Dreams Blog

March 27, 2015

Bird Watching
Andrew Marchand (ESPNNY.com) wrote, “Yankees hitting-coach Jeff Pentland added, “He (Bird) has easy power. He doesn’t have to swing hard to hit it hard. That’s a good thing.”
In 2014 in Single-A and Double-A, Bird hit .271 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 102 games. His OPS was .848.
Cashman said Bird will start 2015 at Double-A Trenton. Cashman also said Bird will dictate when he is promoted by how he plays.
Bad News For NFL
The Sports Curmudgeon wrote about Chris Borland’s retirement and the news gives another boost to rugby and the possibility of a pro-league. “Does the early retirement of Chris Borland portend the downfall of the NFL as we know it? Not in my lifetime… Take a look at the last year or so in the NFL and try to imagine what else could have happened to the league to make it less popular or less attractive. Yes, I guess there could have been a player who took a hit and died on the field with the cameras focused on him, but other than that… Then take a look at the TV ratings especially for the playoffs. The NFL in the short term is virtually immune to bad news or bad publicity or just about anything bad. Nevertheless, the really long term future for NFL football as we see it today is not a good one.”
Quick Bat
Wallace Matthews quoted Alex Rodriguez answering his critics by saying, “”I laugh when people say, you can’t hit a ball in the mid- 90s anymore,” Rodriguez said after his home run in the fifth inning accounted for one of the runs in the New York Yankees’ 11-2 victory against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. “I couldn’t hit it in my prime when I was 28, certainly not consistently. When a guy’s throwing 95, 96, and he’s spotting, maybe Mike Trout or some of those great young superstars can hit it, but not me, so.”
This Rose By Any Other Name
The Sports Curmudgeon talked about Pete Rose’s worth to a MLB, “Pete Rose – despite his betting on baseball and his tax evasion activities – is as much an “Ambassador of Baseball” as just about anyone else. MLB can benefit from his inclusion in various events such as All-Star Games and/or the World Baseball Classic – the next of which is scheduled for 2017. If I were in Rob Manfred’s position I would move to reinstate Pete Rose and reap some of those small benefits that the game can garner from Rose’s inclusion. Just my two cents…”
Bon Mot
Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) wrote, “Pete Rose, 73, has applied for official reinstatement to MLB’s good graces, which would make him eligible for the Hall of Fame. Rose last applied in 2002, and met with Bud Selig, who never ruled on Rose’s application. Hey, now that Bud is retired, maybe he’ll have time to do rule on this and other issues he was too busy to decide when he was commissioner.”
Perry Patter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote, “The Sharks and Jets tangled again Tuesday night, with players sent off for holding, slashing, high-sticking, cross-checking, roughing and misconduct in Winnipeg’s 5-2 NHL victory.
“So who was the referee?” wondered Times reader Joel Broudy. “Officer Krupke?”;
As Times reader Bill Littlejohn noted of the 49ers, Gore is out and Bush is in.
But no, this is not a repeat from the year 2000.
Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, on Baylor, Texas, SMU and Texas Southern all losing their NCAA-tournament openers Thursday: “Last time the state of Texas had a day this bad, the Alamo was involved.”;
Kavitha Davidson of Bloomberg News, on the possibility of Tim Tebow signing with the Eagles: “It’s kind of fun to wonder if the fan base that famously booed Santa would also boo Jesus.”
Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on Harvard players’ trash-talking not up to NCAA tournament standards: “ ‘Your matriarch’s inability to calculate Pi is mortifying’ will not cut it.”
Molinaro Marinara
Bob Molinaro (Hampton Roads Pilot) wrote, “Charity cases: If you’re of a mind, keep track of how many tourney games are won and lost at the free throw line. A team’s success or failure at the stripe doesn’t create headlines or highlight clips, but free throws often have much more impact than the machinations of the sideline rocket scientists.
Futurewatch: In anticipation of feverish tournament finishes, by now every coach knows to foul in the closing seconds when up 3, right? We’ll see about that.”
Cote’s Notes
Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote, “SMU coach Larry Brown, 74, said Kentucky would make the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference, but coach John Calipari quickly tweeted, “Let me be clear: If we played any NBA team, we would get buried.” (Maybe Brown was off his meds?)
Here’s another example of the change in Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. His players have a new private team jet that includes a massage table. They used to have to make their own bats on a wood lathe.
With the countdown to Opening Day now 15 days, new betting odds now have Marlin Giancarlo Stanton the favorite to win both the MLB home-run title and National League MVP. Hey, no pressure, Mr. $325 Million Man. Just relax and have fun out there!
A bird was killed by a foul ball during a Tigers-Braves spring game. Cannot confirm an outraged PETA is now calling for an end to baseball.
Jameis Winston says he will not attend the NFL Draft. Apparently he was looking to give skeptics yet another reason to question his decision making.
Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): “Evander Holyfield will fight Mitt Romney in a May 15 charity boxing match in Salt Lake City.”
Parting thought: Pete Rose has officially petitioned baseball for reinstatement. I wouldn’t bet on his chances. “I would!” said Rose.”
“Concrete Charlie”
The late Chuck Bednaric got that nickname, not because he was the fierce tackler that he was, but for the fact he sold concrete during the off-season.

