Dreams Blog

February 27, 2015

Harbinger
The Sports Curmudgeon gave us some topics for sportsters at Spring training. “Reporters faced with deadlines for daily stories therefore fall back on standard themes:
A player who was injured last year surely hopes to be healthy this year.
A player who shows up 15 pounds heavier says this will allow him to stay stronger during the long season.
A player who shows up 15 pounds lighter says this will give him more speed and will keep him stronger longer in the season because he is carrying around less weight.
A player with a new fat contract from free agency just wants to win and it glad that all the hoopla associated with contract negotiations are behind him.
A player whose contract will expire at the end of this year is intent on getting a new contract and/or using the upcoming season to demonstrate his real worth – by focusing on nothing but winning of course.
At some point this Spring, you will read that “the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point…”
So, ask yourself why the teams don’t have the hitters report to Spring Training before the pitchers and catchers.
Then consider that if the hitters reported first, there would be no one to pitch to them…
We have all read all of those stories a hundred times before and will read another 4 or 5 dozen of them again this year because there is nothing else to put in the papers. On most days, nothing of any import happens in Spring Training. It is the price we pay for that particular harbinger of Spring…
Zen Drafter
So now Phil Jackson has removed more salaries from the Knicks’ roster. We’ll be waiting for the NBA draft on June 25th to see how many seats on the game bench will be filled by Jackson,
Jets Draft Board
We’ve always heard that you can’t coach size. These are quick looks: Geno Smith- 6/3, 218; Marcus Mariota- 6/4, 219; Jameis Winston (reported shoulder weakness?)- 6/4, 230;. Josh McCown- 6/4, 230. Gee, none of these guys are Eddie Lebaron sized (5/9, 168).
These Combine choices are only guesses that don’t enter the reality phase until the choices get on the field. “How-evah” if I were choosing a QB, I’d look at arm strength for long passes, passing across the body, and away from the body. I’d also like to know if he had the smarts to call 2 plays in the huddle.
“I Have A Dream”
The Sports Curmudgeon gave a good answer to Jesse Jackson. “Therefore, it is pretty clear to me that there was some skullduggery going on with regard to the roster. And so, I would like to respond to Rev Jackson’s wondering aloud about this being about boundaries and not race. To respond, allow me first to present some words by the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. from the “I Have A Dream” speech:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
The adults in charge of that Little League team cheated. I do not think that cheating is a race issue but I do think it is a character issue. I choose to judge those people on the basis of their character as evidenced by their behavior. Sadly, those adult cheaters with character flaws all their own behaved in a way that caused a bunch of kids to lose something they obviously treasured.
The Curmudgeon had this to say about Tiger Woods, “Tiger Woods’ announcement that he was taking time off from PGA events simply changed the focus of the “Tiger Woods stories” that golf writers must be compelled to write by editors who have become addicted to Tiger Woods stories. Folks, Tiger Woods was once the best golfer in the world; for the last 5 years he has not been anywhere near that stature. In fact, if you look at the last 5 years alone and consider the amount of coverage in the media for Tiger Woods juxtaposed with his athletic accomplishments here is a sports figure that he has begun to resemble:
Danica Patrick
Think about the amount of coverage per meaningful victory over the past 5 years and those two sports figures are coming closer and closer together.”
Tark The Shark
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote about Jerry Tarkanian’s passing. “Jerry Tarkanian wasn’t called Tark the Shark for nothing.
Seems the late UNLV basketball coach, whose flouting of NCAA regulations was the stuff of legend, once raised a lot of eyebrows at an NCAA reform gathering when he voted in favor of every single proposal — recruiting, financial or academic — put forth to make the rules even stricter.
“Later, at the hotel bar,” wrote Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, “this AD was moved to ask Tarkanian why someone with his rep would favor firmer NCAA compliance legislation. Because, Tarkanian replied, some of the schools ‘actually might follow those rules.’ ”
Perry Patter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote that, “The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Lodge Burger is the NBA’s best arena hamburger, according to a survey cited by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Apparently the No. 1 hot dog designation went out the door with Dennis Rodman.
“Ian Hamilton of the Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, after 88-year-old Lew Dunlap started to charge the mound after getting brushed back by a pitch at a Rockies fantasy camp: “He’s expected to arrive there sometime next week.”
Olbermann
I’m not unhappy that he was suspended by ESPN. It’s too bad that it was only for a week instead of a permanent dismissal. I feel that he is snarky-to the max and tries to show how smart he is in a way to put down everybody else.
This time he ranted against students from Penn State, who raised money to assist in the battle against pediatric cancer. He allowed a personal hatred of PSU because of the Sandusky horror, to overshadow correct thinking.

