Counting Down To The Rio Olympics – 12 Months…

We are at 12 months and counting down to the goat rodeo that will be the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. As is always the case when the IOC puts the games in a place where lots of construction and infrastructure needs to be built in a country not accustomed to doing things on a grand scale – see Greece in 2004 as a prime example – it is going to be a race to the finish. I have written before, and it has been confirmed recently, that the promise to clean up the water in the venues for watersports will not be honored. In fact, the Brazilians and the IOC are not going to test that water for viruses – only for bacteria – even though the AP took samples for testing and found the virus levels 1.7 million times higher than levels that “would cause alarm on southern California beaches”. I do not want to make California out to be a perfect model for the world, but a factor of 1.7 million is not something to ignore.

Remember the tradition after the rowing events are over is that the winning coxswain gets thrown into the drink. Given the virus content there and the thousands of gallons of raw sewage that pour into the bay every minute, that is probably not such a great idea this time around.

Back in 2010 when Brazil won the IOC blessing to hold these games, the Brazilian economy was humming along. Today, that is hardly the case. Inflation in Brazil is running amok; unemployment is high, the economy is in tatters (one report said that Brazil contracted almost 400,000 jobs in the last 12 months) and there is a huge corruption probe ongoing with regard to the government owned/controlled oil company there. When Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014, there were street protests that came perilously close to riot status because the government was spending lavishly on glitzy soccer stadiums and not on basics that people need such as food and transportation. Now the economy is even worse than in 2014, so prepare for more protests and demonstrations.

    [Aside: How can the Greek economy be in such bad shape today? After all, it was only 11 years ago that they hosted the Summer Olympics and reaped all the economic benefits from those Games. You would think they would be in the land of milk and honey still…]

The Games will happen and NBC will be there to telecast them back to the US. And last week, NBC announced that Ryan Seacrest will be the host for the “late night coverage” of the 2016 Games. This is the guy who brings us American Idol and Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. I think anyone interested in the actual sports and competitions associated with these games can read the tea leaves here and look elsewhere for coverage and results. An NBC exec said:

“The late night atmosphere will be electric and we’re thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.”

I will lay odds that he will not talk about the sewage problems in the watersports venue and/or the eviction of people from slum housing in Rio to make way for many of the venues needed for other sports. Neither of those “stories of the day” would be sufficiently “feelgood”…

Let me change the subject partially and speak for a moment about media coverage of the NFL. In addition to the obvious – that the coverage is unending – there are two things that need to be considered at the moment:

    1. The NFL is reported to be “thinking about” moving Super Bowl Media Day to primetime. Media Day is the nonsensical event where reporters from all over the world – most of whom would not know a football from butt hole – ask inane questions and/or dress up in outrageous costumes. It ought to be an abomination in the sight of the Lord. And now they want to put it on TV in primetime to add another revenue stream. Which of the Ten Plagues visited upon Egypt in the Bible should the NFL incur for this awful idea?

      I am torn between swarms of flies, death of their firstborn and festering boils.

    2. Media coverage on all platforms from TV to newspapers to Twitter of the NFL training camps/exhibition games is overblown by at least a factor of 10. Just as with Spring Training in baseball, many of the reports are formulaic and contain little substance. Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald commented on this issue recently:

    “At Indianapolis Colts training camp, T.Y. Hilton showed up with a backpack that looks like a cheeseburger. This is when you know there’s not a lot to write about during training camp.”

There are two NBA reports that merit commentary.

    There will be 5 – that is FIVE – NBA games on television on Christmas Day. Forget any religious significance or any traditional family gatherings on that day; treat it as any ordinary day on the calendar and ask yourself this:

      Do I care sufficiently about 10 NBA teams such that I might find a 5-game TV schedule even marginally enticing? You may stop chortling about now… Oh well, at least it will be a change from the bazillionth re-running of Miracle on 34th Street come December.

    Josh Smith of the LA Clippers has earned $90M during his 11-year NBA career. Last week, he signed a contract with the team at the “veteran minimum” and said that he has a family and things would be a little harder for him this coming year. Forget about the career earnings, as a player with more than 10-years in the league his “veteran minimum salary” will be $1,499,187. Somehow, I do not think he and/or his family will need to be standing in soup kitchen lines in the next 12 months or staying home and eating canned cat food twice a week.