Dreams Blog

March 20, 2015

Madness, Indeed
The Sports Curmudgeon is back from Arizona and talked about College basketball, “If one seeks to “increase scoring” by going to the rule book and making changes – other than the trivial way of making field goals worth 5 points each and foul shots worth 3 points – I believe the most effective thing to do would be to devalue dunking the basketball. No, it should not be outlawed as it was for more than a decade. However, if a dunk were only worth 1 point instead of 2 points, there would be a real incentive for players to learn to get open and hit a jump shot. Should that need reinforcing, add to the rule book that any player who hangs on the rim for any reason receives a technical foul and you will have discouraged the alley oop play sufficiently.
I would prefer that they leave the 35-second shot clock alone and leave men’s college basketball as a game that is distinct from the NBA or women’s basketball or high school basketball. If a game winds up 53-51 and neither team ever led by more than 6-points throughout the game, I think that game is plenty exciting and interesting to watch. Just because the final score is 83-81 does not make a game exponentially more interesting to watch.
“Here Come De-Judge!”
Reggie Jackson is impressed by the play of Aaron Judge, “”He’s got power like Stargell, McCovey, “Jackson said. “Opposite-field power, which is the best power you can have. That allows you to wait on the ball. He has power like a guy from the ’60s and ’70s.”
“A gentle giant,” Jackson said. “A sweetheart. A nice young man. He has significant inner strength and confidence. He has a humble presence. Jackson said Judge is “built like a tight end,” and Judge did, in fact, play high school receiver and defensive end well enough to receive letters from major football programs. Judge’s first love was baseball. though, so he went to Fresno State to hit, not be hit.
Judge should start this season at Double-A Trenton. If he masters that level, he could bump up to Triple-A by midseason. If he has a good enough year, Judge could be a big part of the 2016 major league plans.
“He can miss the ball and hit the ball over the fence,” Jackson said. “He hit a homer the other day in Clearwater. It was a fly ball for him. It was a routine fly ball. His routine fly balls are 380. He hit a 400-foot fly ball and missed it. He hit a 400-foot fly ball and missed it for a homer. He can do that if he is swinging late. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark from line to line. All he has to do is square the ball.”
Jets Band Aid
Rich Cimini (ESPNNY.com) wrote, “Ryan Fitzpatrick has been on the Jets’ radar for nearly two months as they monitored the Houston QB situation. Actually, this move is similar to what the previous regime did last year by signing Michael Vick — an over-30 player with experience in the offensive coordinator’s system and a guy who can provide competition for Geno Smith. Presumably, Fitzpatrick will get a fair shot to compete for the starting job, something Vick never was afforded. The basic dynamic doesn’t change, though: It’s a Band-Aid. The Jets continue to hold out hope that Smith can be the answer.”
Molinaro Maranara Bob Molinaro (Hampton Roads Pilot) wrote, “In passing: The amount of money some NFL teams spend to attract free agents is in direct proportion to how badly they scout and draft.
Open door policy: It may be worth wondering if Jim Boeheim’s niche in the Naismith Hall of Fame would be there if the NCAA had come down on him years ago. But don’t assume that the sanctions against Syracuse would have blocked his enshrinement. The innumerable troubles rascally Jerry Tarkanian had with the NCAA didn’t keep the Shark out of the Hall. This recalls a Tarkanian quote: “Nine out of 10 schools are cheating. The other one is in last place.”
Rocky Bridges
Bruce Jenkins remembered him: “A few highlights along the way. On being a bench guy for most of his career:
I’ve been a paid spectator at some pretty interesting events, and I always had a good seat. I guess they figured there was no point in carrying a good thing too far.”
On making that ’58 All-Star team after posting a .307 average at the break:
“That surprised everybody. They were close to launching an investigation. Of course, I never got in the game. But I sat on the bench with Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Yogi Berra. I gave ‘em instructions on how to sit.”
“I prefer fast food.”
“On his physique: “I’m a handsome, debonair, easy goinging six-footer. At least that’s what I told them at the Braille Institute.”
I remember Bridges standing in the batter’s box and taking pitches off his body in an effort to teach his players that getting hit doesn’t hurt. Ron Hunt was one of his all-star pupils.
Perry Patter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) wrote, “The Maple Leafs benched center Nazem Kadri because he overslept and missed a team meeting.
Apparently Nazem just needed a few more Z’s.
Talk about watching an overmatched 16-seed taking on a 1-seed on national TV this week.
But enough about Dick Vitale kissing Ashley Judd.
Golf icon Jack Nicklaus is launching his own line of ice cream.
Just one drawback: It’s tough to top on sundaes.
The Tuskegee and Albany State cheerleading teams were sent home after they brawled at halftime of a basketball game.
Apparently “Two hits … four hits …” wasn’t supposed to be on the cheer list.
Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com, on Jerry Tarkanian, Eddie Sutton, Kelvin Sampson and Bruce Pearl giving Jim Boeheim no cause for worry: “No matter what the NCAA does — suspends a coach for one game, five, or a season — they survive, like cockroaches with a whistle and a whiteboard.”

