Dreams Blog

January 24, 2014

Conference Titles
The Broncos and the SeaHawks will meet in the Super Bowl, and at first look the Denvers looked a lot better than the Seattles. Denver topped the Patriots, 26-16, but the game wasn’t that close. Manning threw for 400 yds with 107 yds. rushing and was protected like an egg in bubble wrap. As much as players talk about not missing injured teammates, it was pretty obvious that Brady missed Gronkowski and Welker- who played for Denver. Yet his overthrows had nothing to do with their absence.
Seattle topped ‘Frisco 23-17. Kaepernick had 2 ints, was sacked once, while Wilson was sacked 4 times. This was a slug fest that showed Seattle’s ability to overcome. The final quarter had the biggest SeaHawk plays. QB Wilson threw 35yds. for a TD on a 4th and 7 after coach Carroll changed his mind from kicking a field goal. The other big one, in my mind, was when corner Richard Sherman tipped a ‘Niner pass for a INT/TD from the Seattle 18 in the final seconds.
You’ll be reading enough about all of this before the game.
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) Headline
This from Darren Rovell (ESPN): “Pizza Hut spokesman- we are not paying QBs who say ‘Hut’ at the line of scrimmage.”
Yankees At First Look
Andrew Marchand (ESPNNY.com) looked at the Yankees and wrote: “What they have now is closer to 80 wins than 90 wins,” one NL general manager said.
The GM liked what the Yankees did with their checkbook so far, upgrading at catcher with Brian McCann and in the outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, but the pitching still has question marks, making this GM believe the Yankees will make sure to sign Masahiro Tanaka.
“I’d guess the Yankees,” the GM said when asked who he thinks will win the sweepstakes. And they did- for seven years and $155million.
The Yankees have improved, but their infield — which in recent vintage years has been a major strength — has nothing definite about it. The starting staff is led by three pitchers (CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova) who are not sure things for various reasons. After that, from Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren, the Yankees will need to find some strong innings.
The bullpen is unsettled with David Robertson set to take Mariano Rivera’s place. Grant Balfour is still out there and could be a fit, adding a proven closer and keeping Robertson in the eighth inning. If not, Robertson will be supported by Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne.
The Yankees are trying to spend their way back to the top — but, at least according to one GM, they need take out their wallet one more time.
Now that the spending limit has been eliminated, let’s see who else they go after.
The Knicks’ Knot Is At The Top
It’s been 17 months since Steve Mills replaced Glen Grunwald as the GM for the Knicks. How has that been working out?