      [Aside: I wonder if Josh Smith ever heard of Latrell Spreewell whose family would not have been able to survive on an absurdly low contract offer presented to Spreewell. As I recall, the offer was something like $7M per year over 3 years.]

Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald recently and it probably will not endear him to Adam Silver:

“Increasingly popular in America, the English Premier League kicked off this weekend. Don’t expect many surprises, though. The league is top-heavy with only four or five teams considered to be realistic championship contenders. We have a phrase in the U.S. for that kind of predictability and lack of parity: ‘the NBA.’”

Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry’s column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times:

“Comedian Argus Hamilton, on the FBI probe into the Astros’ online player database getting hacked: ‘When the Cardinals sent scouts to China, everyone thought they were looking for players, not attending a seminar.’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – NFL Style

Before I disappeared for three weeks in Eastern Europe, I said that putting a single NFL team in London was not a great idea and that expansion of the NFL to accommodate international expansion was probably a worse idea. My reason was that there is not enough quality quarterback talent to go around as it is.

A reader sent an e-mail suggesting that I do an analysis of the mediocre quarterbacks in the NFL and I agreed that was a good idea but that I did not have time to do it while preparing to go on vacation. Now that I am back, I have run out of excuses…

In order to do this, I have to separate the starting QBs into categories and so I have put them into five categories sort of in the shape of a bell curve. The categories are:

    The Top 4 – or – The Elite

    The Next 7 – or – The Really Good QBs

    The Great Unwashed 10 In The Middle – or – The Good

    The Lower 7 – or – The Bad

    The Bottom 4 – or – The Ugly.

As I was doing the allocations here, I immediately recognized that there will be arguments about where I put certain QBs. However, I don’t think there will be any cases where someone will think I was off by two categories. So here is the distribution in alphabetical order in each category:

The Elite: Brady, Luck, P. Manning, Rodgers. Some might want to suggest that Peyton Manning is on the downside of his career at this point and/or that Andrew Luck has not won anything yet. Fine… I still think all four of these QBs belong in this category

The Really Good QBs: Brees, E.Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Romo, Ryan, Stafford. Some might object to putting Ryan or E. Manning in this category at the expense of Flacco or Palmer. Fine… My objective here is to get to bottom two categories to check out the mediocrity levels there.

The Good: Bradford, Carr, Cutler, Dalton, Flacco, Foles, Newton, Tannehill, Palmer, Wilson. I can sense the unrest boiling up in the readership already. I just put Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco (Super Bowl winners both)in the same category with Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton; yes, I did. More interestingly to me is that I put Nick Foles and Sam Bradford in the same category and they were traded one for another in the offseason.

The Bad: Bridgewater, Cassel, Griffin III, Kaepernick, Mariotta, Smith, Winston. I had to put Winston and Mariotta somewhere and since most rookies struggle a bit I figured to put them here. The Bucs and the Titans have to hope that they will not be in this category should anyone think to do this again next season. However, with regard to the others in the category:

    Bridgewater showed improvement late last year but let us not mistake his performance with the stuff of legends.

    Cassel has been in the NFL for 10 seasons and has had 2 good years (2008 and 2010). This year he battling EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor for the starting QB job; any QB in the NFL who is a “certified journeyman” would be the hands-down starter over either of those other guys.

    RG3 had a great rookie year and has stunk in spades ever since. Because of that rookie year, I put him one notch above the abysmal QBs for this year – but one more season like the last two and he will go to the back of the class.

    Kaepernick regressed last year along with the rest of the Niners’ team. Maybe he belongs one category higher here but I do not know who to “demote” from the list above to accommodate him there.

    Smith is a game manager and not much more.

The Ugly: Bortles, Hoyer/Mallett, McCown, Smith/Fitzpatrick. The Texans are trying to decide between Hoyer and Mallett as their starter; for me, this is a coin flip that does not turn out well for the fans in Houston. The Jets will have to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick until Geno Smith’s jaw heals but the fact of the matter is that neither one is very good.

    Bortles has all the physical tools but here are last season’s results. His QB Rating (flawed as that yardstick is) was 69.5. To give you an idea who else is at that rating level, let me point you to Kordell Stewart. Ka-beesh?

    McCown will start his 13th season in the NFL in September; he has averaged fewer than 4 starts per season in his career. Last year in 11 starts, his team was 1-10.

