Dreams Blog

July 26, 2013

Just A Minute
The Sports Curmudgeon told us about a report from CBSSports.com and said, “The report says that the NBA will now add to its instant replay rules provisions that will permit officials to use TV replays to determine if the correct call was made on a blocking/charging call. This is bad for lots of reasons so let me just give you one: NBA games have enough “down-time” as it is with the team timeouts and the TV timeouts and the incessant offense/defense substitutions at the ends of quarters and halves. Every instant replay stoppage adds “down-time”; particularly odious is the amount of time it takes to determine how many tenths of seconds to put on the clock at the end of a game. Those interminable stoppages ignore the fact that there had to be an error of tenths of seconds on every whistle and on every inbounds play during the whole game so that the starting point for measuring “time remaining” could be off by as much as 15 seconds. The world needs less “down-time” not more.”
MLB Downtime
MLB announced a 60 game suspension for Ryan Braun for PED usage. Greg Cote (Miami Herald) commented by asking, “Remember when sports was the escape? Somehow sports became the reality. The arrests, the failed drug tests, the seemingly endless parade of athletes letting us down. “It is not behind him, of course, and won’t ever be. Like so many before him and surely more to follow, the stink has become part of who Ryan Braun is.”
Soriano
I’ve always liked Alfonso Soriano. Over 15 years he’s put up good numbers. With a need for only 11 hits to reach the 2000 mark and 11 more HRs to reach 400, he’s also scored close to 1100 runs. His career WHIP is .825. Bruce Levine of ESPN.com said, “Soriano has $25 million left on his eight-year, $136-million contract that expires after the 2014 season.” Soriano is 37 years old and will be 39 at contract’s end, so the timing is perfect.
G’s & J’s NFL Outlook I looked at the NFL schedule and I felt our teams would end up: My Giants should win 10 games as long as JPP can play and there is growth with the DB’s. I think John’s Jets will be 8-8 with Smith taking over for Sanchez. Talko Time Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote: “Available for sale online- an eight-piece Houston Astros barbecue set for $74.99.
Act now, and they’ll even through in an interactive meat thermometer that tells you ‘Stick a fork in ‘em, they’re done.’ Matt Snyder (CBSsports.com), on the Miami Marlins hosting ‘Legends of Wrestling Night.’ The Marlins will do just about anything to get fans to the ballpark- that is, other than putting a winning team on the field.” Latest News Greg Cote (Miami Herald) reported that, “NFL suspended Rams RB Isaiah Pead for a drug violation. So, if I have this straight … a guy named Pead failed a urine test?” Tunnel Light A-Rod said that his rehab process was a long ordeal, filled with dark moments. But he did say, “You definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.” I hope that it’s not an oncoming MLB locomotive.
Talk’in The Talk
Dwight Perry reported: “Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison, via Twitter, on PED speculation: “You know we’re clean. We haven’t scored a run in 37 innings.”
Can You Say Tooze Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) said that, “Forty-Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks, accused of breaking a beer bottle over a teammate’s head. He’s been named an honorary 1970’s Oakland Raider.” Latest News Greg Cote (Miami Herald) reported that, “NFL suspended Rams RB Isaiah Pead for a drug violation. So, if I have this straight … a guy named Pead failed a urine test?” ESPN Counter Attack
Norman Chad (The Couch Slouch) gave us this reply: “Everyone’s coming after ESPN: It’s a cable cavalry looking to topple cable’s superpower. CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network, now Fox Sports 1 — heck, al-Jazeera is probably gearing up for a big stretch run against the boys from Bristol — are all arming themselves with as much talent and programming possible to pilfer some of ESPN’s massive fun-and-games profit. ESPN has responded by rolling out a whole new group of channels and products to add to its family of networks (which, at the moment, includes only ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and ESPNews). And here they are: ESPN 7-Eleven: The cable giant and the convenience mart — both 24-7 operations — team up to provide around-the-clock “SportsCenters” and Big Gulps at every location. ESPN Berlin Wall: The iconic wall is rebuilt at its original site — funded largely by a new national cable tax — imbedded with 424 large-screen TVs, making it the world’s largest outdoor sports bar. Projected to be Germany’s No. 1 tourist attraction by 2025.
ESPN 911: Police scanner dedicated to athlete crimes.” Dwight’s Flights Of Fancy
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) reported that, “Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, calling his $72.5 million dollar contract a slap in the face after teammate Joey Votto got a much bigger one, was last seen crafting his cardboard ‘Will Bunt For Food’ sign.
Twins closer Glen Perkins recorded two outs the other night before realizing his pants were unzipped.
Guess he’s not a big fan of the Infield-fly rule.
Honda engineers have unveiled a riding mower that goes from zero to 60 in 4 seconds, with a top-end speed of 130 MPH.
Well, that’s one way to cu

