Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The Designated Hitter needs to go. If the National League had the designated hitter we never would have witnessed Manny Ramirez's heroics. Ramirez in a pinch-hitting role (for the pitcher) hit a game changing grand slam in the Dodger's 6-2 victory over Cincinnati. This hit not only won the game but put Manny behind only Lou Gehrig on the all-time grand slam list. All this came about because the National League refuses to give into the modern "higher scores are better" mentality and has kept the pitcher batting. The National League has maintained the tradition of the national past time and in the process has continued the excitement and strategy of the game. Baseball was designed so that all players have to play in the field. Specialization is only a modern phenomenon and has no place in a game that dates back over 100 years.
For those that like the strategy of baseball, what's better then having your pitcher bat. What dilemmas this brings; should the manager pull a pitcher who is mowing em down or should he have the pitcher bunt and move the runners. I know that the designated hitter does prolong careers but many times the DH is just an aging star trying to relive his glory days. Do we really want to see aging stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. struggle to break the Mendoza Line? If you can't play in the field then you shouldn't be playing the national past time professionally. Even in slow pitch softball the players (who often weigh over 300 lbs) have to go both ways. Without the DH you provide Manny Ramirez a chance to come in for one bat and bring a little excitement to the game.

Top 5 Reasons Pitchers Need To Bat

1. Girls dig the long ball, so lets give pitchers a fighting chance.

2. It gives pitchers a chance to "help themselves".

3. It would increase the ERA's around the league.

4. It gives them something to think about while in the bullpen.

5. It provides for more strategy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LOSMAN JUMPING TO UFL - Fights uphill battle and history

J.P. Losman of the Buffalo Bills will attempt to do something that few others have been able to do - revive his quarterbacking career via another league. Losman plans on playing in the UFL as a starting quarterback rather than wait his turn in the NFL. Very few QB's have played in another league and then had success in the NFL. The most recent quarterbacks to do it are Kurt Warner (Arena) and Tommy Maddox (XFL) but Losman still faces a uphill battle. For example in the USFL, which was the most successful competitor to the NFL, only 8 of the 50 USFL quarterbacks went on to play more than 5 years in the NFL. Losman may hve success in the UFL but that most likely will be the end of his professional road (unless he turns to MMA like Warren Sapp). Time will tell.

Top 10 QB's That Played In Another League

1. Steve Young (USFL)

2. Jim Kelly (USFL)

3. Kurt Warner (Arena)

4. Danny White (WFL)

5. Doug Williams (USFL)

6. Pat Haden (WFL)

7. B. Hebert (USFL)

8. Gary Danielson (WFL)

9. Tommy Maddox (XFL)

10. Cliff Stoudt (USFL)

Honorable Mention: Rick Neuheisal (USFL and 1 year in NFL where he did not play- anytime I have a chance to dog on"Slick Rick" I have to do it, it can only help my blogger stats)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

OLD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN - Best performances by older athletes

Tom Watson is what makes sports great. I know that he is not going to win the British Open but to even be in contention at 59 years old is amazing. Golf may be boring to watch without Tiger in the hunt but Watson has been able to provide what every sports fan needs once in a while; an unlikely hero. We would not have remembered this final day of the British Open had it not been for Watson. Bringing back memories of the 70's and his historic battles with Jack Nicklaus, Watson captivates fans of all ages. How can you not root for a man old enough to be some of his playing partner's fathers. He is the underdog of all underdogs and what makes sports great. Tiger is the future of golf but Watson gives us a little taste of the past. Tom we are rooting for you.

Top 5 Age-Challenged Performances

1. George Foreman 1994
At 45 years of age and 20 years since his last title, Foreman won the Heavyweight Boxing Championship by knocking Michael Moorer out in the 10th round.

2. Kurt Warner 2008
At 37 years of age the Arizona quarterback torched the Pittsburgh Steelers for 377 yards on 31-43 passes and 3 touchdowns. The Cardinals lost the game but Warner was definitely a hero.

3. Nolan Ryan 1991
On May 1st 1991, Nolan Ryan at the age of 44 did what most pitchers only dream of; pitching a no hitter. For Ryan though this was his seventh no-no and just another day in the park.