Dreams Blog

February 20, 2015

Yankees Whoop-De-Do
I wasn’t paying very much attention to all the hoo-ha about A-Rod’s public apologies because I think it was more about the team trying to position themselves in order not to pay those huge bonuses.
Besides, A-Rod could take a big step toward forgiveness by hitting a few of those first pitches over the fence.
MLB Fans
I think as a rule that baseball fans aren’t concerned with a lot of the media’s “Whoop-de-do” that tells us how to feel. There’s a lot of “gas in the air” saying that “ordinary people” don’t believe A-Rod’s apology. That doesn’t matter as much as seeing him play well. That’s what matters most in the end.
Jackie Robinson West Little League
Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) weighed in. “There is concern that the mess will cause black youngsters to veer away from baseball, already experiencing a steady decline in participation by African Americans.
Right. African American kids will shift to football and basketball, where there is zero chance they will ever be exploited by greedy, power-crazed adults.”
NBA
The Sports Curmudgeon said, “Reports say that George Karl will take over as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings right after the All-Star break. Karl is a certified basketball lifer and he is a very good coach. He has turned sorry-assed franchises in to respectable franchises in the past; the man knows what he is doing. So this is a prime catch for the Kings, right? (and maybe he can buy, as Greg Cote noted an actual second name)
Unfortunately, I have to answer that with “Maybe”. Consider: The Sacramento Kings franchise has been around since the dawn of the NBA – and even before that truth be told – residing in cities such as Rochester, Cincinnati, KC/Omaha, KC (by itself) and now Sacramento. This peripatetic franchise has won the NBA Championship exactly 1 time and that was in 1951. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, the Rochester Royals were winning the NBA championship about the same time that President Harry Truman was in the process of relieving General Douglass MacArthur of command in the midst of the Korean War. This franchise does not have a winning tradition.
The current – and newly minted – owner of the Kings, Vivek Ranadive, is an impatient man who believes that he has great professional basketball insights. It appears to me that he is a guy who will plant a crop of vegetables and then pull up each plant once a week just to be sure the roots are developing and then put it back in the soil. Months later, he will be surprised when his crop yield is below normal… In short, he seems to be what Danny Boy Snyder would be like if Danny Boy bought and NBA team.”
Pheee-nom
Jerry Crasnek (ESPNNY.com) gave us this alert, “Prized Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada has four or five more private workouts scheduled with Major League Baseball teams in the next week and hopes to decide where he will sign by Feb. 23, his representative told ESPN on Wednesday.
Moncada expects to audition individually for about a dozen teams, according to David Hastings, the Florida-based certified public accountant who is handling the infielder’s negotiations with clubs. Several teams have requested what Hastings called “look-backs” — or second, follow-up workouts.
Multiple media outlets have speculated that Moncada, 19, could command a signing bonus in the $30 million-50 million range.
A switch-hitter, Moncada batted .277 in two seasons with Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional before leaving the country last year with the permission of the Cuban government. He held a workout for a reported 70 to 100 MLB talent evaluators in Guatemala in November. he Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, in contrast, are free to sign Moncada immediately. But their past international spending has placed them in a category where their investment would be subject to a 100 percent tax. That means a $30 million outlay on Moncada would cost them $60 million.
“It’s almost like somebody walks up to you and hands you a $50 million diamond and says, ‘Take care of this for a few months. I’ve got to go. Bye,'” Hastings said.
“I’ve had to become his nutritionist, his [medical adviser], his baseball trainer and his legal and financial adviser. I’m not an expert in nutrition for a 19-year-old potential superstar. I want a team that has all these professionals and experts to take over and say, ‘OK, this is what we need to do with this kid.’ The sooner the better.”
Soccer
The Sports Curmudgeon wrote that, “If you are a student at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan and you are also a soccer fan, you have an interesting course offering available to you. You can take a course – and get credit for it too – in Cristiano Ronaldo Studies. The course examines:
“…Ronaldo’s rise to global iconography and the social and personal repercussions emanating from his rise.”
I could not even come close to making that up…”
Scott’s Knucklehead of the Week
Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) gave an award to Jerry Rice for admitting he used illegal stick-um for all of his career and using “everyone does it” as a defense. Scott suggested that Rice should try to use that defense in traffic court.
Cote’s Notes
Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote that, “Pete Rose said he’d love to talk to new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred about his gambling ban, then he laid 8-5 odds against that happening.
“Oisk”
Chris Erskine (LA Times) wrote about growing old. “You know, it’s odd the little things you notice as you age. I remember the first time I realized — somewhat fretfully — that airline pilots were younger than I, then doctors, and now a president. There must be, in the corner of our souls, the belief that those making the most important decisions have a tad more experience than we do, a few more summers under their belts.
Meanwhile, perhaps our ardor for mythic figures was always a bit misplaced. Of those we trust, only Santa Claus seems to survive the media scrutiny of the 21st century. What might’ve overzealous bloggers turned up on FDR or Edward R. Murrow?”

