Friday, June 13, 2014

In the Hands of Engineers

We all drive and ride in cars every day of our lives. We live in houses and work in buildings engineered to withstand our weight, movements, weather and all the stuff we put inside. Every structure is designed with thousands of years of historical, scientific and mathematical intelligence behind it. So a recent trip to another form of Architectural Genius led me to question, "Why am I so sore?" 

I left Hershey Park my body in pain and my voice gone, which forced me to think about what is happening to our bodies at Amusement Parks? I recalled a thought I shared dismounting 'The Great Bear' ride after a second go-around of the Roller Coasters. "I'm so sore I feel like I've been through a heavyweight fight." Though I've never fought a heavyweight or been in a professional wrestling match, I imagine every muscle being sore, every tendon tight and my insides wrenching; exactly the way I felt exiting "the sweetest place on Earth."

G-Forces are thought of as Gravitational Forces that act upon one's body during high speeds. In actuality it is not gravity alone, but the conglomeration of one's own mass and acceleration, interacting with gravity leading to a G-Force. You sit in the Roller Coaster. You weight 150lbs. The Coaster travels 75MPH at its peak speed when diving straight down toward the ground, but the G-Force is greatest at the bottom of that drop where an up-curve swings the Coaster & your body upward, sending you through a violent angle, pulling every muscle and organ in your body through Forces that Astronauts experience in Space Exploration Training. Fun right.

Well not all fun. Eventually your body gets sore from all the G-Forces. I started feeling it after about 15 to 20 coaster rides; a little wooziness, a slight head ache and soreness all over. The people I was with began to notice my veins popping out of my arms and head. And my voice was lowered 1 or 2 octaves than normal due to my yelling & screaming. Another fun part of riding the roller coasters is you can scream at the top of your lungs and no one cares. I'm not really terrified for my life, but it's fun to pretend. It's also cathardic to scream so loud it hurts.

Like any physical activity you can build up a tolerance to the G-Forces. I guess if I bought season passes and went once or twice a week I'd experience more euphoria riding the giant mechanical bulls of Hershey Park? Not so much. Not my kind of high. But still a good time. One last thing. You're more likely to die on a roller coaster at the boardwalk or a small-scale park than on Large-Scale theme/amusement park rides. All are inspected regularly by law, but not all rides are created equally. Malfunctions are more likely to occur at the beginning and ends of park seasons due to weathering, usage and normal wear. Let's face it, the odds of dying on a roller coaster are astronomical (1 in 300 million), but things go wrong. Machines malfunction and things break. Not trying to scare anyone, but use your head when putting your safety know.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 NFL Draft
On the Eve of the NFL Draft, Scouts & Prognosticators have made their projections and predictions. Who's going first, who's going in the first and who will be sitting and waiting and waiting..... and waiting after the first round of draft picks? Player's futures have already been written, their pasts analyzed down to their diets, but the beautiful thing is once they step on the field the manuscripts are torn up and every player gets a chance to write his own rough draft.

Johnny Manziel is the quarterback everyone is looking at. Jadaveon Clowney is the likely first pick. Sammy Watkins is the future Larry Fitzgerald. Khalil Mack is a can't miss. We're all hoping our team gets one of these guys and that our future fantasy teams wreap the benefits.

Manziel is the most interesting pick for me. He's an undersized quarterback with a good arm and +speed. His college career was stellar. Manziel excelled in the SEC, improved from year 1 to 2 and displayed great abilities in big games against the best competition. He didn't play for the best team, but he made Texas A&M relevant & a contender. But Johnny's negatives make him a risky pick for any NFL Team.

Johnny's biggest strength is also his greatest weakness. His tendency to run may hinder his progression as an NFL quarterback. What this means is, Johnny Football's brilliance & creativity as a running quarterback also make him High Risk as a Top Pick in the Draft. Manziel never got seriously injured in college,
but he was often dinged-up and played hurt due to his constant running. If College players can hurt you, NFL players will injur you. Ultimately, when a team invests in a draft pick like a stock, they want someone safe with great potential & high character. But hey, not everyone can be Andrew Luck.