The 11 QBs in the bottom two categories here are not great QBs who suffer only by comparison to the elite ones at the top of the scale. They are a pretty mediocre lot and it makes my point that if the NFL expanded to 36 teams (the next logical number for the league) there would have to be even more mediocrity starting under center in the future. Is that what you really want to see? I don’t.

Finally, to lighten the mood here a bit, here is an observation on the MLB All-Star Game from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“Pete Rose was in the Fox broadcast booth for the All-Star Game. He was very informative. I had no idea that the underdog covers the spread 32 percent of the time in All-Star Games.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

Off-Field Football Injuries…

I believe it was Vince Lombardi who said:

Football is not a contact sport. Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.

In the course of participating in football as a collision sport, players incur injuries in a variety of ways. Jets’ QB, Geno Smith, just incurred an injury off the field when his jaw collided with the fist of IK Enemkpali who, up until that moment of collision, was a linebacker for the Jets. The first reports said it was a “sucker punch” provoked by Smith’s delay in reimbursing Enemkpali $600 that Smith said he would give to the linebacker. The background here is not important; what is important is:

    Enemkpali was cut by the Jets and just signed with the Bills who, coincidentally, are now coached by Rex Ryan who coached the Bills last year and who play the Jets twice each year.

    Smith is out 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw. That makes Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter on the depth chart for now and, frankly, that is not such a huge step down from Geno Smith. However, if Fitzpatrick goes down, things could unravel quickly for the Jets this year.

According to a report in the NY Daily News this morning, a “Jets’ source” said that Smith deserved what he got not because of his late payment of the $600 but because he was in Enemkpali’s face pointing at him and perhaps even poking him. If that is the case – and I have no way to know if it is –, then Geno Smith is dumber than toast. None of that would raise the level of Enemkpali’s behavior beyond the level of moronic. Even at the Pop Warner level, players know that they should not purposely take out their own starting QB.

The weirdness of this situation calls to mind three other football players who incurred injuries outside the field of play in strange ways:

    Just recently, Jason Pierre-Paul blew off a finger or three playing with fireworks.

    Outside a nightclub at about 2:00 AM, Plaxico Burress felt the need to brandish a handgun – an improperly registered one at that – leading to Burress shooting himself in the leg.

    In the Jags’ locker room the coach had placed a large tree stump and an axe and told players that the motto for the team for that season was to “Keep choppin’ wood.” Punter, Chris Hanson, took all of this very seriously and picked up the axe to chop a bit of the wood. The axe ricocheted off the stump and sliced into Hanson’s leg seriously enough to require surgery and to keep Hanson out for the season.

Football is a collision sport indeed. Nevertheless, players find ways to injure themselves rather seriously outside the game too…

One final note relevant to the Jets and their QB situation came when Jared Lorenzen – you remember him as The Pillsbury Throwboy and/or The Hefty Lefty – tweeted that he was available for the Jets and that he already looked good in green. That is the color of his uniform in an Indoor Football League where he is playing QB at something like 320 bills.

I realize that trying to apply logic to the sequence of events related to the NFL’s desire to put a team or teams in the LA market is a futile exercise and that the only thing that matters is “league revenue”. Having said that, there are strange doings in that arena:

    There was evidently a law in St. Louis and/or Missouri that required a referendum before the city and or state could shell out taxpayer money to upgrade the Rams’ stadium. That requirement meant the city/state could not meet the NFL deadline for proposing what they would do to keep the Rams in St. Louis. So the folks in charge went to court to get the law that was on the books declared too vague to enforce so that they could pledge taxpayer money without a referendum.

    If that is not strange enough, they did that even though the Rams’ owner does not want to stay in St. Louis and would prefer to spend lots of his own money to build a stadium in Inglewood, CA.

    The city fathers in San Diego – after fiddling around with the Chargers on stadium matters for about 10 years – came up with a plan to spend about $400M taxpayer dollars on a new stadium for the Chargers in a location that the Chargers have deemed unacceptable for at least the last 5 years.

    The only sane behavior by city officials comes out of Oakland where the city has not even tried to finance a new stadium for the Raiders for the very simple reason that Oakland does not have that kind of money to throw around. So, the Raiders are faced with this situation:

      A. They stay in Oakland and play in an outdated and dilapidated stadium where the drains back up once in a while putting raw sewage on the locker room floors.