Dreams Blog

March 13, 2015

Molinaro Maranara
Good writing, to me, will exhibit a rhythm that will allow the words when they’re aligned correctly to achieve a pleasant musical arrangement. There’s music in the way Bob Molinaro (Hampton Roads Pilot) writes, “Any small emotional investment I make in the many (too many) conference tournaments this week and next will be reserved for the mid-major and small-time rodeos that determine a conference’s lone representative in the NCAA field. Something sort of tangible is at stake in these less-celebrated intramural tournaments, whereas the power conferences hold what are essentially exhibition games that allow for the printing of more money and the over-exercising of Dick Vitale’s vocal chords.
After avoiding a possible strike, Major League Soccer begins its 20th season tonight. That’s quite an accomplishment. Not many leagues could survive while being ignored for so long.”
Mr. Congeniality
Andrew Marchand (ESPNNY.com) wrote: “After Jose Lobaton’s bat flew into the stands and hit a woman in the front row, Mr. October turned into Mr. March. Reggie Jackson left his dugout seat next to Girardi to go into the crowd. Jackson signed autographs for the woman that Lobaton’s bat struck and sat with her for a little bit.
The best:Jackson gave Jose Pirela quite an endorsement Sunday. He told ESPN Deportes’ Marly Rivera that Pirela is the best hitter in the entire organization. That says a lot about Pirela and also something about the rest of the Yankees, considering Pirela has a grand total of 24 major league at-bats.
On Sunday, Pirela went 2-for-3, including a double. He is hitting .455 so far as he fights for the second base job with Stephen Drew and Rob Refsnyder.”
Jackson might have done all of that, on instructions, to avoid a legal action (I know, I know- that’s cynical).
Perry Patter
Dwight wrote, “Ex-NBA center Greg Ostertag, to USA Hockey magazine, on being a 7-foot, 280-pound rec player in Arizona: “I don’t (sic) handle the puck great, but I know how to get into position, and sometimes I get lucky. I try to be a screen as much as I can and get out of the way at the last second.”;
Kobe Bryant, answering critics who say he shoots too much in a GQ interview, compared himself to Wolfgang Mozart.
Hey, don’t laugh: Whose career cranked out the most scores? At Fark.com: “Patriots decline to pick up the option on Vince Wilfork, thus creating two open roster spots.”
Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo sends his hairstylist to Madrid’s Museo de Cera every 45 days to fix the hair on his wax statue there.
The guy certainly ought to know the part by now.
Unnamed reader, to the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, on which quarterback the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will draft with the No. 1 pick: “The wrong one.”
Police in Caldwell, Idaho, nabbed 22-year-old Joey Patterson of Boise — wanted for several months on a felony arrest warrant for violating his probation — after he made the mistake of announcing his upcoming softball schedule on Facebook.