What Johnny Manziel has to overcome is his need to run the football. He is not Russell Wilson. Johnny's frame is more slight & his decision-making is IDGAF"He's reckless, careless and small." Not exactly the kind of football player many teams want to pin their future on. Manziel needs to tailor his game to Wilson's. Be smart with the football and utilize your running abilities when an open field presents itself. His future coach should show Johnny film of every Russell Wilson game with the Seahawks.

If I had to predict someone sitting around waiting in the draft room ala Aaron Rodgers on draft day, Johnny Manziel would be my Most Likely candidate. His
public persona, his ME attitude and his recklessness on the football field make him the most likely player to fall out of the first round of the draft. Although his upside may be high, his downside is too much to be a Top 10 pick.

Personally, I'm rooting for Johnny. I hope he goes to Dallas, sits behind Romo for a season or two then takes over. Realistically though, I think Cleveland likes him. I think they take him 4th and start him right away. Hopefully if they do, they heed my advice. Johnny needs discipline. He has a great ability that can enhance his skill as a quarterback. Learn to stay in the Pocket & Throw. Escape when necessary. & Avoid Collisions. Go Get Em Johnny Football!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Still Asthmatic

It happens about half the time I go to the gym. I end up in the bathroom stall puking my guts out. I don't know if its because of my breathing or if there's too much carbon dioxide in that gym? My limbs tingle & go numb the way they do when having a heat stroke. I don't know whether to call 911 or just tough it out. I always do the latter. My body does the rest and I'm still here so I figure I've got a high tolerance. I better consult my nurse sister though for future reference to get a clear diagnosis. I do know that my body is in good physical condition and I don't eat before I workout. 

Born an asthmatic, for the first 5 years of my life I frequented numerous emergency rooms. My parents feared I'd stop breathing or my heart would cease due to my severe attacks of wheasing and shortness of breath. My lungs are simply ill-equipped to respirate at full or normal capacity, but I've managed to compete in sports through high school to the present and remain very active in strenuous activities.

I'm grateful for my health. Genetically, I haven't been blessed to say the least, but I make the best with what I've got.

Personal Training is in my blood. I Love helping people achieve a healthier way of life. I am proof that health problems are just an obstacle. Many people have health issues, but they can still get fit. It's not as bad as many people think either. An Exercise Bike, a few weight machines a couple times per week, then you start seeing results & feeling better. Before you know it, your body is improving and everything you do is easier. If you're carrying extra weight, losing it will make you feel reborn. I promise.

Your body was meant to run. It was meant to roam the fields and hunt in the forests, not sit in an office building up your muffin-top. Work with me & I'll get you back to your fighting weight. Or more simply put, I'll get you into healthy shape. And now for a Shameless Selfie only meant to illustrate & reinforce the point:)

Monday, March 17, 2014


Adidas SL II: The Most Comfortable & Stylish shoe ever. You could literally wear them to play a game of basketball, then change into your Sunday best and wear them to church. With all the Classic shoes being brought back & re-released, it wouldn't be prudent if Adidas neglected to do the same with the SL II's. Black, White and Grey never looked so good and felt so perfect. 
These shoes fit like gloves for your feet; supportive & firm in the soles, but still soft & flexible in the surrounding materials, giving your lower extremities an experience to behold. 

Underrated in popularity only because the right person was not promoting them, the Adidas SL II is a timeless shoe. Currently styles and colors are bright & loud. The SL II could adapt like so. Color customization would be easy for the SL II, as it was very simple in its design. Then again you can never go wrong with the black or white models. They are a staple shoe for
any wardrobe & absolutely complement the finest outfit.

Please Adidas. Please Bring Back the SL II's!!!!!! They look good on you.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The 28th of February

The Last Day of February is a special day every year. It signifies & symbolizes the closing of Winter. We know March 21st is the real end of Winter, but the 28th of February has meaning beyond Days and Seasons. The Sun becomes brighter for us in the North-Western Hemisphere. The Snow melts into the soil for another green Spring ahead. And for sporting groups and individuals, Spring Training Baseball begins.

February 28th gives birth to the month of March in a myriad of inspirational ways that can be seen in the outdoor landscapes & reflections of those peering into that very gaze. It's something you Warm Climate people just can't understand, with your year-round 70 degree temperatures. You don't know what its like shoveling a thousand pounds of snow from your sidewalk & garage or off your roof. For us, this time of year is opportunity again to go find and seek new paths, where weather has no effect or constraint on our lives.

