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Posted by JDIN827 on July 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (7)

Seems the word in Cleveland for not one, but now TWO of our sports team is dyfunctional. 

I'd say after Kyrie, is DISS function.  Again, another sports star takes a dump on Cleveland and her most loyal and passionate fan base.  Lebron has always held us hostage.  Jim Thome left us for more $$$ and got a statue at Jacobs Field.  Browns players leave the team and tell the world they are relieved. 

As one of those most passionate and loyal sports fan, I'm !@#$%^&*()_+ freaking SICK AND TIRED of getting dumped on, passed by, constantly reading "No one wants to play in Cleveland" and having athletes here dump on us! 

Well you know what Mr. Athlete?  YOU signed a contract to play here.  YOU are getting lots of money to play here.  And when you excel, or tell us you love it here and appreciate the fanbase, you're ONE of us, FOREVER...especially when you give us our first Championship in 52 years!  And then that loyalty and good karma gets chit on. 

If Kyrie wants to be "the man" then wait a year when Lebron blows us off...AGAIN.  I think there is more here than we know - Hey, 3 straight finals, the ability to do what you want, work alongside a game great, and take more shots than him ISNT good enough for you???  I know you saw the Cavs stats when Lebron James was on the floor vs. off the floor.  Kyrie wasnt "the man".

So, maybe you were the one telling Jimmy Butler not to come here?

Wow, to tell teammates and then let it slip out...WOW...just wow.  Then, of course, to not tell Lebron.  Yikes.  Something more is happening.  I'd be blindsided too. 

Not to mention the Cavs dysfunction.  I read Gilbert had trade deals for George and Paul and even Butler on the table when he got the boot.  I hear Kyrie told the Cavs in June he wanted out.  We lowballed Chauncey.  We will soon have a 34 year-old GM. 

UG, when I think of what COULD have been trade wise had we had our act together!  What a bunch of krap to deal with!  No GM.  Waiting a month for Chauncey.  Rumors that Lebron is unhappy and gone next year.  Not wanting Kyrie's request to leak out.  Taking forever to find your front office, and negative words about  Gilbert.  Sounds like...

Sounds like...

Sounds like...

The Browns!  Chit-tayest team in the NFL with the Chi-tayest front office over the decades!


And what about that Tribe!  LOL!  Cant seem to pull that many great games together!  (Except when we pounce on the Blue Jays and win 13-3!  Hello?  Scurds! ;)  Heck, we SHOULD have won the World Series at home last year, after that monster Home Run, but the Indians just sat there during the rain delay, and the Cubs had a team meeting, to go get it! 

Such is Cleveland sports!

So, we'll probably go back to that "Cleveland Misery" thing where all three teams stink and we wait and we wait and we wait, and there are front office changes, bad drafts, athletes who leave and become superstars elsewhere....

Our city, and its fan base DOES NOT deserve this krap!

One thing I can take solice from is the fact that Urban Meyer and my Buckeyes will AGAIN be crowned National Champions....I think 2018 baby!  (Scurds, ya hear that!  Write it down baby!  2018 Champs)!

Goooooooooooooo Buckeyes!  OH!  IO!

Should B&B be B&B&K?

Posted by Radatz on July 22, 2017 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (4)

Speaking of Mayweather etc., I was watching TV and the 'analysts' were debating Brady's rank all-time, which segued into whether he should be favored to win MVP this year (which apparently he is), which got lost in 'is he done at 40' etc. There was no info. There was, however, an idea as the numbers were pouring out.

Does anybody talk owners? Sure, we get the Rooneys, the Maras, Halas, Hunt, Modell, Irsay, Jones... the usual gang of suspects, some eternally lauded, some eternally razzed. Everyone talks about QBs and coaches , e.g. Brady and Belichick, Bradshaw and Noll, Graham and Brown, as well they should. I decided to look up some quick numbers.

Clearly the brightest span in Patriots history has occurred under the ownership of Robert Kraft. He owned what was originally Schaefer Stadium. When new owner James Orthwein, a Busch relation, bought the team in the early 90s it was clearly step one of moving the team to St. Louis, which had lost the Cardinals. It was he who hired Parcells and it was Parcells who drafted Bledsoe. But after their first season together Orthwein asked Kraft for a buyout on his lease to move the team, offering the then-astronomical sum of $75M. Kraft turned it down, knowing it would push Orthwein to sell the team. Kraft then bought the team for a record $154M (are you getting the idea of what "inflation" means yet?). Despite threats of moving the team to Hartford over new stadium desires (Hartford had even built one), he squeezed a deal and kept the team in Foxboro. And that's the brief history of his arrival.