“We keep a close eye on that stuff,” Caldwell Police Sgt. Joey Hoadley told Boise’s KTVB-TV. “Surprisingly, even fugitives can’t keep from updating their Facebook status, and it leads to some great arrests.”
“The Jets traded for receiver Brandon Marshall but still have no decent quarterback,” wrote Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. “That’s like someone who can’t cook buying a great set of pots and pans.”
“2015 has started off as a wild year,” noted comedy writer Alex Kaseberg. “Two llamas escape, nobody can agree on the colors of a dress, and Harrison Ford has hit more fairways than Tiger Wood
Ex-heavyweight Joe Bugner, 65, to the Brisbane (Australia) Courier-Mail, on what it was like to punch Muhammad Ali in the face: “Very difficult.”
Jet Fuel
ESPN was reporting that the Jets were looking at Brian Hoyer, who lost the starting QB job with the Browns. It’s no great loss if they don’t get him. “Hoyer, 29, won the starting job in Cleveland last season in a training camp competition with Johnny Manziel and got off to a fast start.
He brought the Browns back from a 27-3 halftime deficit to tie the season opener in Pittsburgh before the Steelers won on a last-second field goal, and guided the biggest road comeback in NFL history in a 29-28 win over Tennessee.
Hoyer threw three interceptions in Atlanta in November but led a last-minute drive that won the game. At that point, the Browns were 7-4 and in the playoff chase.
But he was yanked the following week in Buffalo, and his season was never the same. Hoyer played tight the next week against the Colts and lost his job as the starter to Manziel the next week. Hoyer returned only when Manziel pulled a hamstring after six woeful quarters on the field.
For the season, Hoyer threw for 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His season rating was 76.5, which ranked 31st in the league. But Hoyer is the only one of the Browns’ 22 starting quarterbacks since 1999 to have a winning record as a starter (10-6).
Hoyer spent three seasons as Tom Brady’s backup and got his chance with the Browns in 2013. He led the team to wins over Cincinnati and Minnesota before tearing his ACL less than five minutes into a win over Buffalo.”
Daly News
Dan Daly wrote about the last player in the NFL who played without a helmet, “In 1938 Dick Plasman, the last man to go without a helmet in the NFL, a receiver, ran into the wall trying to catch a pass. He suffered a broken wrist, a cut-and-bruised head and who knows what else. (He also met his future wife — one of his nurses — in the hospital, so it wasn’t a total loss for him.) That really wasn’t that long ago.
Brendan Alert
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) said, “MMA champ Ronda Rousey needed just 14 seconds to win on Saturday night.
As for her next bout, it’ll be between pitches at a Yankees-Red Sox game.”