A metaphor creates a fire. When I wake up it's dark & cold in this cave, but a couple minutes pass and a light stirs-up a warmth. I'm ready to go wherever my path leads. Nothing stands between me and everything I've ever dreamed. It's this time of year that inspires me to be free. The Winter has once again hardened me and strengthened my resolve. The only thing left to do, is act.

The Turning of Seasons from cold to warm has always reminded us that change is constant & revolutional. We need only look at our kids and our mirrors to notice it. Another Season of Outdoor Pleasure is nearing and I can't wait to be the ball again and again. What changes will occur this year? There are things in store we do not yet know about. Do the Phillies have a World Series run left in them? Can Jimmy Rollins hit above .270 with a .330 On Base%? When things appear to be getting too serious I like to ask Sports Questions. Not that I don't take them seriously, but unless I'm at the game or defending my Phils I feel a little ridiculous being high & mighty during Spring Training. Yet Optimism Abounds when the Sun shows.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Cathedral Gallery

1950s Cards are Timeless. The Photographs are so personal & vibrant. You can tell Topps and Bowman took the process very seriously, as a form of Artistry in addition to a commercial venture. Richie Ashburn was one of the more camera-friendly players of the time, like a Tom Brady today. Some people have that Look where a bad angle just isn't possible.   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Twenty years ago Alex Rodriguez was an eighteen-year-old kid running around the Seattle Mariners clubhouse the way a child wakes up Christmas Morning to a house full of presents; everything was bright, new and for-the-taking. But one strange thing occured that season which affected Baseball and every player in the League. 1994 was the year MLB players went on strike due to Owners demanding a salary cap per the new collective bargaining agreement. The World Series was canceled and replacement players were hired to play the 1995 Spring Training schedule. It all got straightened out by late April and the '95 season was cut to 144 games. No Salary Cap was ever enacted & Players and Owners have carried on like it was never an issue. Meanwhile, Alex played in the minor leagues till August when he was called up to the Mariners permanently.

1996, Alex's first full year in the Bigs was historically good. He hit .358, slugged 36 homers, drove in 123 runs and had a 1.045 OPS, which vaulted him into 2nd place for MVP. Rodriguez like any First Overall Draft Pick had high expectations, but nobody foresaw the numbers he put up that first year. As you might predict, A-Rod came back to earth a little his second year hitting .300 with 23 homers and 84 RBIs, but still made the All Star team and helped the M's to a 2nd place finish.

From 1998 on, A-Rod solidified himself as the Best Shortstop in the game making perennial All Star teams and high MVP finishes. After the year 2000 A-Rod was up for his first Free Agent contract. Everyone knew the number was going to be too large for the Mariners to afford, so the bidding war began. The Texas Rangers outbid every other team, offering Rodriguez 10 years, $252 million the richest contract in sports history. That is until 3 years later when the Rangers traded A-Rod to the Yankees, whom agreed to pay Alex $275 million for the next 10 years (the Rangers paid $67 million of it).

click pic for the article
So the question remains; What went wrong? How did Alex go from a pure ballplayer to a-fraud? Rodriguez told Peter Gammons it was "the pressure." Alex claimed he felt enormous pressure to live up to the huge contract the Rangers gave him. The more realistic answer we've come to find is other ballplayers were doing it so why shouldn't I? Rodriguez admitted he was between 25 & 27 years old when he first took steroids. How can someone so dominant, so vibrant, so elite resort to taking performance enhancing drugs in his prime?

Looking back at that time period in Baseball, from the Strike of '94-95 to 2006 when MLB Banned PEDs & Steroids, the Culture of the Game was all about the
'Long Ball.' The '96 Colorado Rockies had 3 guys with 40+ HRs. 1998 was the year of the chase. McGwire & Sosa both broke Maris' record, hitting 70 & 66 HRs. And of course in 2001, HGH, Cream-&-Clear Barry hit 73 illegitimate HRs. The Whole World became obsessed with HRs; How Many, How Far and How Many More can we hit? Turns out, after the Strike, Offense brought people back to the Ball Parks in record numbers, so of course no one at the time cared to question how or why all these records were being broken.