Well, both Mills and “Garden Dolan” know very little about creating a talented basketball team so now we’re seeing the results of their talents and will continue those visions until someone like Rod Thorn replaces Mills.
Kershaw! God Bless You
The Sports Curmudgeon talked about Kershaw’s new Dodgers contract: “Cross Clayton Kershaw’s name off the list of underpaid athletes. The Dodgers signed Kershaw to the largest contract ever for a pitcher – 7 years and $215M. Oh, by the way, if Kershaw continues to dominate hitters the way he has for the past couple of years, he has an “opt out clause” at the end of the fifth year of the contract that would allow him to become a free agent. He can void the contract in 2018 and 2019; if he stays in the contract, he will earn $65M in those two seasons. Shed no tears for his financial future… Last season, Clayton Kershaw pitched 236 innings and struck out 232 batters; that is .98 strikeouts per inning. In those same 236 innings, he gave up 164 hits and walked 52 batters; 216 batters reached base. He struck out more hitters than reached base against him last year. Those are elite numbers.” That weekly pay is more than $500K.
The SC also quoted Greg Cote (Miami Herald). “Baseball’s Carl Crawford and reality TV’s Evelyn Lozada (Chad Ochocinco’s ex) are engaged. A date for their inevitable divorce has not yet been set.”
A New Direction For The Giants
Dan Graziano (ESPNNY.com) wrote: “Ben McAdoo has been hired to run the Giants’ offense, it’s worth taking note that this is the Giants doing something they don’t normally do. They’re taking a chance on a fresh, new face with ideas that differ from theirs. They’re dipping their staid blue toe into new waters, mainly out of an admission that what they were doing for so long had stopped working. It’s a pretty big deal, and however it works out, it speaks to the state of the franchise right now. After 10 years of Manning and Coughlin, they don’t believe their run is coming to an end, but they’re at least admitting to themselves that they’ll need to try something different if they want to be right.”
A Successful Season
Norman Chad gave his opinion of NHL over-times, “The NHL used to award teams two points for a victory and one point for a tie; it eliminated ties in 2005, and now it’s two points for a victory, one point for an overtime/shootout loss and no points for a loss in regulation. Theoretically, you could lose all 82 games in overtime, make the playoffs with 82 points and capture the Stanley Cup after going winless in the regular season.”
Olympic Eye Strain
Norman Chad warned us that the Olympic cameras will rolling from Feb. 6 to 23. The total air time will be 1539 hours over18 days. Don’t get a headache doing the math- that’s 85 hours a day. OK, OK, it will be carried by 6 NBC outlets but that’s still 14 hours a day. How much Rhythmic figure skating and live Curling can you watch?