      B. The NFL grants them permission to move to Carson, CA as joint tenants with the Chargers.

      C. The NFL grants them permission to move somewhere else where a new stadium might materialize – think San Antonio or Las Vegas.

Paramount in all of these maneuverings is a strong desire on the part of the NFL that it not be the target of any serious lawsuits by cities that lose teams and/or cities that believe they should have gotten a team if the selection process had been “fair”. The saga continues…

Finally, here is a note from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald from about a month ago related to another lawsuit brought against the NFL.

“A federal court ruling said NFL cheerleaders deserve to earn at least the minimum wage. Thank goodness these women will finally be paid commensurate with the valuable public service they provide.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

I have said it before and will reiterate it here. José Canseco is the gift that keeps on giving for these sorts of rants. Here is the latest “Canseco antic”:

    He is going to spend an entire week living as a woman as a show of support for Caitlyn Jenner. Canseco will be in full drag dress-mode for that whole week.


The fact that Canseco will also be involved in his own “reality show” come next Fall of course has nothing to do with this behavior. It is all about learning what Caitlyn Jenner “feels” and nothing at all about an episode for the Internet reality show Spend a Day with José. Yeah, right… That is the reason that Canseco just happened to tell TMZ that he was doing all of this to experience “life as a woman”. If you are buying that, you are probably also in contention to become the next President of the Flat Earth Society.

Here is a link to an article on this nonsense just in case you think I might be making all of this up. Trust me, I do not have nearly the creativity needed to do that…

Speaking of sports figures whose off-center behaviors provide plenty of material for these kinds of rants, let me direct your attention to Sheldon Richardson, nominally a DT for the NY Jets. I say “nominally” because Richardson is certainly going to serve a 4-game suspension for running afoul of the NFL substance abuse policy. Recall, that policy has nothing to do with PEDs or HgH; that is the policy that deals with “recreational substances”. In the aftermath of the announcement of that 4-game suspension that came after a minimum of 2 failed drug tests, here is what Sheldon Richardson did to get his head on straight:

    He got himself arrested for a variety of traffic “violations” including a high speed chase with officers at speeds in excess of 140 mph.

Here are two comments from sportswriters outside the NYC area regarding this matter:

“Suspended Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson got clocked doing 143 mph on a Missouri highway.

“Guess his coaches should have been more explicit when they told him to work on his speed rush.” (Dwight Perry, Seattle Times)


“No more calls, we have a winner! Arrest of the year: Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson, already on NFL suspension for flunking a drug test, is arrested for allegedly driving 143 mph, resisting arrest, tailgating, driving without lights and running a red light. Cops say they find a fully-loaded semiautomatic handgun in the car, which reeks of weed. Awesome.” (Scott Ostler, SF Chronicle)

Here is what some of that Richardson had to say after the fact:

“After my suspension, that was just one bad night. I thought it would be fun to show my family members something. They never rode in a car like that before.”

The car Richardson refers to here is a 2014 Bentley Silver Spur. As a reference, the MSRP for a new one of these puppies is just a tad north of $200K so it is reasonable to assume that Richardson’s family members had never ridden – not rode – in a car like that. It is also probably safe to say that they had never ridden in a car on a public highway in excess of 140 mph and – oh – did I forget to mention that there was a 12-year old child in the car while it was going in excess of 140 mph.

By comparison, José Canseco and his week living as a woman begins to sound perfectly rational and mainstream…

Yesterday, I mentioned some of the myriad exchanges that happened around the MLB trade deadline that I think might have some kind of effect on this year’s pennant runs and/or the futures of the teams involved in the trades. Scott Ostler took a more global view of the trade deadline with this observation:

“Just once at the trading deadline I want to hear a manager say, ‘Do we need help? Did Custer need backup? We’ve got four guys who are like rotted teeth; they must be replaced immediately. Has anyone checked our GM for a pulse?”

You are never going to hear a manager say that out loud, but you have to know deep in your heart that some of them have to be thinking those kinds of thoughts – with a lot of added profanity and scatological imagery – as the trade deadline comes and goes.