What it all comes down to with A-Rod is, he is simply a man of the times. A follower. Everyone else was doing it so of course he had to keep up. In actuality, not everyone else was doing steroids, but the 'cool' kids were. You can't place all the blame on the players of the Steroid Era. Major League Baseball deserves blame for enabling and practically encouraging the use of PEDs for that ten to fifteen year period. But no one forced any of them to take drugs. The ones who took them to survive are forgivable; the guys who needed them to make the Show or stay on the team. The ones who took them to get rich or break records are not forgivable. They can rot with their shriveled balls, floppy tits & fat bank accounts.

Alex Rodriguez was a special talent, but not a special person. Alex's Ego & his Salary became more important than Baseball. The young guy who looked up to Ken Griffey Jr. grew up to be nothing like him. A-Rod chose Vanity & Greed where Jr. chose to be a BallPlayer. A-Rod cheated, lied, played the victim and tried to get away with it. That pretty smile and that 'say & do the right thing' persona was all a facade. We all now know the Real A-Rod. Funny how you can be teammates with Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr yet still remain fraudulent. All the Talent in the World but still just a scared, little boy on the inside. No dignity. No Class. All Vanity & no Hall pass.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Baltimore Colts

Falling in Love. Just where does that phrase originate? Somewhere in Paris maybe. Did Romeo slip and fall off the balcony when climbing up to be with his Juliet, and in Shakespeare's head he thought, "He risked life & limb to be with Her, and so the morning dew acted in that vein causing Romeo to fall for his Love. He lay in a bed of flowers below as Juliet looked down upon him, and he knew she was his everything." Or something along those lines:)

The Baltimore Colts were William & Pop Gildea's mutual love. William was a boy when his father introduced him to the team, when they were still wearing the green jersey's from their days in Miami as the Seahawks. When the Colts Belonged to Baltimore is William Gildea's tribute to his father & the team they didn't just root for, but shared a community with back in the days when professional football players were regular joe's. Father & Son bonded over the games at Memorial Stadium and in front of the family television set, spending endless hours recounting great plays and memories that children not yet born would relive through their telling.

I suppose as children we tend to fall for a team the way we fall for a girl when we get a little older. There's an initial introduction by a loved one and then in time a passion is revealed through devotion and care. We look out for their better interests and tell others about the exciting moments we share together. Your team, like a significant other, is at times a joy & occasionally they drive you insane. Nevertheless, the relationship is fulfilling and makes your life more enjoyable than if she or they weren't around.

My own love affair with the team in red & white pin stripes began as a six-year-old, baseball-card-collecting, momma's boy with a Father and Grandma that watched their games religiously. I attended my first game back in September of 1987 when the Phillies played the Mets and we sat in the upper deck of Veteran Stadium. Damn it was cold! But anyway ever since, I've been a devout Phillies fan. I hated seeing Harry go. Games just haven't been the same since 'Harry the K' passed, but I was very glad the Phils captured their second title in '08 before 'the voice' relocated to heaven early next season.

Our relationships with our sports teams become as important as the ones with actual people in our lives. Some of us even spend a little too much time on the games and teams. It's good to have a hobby, but when it becomes an obsession you really should re-evaluate the situation.

I think the most that can be derived from cheering on your team is a sense of community. William Gildea spoke of this in his book. A large group of people from varying backgrounds come together to root, root, root for the home team. The comraderery is especially gratifying when someone you love shares it with you. Sports are a Gathering Place. It's not just men & women playing kid's games. It's people falling in love while watching their team. It's Father's & Son's playing catch in the backyard. It's Mother's & Daughter's at the game together. One day you grow up and realize it was never about the team you were cheering for. It was all about the great times and memories you made with the ones you love, and the folks who wore the same colors as you that cheered so hard, cried, yelled at the tv, high-fived at the stadium and bled for the team, same as you. That's what Sports are all about.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bryce Harper: First Impression

It's May 27 2012 early in the morning. I've watched this kid hit now for about a month and each time I see a new AB for Bryce Harper I think I am watching greatness. HOW CAN THAT BE!?!?!?! THIS KID IS 19! How can a nineteen-year-old hitter dominate in the major leagues? He hits like Tony Gwynn. Harper sprays the ball to all fields like a seasoned veteran. He hit a home-run in Atlanta to the opposite field alley on a line last night. Atlanta's power-alleys are 390 feet, he hit a low line drive over that fence. I don't know if I'm watching a reincarnate of Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial or a left-handed throwing and hitting version of Willie Mays? But this guy Harper is the real deal for sure.

