex Ryan has “come up short,” his words, and had changed offensive coordinators every year. The Jets have to have SOME kind of offensive identity and not that of a Marx Brothers’ Movie with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Steve Martin.  
Poor Perception
Wallace Matthews gave us a good look at the Yankee front office’s idea of success. “The perception that ownership is no longer as committed to winning as it once was, reinforced greatly by Hal Steinbrenner’s decree to trim payroll to a “mere” $189 million by 2014. It could be that the legion of Boss disciples, raised on the belief that winning is more important than breathing, have decided to seek fresh air elsewhere.”
Recap Time Of Year
Dwight Perry passed along these recap items, “March: A woman from Vista, Calif., gave birth to a 13-pound, 14-ounce boy.                                                       Mel Kiper Jr., alert as ever, immediately declared him the best line prospect in the 2034 NFL draft.                                                                                                                                July: The NFL filed court papers alleging that Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams tried to manipulate a drug test, possibly with nonhuman urine.                                                                            So, in addition to his six-game NFL ban, he’s been declared ineligible for next year’s Kentucky Derby.
Trite Awards
Gene Collier awarded his 29th annual awards for overused clichés. “Our third runner-up is “Going Forward”. Going Forward, in a sad irony, gets us nowhere. Our second runner-up: “Stretch The Field Vertically.” Our first runner-up: “Take The Top Off The Defense.” And the winner of the 2012 Trite Trophy (do not rush the stage): “Take A Shot Down The Field?”
Non-existent Phrase
One thing you can say about National sports in America is that there are no or very little, at best, patience with a team’s success. This was more than evident on 1/1 when seven NFL head coaches bit the dust.
With this in mind an article by Karen Beckwith for the McClatchy Newspaper about the development of US Soccer is surprising. “Some of the credit should go to U.S. Soccer and its fledgling youth academy system, which is modeled after ones used in much of the soccer world. In its fifth year, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy — which consists of 80 member clubs scattered around the country — has already seen five of its graduates advance to the senior national team.                                                                             Now even the youngest U.S. players are beginning to earn attention abroad. And all of them bring back things they learned there, further contributing to the improvement of American soccer.
In the U.S. development academy, however, the emphasis is on year-round training — as much as eight hours a week, 40 weeks a year, with four practices for every game. It’s still far short of what kids in Spain or Brazil do, but it’s a major step up for U.S.-based players.                                                                                                     Just what the payoff will be for the likes of McKay Eves, Ben Lederman, Vincent Borden and the rest of the players in their age group could take years to sort out. But as U.S. Soccer’s development academy continues to expand, Tony Lepore, director of scouting for U.S. Soccer says soccer in the U.S. will keep getting better.”
Fore
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) quoted Willie Nelson on one of the perks of owning the golf course in Port Arthur, Texas, “Par is anything you want it to be. For instance, this hole here is a par-47, and yesterday I birdied the sucker.”
Talking The Talk
Dwight Perry quoted Brad Rock (Deseret News) as writing: “Brad Rock of the Deseret News, after Jose Canseco listed reality-TV appearances and getting elected to public office among his New Year’s resolutions: “Is it just (me), or does Jose Canseco always seem about one pitch short of a full count?”
Dwight Just Wondered
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) asked, “Why is there a University of Phoenix Stadium, but no University of Phoenix football team?”
Disability? What Disability
For years after I contracted Polio and underwent therapy I was told that I had to try that much harder to succeed and not appear to be disabled. The words they used (I’ll never forget them) were “Try to look  normal.” It made me feel a lot less than normal. Now I ask- what is normal?
So when Dwight Perry forwarded this piece about Oscar Pistorius it struck home. “My mother used to tell us in the mornings, ‘Carl, put on your shoes. Oscar, you put on your prosthetic legs, and that’s the last I want to hear about it,’ “amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius told Reuters.                                                                                                               “So I grew up not really thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes.”