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Dreams Blog

January 17, 2014

Jerry Coleman- American Hero
Gene Collier (Pgh Post-Gazette) wrote about the Yankees all star 2nd baseman, “Coleman had a couple or three things that were getting pretty hard to find toward the end of the 20th century: time, humility and a life’s story that could pass for American literature.
When Coleman died in San Diego, heaven became a funnier place, a place that had compromised none of its celestial rectitude by admitting a .260s hitting New York Yankees second baseman.
It is Jerry Coleman, who got behind the mic for the Yankees and Angels but mostly for the Padres, to whom we owe unforgettable play-by-play gems as the “sun-blown pop-up,” the alert that “Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen,” that perfectly descriptive pop-up slide call “and Winfield slides into second with a stand-up double,” and the flat-out brilliant, “Eric Show will be 0 for 10 if that pop-up comes down.” The winner of two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Coleman barely gave baseball a thought after Pearl Harbor was attacked soon after his 17th birthday. His country would soon need him, and that, exclusively, became his motivation. As the only baseball player to fly combat missions in two wars (Ted Williams served in two but flew only in Korea), Coleman flew about 120 missions in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines during World War II and later in Korea. “Seeing friends die and families cry,” he said for a long ago magazine piece, “was enough to remind me of the proper place to put baseball.”
So that’s where he’d found it, miles above the dark Pacific with no one to talk with, watching the planes of fellow pilots torn apart by enemy assault in the sky all around him.
“I’m only 19,” he said in that same article. “My gunner is 18. God, back home, we couldn’t get the keys to the family car. Now here I’m given my own plane. You grow up fast. “Real fast.”
That’s the kind of information you had to look for on Jerry Coleman. He wasn’t offering it, but it illuminates everything, right? No wonder he was such an important part of those Yankees clubhouses.
It’s ironic now that Jane Leavy entitled the last best Mantle biography “The Last Boy.”
Coleman was no boy. This was a man, gracious, humble, of class and of courage. In baseball’s iconic lineup of great Americans, you just write his name in it at second base every day and don’t think much about it.
He’d have liked it that way.”
Don’t Believe Anything
I watched “60- Minutes” on Sunday night, 1/12, and listened to the piece they broadcasted dealing with Anthony Bosch and his business with Alex Rodriguez. What a waste of time! The only things that were confirmed, to me, were not to believe any of them, “just follow the money,” and remember that “it’s always about the money follow it.”
The A-Rod story should appear on a newspaper’s page 3 with the rest of the crime news. Gene Collier (Pgh. Post-Gazette) said that “A-Rod is dead right that baseball was out to get him, much in the way that cops are out to get robbers.”
800
I always thought that I could hit 800 home runs until Ronny Murphy threw me a curve ball. And, I was only playing first base kduring an infield warm-up.
Don’t Coddle A Bad Egg
JR Smith, of the Knicks, has a self-inflated value of himself and his latest shoelace antics might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ohm Youngmisuk (ESPNNY.com) wrote about Coach Mike Woodson’s reaction. “The NBA can fine Smith all it wants. In fact, the league has docked him a total of $105,000 since he joined the Knicks in 2012. But that’s pocket change for an NBA player who signed a three-year, $18 million contract in July.
If you want to get anything through to a shooter whose mentality is to keep shooting and shooting, you have to take the ball away from him. Make him sit out a marquee game and watch LeBron James and the Heat from the pine.
That’s exactly what Woodson did, even though the coach and the Knicks never officially announced it as a benching or punishment. For the entire game, Smith sat at the end of the Knicks’ bench, not far away from owner James Dolan and actress Katie Holmes. Smith’s benching should have come a long time ago. While Woodson and Dolan should be applauded for finally doing what they had to do with Smith, they are also guilty of enabling Smith’s behavior. They’ve often opted to look away after one of Smith’s episodes.” Woodson said Smith has been “unprofessional about how he’s approached this whole thing. Something’s gotta be done. It has to stop.” Woodson put his foot down on Thursday. There has to be accountability on every team, and Woodson now is finally trying to enforce that with Smith by taking the ball out of his hands for a night. Did it work?” We’ll have to wait and see but based on what Smith said- “His lack of playing time came as a surprise and that Woodson did not talk to him about the move beforehand, leaving him in the dark about the benching and its length.” Why does Woodson have to talk to him? He clearly doesn’t think that he did anything wrong. What a bozo!
Cote’s Notes
Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote: “The Sports Names Of The Week Challenge has ‘Thai golfer Pornanong Phathum taking on Swiss bobsledder Beat Hefti.’
‘That reminds me. Marlins radio broadcasts switch from 790 The Ticket to WINZ 940 next year. Fans who listen to Marlins games on radio are split. One said he liked the change, the other isn’t sure.’”
The Sea In Seahawk
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) told us that, “Among this month’s most popular attractions at the Seattle Aquarium: a hermit crab who makes his home inside a tiny Seahawks helmet, named Marshawn Pinch.
What, no Pete Coral?”
Injuries
Gene Collier discussed injuries to pro basketball players, “Does the WNBA keep track of man-games lost?”