Right now he's only hitting .278, but its the greatest .278 I've ever seen. I guarantee you Tony Gwynn watches this guy hit and just smiles and says, "Wow." His at-bats are unlike any other 19 year old you've ever seen in the Big's. If you watched Barry Bonds hit during his prime HGH years, that is how good Bryce Harper's hitting approach is. He takes pitches that are inches (or maybe quarter-inches) off the strike zone. I swear for the first month I've watched him play, I've watched in complete disbelief. Like, "How is this possible?"

A month ago I was gushing at how good Matt Kemp is. Now I'm watching Bryce Harper in his first year, at 19, and I'm thinking there is no ceiling for this kid. He already stole home on Cole Hamels after Hamels hit him intentionally in the first inning on the first pitch. Hamels admitted he did it on purpose after the game and got suspended. Harper stole home on Hamels as if to say, "That's all you got Cole?"

3 HRs, 10 RBIs, a .278 average and a .366 on base% never looked so damn good as they do for Bryce Harper's first 26 games in the Major Leagues. He runs, throws, hits, competes and interacts with the field of play as if he knows he is the best player, not only on the field but in the entire game. I know this sounds like hype. I know this article sounds like an over-excited column about a ball-player having a great first month, but no one can deny what we're seeing. This is not hyperbole, this is reality. Bryce Harper believes that no one on a baseball field can touch him.

Right now the numbers are not great. They don't even project into a 'rookie of the year' type season. But when you watch Bryce Harper play, when you watch him hit or run the bases or make a throw from the outfield, U CAN SEE IT. The guy IS better than everyone else on the field. Ok, his stats probably won't prove him to be the best this year... but next year and the year after, watch out. Bryce Harper's talent is freakish. You know how Lebron James fills a stat sheet like no other & how his player efficiency is tops by far. Bryce Harper will fill stat sheets just like that. The new statistical ratings that measure player efficiency like Wins Above Replacement (WAR) will prove Harper to be a top 10 player as soon as this year.

Is a slump even possible for a guy with an approach this good? It's not as if he's tearing the cover off the ball at .278. I just can't remember seeing a batter hit a baseball better. Not for power, but for sheer hitting ability. For pure batting skill and swing fluidity. For a 19 year old to possess this type of prowess is astounding. He won't have the best numbers in baseball this year, but for talent level and overall ability, he just might be the best player in the game. ALREADY.

Update: Ok Mike Trout is better.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


They didn't turn their shoulders & aim for the chest. They didn't keep their heads-up when a wide-receiver came across the middle. If a running-back broke through the line, they weren't going to hit him low. These guys were taught to go for the head. You think a Legion of Boom is tough with their loud crowd? Well put the children to bed, cuz the THROWBACKS make these latte-drinkin' Momma's boys look soft as labial tissue.

Dick "Night Train" Lane, Jack Tatum, Jack Lambert and Ronnie Lott were the hardest hitting Linebacker's & Safety's the NFL had ever produced. They didn't just make tackles, they inflicted punishment on opponents. In a time when the only cameras on an NFL field were that of NFL Films, the lone objective was not to make SportsCenter, but to make your adversary regret the day he signed up for this shit. You can almost feel the pain & taste the blood.

We no longer celebrate the mass destruction of professional athletes the way we used to. We're more humane & educated now. But every now and again an NFL player delivers a hit. I MEAN A REAL, FUCKING HIT where the defender gets low and sends a shockwave through the helmet all the way down the sideline. Every coach and teammate feels it. Today it costs you $50,000 but you still get the respect. You still command the fear. Everyone gets so hype they roar like a Lion standing over a kill. Just ask James Harrison.
Maybe it's better this way. Afterall, arthritis in the legs is better than not knowing where you were 5 minutes ago. The Game has changed as far as intent, but you still have to make the tackle, you still have to run hard.

The players of old will never apologize for the way they played football, nor should they. The NFL was different back then. Today, it's still a great game... just a bit more vaginal. XOXOXO

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Biblical Mandible

At 92 years of age this man of many stories walks into a room filled with people. Most of them are only half his age and never even witnessed one of his glorious fights. The Children are only privy to the tales told by their fathers and uncles about "The Bronx Bull," but I get the feeling today he might be inspired to share a past experience of his days at the top of the middle-weight division or the time he spent with Hollywood's elite.

