Recommended Reading

Scott Ostler has this column in today’s SF Chronicle. It is an open letter to Mark Davis regarding what happened to him and the Raiders at the recent NFL owners’ meeting and things that Mark Davis might do now to make amends with Raider fans who reside in Oakland.

I think this column should be read in its entirety; it is vintage Scott Ostler. Here is the link…

Off The Air…

I will be off-the-air until January 6 or 7 in 2016. Please check in around then for more sports commentaries.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2016 is a healthy and prosperous year for all.

Stay well…

Administrative Note

There will be no rant tomorrow on Christmas Day. I will return to the air on Monday 28 December with the final rant of the year – the annual “Bad Ads” rant reviewing some of the bad TV commercials of the previous year.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate Christmas. Happy Holidays to those who celebrate some other holiday at this time of the year.

For everyone, stay well…

Admin Note…

My intention is to have both flavors of Mythical Picks on the street on Wednesday this week so as not to do any writing on Thanksgiving Day. Then again the road to perdition is paved with good intentions…

Nevertheless, the priority this week will be to get the Mythical Picks out early and put off until Friday any decision about posting something then.

In any event, Happy Thanksgiving, all…

Brief Admin Note

I am off to Las Vegas for the weekend. The NFL and NCAA Mythical Picks are posted earlier in the week than usual. Scroll down to see them.

I’ll be back on the air next Tuesday.

Stay well, all…

Greetings From Red Lodge, MT

Greetings from Red Lodge, MT after spending the last 4 days in Yellowstone Park and visiting with an old colleague who has retired to Emigrant, MT. If you have never visited Yellowstone Park, you simply have to put it on your list of things to do soon; if you have been to Yellowstone Park, you know how wonderful our national parks are and you need to make a note to visit at least one of them very soon. My only “complaint” is that I did not see any wolves or a grizzly bear. Oh well, I saw both of those species on my last visit to Yellowstone so I should not be too put off…

Actually, I am glad that American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. Perhaps now we will not have to read as much nonsensical hype about that feat in the next few years. To those folks who have been claiming for years that what horseracing needed was a “superstar Triple Crown winner” to put the sport back near the top of the sporting pyramid in the US, you got what you wished for. Good luck with horseracing returning to the upper echelons any time soon…

I read a report that Raiders’ QB, Derek Carr missed some workouts because of numbness in his fingers. Given the pounding that he took last year behind an offensive line that was only offensive in the sense of its collective body odor, it ought to be a plus that he only had numbness in a couple of fingers.

I read another report that the Dolphins had signed Ryan Tannehill to a long term deal that could be worth $96M. I have nothing against Tannehill; he is a good young QB who has played well and continues to hone his craft. However, I do have two questions:

    If Ryan Tannehill is worth $96M, what are the Colts going to have to cough up when they have to sign Andrew Luck to his second contract?

    If Ryan Tannehill is worth $96M, what are the Seahawks going to have to cough up when they have to sign Russell Wilson to his second contract?

    Just asking…

I have to agree completely with Bob Molinaro on this comment he made in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:

“The late show: I suppose this item could wait, but the World Series doesn’t begin until Oct. 27, with a possible Game 7 set for Nov. 7. Baseball’s disregard for the calendar makes me wish a game or two would be snowed out.”

Finally, Greg Cote got to the bottom line immediately with this comment in the Miami Herald about two weeks ago:

“The Redskins, Texans and Bills are finalists to appear on this year’s HBO Hard Knocks, which answers the question, ‘Is that show still on?’”

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

Greetings From Cody, WY

Greetings from Cody, WY; yes it is indeed named after Buffalo Bill Cody. My foreshadowing from last time will have to go down as an example of how the path to perdition is paved with good intentions. Let me explain…

My long-suffering wife is the travel planner in our family. This is not because I am too lazy to do it; she would not have it any other way. As she put this road trip together, there were a few anchor dates such as the dates our airplane tickets have been booked and the dates when we booked ourselves into lodges where we definitely wanted to stay. The rest of the dates were flexible. After a first cut at a schedule, she then went back and re-did the itinerary so that we would be in Cody on the evening of June 1. The reason is that the Cody Rodeo starts its season on June 1 and she wanted to go to the rodeo.

To be kind, I was unenthusiastic. This was going to be my first rodeo in the literal and figurative sense and you can get the idea that I am not a rodeo enthusiast by recognizing that I had made more than 71 journeys around the sun without ever finding a need to go to one. I said I would write a “gamer” on the rodeo; forget that. This rodeo was nothing but a disjointed series of events with some of the lamest attempts at “comedy” between the acts that one can imagine. The comic was about as funny as a jet propelled wheel chair.

I did make a few notes regarding the events of the evening:

    About 20 minutes before the festivities began, an official in a striped shirt came out to test the hinges and the latching mechanism on the gate to the chute where the broncos and the bulls would be herded after their events. She had to have spent 5 minutes swinging the gate and fixing the latch and releasing the latch and swinging the other gate and then repeating it all. As she went through all this here is what went through my mind:

      Would that the NFL officials had been so thorough and accurate in measuring the internal pressures of all the footballs in the AFC Championship Game at halftime…

    The opening act consisted of 12 cowgirls doing what is probably best described as a close order equine drill. Ominously, Mother Nature took that moment of inception to change the weather from a cool and breezy evening to a howling wind of about 25 mph with gusts to 50 mph blowing sand across the venue. This made the equine drill about as artistic as a lawn mower race.