Dreams Blog

March 6, 2015

The 17th
If you’re going out on the 17th remember that the day celebrates Irish culture- its’ writing and music. Don’t dress up like a buffoon or act like an amadan. It IS about what’s in your heart not what you have on your back- and that’s what counts.
Leopards- Their Spots And Olbermann
The Sports Curmudgeon thinks Olbermann has talent as a TV host and I just don’t like him. The SC wrote, “When ESPN re-hired him, they knew what he did on TV and they hired him to do more of that.
It is precisely for that reason that I believe that those folks who called for Olbermann to be fired for what he Tweeted last week – or that he should be boiled in oil before being fired – are way off base. If an organization (ESPN) hires a hit man (Keith Olbermann in the most figurative sense here), then the hiring organization cannot be offended or shocked or moved to righteous indignation when he does something outrageous.”
Eye-Hand Speed
I don’t know how those all-knowing “pundits” can think that any MLB-player who has been out of the game for almost two years would have the same batting success as when he left. I hoped Rodriguez would have it but, in truth, I knew he wouldn’t. Why don’t they wait a little bit, to see if it comes back, before they slam him.
CBA
The SC told us that, “Michele Roberts is the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association having succeeded Billy Hunter in that job. She has demonstrated her rhetorical prowess already denouncing the concept of a salary cap as “un-American” and saying that there is no such thing as a salary cap in her DNA. She has also correctly – and unoriginally – observed that people pay to see the players and not the owners making the owners “expendable”. The current CBA has a few years to go, so I just consider that she is using this time to gather her momentum for the upcoming negotiations that will surely be contentious.
However, I think she recently took her prep work a bit too far and she may want to “evolve her position” a bit. Michele Roberts said that allowing the media access to locker rooms and practices is:
“…an incredible invasion of privacy.”
Literally, she is correct. In the real world, the media is the means by which the players – her employer – generate and maintain the attention of the fans to the point where the fans shell out money for tickets and take the time to watch NBA games on TV. In the real world, she is going to need some of the media to “push her message” when the negotiations start. I am not sure that the idea of limiting media access to teams has ever been a critical issue and I doubt that it will be one in the next round of NBA labor negotiations. Unless of course, Michele Roberts wants to make it so…”
CBA might also stand for “Complete But Adjustable.”
Much Ado
Bob Molinaro talked about those delays, “David Ortiz made it clear what he thinks of baseball’s speed-up rules, but does anybody seriously believe hitters will be paying through the nose for leaving the batter’s box at the wrong times? The new proposal that threatens a $500 fine, starting May 1, for stepping out of the box between pitches allows plenty of wiggle room. Hitters can step out after swinging at a pitch, after calling timeout, after a wild pitch or passed ball and following a bunt attempt. If monitoring this business is left to the umpires, hitters will get a lot of slack. The umps won’t want to be bothered.”
Alternative Sport
The Sports Curmudgeon told us about an interesting contact sport with few head injuries. “Allow me to let you in on news that a group in Bloomington, MN hopes to organize a rugby match this summer featuring former NFL players against a team from Europe. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, the hope is that this exhibition match will provide the impetus to launch a professional rugby league here in the US in 2016. The proposed league would play in the summertime and the league concept is that rugby in the summer would provide US sports fans with a contact sport during that time of the year when football does not happen.
The exhibition game involving the English team from Leicester is scheduled for August of this year. Obviously, the emergence and ultimate viability of this pro rugby league in the US is a longshot and not something one should take out a second mortgage to invest in. However, it is an interesting idea and if the organizers can find a way to get that exhibition game on TV…”
There’s nothing as interesting as watching the New Zealand All Blacks loosen up before a game- it’s scary.
Scott’s Jots
Scott Ostler (SF Chronical) wrote, “With Stephen Curry inventing new shots almost every game, it would be good to get Darryl Dawkins out of mothballs and have him name Curry’s shots. Dawkins was the NBA’s poet laureate 35 years ago, nicknaming himself (Chocolate Thunder) and naming his dunks.
The all-timer was Dawkins’ 1979 backboard-shattering dunk, “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am Jam.”
B.J. Upton now wishes to be called Melvin Upton Jr. The B.J. was also a hand-me-down from his father, who was called Bossman. B.J. stands for Bossman Junior. Why would he pick Melvin over Bossman?
Speaking of nicknames, Moses Malone once told of playing street ball against a tough customer everyone called “Milkman.” How did he get that nickname? Explained Malone: “He killed the Milkman.”
Well, He Is A Pull Hitter
Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) said that, “According to Delta Dental research, kids in the U.S. received an estimated $255 million from the Tooth Fairy last year.
In a related story, Alex Rodriguez still has $61 million coming from the Yanks.”
Get a whiff of this
Dwight Perry told us that, “Yankees outfielder Chris Young struck out during an intra-squad workout Monday — against a pitching machine. No word on whether he charged the mound.”