Jake LaMotta fought 106 professional fights in only 13 years (1941-1954). At the height of his boxing career in 1949 he won the National Boxing Association Middleweight Title. LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson, who many consider as the "pound-for-pound" greatest fighter ever, 6 times. He only defeated Robinson once, but was never knocked down in their fights. In fact, LaMotta's lone suffered knock-down occurred against Danny Nardico in 1952. No one was able to take a punch like "The Raging Bull." Boxing Announcers described his chin as "the granite jaw" & "the biblical mandible."

He sits at the table, signs his John Hancock and shakes hands with every extended paw. The old man still commands the room and smiles at the faces of kids who don't know his name, but will someday. One patron brought a picture of The Champ with Paul Newman from the 1961 film, The Hustler. Jake smiled and said, "What a classy guy that Pauly."

Amazing this man is still going strong after all the years. He's got a website, a fiancee and plenty of Bronx-charm to go around. Jake LaMotta is best known
for fighting, but his stage and business careers have been just as successful. His name and face are recogizable by any sport-loving American. It was a pleasure meeting you Mr. LaMotta. Thank you Sir for being so Great.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

aka Lew Alcindor. The Most Underrated Basketball Player Ever.

If Lew Alcindor were a rookie in 2013, he would have come into the NBA his legend already preceeding him. As a high school player in New York City, his teams won championships. In college at UCLA, Alcindor made coach John Wooden a Legend by leading the Bruins to a record 71 game winning streak, with an overall 3 year mark of 88 wins and 2 losses. Lew was a 3-time NCAA National Champion, 2-time Player of the Year and 3-time NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. In 1969, Alcindor graduated college and was drafted 1st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, beginning an NBA career that would span twenty years.

The World was in the midst of Revolution & Cultural Change in 1969. Kennedy & King were gone, but their life's work was slowly being realized. The Vietnam
War was in full effect. People in America were angry, confused, stoned, afraid, optimistic and pessimistic. The Old Guard was being driven out by A New Guard of Evolved thinking and living, but the changes would be gradual at best. The NBA had been in existence since the late 40s, so they too were experiencing the same Cultural Shifting. Players like Wilt Chamberlain & Lew Alcindor would play significant roles in changing perceptions and influencing the American Sports Landscape as a whole.

Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as his spiritual awakening began at UCLA and came to fruition after winning the 1971 NBA Championship. Abdul-Jabbar would become the NBA's Most Valuable Player a record 6 Times. He dominated the NBA with an all-around game that would allow his teams to win 6 NBA Titles. His patented Skyhook shot was unstoppable and he was able to hit it with both hands, making him a lethal scorer from any direction to the basket.

His statistics are as mind-boggling as his success. 38,387 points (1st), 17,440 rebounds (4th), 3189 blocks (3rd), 5660 assists (37th). Yeah, Kareem
dished more assists than NBA Greats, Guards Dennis Johnson, Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan. A One-Man Wrecking Crew of Offensive & Defensive Supremacy, Kareem is the most Skilled & Efficient Center to ever play Basketball. No player contributed more to his teams successes than Abdul Jabbar, with the exception of MJ. Where Russell, Chamberlain and Olajuwon get most of the Pub, Abdul-Jabbar gets clear distinction as the Best through the Numbers and the Championships.

Magic was the enthusiastic personality of the Lakers, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the blood and guts. Magic made the flashy passes, but Abdul-Jabbar made the baskets. Magic led all the fast-breaks of the Showtime Lakers, but Kareem created those possessions with the Blocks & Rebounds. Kareem made Earvin 'Magic' & 'Showtime' a Winner.

Behold the Starting Center of the NBA ALL-TIME TEAM.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

100% Guarantee

Who knew Greg Maddux was so beloved?

I heard the headline postulating Maddux's case for unanimous selection and thought, "Ok, that's the first time I've heard that question posed about him." And on the day before the results are to be announced?