Dreams Blog

January 10, 2014

If I Had A Vote For The MLB-HOF
I would have checked off Glavine, Maddox, and Morris.
Not So Shallow Hal
Ian O’Connor (ESPNNY.com) wrote about the possible Yankees action looking to sign Masahiro Tanaka. “Masahiro Tanaka will settle it for Hal Steinbrenner and his customers once and for all. If the New York Yankees spend like mad to sign the Japanese star, blowing up their plans for fiscal restraint, the fans will accept Hal as a worthy successor to his old man.
And if the Yanks don’t, their fans won’t. Hal has said he will only approve a payroll below the $189 million luxury-tax threshold — and the tens upon tens of millions in savings such a budget would bring — if he was confident it would still allow him to field a championship-level team.
But as it stands right now, even after laying out $283 million for Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, Steinbrenner has to know he doesn’t have a roster that can legitimately contend for a title. This isn’t about the loss of his best player, Robinson Cano, who was given everything except a controlling interest in the Seahawks to sign with Seattle.
This is about the starting rotation, as vital in baseball as the quarterback is in football. Five years after he led the Yankees to a parade he kept seeing over and over in his dreams, CC Sabathia no longer qualifies as a credible ace of a team expecting to win it all. He’s in the early hours of his decline, and the left arm that’s logged nearly 3,000 regular-season and postseason innings of work and that managed a career-worst 4.78 ERA last year is screaming out for a demotion to the two-hole.
Of course, this is where Tanaka comes in. He might not turn out to be a major league ace, but among the available arms out there he sure looks like the closest thing to it. He’s a 25-year-old free agent coming off a 24-0 season in Japan, and the highest bidder willing to pay his Rakuten Golden Eagles a $20 million posting fee will get him.” Then O’Connor quoted George Steinbrenner about signing Hideki Irabu- “A lot of this money for Irabu is coming out of my pocket,” he said. “People don’t understand that even when we won the World Series last year, we didn’t make money. But we’re still spending to give New York a great team.”
2013 Trite Trophy Award
“The winner of the 2013 Mixologist Medal (given for beginning one cliché and ending with another) is Bob Errey, who, at one point last spring, described goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as being “sharp as a cat.”
Umm, yes. Also quick as a tack.
Now — remember No Flash Photography — our 2013 winner, in the tradition of winning clichés whose abuse transcended sports to the language at large like At The End Of The Day, It Is What It Is, and Are You Kidding Me(?), ladies and gentleman:
Going Forward.
Going Forward, if you must, remember that no matter what kind of sentence you use that includes the phrase “going forward” would have meant the exact same thing without “going forward.”
What can we expect going forward? is the exact same thing as “What can we expect?” Gene Collier (Pgh. Post-Gazette) gave out this award for the 30th consecutive year.
Thank you all and good night. Be careful exiting Salon B. You may access the exits by merely turning to face the rear doors and going forward.
Damn!”
Giants Needs
Dan Graziano (ESPNNY.com) gave us his recommendations, “The Giants need to make lots of changes. We all know about the personnel deficiencies they’re confronting due to free agency and age issues on offense. They need three starting offensive linemen, at least one running back, at least one wide receiver and a new tight end. They need help on defense, too, but we’ll deal with that in a future column. For our purposes here, know that they can’t afford to spend all of their available cap money on offensive solutions even though they have enough needs on that side of the ball to justify it. They have to make them bigger and broader than the one they made. If they don’t, they’re going to be right back here a year from now, looking for scapegoats. And eventually, that search takes you a heck of a lot higher up the ladder than offensive coordinator.”
Steel Resolve
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote about Mike Tomlin. “Yes, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was at home watching the Chargers-Chiefs game and immediately noticed when officials failed to call an illegal-formation penalty that likely knocked his team out of the playoffs.
So what did he yell at his TV?
‘I’ll leave that between myself, my sons and our basement.’”
Proliferation
Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) told us that, “With the proliferation of sports cable networks, it’s only a matter of time before the Geico gecko is sitting behind a desk breaking down NFL game tape.”
More From Bob “Gimmickry sells: It’s hard to make the case that we’re evolving as a species when more than 100,000 pay to sit in frigid Michigan Stadium for a hockey game. Who told the approximately 80,000 who couldn’t see the puck what happened?
Future watch: He doesn’t know where, but Michael Vick says he expects to start at quarterback next season. Maybe so, but probably only for five or six games, at which point, judging by his track record, he’ll get hurt.
Fingers crossed: A wish for 2014 – as every year – is that TV play-by-play announcers will keep in mind that we can see what’s going on and that they will at least consider the possibility that their redundant chatter isn’t welcome or needed.” Can I Be A Good Tennis Player?
The Sports Curmudgeon quoted noted tennis coach/instructor Vic Braden- “My theory is that if you buy an ice-cream cone and make it hit your mouth, you can learn to play tennis. If you stick it on your forehead, your chances aren’t as good.”