It appears that ESPN is going to expand its coverage of the Little League World Series – and the games that lead up to that event – this year. According to reports, there will be 135 Little League games on TV this month and that is an abomination. Remember those football players at Northwestern who are suing the school and the NCAA claiming that they are exploited individuals who toil for the benefit of their school and their conference and the NCAA with nothing coming to them in return? Well, those guys ought to be made to spend a couple of weeks with the kids – and their parents – involved in the Little League World Series. Were I the judge in their case, I think I would order it just as a teaching moment. In terms of athletes who are exploited for the benefit of others and not the athletes themselves, here are some groupings:

    Top Tier: Little League players, women’s rhythmic gymnasts, T-ball players on T-ball traveling teams.

    Much Lower Tier: College athletes on scholarship who play “revenue sports”.

Since I cited Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle twice already today, I might as well go for the trifecta here:

“I don’t write the headlines, but if I did, the story that Tim Lincecum has degenerative hip problems that are keeping him sidelined would have been headlined: ‘Hip-hip no way.”

“For a more exact diagnosis of Lincecum’s problem, we bring in Dr. Bruce Bochy: ‘There’s some stuff going on there.’

“A second opinion from Buffalo Springfield: ‘Somethin’ happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.’ “

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

RIP Frank Gifford

Frank Gifford passed away yesterday. He was an excellent player for the NY Giants in an era where football stars were of a much smaller magnitude than baseball stars. I think his off-field involvement with the game was even more important than his Hall of Fame playing career.

In 1970, the NFL was virtually a “Sunday only league”. Yes, it played a game on Thanksgiving Day and yes, it played a game or two on Saturdays in December after the college football season was over. But the vast majority of the games were on Sunday afternoons. Then the Monday Night Football “experiment” started and in the first season Keith Jackson did the play-by-play while Howard Cosell and Dandy Don Meredith were the color commentators. After that opening season, Frank Gifford took over the play-by-play duties and maintained that spot for the next 15 years whereupon he became a color commentator for another dozen years or so.

Monday Night Football showed that the NFL was more than a “Sunday only league” and that it could be a TV juggernaut. Frank Gifford was a significant part of that movement for the league for more than a quarter of a century.

Rest in peace, Frank Gifford.

While I was gone, the good people of Boston – and of Massachusetts as a whole – seemingly came to their senses and terminated their bid to hold the 2024 Olympics there. The mayor of Boston had been a supporter of bidding for the games but when he was faced with signing a “host city contract” that included clauses making Boston responsible for any cost overruns that “might occur”, he balked. Evidently, there was some pressure from various Olympic officials with regard to a deadline for signing and Mayor Marty Walsh would not be cowed by the USOC. The folks in Boston ought to hold a parade for Mayor Walsh.

Again, while I was gone, the baseball trade deadline came and went. Given the number of players changing teams – at the major league and minor league levels – the real winners in all of this would seem to be the moving and storage companies. However, some of the myriad trades seem to me to be more impactful than others and some teams seem to have made out well in the wheeling and dealing:

    Phillies traded Cole Hamels to Texas and got back 5 prospects in return. Texas needs starting pitching and the Phillies are not going to be a serious contender while Cole Hamels is still in his prime. Good trade on both sides…

    Phillies trade Jonathan Papelbon to Washington for a pitching prospect. The Nats’ bullpen has needed help all year and the last thing the Phillies need is a reliable closer in a season where they seek to lose fewer than 100 games.

    Phillies trade Ben Revere to Toronto for two minor league pitchers. Revere can hit for average and can steal a few bases; the Blue Jays can use him in left field and/or as a DH. Good trade on both ends of the deal…

    Tigers trade David Price to Toronto for three minor league pitchers – two of whom are deemed ready for the majors. If those two prospects work out for Detroit, this is a good trade both ways; if not, the Blue Jays come out ahead…

    Rockies trade Troy Tulowitsky and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for 3 prospects and Jose Reyes. The Blue Jays are obviously going for the playoffs this season with all these trades. Two question marks here:

      Can Tulowitsky stay healthy?

      Will Hawkins’ eligibility to collect Social security affect his pitching?

    Tigers trade Yeonis Cespedes to the Mets for two minor league pitchers. The Mets need offense and Cespedes can hit. He will be a free agent at the end of this year so this could turn out to be a “rent-a-player deal” for the Mets.