Dreams Blog

February 13, 2015

Pitchers And Catchers
I can’t wait for this because of the bad seasons our NY teams have had. Maybe baseball will be better.
My main questions for my Yankees are: will A-Rod turn out to be a 40-year old player with deteriorated hips who hasn’t played in 2-years? Will Mark Teixera be healthy? Will Carlos Beltran hit without coaching by Kevin Long? Exactly who are these new hitting coaches, Jeff Pentland and Alan Cochrel? Are the pitchers healthy?
Sir Charles And The Knicks
Ian Begley (ESPNNY.com) talked about Charles Barkley’s reaction to the trade of J.R. Smith’s trade to Cleveland. “Most Knicks observers assume J.R. Smith is playing well in Cleveland because he doesn’t have to run the triangle anymore.
Charles Barkley has a different theory. The TNT analyst and noted Knicks critic believes Smith is playing well because he’s not surrounded by the “idiots” in New York.
“I looked at J.R. Smith like this: I look at him as a follower. And I told coach (David Blatt) that. He’s a guy if you put him around good people, he’s going to play well. If you put him around those idiots in New York, he’s going to be an idiot,” Barkley said last week during TNT’s Cavs-Clippers broadcast. “Every time he played well in New York, they had a good team. And when things go bad, they had him on a team with some boneheads. And he’s a follower. He’s not a bad kid but he’s a follower.”
OK then. Barkley mentioned that Smith has benefited from being around LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and others in Cleveland. He didn’t mention any of the Knicks’ “idiots” by name, but that comment doesn’t reflect well on Carmelo Anthony, J.R.’s closest friend on the Knicks.
Cote’s Notes
In Greg Cote’s Random Evidence column, he wrote, “Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was involved in a hit-and-run and tried to have his girlfriend take the blame after a night of partying in Aspen, Colorado. If you do an image search on Google for “train wreck,” you see a picture of what Armstrong’s life has become.”
“Some facts require no punch line. Example: An LPGA golfer named Brooke Pancake just signed an endorsement deal with Waffle House.”
Perry Patter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) told us, “Dreaming of being a world-class soccer player? It’s certainly a golden goal.
Type in the average U.S. salary — $43,000 — into an interactive calculator at BBC.com, and this is what it spits out, with adjustments for cost of living and the like:
Cristiano Ronaldo earns €18,200,000 ($20.9 million) per year. It would take him 18 minutes to earn your weekly salary. On your current salary ($730), it would take you 551 years to earn Cristiano Ronaldo’s annual wage. If you had started in the year 1464 you’d almost be finished.”
“To air is human
Q: What do the Seahawks and NBC anchor Brian Williams have in common?
A: Both would’ve been better off staying on the ground.”