4. Jack Nicklaus 1986
At 46 years of age, Jack Nicklaus wowed golf fans just as Watson is doing today, the only difference is that Nicklaus won. He won the 1986 Masters, the 2nd oldest golfer to do so.

5. Michael Jordan 1998
With a virus causing extreme fatigue,The 34 year old Michael Jordan poured in 38 points helping the Chicago Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz for the NBA title. In the playoffs that year, Jordan averaged 32.4 points a game and over 5 rebounds.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

STOLEN DREAMS - Cities that deserve their sports team back

In 1 minute and 43 seconds David Stern gave Seattle fans hope; hope that Seattle will once again have an NBA team. Steve Kelley, a writer for the Seattle Times, put Stern on the spot about a future team in Seattle. A new franchise in Seattle can only be a positive step for the league. Seattle is a great place for the NBA and I am not just saying that because I live in Seattle. I don't wish to rehash the horrible past few years that Seattle fans have had to endure but by golly they deserve an NBA team. Seattle fans have rights and deserve what every other tax paying fan has; the opportunity to:

1. Pay $8 for a beer
2. Yell at incompetent officials
3. Watch great athletes take an extra step or two
4. Enjoy the halftime dance teams gyrating and grinding.
5. Sit through 14 (at least 7 per team) timeouts in the last 2 minutes of a close game
6. Toil over another loss
7. Sell their end season tickets for 1/2 price on the Stub Hub
8. Witness their team tank the last 10 home games to improve their draft

So bring back the Sonics or Light Rails or whatever you want to call them and give Seattle fans a chance to be fans again.

Top 5 Cities That Deserve Their Team Back (a historical look)

1. Brooklyn (MLB)
The 1958 move to L.A., just 3 years past a World Series title in Brooklyn makes this move hard to swallow. Brooklyn's history is amazing and the city was instrumental in the development of the National Past time. They began play in 1890 where they won a pennant in their first year. 9 World Series appearances, Jackie Robinson and over 50 years of history, what else do you need to know.

2. Seattle (NBA)
The way that Seattle lost its NBA franchise to Oklahoma City was unfortunate. With emails, promises and lies the NBA lost one of the northwest's best team. The Sonics 1979 championship put Seattle on the professional sports map for the first time.

3. Houston (NFL)
The 1997 move to Memphis was not really a success and poor attendance made the Oilers have to play games in a college stadium. Bring back the memories of Earl Campbell, "Luv Ya Blue" and Bum Phillips with a return to Houston.

4. Los Angeles (NFL)
No city should have to watch its storied franchise wallow in mediocrity like L.A. has had to do with the 1995 move to St. Louis. The NFL needs a team in Los Angeles.

5. Montreal/Vancouver or any other Canadian city (MLB, NBA)
We need to be nice to our northern neighbors and I would love to see the old Expo hat make a comeback.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MY MISTAKE, PUJOLS NO TED WILLIAMS - but history does repeat itself

So Ted William's All-Star game record will live for a another year as Albert Pujols let history down by going 0 for 3 with an error (ouch). The good news is that I was 5 for 6 on my historical predictions:

1. The game finished 4-3 keeping with the trend of All-star games being close.

2. The American League won AGAIN.

3. A total of 16 pitchers were used and only 2 pitchers threw more than an inning.

4. Many players were snubbing especially since the rosters were expanded (the most notable to me was the 42 year old Tim Wakefield...you would think they would give the oldest player since Satchel Paige a chance to play in his last All-Star game)

5. Ratings must have sucked...I didn't watch the game, did you? (note: it was the shortest All-Star game since 1988 thank goodness)

So what we have learned? Well that the All-Star game is very predictable based off history and that Pujols is no Ted Williams.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PUJOLS; JUST THE MAN TO DO IT - Ted William's All-Star game performance in jeopardy

So what can we expect from this years MLB All-Star Game? Based on history, we can expect the following:

1. A close game
47 All-Star games have been decided by 2 runs or less.

2. Many pitchers
The average number of innings for an All-Star pitcher is about 1.5

3. An American League Victory
The American League has won 17 of the last 21 games

4. A quality player will be snubbed
Difficult to get over 60 players in the game in only 9 innings

5. Ratings will suck
Ratings have decreased rapidly since the 80's and nobody cares anyway.

and last but not least we will see Albert Pujols have the best All-Star game ever. Yeah that's right, I am predicting a record breaking evening by the best player in the majors. Why would I be so bold, well that is easy because history repeats itself. Albert Pujols is having a year very reminiscent of the year Ted Williams had in 1946. Ted Williams performance in the 46' All-Star game ranks as the best single game output ever.

Here is William's stat line that day: 4 for 4 with 5 RBIs, 4 runs and 2 home runs

Pujols will have a performance similar if history has anything to it. Lets compare the two players and see the similarities.

1946 Ted Williams (Season Stats)

BA: .342
OBP: .497
SLG: .667
OPS: 1.164
HR: 38

Williams led the lead American League in RUNS, BB, OBP, SLG, TB and was 2nd in home runs.

2009 Albert Pujols (Up to All-Star Break)
BA: .332
OBP: .456
SLG: .723
OPS: 1.179
HR: 32

Pujols leads the National League in RUNS, BB, OBP, SLG, TB and is 1st in home runs.

History will repeat itself tonight and Albert Pujols will be in All-Star game record book. You heard it hear first (though I have been known to be wrong).

Monday, July 13, 2009

THE WAR TO END ALL WARS - Hagler vs Hearns 1985

You gotta love late night TV. Last night I was treated to something very special that should never be forgotten. ESPN Classic was discussing the greatest boxing match ever: The 1985 Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler fight. "The War" as it was called only went 3 rounds but provided more entertainment then any boxing or UFC match you will ever see these days.

This middleweight bout was an all out war as these two warriors went at each other from the first bell. There was even bad blood between these two before the fight even began as Hearns, who is 6'1 called the 5'9 Hagler a "midget". Hagler quickly responded by calling Hearns a "freak" and claiming he would be "a giant in the ring". After listening to Hearn's corner man on ESPN Classic, I got the feeling that Hagler (because he was southpaw) may have been a bad match up for Hearns who would finish his career 61-5. But that didn't stop Tommy from going toe to toe with the champ for 3 straight rounds in this thriller. If you like to watch jabs being thrown or if you like to watch a wrestling match then this fight isn't for you. Hearns and Hagler will go down in my book as the best 3 rounds of boxing of all-time.

5 Reason Why "The War" Was The Greatest Fight Of All-Time

1. Toughness
Hearns fights the whole fight with a broken hand.

2. Champions
This was the battle of 2 great champions. Hagler was 60-2-2 (50 KO), Hearns was 40-1 (33 KO) and both held belts.

3. Blood
In the 1st round, Hagler is bloodied from a cut on the forehead but forges on, knocking Hearns down.
Hagler was bloodied so badly that the referee stopped the fight in the 3rd round so that the ring doctor could check his cut.

4. Short but Sweet
Earned Ring Magazine Honors for Fight of Year but lasted only 3 rounds (only 2 other fights that have won the honor have gone fewer rounds). The 1st round was one of the greatest rounds ever with over

5. Determination
Hearns is knocked down in the 3rd and somehow gets up at the count of 9 only to have the fight stopped by the referee.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

TOP 10 SIGNS IT IS TIME TO HANG EM UP - A guide to sports retirement

Spokane Washington's Hoopfest, the biggest 3 on 3 basketball tournament in world with over 6,000 teams is a great illustration that your never to old to ball it up. If you walk down the street at Hoopfest you will see a multitude of over aged men throwing their bodies around trying to re-live their glory days. How do I know, because I was one of those over the hill guys trying to show that I still had it. Now, that was 3 years ago when I was a young eager 35 year old but I am sure things haven't changed too much. I am well beyond this stage in my life and I have no desire to ever play again, except for the occasional student-teacher basketball game. This made me wonder, at what age is time for an athlete to call it quits?
Brett Farve hasn't figured it out, Shawn Kemp hasn't figured it out and Shaquille O'neal has yet to understand that when you get older your skills diminish. It is said that the average age that a world class athlete retires is 33 years of age and that include the gymnasts who retire at an age of 19. So what are the signs that an athlete is getting too old? When is it time to say..."you know I have had a great career, now I am going to be an color commentator or rapper?" I believe that there are some tell tale signs:

Top 10 Signs It Is Time To Retire From Sports

1. You have retired once before...see Brett Farve

2. You have thought about playing with elbow and knee pads...see Kevin Willis

3. Your vertical jump is less then your waist size...see Shawn Kemp

4. You have injured more than 3 body parts...see Fred Taylor

5. You have thought about wearing goggles...see Kurt Rambis

6. You are over 33 years of age and your fastball doesn't register on the radar gun...see Jaime Moyer, Tom Glavine and Tim Wakefield.

7. You don't ever have to throw or shoot or touch a ball...see Ken Griffey Jr., Bruce Bowen, Brad Johnson

8. You have thought about becoming a player coach...see Michael Jordan & Pete Rose

9. You have an audition for "Dancing with the stars" or some other reality TV show.

10. The announcers use the terms: Gritty, Experienced, or Grizzled.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Is technology ruining sports?
Each year some new modern gadget comes out that is said to revolutionize the way the game is watched and each year the sports fan loses the one thing that makes sports exciting; the debate. Baseball's new modern revolution is now upon us with a statistical software that "will record the exact speed and location of the ball and every player on the field". The software plays like a video game and will give stats on anything from which infielders reach the hard-hit grounders up the middle? Which base runners are the fastest from first base to third? Which right fielders charge the ball quickest and throws most accurately?
This software can not be good for us classic sport fans. No longer can we debate the best arm in baseball or the fastest player between the bases. This software will tell us exactly who is the fastest to ground ball or what outfielder throws the ball the hardest. Do we really want to know this information? The debates I have with my friends and other sports fans makes baseball exciting. I claim Derek Jeter is the fastest to first base and then my buddies laugh and throw things at me...now that is sports.
Baseball already has enough statistics. With baseball's invention of WHIPS, OPS and IBBs I think we are good on stats thank you. We need something to be left up to our imagination. I want to be able to argue who is the fastest, strongest, most athletic , or even who eats the most. Sometime more is not better.

Top 5 Worst Technological Advancements in Sports

1. The Glowing Puck
Fox Network came up with this ridiculous idea calling it FoxTrax. Did they really believe that hockey fans couldn't follow a black puck on white ice (I am not a color coordinator but at least I know that black and white are contrasting colors). The traditional hockey fans hated this glowing red puck almost as much as they hate running out of Pabst Blue Ribbon. It lasted only a couple of years and will forever be known as the worst innovation of all-time.

2. Instant Replay
I know this may not be a popular choice but to traditional fans instant replay has ruined the game. Referees NEED to make WRONG calls. We fans need someone to blame our teams losses on. We need someone to yell at and we need something talk about. Referee mistakes are good for the game. Not only that but Instant Replay is still wrong many times (just ask Seahawk fans ie...Testeverde and then the Superbowl debacle). Wimbledon has even brought instant replay to tennis. Tennis without yelling at the refs (think John McEnroe) is like NASCAR without the crashes; we need bad calls. Instant Replay has taken the joy out of being a rabid fan.

3. Artificial Turf
Not only did artificial turf ruin players careers but it also annoyed many traditional football fans by taking away the mud. Think of some of the great football players of the past, Dick Butkus, Y.A Title, and any Green Bay Packer, and then picture them playing on artificial turf. No mud, little blood and no dirt. Football was meant to be played on grass, not turf, not sand but grass. I like the mud, I like it when players slip and slide. Who cares that the game is slower...it looks better.

4. No Announcers
This is the anti-technological innovation. The NFL tried this idea in a game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. The game would played without any announcers, so that fans could hear the sounds of the game (roar of the crowd, refs whistle, total silence, etc). This is like having a comedy without the laugh track or a horror movie without the music. It was a total flop and they never tried it again...wonder why.