Greg Maddux is a clear first-ballot-HOFer. He won 355 games with a 3.16 ERA in twenty-three seasons, won a World Series, a record 18 Gold Gloves and is a 4-time Cy Young Award Winner. Even more impressive than those numbers is the fact that Maddux pitched during the apex of the Steroid Era. Though there are no metrics or measureables entailing the discrepancy between a steroid user and a normal player, one can simply look at the numbers to determine the significant increase in offensive efficiency during Maddux's career. Some MLB'ers loved to use the explanation, "Big Muscles don't help you put the bat on the ball." Uh yeah, actually they do. Bigger Muscles equal a quicker bat. More bat speed allows a batter to get to pitches they otherwise would not hit on the sweet spot. And hello, the ball goes further when you have a quicker bat due to greater strength & bat control. Rocket-Science!

A 23 year pitching career in smaller ballparks through the heart of the Steroid Era with a live baseball; an Earned Run Average of 3.16 makes quite an impression when you do the mental math and figure if everything were equal, 400 wins and a 2.50 ERA are probably truer statistics for the "Mad Dog."

Maddux was well-known for his perfect mechanics, superior control, painting corners of the plate, crazy ball-movement and keeping batters off-balance to folly. He was also a notorious clubhouse prankster with a zeal for performing some pretty grotesque gags. Tom Glavine has done several candid interviews describing Maddux's twisted sense of humor, from a positive perspective.

The Defense Rests. But the Prosecution must proceed. He only won 1 World Series. He did not excel in the Post Season. And his questionable clubhouse
character probably endured him to teammates, but to an 'esteemed' BBWAA member it could possibly be seen as sophmoric and below HOF character standards. Sounds pretty lame, but in Hall of Fame voting it only takes 1 in over 500 writers to defeat unanimity.

That's why it's never been done. Babe Ruth could have pitched his way into the Hall, but instead batted. No one else in the history of the game can make that claim but it didn't matter to the BBWAA. Roberto Clemente died feeding natural disaster victims, but still only got 92.69%. Jackie Robinson & Cal Ripken are two players you'd think had a chance at 100%. Nope. They got 77.5 & 98.53 percent.

So a Unanimous Baseball Hall of Fame Selection will probably never happen. And though Greg Maddux was great, he was certainly not the greatest ever. Top 10 yes, but not the best ever. All the fuss over Greg Maddux's HOF vote percentage is pretty laughable to me. Now if Barry Bonds got in on the first ballot that would've pissed me off. Make him and Clemens wait till their 15th year to put them in.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Man's Game
The Hits of yesteryear have become a forbidden art. Old clips captured by NFL Films, narrated by the legendary voices of John Facenda & Harry Kalas depict the violent, gladitorial game as it was meant to be; Adversarial & Barbaric at it's very core.

Though NFL Football is still a brutal sport with great bodily risk for every player, the game is no longer a crash-test exhibition of hit-as-hard-as-you-can mentality. Head injuries and the tragic, long-term health effects on players from your father's NFL, contributed to a $765 million compensation settlement and the changing of several rules to protect the future health of NFL players.

Past is Prologue. The NFL became rich due to the sacrifices and brilliant play of its players, as well as the superb marketing from owners and executives. The game owed a debt to the ones who came before, which is one reason for the settlement. Higher-ups were forced by debilitated ex-players to atone for neglecting their workforce, specifically, for withholding crucial information about the damage and health risks created by the severe head-trauma they were inflicting & experiencing playing the game they love. Which was the opposition's exact case for rebuttal. 'Players knew what they were doing, they signed up for it.'

Fortunately, the Law is balanced and the NFL has very deep pockets, so after years of litigation they finally decided to fork over a few dollars for the guys that made Football America's New Fav Pasttime. 765 million may sound like a lot, but for the more than 4500 players involved in the suit, it only equates to about $170,000 each. And that's without any payment to lawyers so chop that down to about 100k, kindly.

Fact is the NFL corportation got off easy. 765 million is not even 1/10 of the revenue the NFL makes in a single season. So basically for the 20+ years the NFL knowingly withheld the information about Traumatic Head Injuries and the effects their game had on their employees, they were able to pay off 4500 ex-players with roughly the amount of money an average player makes in 1 regular season game.

Yes, NFL Players knew the game was hard on their bodies. Yes, they still made good money playing the game. But the NFL needed and still needs to do better in taking care of their own. The insane profits Owners are making need to be utilized fairly. Players and Ex-players deserve to be cared for, without going broke.