    A’s trade Tyler Clippard to the Mets for a minor league pitcher. Clippard was a very good set-up reliever in Washington up until this year and will help the Nats’ bullpen. More importantly, the Nats wanted him back in recognition of the value he could bring to their bullpen; but the Mets prevented that from happening.

    Reds traded Johnny Cueto to the Royals for 3 minor league left handed pitchers. Given the Royals’ pursuit of the playoffs this year – and perhaps a return to the World Series? – this trade seems to favor them.

    Brewers traded Aramis Ramirez and cash to the Pirates for a pitching prospect. The Pirates are playoff contenders this year and Ramirez’ bat should help them – if he does not give up more runs in the field than he produces at the plate.

There was one exchange that was simply puzzling to me:

    White Sox sent Conor Gillaspe to the Angels for “cash considerations”. Gillaspie has been having a bad season but last year he hit .282 and fielded well. The Angels need someone to play third base while David Freese gets healthy. It seems as if the White Sox – a team going nowhere – could have gotten something more than “cash considerations” here.

Finally, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald made this observation about minor league baseball:

“Minor league baseball team the LeHigh Valley IronPigs dressed like camels on Hump Day. Here’s your first clue you’re not on the verge of making the majors: you race onto the field in a camel costume.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

I’m Back In The Saddle Again…

Gene Autry began all of his Sunday night TV shows by singing these verses:

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again.

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again.

That is kind of the way I feel about now getting back into a writing schedule – but with an inability to update or access my old clipboard documents. But that is my problem to resolve…

Bob Connolly had this item in his Dreams Blog recently:

“The Miami Marlins serenaded the Washington Nationals on Wednesday with ‘noises of flatulence’ piped through the stadium loudspeakers while the Nats took batting practice.”

The olfactory imagery here is particularly apt for these two teams. Since the All-Star break, the Nats are about 10 games under .500 and the Marlins have been so bad that they have actually fallen behind the Phillies in the NL East standings. When I left for Eastern Europe, that was almost unthinkable…

The NFL is going to have increased scrutiny of the game balls and their inflation levels this season. Allow me to give that $11B per year entity a brief protocol that ought to obviate any future Deflategate situations while still giving QBs the ability to prep their own footballs:

    Each team will deliver a dozen footballs to the officials 3 hours before game time. Those balls will all be in a deflated condition. The balls will be marked in a way that each ball can be uniquely identified.

    The officials will have in their dressing room/prep room both a pump and a pressure gauge – a calibrated gauge at that.

    The officials will inflate all of the balls from both teams to a pressure within the limits of the rules. They will then record all of those measurements AND they will use sealing wax to cover the valve-stem entry point on the ball. Any ball with a damaged seal will not be eligible to be used for any play in the game.

BaDaBing! BaDaBoom!!!

Dean Blandino – head honcho for NFL officials don’t you know – said recently that officials have to strive for consistency.

    Memo to Dean Blandino: You got that half-right. They need to strive to be consistently correct. If they are consistently wrong, that is not a good thing…

Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle wrote recently that the National Anthem renditions at various sporting events need an upgrade. I could not agree more. Some of the “local talent” they trot out to sing the anthem is enough to make your hair hurt and while it may be “cute” there are precious few sixth grade glee clubs that can sing the song even marginally well. One more note from experience:

    Jazz saxophonists have their place in the musical cosmos but standing at home plate and blaring the anthem in to a microphone prior to a baseball game is not their place.

Tonciu, Romania is a town that thought it needed a soccer pitch for the local youth to play on and to develop their skills on. So, the City Fathers decided to spend about $20K to create such a facility. However, here in Curmudgeon Central, we know well that no good deed goes unpunished and now those City Fathers are being held up to scorn and ridicule for the implantation of their “nice idea”. Here is a link to a story – with a photo – in the Irish Mirror to explain from whence the scorn and ridicule emanate…

Time for a Quick Quiz. We have not had one of these for a while now:

    Which is the worse idea:

      1. Getting onto an elevator with Ray Rice – or –

      2. Putting Lance Armstrong in charge of a drug testing protocol.

    100 words or less…

Finally, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald and I think alike on this issue:

“There is YouTube video of a drunk golfer in Wolstanton, England, who got his head stuck in a trash can. If this guy is granted an exemption for next year’s Masters, I’ll watch.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………