1,576-step program
Australia’s Suzy Walsham, 41, won the annual race up the Empire State Building’s 86 flights of stairs for a record sixth time.
Just call her Queen Kong.”
Fran The Scram
Bill Daly wrote about Fran Tarkington. “Fran Tarkenton says he’ll present Mick Tingelhoff at this summer’s Hall of Fame induction. This makes sense for several reasons: (1) Tingelhoff was Tarkenton’s center for 12 seasons with the Vikings, (2) they’re the very best of friends and (3) Scramblin’ Fran liked to lateral the ball to him on occasion — as only Scramblin’ Fran could.
But others just shook their heads. Deacon Jones, the Rams’ Hall of Fame defensive end, said, “You can expect anything from Tarkenton. He might lateral the ball to a fan. They say a quarterback can’t scramble in this league, but he’s been in the league five years and he’s still scrambling.
In a game the previous season, Jones recalled, “I chased him three times. Twice I fell down. Finally on the third time I got him. But he threw the ball into the end zone for a touchdown.”
Knucklehead Of The Week
Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) wrote, “Bud Selig. As a parting gift to baseball, he freed the Blue Ribbon Three, his long-serving committee investigating the feasibility of an A’s move to San Jose. What did the committee learn? “It’s very complex,” Selig explained. He was referring to his IHOP menu.”
Shirts Off Their Backs
The Sports Curmudgeon talked about a missed marketing opportunity. “During a home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, three Toronto Maple Leaf’s fans took off their Leaf’s jerseys and threw them on the ice. They were arrested (charged with engaging in some prohibited activity that is not clear to me) and banned from the arena for a year. I guess I do not understand the basis for all of this.
The Maple Leafs have not been a championship level team in quite a while; their last Stanley Cup championship happened in 1967. Obviously, if these fans had Maple Leaf’s jerseys to throw on the ice, they were hardcore fans and as hardcore fans if they were still allowed to come to games, they would likely buy themselves a new Leaf’s jersey. Seems to me like a marketing opportunity missed…”
Old Friend
I want to take a look at a semi-pro team in Japan called the Ishikawa Million Stars. This team just signed as a player-manager 56-year old Julio Franco. Yes, that Julio Franco. He is the guy who holds the record in MLB as the oldest player to hit a home run (he was 48 when he did that) and the oldest player to hit a grand slam (he was 47 when he did that). Franco’s careen in MLB started in 1982 and ended in 2007.
The Million Stars play in a six-team league called the Baseball Challenge League. One of the players on the Million Stars is a 23-year old female knuckleball pitcher named Eri Yoshida. It is close, but she is about young enough to be Franco’s grand-daughter in addition to his teammate on the field…”