Dreams Blog

July 19, 2013

All Star Appeal
I feel that the MLB All Star Game had more interest in days gone- by because we didn’t have everyday TV coverage available.
If you lived in a town with one ML team, you rarely saw players from the other league, you never saw their uniforms, and you never saw if the home plate umpire wore the out-side-balloon-type chest protector or the inside NL model (that was important because the NL umps had a low strike zone and the AL’s zone was high).
If you were lucky, you saw your trading cards.
My favorite All Star story had Sal “The Barber” Maglie refusing to talk to his A/S teammates because he thought they were trying to steal his pitching secrets and soften up his feelings.
Things are really different in today’s age of free agency.
Cespedes Lit Up The Sky Jayson Stark (ESPNNY.com) wrote about the Home Run Hitin Contest with: “It is possible for a man who wasn’t even an All-Star to upstage an entire All-Star Game?
Well, it is now. It is, thanks to Yoenis Cespedes, a man who jetted into Flushing, N.Y., on a sweltering Monday evening in July and became an All-Star phenomenon unto himself. He pounded 32 home runs into the New York night, tied for the third-most anyone has ever hit in one of these mash-fests.
He put a dent in a truck that was hanging out 455 seemingly safe feet from home plate.
He propelled three balls into the never-reached third deck in left, clanked two home runs off the windows of the Acela Club restaurant in the second deck, whomped three more space shots off the batters-eye background in center.
He became the first player ever to win a Derby who won’t even be sticking around for the All-Star Game itself.
And yet, somehow, that doesn’t even begin to describe what happened here. Before Yoenis Cespedes stepped to home plate in this Derby, he was barely a blip on America’s radar screen. And now?
Now, he’s a real-life fairy tale, a man who fled his homeland in Cuba just two years ago to begin his life and career anew — and now, after this night, neither that life nor that career will ever be the same again.”
Jeter of Old
Ian O’Connor (ESPNNY.com) talked about Derek Jeter’s attempted lineup return. “Now there’s a new process to respect, (as a recent turn of events made) official: The Yankees are now dealing with the old Jeter, not the Jeter of old. This is the shortstop who has entered the final stage of his career, the stage defined by what will be his greatest every-day challenge: staying healthy.
All-Star Shame- Roger, Who?
Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com), “The All-Stars under suspicion for doing business with the now-closed Miami PED mill are the Padres’ Everth Cabrera, the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz, the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta and the A’s Bartolo Colon.
Colon’s name jumps out the most. Just last season, he was suspended 50 games for illegally using synthetic testosterone. Now, at 40, he’s an All-Star pitcher.
It doesn’t take an overly suspicious mind to connect Colon’s past use of PEDs with his longevity. At an age when almost all players are done, he’s enjoying his best season in years – 12-3 with a 2.69 ERA going into today’s start against the Red Sox.
Even if Colon is clean now, would he have been in a position to remain in the game had he not artificially boosted his testosterone levels at one time?
Opinions can vary, but his guilt last season disqualifies Colon from receiving the benefit of the doubt. Once a scofflaw, always a suspect.”
How-Evah, Melo
Stephen A. Smith (ESPNNY.com) gave us a warning about next year. “In the end, there was a 54-win regular season, a division title for the first time since 1994 and a playoff appearance that extended beyond the first round for the first time since 2000. The New York Knicks have Carmelo Anthony to thank for this, since he is the resident star of this team. But in the aftermath of another season ending prematurely, there’s no better time than the present to start wondering about Melo’s future in Gotham.
Will it exist beyond next season?
It is because Melo has the freedom to opt out of his deal. To stay or go elsewhere, like Los Angeles or Miami, assuming the Heat can create cap space. It is because Melo can opt out at the same time LeBron James is free to go elsewhere — or stay in Miami. Not to mention the potential allure of 2014 being the Summer of Melo.
Without Melo, of course, the Knicks are in the lottery instead of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Another factor to consider about Anthony and the decision he faces next summer: Melo wants to go Hollywood, whether he’s in New York or not. His wife, La La Anthony, already is Hollywood, with a new movie about to come out.
The aspirations of the Anthony family are obvious and predictable. Melo’s basketball decisions are not just about basketball. It’s about positioning himself — and his wife — for a post-basketball career beyond the corridors of MSG.
That qualifies as a problem. Couple it with Amar’e Stoudemire’s salary still on the books, along with that of Tyson Chandler, and what you have is a Knicks team that might possibly be stuck in a familiar malaise for the next couple of seasons.
If you’re Carmelo Anthony, do you really want to deal with this when you have options?”
Molinaro Marinara
Bob Molinaro wrote:
“One reason Dwight Howard left the Lakers for Houston, according to a widely quoted source, was because Kobe Bryant wouldn’t “pass the torch.” Good grief. What did Howard expect? Kobe won’t even pass the ball.
It might surprise you to discover that I know exactly what stage it is at the Tour de France. It’s the stage where I stop caring altogether.
Seven-foot Andrew Bynum has had problems with his knees and, while in Philadelphia last season, with his attitude. The Cavaliers are taking a chance on him because you can’t teach size. But you can’t teach heart, either.”