 

Dreams Blog

January 4, 2013

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Playoffs, What Playoffs?
Neither of our teams made the playoffs this year so they’re in the same boat. Sanchez had another Jet hat trick- 2 fumbles and an INT. This team is demoralized an its managerial team is al in the wrong slots. Rich Cimini said that Ryan, “will (yet) get to hire another coordinator. He needs to find someone with a progressive approach, a playcaller who can fix Sanchez (if he’s back) and install a sophisticated passing attack. Ground-and-pound is old-school.” Wasn’t this team once 5-1 only to wind up 6-10.
The Giants ended up 9-7 with another December swoon- that’s on Coughlin. The team shouldn’t have to rely on outside inspiration to get them going. This year’s draft might be a good time to start looking for Eli’sussessor.
Face the music Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) quoted Scott Ostler asking, “So, how did acquiring Tim Tebow to push Mark Sanchez work out for the Jets? “If you seek to inspire the San Francisco Philharmonic to a higher level,” wrote Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, “you don’t try to scare ’em by bringing in a hot kazoo player.”
Campaigning FOR Tebow
Mike Bianci (Orlando Sentinel) wants Tim Tebow to sign with the Jaguars. “It’s puzzling and bumfuzzling to me why other young quarterbacks are drafted into the NFL and are given two and three years to develop, learn from their mistakes and go through the process of becoming an pro quarterback. Not Tebow. Nobody has ever given this kid a chance to grow and progress into an NFL quarterback. Never, ever.
Why it is that guys like Brandon Weeden, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Freeman, Jake Locker, etc., etc. get opportunity after opportunity to fall on their face, but Tebow — one of the greatest players in college football history is on the verge of being drummed out of the NFL?
Not one time has any pro team ever committed to Tebow. Not once. Last year, the Broncos finally bowed to public pressure, threw him into the starting lineup for half-a-season and watched him lead the team into the postseason and to a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. And that was it. Denver acquired Peyton Manning and traded Tebow to the Jets, where he rotted on the bench this season while watching two lesser quarterbacks play ahead of him.
Memo to the Jaguars: Peyton Manning ain’t coming to Jacksonville.
When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Bring Tim Tebow back home where he belongs.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: If you have a once-in-a-lifetime freak athlete like Tebow — a big, bullishly strong man who can run the ball, take a pounding and throw when necessary — why not draft him, build a system around him and let him do his thing? Especially when his thing involves being the ultimate leader, winner, role model and rock star?
Swish Steve Swisher scored a 4-yr, $56mil deal, with the Indians, along with an easily reached mark governing a 5th year option. Swisher had been a good fit with NY, during the regular season, but not for $14mil/year. That’s Cold Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) quoted this headline from SportsPickle.com, “Gary Bettman fires NHL Network president over drop in TV ratings.” Bowl Game Swag Bag “The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas has this year’s best swag among the 35 bowls, according to the L.A. Times’ rankings,” Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote. “Washington and Boise State players got to choose a combination of gifts — including a 24-inch flat-screen TV, iPod Touch, a Blu-ray player or Nintendo Wii — totaling up to $550 from a list of 43 items.”
Dwight Just Wondered
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) asked, “Why is there a University of Phoenix Stadium, but no University of Phoenix football team?”
NHL Update
John Feinstein (DC Post) has been following NHL Owners-NHLPA negotiations and wrote that, “Since Gary Bettman became commissioner almost 20 years ago, the league has had three lockouts. The word “lockout” is important: It is never the players insisting they can no longer survive under the existing terms of the collective bargaining agreement; it is always the owners.
Bettman and hockey’s owners clearly don’t believe in compromise. To them, compromise means the players accept exactly what they are offered without negotiating and thank them for allowing them to share the same room.
That may sound harsh, but it is almost literally true. During one bargaining session, the owners made a proposal, and when the players responded by making counteroffers on three of the points in the proposal, the owners and their representatives got up and walked out of the meeting.
In fact, when NHL Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr said a couple of weeks ago that he believed the players and owners were close to making a deal, Bettman was apoplectic, making it clear that they were not close to a deal and how dare Fehr imply such a thing.
Without getting too technical, here’s what that is about: The union voted last week to authorize its board to file a “disclaimer of interest.” This is a legal shortcut to decertifying. It would allow the players, because they would no longer be a union at that point, to file an antitrust lawsuit against the owners. That’s the last thing the owners want. In 1995, when baseball owners tried to field non-union teams, the baseball union — led by Fehr — took the owners to federal court and won, ending the strike. That was a different case than this because baseball owners were trying to unilaterally end free agency and arbitration. But if a court were to find the hockey owners have not bargained in good faith, it could order the lockout ended.” Our kind of 2012 stories Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times has listed stories that may create a few year-ending smiles, especially if you love the comic misfortunes of others. Jerry Greene (orlando sentinel) said that this is one of his favorite Sports Stories of 2012“My favorite is the hunter that tried to kill a mouse with the butt of his rifle and shot himself in the head. No, not dead but everybody knows he lost to a mouse.”