Dreams Blog

January 3, 2014

Loss
This past holiday I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends, Capn. Bob Thompson. He was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Bob was a master seaman who once commanded the Fort Schuyler ship, Empire State, on its annual cruise. He was a true renaissance man who was a professional musician and world traveler having visited every continent including both poles. I experienced these journeys with him vicariously through his letters, notes, and postcards.
Bob was a caring man who called me regularly to make sure that I was all right. We were friends from our first days together in kindergarten and I relished every second.
I wish him smooth seas and a following wind for his final voyage into heaven. I’ll miss him.
Startling Stat
Norman Chad gave us, “This brings to mind a staggering set of numbers that I first heard illuminated by PBS’s Mark Shields: Nearly 1.2 million Americans have died in all the wars in U.S. history since the Revolutionary War began in 1775; by comparison, nearly 1.4 million Americans have died by firearms since Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot June 5, 1968. In other words, more Americans have died in the past 45 years from domestic gunfire than have died in all the military conflicts since the founding of our nation. That’s got to be the Stat of the Year, no?
Quiet Millionaires
Ron Borges (Boston Herald) wrote about the un-taxed NFL, “Former New York Giants general manager and Hall of Fame semifinalist George Young always used to say, “When they tell you it’s not about the money, remember it’s always about the money. But the NFL is nothing if not shameless. It considers itself as privileged as Queen Elizabeth. While the 32 individual teams pay all the taxes accountants and tax attorneys can’t make disappear, the league office at 345 Park Ave. pays nada.Why? Because they say they’re just doing what any good trade organization does. They’re not making money. They’re just trying to further the interests of the industry. That’s funny, I don’t recall them trying to further the interest of the World Football League or the United States Football League or the United Football League before they all croaked. They didn’t try to further them; they tried to bury them. They’re no more a trade organization furthering the pro football industry than Dunkin’ Donuts is trying to further the bakery industry. They’re a for-profit organization that collects and disburses the league’s billions and lobbies Congress not to do things like what Coburn wants to do, which is end a symbolic absurdity in the tax code. If the NFL is a tax-exempt not-for-profit trade organization like your local chamber of commerce, why did it pay commissioner Roger Goodell $29.49 million last year, $22.3 million of it in bonuses? Bonuses for what? For not making a profit?”
Reese’s Pieces
I agree that Johnette Howard (ESPN.com) should put the cause of the Giant’s bad season squarely at the feet of GM Jerry Reese. “Mara did express faith in Reese, emphasizing he still thinks Reese is the right man for the job. But once you get past his midseason trade for middle linebacker Jon Beason, some of the GM’s recent calls have been questionable.
The Giants’ drafts haven’t been great for several years now. David Wilson didn’t seem ready to be the starting running back even before he suffered what could be a career-threatening neck injury. Mara said the depth of the offensive line was a concern of his even before the season started — which begs the question, why wasn’t the line more of a concern for Reese? Chris Snee was coming off hip surgery and center David Baas’ durability has been an issue since he joined the Giants.
Worse, Reese’s decision to lavish a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $38.75 million on left tackle Will Beatty didn’t work out very well, either, even before Beatty broke his leg in Sunday’s season finale. “He didn’t play as well as we hoped he’d play,” Reese admitted.
Reese faced all of the harsh realities Monday with straightforwardness. He always does. And it was good to hear both him and Mara call out Manning a little bit. They both said their franchise quarterback needs to play better in 2014. “We turned the ball over this season at an alarming rate,” Reese said. Reese was asked if he is still convinced that Manning, soon to turn 33, has the skill set he did once upon a time. Reese nodded and said, “I think so, I think so. You look at him and see some things and think, ‘Wow. That’s the guy we know and love.’ And then there’s some times it’s not exactly that.” The same could be said of Reese, who took over as the Giants’ GM in 2007 and saw all six of his draft picks stick on the way to the Giants winning the first of the two Super Bowls under his watch. That alone is enough to earn Reese the same benefit of the doubt Coughlin got this year.”Our standards are high around here,” Reese said. “We’re up for the challenge.”
Needs Jump
Mike Mazzeo (ESPNNY.com) quoted former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy talking about the Nets, “I think with all the injuries it’s been hard to evaluate Jason Kidd. It’s been easy to jump on him not just because of the record, but the things coming out of their locker room, the situation with Lawrence Frank, the incident of spilling the drink on the floor,” Van Gundy told the “Amani and Etyian Show” on NBC Sports Radio. “I mean this has looked like a bush league organization much of the year, they don’t play with much effort at all, a very uninspired team. But at the same time they had so many people hurt you just don’t know. And now they are not they are not going to be healthy all year.”
Garnett and Pierce were brought in for “big bucks” to provide direction and leadership. Pierce has done it but Garnett looks too old.