    After these young ladies left the arena something happened that I had never experienced at a sporting event in all my days:

      The PA announcer offered a prayer asking for blessings from The Almighty for anything and everything to include the livestock that would participate that night.

      After the prayer, the audience applauded; then, they did the National Anthem.

    Clearly, I am not a rodeo aficionado but I do want to comment upon one result from the calf roping event for the evening:

      Calves 8 … Cowboys 1
      Winning time was 22.7 seconds.
      Turtle racing is more exciting…

The show is scheduled to last 2 hours. After 1 hour had passed and we had sat through two seemingly interminable “comedy segments” in a horizontal rain that had joined with the wind to make the evening miserable, even my wife figured it was time to go. I put up exactly no objection.

That was my first rodeo. It shall also be my last one. There are plenty of reasons to visit Cody, WY and I will detail some of them in my trip report once I get home. The Cody Rodeo is not one of those reasons.

Finally, here is an observation from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald regarding another equine event:

“The all-out attempts to achieve parity in sports continue. It was just announced that Charles Barkley will be riding American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes.”

More post cards from the road as time and connectivity permit.

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

Greetings From Elk View Inn – Burgess Junction, WY

Greetings from the Elk View Inn near Burgess Junction, Wyoming. Do not go looking for this on your map because to say this is a remote location would be an understatement. It is the end of May and we woke up this morning to a dusting of snow.

In fine literature, what I am about to do would be called a foreshadowing. However, since these rants are hardly fine literature, let me just say that in one of the next two rants I will try to do something I have not done before here. In the sportswriting business, it is called a “gamer”. I will leave it at that for now.

I read a report where Mitch Kupchak – Lakers’ GM – told reporters that Kobe Bryant will call it a career after next season. Kobe Bryant is and has been a great player but I fervently hope that the NBA does not turn next season into a traveling “good bye party” for Kobe. Frankly, those sorts of things have been done to death and have a firm grasp on cliché status.

Bob Molinaro made a cogent point in a recent column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Numbers game: Thanks, or no thanks, to technological advances, MLB can gauge the height of a home run ball at its apex. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, for instance, hit a homer the other night that crested at 143 feet, the fifth-highest by anyone this season. Another relatively new measurement is the speed at which a ball leaves the bat. Do these revelations actually enhance our enjoyment of the game… or just serve as a reminder that some people sitting behind computers have too much time on their hands?”

Indeed, whatever happened to going to the ballpark and just marveling at how well a batter hit a home run…?

I know that it is very early in the 2015 baseball season, but is it just possible that Alex Rodriguez is the Comeback Player of the Year?

Another report recently said that according to Aaron Hernandez’ lawyer, the former tight end and convicted murderer is running out of money. Time out while we all say in unison:

    Awww… Too bad!

In the report, it also said that one of the complicating factors in his financial situation was that his mother was suing him for several million dollars. That is not something that happens in many families that I know.

Finally, a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

First openly gay NFL player Michael Sam has signed with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. Are we going to follow this poor guy his whole life? Media report, 2041: ‘Michael Sam dines at Denny’s’.”

More when time and connectivity permit.

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

Greetings From Lead, South Dakota

Greetings from Lead, South Dakota home of the Homestake gold mine – the largest gold producing mine in the US. Too bad the former owners closed it down when gold was selling about $325 per ounce because there is still gold in there and it can be removed for far less than the current value of gold. However, the transfer of the property to the State of South Dakota came with several stipulations and one was that it would never again be used to mine gold.

The Phillies have been anything but a success on the field for the last year and a half but the team recently had a grand success off the field. The team held the Phantastic Auction as a fundraising event for Phillies Charities and the various items in the auction raised a bit over $105K for several local charities. Here are a few of the items in that auction and what they went for:

    A dinner party for eight in the Phillies’ executive dining room with Mike Schmidt in attendance: That drew $5,250. My long-suffering wife and I have auctioned off dinner parties for 8 folks as charity fundraisers for the last 5 or 6 years. We do not get bids anywhere near that level. Dinner with Mike Schmidt is a whole lot more of a draw than dinner served by The Sports Curmudgeon.

    A private hitting clinic with Ryan Howard: That drew $5,150. Perhaps the winner figures he might offer up a few tips for Howard to use in his plate appearances for the balance of the season.

    A round of golf for three with Steve Carlton: That drew $3,500. Given the history of non-communication between Carlton and sportswriters during his career, it would be ironic if the winning bidder brought along two sportswriters as his/her guest.

    A round of golf for three with Mike Schmidt: That drew $3,270. Obviously, Phillies’ fans would rather dine with Mike Schmidt than play golf with him.

    A kids sleepover (number not reported) in the Phillies’ clubhouse followed by breakfast with the Phillie Phanatic: That drew $4,065. It might be worth “four grand” to see how that creature can eat anything through that proboscis of his.

When the Niners released Ray McDonald last winter, they said that he had exhibited a “pattern of poor decision making”. Those “poor decisions” included two arrests – one for domestic abuse and the other for sexual abuse – in less than a year. He has not been convicted of anything related to those two incidents and the Bears signed him in the offseason. Well, the Bears released him yesterday after he was arrested again on charges of domestic abuse and child abuse. Notwithstanding the outcome of any trial(s) on all of these matters, I think it is fair to say that his “pattern of poor decision making” remains intact.

Finally, speaking of players being released, Greg Cote had this item recently in the Miami Herald:

“The Marlins released catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He was a free agent bust, although he did lead the team last season in longest last name.”

More postcards from the road as time permits.

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