From Olympic Wrestling To The Apocalypse Today…

I ran across an amazing statistic recently. Dan Gable was on the US Olympic wrestling team in 1972 in Munich. He won the Gold Medal that year. In the process of going through all of his matches to win that medal, Dan Gable never surrendered a single point to any of his opponents. Not even one… WOW !!

Here is a Quick Quiz… Where would you MOST like to see vuvuzelas introduced into the audience?

    1. Tennis tournament spectators
    2. PGA Tour galleries
    3. The audience at the World Series of Poker
    4. The gallery of the United States Senate as televised on CSPAN-2.

Fifty words or less…

Some folks think that the NY tabloid press is hard on the city’s baseball teams when they are not doing as well as anticipated. Others think I am overly harsh on the Washington Nationals. Forget all of that while you read Steve Rosenbloom’s Rosenblog entry for 21 June 2010 where he absolutely disembowels the Cubs, their manager, their GM, their team President and their new owner. He uses the simple fact that Cubs’ attendance is down this year by just over 50,000 fans as the launching point for this diatribe. It is scorched Earth of the highest order.

I have said before that the long-term futility of the Pittsburgh Pirates and their record-setting 18 consecutive years below .500 have provided cover for the Baltimore Orioles franchise whose fecklessness needs to be recognized. In 1997, the Orioles won the AL East; they have not had a winning record since then. But what makes their span of fetidity even worse is that for the last five seasons they have lost more games each year than they did in the preceding season. Even with a miserable squad, they are getting worse year over year. That is not easy to do, folks.

I know that projecting a full baseball season from standings in late June is imprecise at the very best. Nevertheless, consider that the way the Orioles are playing in 2010 so far will give them a season record of 45-117 come October. That will be six straight years with more losses than in the previous year and will present the fans in Baltimore with a level of futility and non-competitiveness not seen since the franchise was “competing” as the St. Louis Browns.

MLB has announced that the All-Star Game for 2012 will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. I have seen games there about four or five times – - albeit not for the last 20 years; Kauffman Stadium used to be one of the unheralded venues where it was a great fan experience to take in a baseball game. I can only hope that the Royals and the city fathers in KC have not let the stadium go to seed in the last couple of decades.

I think it is a great idea to put the All-Star Game in KC. That will give fans there a couple of days to witness two teams comprised in their entirety of bona fide major league caliber ballplayers. KC fans have not seen that in a long time. It is akin to playing a major league game in Spearfish, South Dakota where fans have never seen that many real baseball players in the flesh in the same game at the same time. Perhaps this is a sign that MLB takes the concept of noblesse oblige seriously.

I said last year – - and again this Spring – - that the Chicago White Sox had taken a huge financial gamble taking Alex Rios off the waiver wire last year when his contract had $60M+ to run and his performance at the plate was right there at the “Mendoza Line”. Well, that gamble seems to have paid off handsomely. As any gambler will tell you, big risks can give you big losses or big gains…

For his time with the White Sox in 2009, Rios hit an anemic .199 with all of 9 RBIs. So far, in 2010, Rios is hitting .317 with 13 HRs and 37 RBIs. He was an All-Star back in 2007 and it looks as if he deserves serious consideration as an All Star again in 2010.

Many folks believe that Mayan priests predicted the end of the world in an apocalyptic event on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. That conclusion may need to be put on hold as mediums from around the world gathered to pool their talents and to channel the Mayan priests to learn what was going to happen. According to the mediums, the Mayan priests no longer see that date as the end of the world as we know it – - but the Mayan Priests are very concerned that the Detroit Lions may have clinched a playoff spot on that date and the cosmic reverberations caused by that single certitude might end the world and the known universe all at once. Hold your breath…

Whenever I speak with folks about NFL quarterbacks, I am interested in the way they view Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans. I have not yet run across anyone who unequivocally thinks he is a “great QB” or even “one of the elite QBs” in the league at the moment. I think the best characterization that my friends/colleagues give to him is:

    If he has he head on straight and his brain buckled down, his results are a lot better than the way he looks on the field.

Granted, I do not live anywhere near Nashville Tennessee or Austin Texas where local fanboys might have a much higher view of Vince Young; but that is about the best review I can elicit with regard to Vince Young as an NFL QB around here. Now if I have counted correctly, Vince Young has started 39 games in his NFL career and in those 39 games, the Tennessee Titans have gone 26-13. At that rate, the Titans would have won 10.6 games per season if Young had been able to start every game.

If the bottom line in the NFL – - or any big time sports league/conference – - is winning as opposed to losing, Vince Young comes out of that analysis as an elite QB. He may not be the most mature adult on the roster; he may not look all that polished when he drops back to throw the ball; he may not be the “bull goose looney” in the asylum, but Vince Young’s teams win twice as many games as they lose when he starts. And that is well above “mediocre”…

Finally, here is an observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“In a statistical oddity this season, the Tampa Bay Rays are 3-0 when they commit three or more errors.

“In other words, malpractice makes perfect.”

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

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  • Rich  On June 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    For my quick quiz choice I will select B:PGA tour galleries. If Tiger gets bent out of shape over a clicking camera imagine his display of temper at the sound of a few hundred vuvuzuelas during his backswing, or while lining up a putt.
    Baseball players, on the other hand, accustomed to the sounds of thousands of of screaming fans, some half drunk and some fully snockered, would be unfazed by the quaint South African cacophony.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On June 29, 2010 at 11:15 am


    I’d love to see them in the PGA galleries and to see what Tiger and his officious caddy would do about that.

    HOW-EVAH, I would REALLY like to see it in the gallery of the US Senate as a means of calling “bulls(p)it” on the activities there.

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