Dreams Blog

July 12, 2013

Rose Colored Glasses
I don’t look at all of the “hoo-hah” going on about PED usage with my head in the clouds. But- that being said, I would rather save my thoughts and ink covering those athletes who do the right things and don’t try to increase their stats for “thirty pieces of silver.” I DO look at the sports pages as the toy department.
Selection
I feel that the MLB All-Star Game is the last area where the fans, whose money supports the game, have any kind of influence on a game. I think that any changes to that set up that diminishes that privilege ignores the millions of dollars that fans spend on tickets, memorabilia, and gear.
BRRR!
Norman Chad wrote (as the “couch slouch”) from the Las Vegas Poker World Series, “I’m feeling quite a chill within our own borders lately: President Obama essentially says no to online poker and yes to online snooping. Geez. Poker would seem to be exercising our freedoms and surveillance would seem to be eroding our freedoms, unless Couch Slouch is missing something here.”
Knick Cap
When Donnie Walsh was the Knick GM he worked hard to get the team’s spending under the “luxury tax” ceiling. The present GM, Glen Grunwald just traded for Bargnani who has missed over 60% of his team’s games in the last two years. He carries a $23m salary plus $.5m bonus. This won’t be too bad if the team wins-but we’ll have to wait and see how many games he plays.
More On Bargnani
I’m not on board with Andrea Bargnani yet. Johnette Howard (ESPNNY.com) said he was a 7footer who played like a 6-3 swing guard, who’s not that willing to play in the paint. She said he was a one-trick pony who carried a big price tag and wasn’t in shape most of the time. I thought he was supposed to be a relief to Chandler.
NFL Escrow
I wonder if there’s any way to put an NFL Rookie’s salary into escrow and have it be payable, with interest, to the player after an arrest-free period of time. Nothing seems to have worked up to this time.
Tulsa Olympics
Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) talked about Neil Mavis, the Tulsa dreamer. “Do we even bother to point out, as the New York Times has, that while the International Olympic Committee requires a host city to have a minimum of 45,000 hotel rooms, Tulsa comes up 30,000 short? And that the $5 billion price tag for hosting the Olympics is more than half the Oklahoma state budget? Mavis, an electrical engineer and teacher at a local technology college, has been working on the Tulsa Olympic bid for the past five years. He was living in Atlanta when its bid for the 1996 Summer Games was accepted, a scenario that many in the U.S. and abroad thought was far-fetched at the time. There’s always been a suspicion that Coca-Cola bought the Olympics for Atlanta. Maybe Tulsa, which was built on oil, could sway IOC officials with the gift of a few active wells. The fantasy also takes into account that Tulsa’s suspect infrastructure, much smaller than Atlanta’s, couldn’t handle the demands of the Summer Games. Not a problem, according to Mavis, who envisions the Olympics encompassing Oklahoma City and Norman. His quixotic effort is a private movement for now. After a recent story in the Times created national attention for the city, Tulsa’s mayor and sports commission held a news conference Tuesday to announce that an Olympic bid was no longer official city business. As late as this May, though, local politicians designated Mavis as their representative in a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee asking that Tulsa be invited to make a bid.
Cities won’t officially bid for the 2024 Games for a few more years, so it’s possible Mavis and the city could link arms again. In the meantime, this story has produced a lot of free – if not entirely favorable – publicity for Tulsa.
Urban Blight
During Urban Meyer’s 6 years as the football coach for Florida, the Gators had 25 players involved in 31 arrests- including Aaron Hernandez. Where did Meyer do his recruiting- the Department of Corrections? I’m sure it wasn’t at the library.
Now Meyer is coaching at Ohio State. What can he teach them that they haven’t done yet?
Fore!!
Norman Chad had a reader ask him: “When a pro golfer is laid to rest, is there typically an idiot wearing a sun visor yelling, ‘Get in the hole!’”
Cote’s Random Evidence
Greg Cote (Miami Herald) writes a column he calls “Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind” every so often.
“The Panthers made Finnish center Aleksander Barkov the number 2 overall pick in the hockey draft. He is 17 but said to be ready for the NHL. At 17, I wasn’t ready to decide between a Whopper and as Big Mac.
The opening weekend of sailing’s America’s Cup off San Francisco has been a debacle with strong winds cancelling time trials and the New Zealand and Italian teams protesting new safety rules. Sports fans across America reacted with indifference.”
Molinaro Marinara
Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoad.com) wrote: “Bobby Bonilla, who is 50 and hasn’t played since 2001, receives $1.2 million annually from the Mets until his contract expires in… wait for it… 2035. What the Mets were thinking is anybody’s guess, but it takes a lot of foresight and patience for a player and his agent to work a deal that pays off for more than three decades. July 2 marked the 50th anniversary of the marathon game in which the Giants’ Juan Marichal outdueled 42-year-old Braves pitcher Warren Spahn for a 1-0, 16-inning Giants win. In this battle of iron men, Marichal threw 227 pitches to Spahn’s 201. Pitch count? What pitch count?”
Food For Thought
Dwight Perry wrote, “Hostess Twinkees- out of production for 1 ½ years- are slated to return to store shelves this month.
And Ding Dongs are making a comeback, too. The Rangers just signed Manny Ramirez.”