5. Helmet headset
This may be a great idea if and only if, I also got a helmet headset and could make and change play calls. Instead it just makes the game like a video game in which two players miles away form each other talk smack over a game of Ghost Recon. I can't hear what they are saying and frankly, if they want to talk to each other just let the coach be ON the field like they do in training camp. Let the players play please.

If you have any other innovations I missed please let me know.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

BASKETBALL'S BEST EVER - 1992 "Dream Team" inducted into Olympic Hall of Fame

The greatest basketball team to ever be assembled is again making headlines. The original "Dream Team" of the 1992 Olympics will be inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in August. The "Dream Team" was without a doubt the best U.S. basketball team to ever set foot on foreign soil as they dominated their eight opponents by an average of 44 points. Show me another team in any sport that was that dominant.

With Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as the headliners, the "Dream Team" as they were called went into the Barcelona games fully loaded. The roster consisted of a team full of all-stars and 10 of the NBA's 50 greatest players. They had the size, speed, shooting and defense to humiliate their opponents. Coached by the late Hall of Famer Chuck Daly, the team cruised through the qualifying round and then went on to go undefeated in pool play with a different player leading them in scoring each game.
The quarterfinals brought an over matched Puerto Rican team that the "Dream Team" demolished 115-77. Next came a 51 point win over Spain and the finals was the closest game of all, a 32 point blowout over Croatia. In all, 5 players on the U.S. team scored in double figures and only John Stockton and Christian Laettner averaged under 8 points a game.

The "Dream Team" would defeat any basketball team that world could ever assemble.

Top 5 Reasons Why The 1992 "Dream Team" Is The Best Team Ever:

1. Experience
Two of the the "Dream Team's" best players, Magic and Bird had over 15 years experience in the NBA between them and only 3 players (Laettner, Pippen and Robinson) on that '92 team were under 27 years of age. This was a team that had been around the block and knew how to win. Six of the twelve players had won a championship and all but 2 had been to the NBA finals (Laettner and Mullin). This was an experienced team of winners.

2. Basketball IQ
The "Dream Team" was also one of the smartest teams. They knew how the game was to be played. Some of the smartest and craftiest NBA players played on that team. John Stockton was not the tallest or strongest but he found a way to get it done. Magic and Bird epitomized craftiness even though they were not the greatest leapers. Charles Barkley used his 6'6 body better than anyone and was one of the greatest rebounders and scorers. These guys knew how to use space and had amazing basketball IQ's

3. Jordan in his prime
Not only were they crafty but they also had the greatest basketball player ever to play the game leading them. Jordan was in his prime at only 29 years of age and just had come off 6 seasons of scoring over 30 points a game. By this time in his career, Jordan was just about unstoppable. His 3 point shot was just starting to improve and nobody could contain him off the dribble. The Bulls were in the middle of their 3-peat as NBA champs all due to Jordan's talents. I would put Jordan in his prime up against any other basketball player on the face of the earth...and I may even give you odds.

4. Defense
The "Dream Team" could also "D" you up. With the 1991-92 defensive player of the year David Robinson roaming the middle and 1987-88 defensive player of the year Michael Jordan picking pockets on the outside, the "Dream Team" could shut down opponents without much effort. The most points they gave up in the Olympics of '92 was 85. You also have other great defensive players to count on in Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing and John Stockton (all have finished in the top 7 of the NBA defensive player of the year award).

5. Coaching
The 92' team with Chuck Daly, Lenny Wilkens and Mike Krzyzewski had plenty of experience between them. Between the three they had over over 2800 wins and 6 titles. These guys were great choices for this team because you had a current NBA coach, a coaching legend and one of the greatest all-time college coaches. With the leadership of these guys no one would beat the 1992 Dream Team.

1992 Dream Team Roster

Here are the "Dream Team's Top 10 Plays

*NOTE: I will be going on VACATION for the next week and so the RETRO SPORTS TALK BLOG will be on hiatus until I get back. Have a great 4th of July and stay safe.