Dreams Blog

February 6, 2015

Poor Call
Collingsworth was right. I couldn’t believe the Seahawks passed on the 2 with 3 tries left and Lynch on the bench.
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) said, “The Patriots somehow let the air out of the Seahawks’ heads.”
Pick Plays
NE ran crossing pass plays with routes that had picks on the SH DB’s at the end, without any interference calls. I thought picks were illegal? So I asked the Sports Curmudgeon and he said, “Picks are illegal – and they are only flagged when they are egregious. Consider this the NFL equivalent of the NBA and the travelling call. Travelling is illegal and it only called sometimes – – and NEVER on anyone who ever made it to an All-Star Game.”
Super Ads
Remember that these are MY choices, only:
1- The Indie created Doritos ad – when pigs fly
2- The Mercedes ad- the hare and the tortoise
3- The Fiat ad- “the little blue pill” drops from a window sill and is inhaled by a dented car. The dent expands and the car is admired by “hotties” walking past the scene.
EXTRA- It was poor taste for the Harry Chapin song “Cats In The Cradle” to be used as background music for a Car Insurance ad when he was killed in a drunk driving accident.
Alarming Thoughts
Bill Plaschke (LA Times) wrote a powerful column in which he listed alarming stats and predicted the possibility of the eventual abolishment of tackle football because the rewards aren’t worth the health risks.
He wrote in part, “Perhaps the only thing more alarming than those damaging statistics is that fans haven’t really paid attention to them. The public continues to view the violent collisions as entertaining ignoring the danger it presents. The loudest cheers during any game are usually for the biggest hits. A player’s life can be unalterably damaged in a single moment, yet that moment is routinely met with wild applause.
Speaking to a football academy in 2013, Hall of Fame cornerback Lem Barney said he feels the sport could eventually disappear, saying, “The game is becoming more deadly today. . . . I think it’s the greatest game if you like gladiators. . . . I can see in the next 10 to maybe 20 years, society will [eliminate] football altogether.”
Surprising
Bob Molinaro (PilotOnline.com.) wrote, “Of all people, Mike Ditka, said on HBO’s Real Sorts that if he had an 8-year old son, he wouldn’t allow him to play football. ‘And my whole life is football’, he said. ‘I think the risk is worse than the reward.’ Didka coming out against kids playing football is like the Pope telling Catholics to sleep in on Sundays.”
Pepper
I like the Jets’ hire of Pepper Johnson. I like his attitude, his knowledge, and his experience. He might have been a better choice as the Giants’ DC rather than Steve Spagnuolo. Only time will tell.
The Yankees Might Be Shooting Themselves In The Foot
Wallace Matthews wrote, “But in their seemingly all-consuming desire to “get even” with A-Rod for his foolish and desperate attempts to overturn Major League Baseball’s 162-game suspension last winter, the team that is supposed to be all about winning looks like it is about to compromise its own mission statement for the sake of someone’s revenge.
If the Yankees are really concerned with winning, and improving off the dismal 84-win, 12-games-off-the-pace, Octoberless death march that their 2014 season was, they need Alex Rodriguez to play well.
And yet, this offseason the Yankees have seemed to do everything in their power to insure he will fail.
But the Yankees have always been pretty good at remembering what their business is, the business of winning ballgames, and they generally didn’t hold bad manners or bad behavior against a player if they still believed he could help them.
Clearly, they no longer believe that of A-Rod. But the hard reality is, they are stuck with him for three more seasons and will have to pay him $61 million in salary, whether he plays well, badly, or not at all.
So rather than trying to squash A-Rod’s bonuses, the Yankees should be doing everything in their power to encourage him to earn them, and hope that he does.
Unless, of course, vengeance has now taking priority over victories.
Admittedly, the whole home run bonus idea was a bad one, conceived in greed by both parties.
Big Bucks
The Yankees owe A-Rod $61MILLION.
Gee, how old am I (don’t answer that!) I remember when a well-paid ballplayer had a one-year contract for $50K and that was when electricians were earning $20K.
One And Done
The Sports Curmudgeon talked about the NBA’s drafting problems, “College basketball has become a “one-and-done” proposition with regard to the top draft picks. What that means is that NBA teams with picks in the “Top 5” are selecting kids who may not yet be 20 years old as franchise saviors. Many of these players have never had to play against others with comparable – or even superior – talent and skills. Most of them are not nearly ready physically to turn around a franchise. And that does not even begin to take account of the maturation level to deal with being a professional athlete on a bad team.
Please do not interpret the above as wistful nostalgia for the days when college basketball players went to school and stayed 4 years before going to the NBA. That is not what I am advocating or contemplating. What I am saying is that if a team were going to adopt a “tanking strategy”, it would have had a better chance at success under the “old college basketball environment” than it does under the current conditions.”
Perry Patter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote, “An asteroid passed within 745,000 miles of Earth.
Or in the words of amateur astronomer Bob Uecker, just a bit outside.
“Did a card show with Ernie Banks,” tweeted former Braves star Dale Murphy of the late Mr. Cub. “He drove the promoter crazy! Spent time/talked with every person. After an hour had signed maybe 15.”