Dreams Blog

July 9, 2013

Sad Beyond Words
This was the way Greg Cote wrote his 6/28 column: “This has been a bizarre half-year patchwork on the shake-your-head side of sports, hasn’t it? The Manti Te’o hoax. Heroic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius charged with murder. Lance Armstrong verified as liar and fraud. Baseball’s latest steroids mess festering from a Miami clinic. Rutgers firing its basketball coach for abusing players. The NCAA’s corrupt bungling of the UM investigation. That’s not even including the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings that were only tangentially about sports at all. Now, this.” It’s the arrest of Aaron Hernandez. He’s a huge adolescent minded male who behaved badly.
HA! What a surprise. We see young guys (not men yet) with wheelbarrows full of money living thousands of miles away from their families. It doesn’t matter what sport they play- behavior problems are the same. Most of their agents are enablers not in the habit of saying, “You shouldn’t do that.”
What is surprising, though, is how many interventions that have been delivered to A-Rod with regard to his behavior. We keep hearing the same non-apologies and we’re tired of them. Ian O’Connor (ESPNNY.com) wrote, “Go ahead and review his recent history, never mind the past PED use in Texas he copped to in 2009. Flirting with women in the stands after getting benched in a postseason game. Reportedly engaging in high-stakes poker games he was warned against participating in. Reportedly hanging on the road with Cousin Yuri. Allegedly finding comfort in the care of Tony Galea, convicted HGH doctor to the stars, and Tony Bosch, besieged baron of Biogenesis. In response to MLB’s latest investigation, Rodriguez has denied receiving banned substances from Bosch. Of course, he pulled a Bob Arum four years ago (yesterday I was lying; today I’m telling the truth) when he opted out of previous claims and admitted to being a product of back-room pharmacology … but only in Texas, and only before the penalty phase of the sport’s drug program came into play. Whatever. The guy turns 38 next month, another strong indicator that he won’t temper his disruptive tendencies between now and the end of his contract, the fall of 2017, which only feels a million light years away.”
But- no surprises here, that’s who A-Rod is and what he does.
What Parade?
Alex Kaseberg said the ChiBlk Hawks brought the Stanley Cup to a Cubs game but had to explain what a Championship was.
Nothing But Nets
Yes, Mikhail Prokhorov does remind me of George Steinbrenner. Mr. Steinbrenner knew that NYC is a “star driven” town and that monetary success follows big names through the turnstiles.
“Mr. P.” is unafraid to open his wallet to get expensive stars. But, they have to do what they’re supposed to do in order to stay.
My suggestion to “Garden Dolan” is to be afraid, be very afraid of the growth of the Brooklyn fan base.
The Real Big 3 In South Beach Greg Cote (Miami Herald) pointed out Heat’s owner Mickey Rosen with his check book, Pat Riley- the architect, and LeBron James- the singular talent- were the three without whom the Heat wouldn’t ever have been successful.
Van Gone-dy
Ian Begly (ESPNNY.com) talked with Jeff VanGundy about his departure from the Knicks in 2001 in the light of Doc Rivers leaving the Celtics. Van Gundy said, “There’s a big difference between what Rivers did and what he did when leaving the Knicks in December 2001.
“Mine’s worse. I live with that regret every day. Not because I view myself, quote-unquote as a quitter. I don’t look at it that way. But I did leave that situation, I did quit that situation and I live with that regret,” Van Gundy, now an ESPN analyst, said. When asked about his reasons for leaving the Knicks, Van Gundy mentioned several factors: The team had lost to the Toronto Raptors in the postseason the previous year; Marcus Camby had to deal with the kidnapping of his mother and two sisters during the series; Patrick Ewing was traded before the 2000-01 season; Larry Johnson retired before the 2001-02 season.
“I had a great job with the Knicks. Like I said, I let momentary frustration, not even momentary, things that had been building up, this frustration, when I should have taken more time to come to that conclusion or a conclusion,” Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy credited Knicks owner James Dolan for providing him with every resource necessary to succeed. “The frustrations were real but it was certainly on overreaction and, like I said, I’m the only one to blame for that because I had a great, great job and I left it voluntarily and I still regret it,” he said. A Strange Business I always feel I have to wash my hands after shaking hands with a fight promoter; then I count my fingers. I watched the replay of the 6/22 Paulie Malignaggi (32-5,7KO)- Adrien Broner(27-0, 22KO) match in Brooklyn and from the first moments of the broadcast, Broner was hyped as the overwhelming favorite even though Malinaggi was the Champion. Broner continually fouled the champ without penalty. He hit on breaks, kneed Malignaggi during a clinch, used rabbit punches as well as kidney punches, and held and punched. The judge’s scores were 115-113 for Malignaggi, 115-113 for Broner, and unbelievably 117-111 for Broner who should have had at least 5 points deducted or even DQ’d. I scored it 114-114 with 6 rounds going to each man. Broner’s punch total was so much less than Malignaggi’s possibly because of the body work he absorbed. Be on the lookout for Marcus Browne. He’s a light heavyweight (5-0, 5 KO). He listens to Teddy Atlas and retired-NYPD Patty Russo. Marcus is the REAL DEAL. Year Round NFL Norman Chad told us what, NFL Commissioner, “King David” Stern did to keep his league in front of our eyes with hand in our pockets: July- Training Camp, August- Preseason, September to December- Regular Season, January- Playoffs, February- Super Bowl, March & April- Free Agency, May- The Draft, June- OTAs (organized team activities).