He has now owned the team for 23 seasons. During that time, the Patriots have made 18 playoff appearances, won 16 division titles, 8 conference championships and 5 Super Bowls. Digest that for a moment. It's a substantial tenure of ownership, and the team has been in the playoffs over 3/4 of the time, won the division over 2/3 of the time, won the conference over 1/3 of the time and won the title over 1/5 of the time. Not bad.

He put NE back on its feet in the 90s. Then in 2000 he famously snookered the Jets, snagging Belichick from under their noses as Parcells prepared to desert yet another organization and named BB his successor. The acceptance speech was a brief farewell, straight from the podium. It was Kraft's revenge for the Jets' tampering with Parcells in early 1997, but nobody gauged how much revenge it would be at that moment, especially after NE went 5-11 in Belichick's first season. The glee over that season in NY was short-lived, and here's why. Belichick has been head coach for 17 seasons now. His team has made the playoffs 14 times, won 14 divisions, won 7 conferences and won 5 Super Bowls. They have also been to a stunning 10 AFC title games; that is, Belichick's Patriots have missed the AFC title game 7 times in the past 17 seasons.

Take these numbers down to Tom Brady's tenure as starting QB and that becomes 10 AFC title games in 16 seasons, 14 divisions in 16 seasons, 7 conferences in 16 seasons and 5 Super Bowls in 16 seasons. Brady has won the NFL title nearly a third of his long career. Without two miracle-catch upset losses to NY, it would have been nearly half of his career.

Nobody in NFL history that I know of has met such numbers. There have been concentrated spans of success that NE hasn't matched, but nothing of this sustained duration. Green Bay's domination of the 60s was unparalleled, as was Pittsburgh's 70s dynasty in the SB era, but they didn't last long. The Niners of the 80s and 90s are the closest parallel, and they are close in pure franchise terms. But the figures amassed so far in this run by New England are almost surreal in retrospect, and even more so when the details such as regular-season records during 'unsuccessful' seasons are taken into account. It is the most absurdly successful ongoing rebuild in NFL history, and it's happened in the cap era.

And Kraft has had plenty to do with it, especially considering said cap era. More please.

mayweather muhgregor

Posted by the immortal scurds on July 19, 2017 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (5)

 another fight of the century. i have a couple thoughts: clearly muhgregor is no match for may in a boxing match. i watched a little bit of connor boxing, and its rather sad. i watched a little mayweather, and its rather frightening.  the skills are non competitive. slow lumbering wide swinging muhgregor against the straight right left hook that floyd can toss?? it may not last long.

 mayweather has everything to lose, he will not take this lightly. i think he may actually look for a knockout, but he most certainly wont have too. if manny couldnt catch up to him, muhgregor wont.

 but connor isa bit of a wildman, and he will be all out in this one. he is going to get pummelled or danced into the dirt. i wonder if he might lose his cool and kick mayweather in the head, or drop him with an elbow when he has had enough. his contract says he wont get paid if that happens, but elbows get thrown once in a while in boxing too. that would be something to see.

A Baseball Story for All Star Night

Posted by Radatz on July 11, 2017 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (11)

I grew up with a guy we called Ghost. He was red-haired and freckled, and had to avoid sun or turn into a lobster, hence "Ghost." He went to BC undergrad, then law school. He spent a lot of time in Boston. In fact, the front page photo when the Red Sox won the pennant in 1967 (when we were still in high school) featured him and others holding Jim Lonborg on their shoulders. Two years later at Woodstock, he would manage to somehow end up on the album cover. He's clearly visible, back mostly turned, with his bright orange hair. I hadn't seen him since the early 90s when he moved away, and heard recently that he'd passed away too young.

Now to the point. He had accumulated all sorts of lore about Boston sports from his years there, a sample of which crossed my mind tonight, and I thought I'd relate it for you. It's a goodie, and I've never read it anyplace else. It is a Ted Williams story. What else? I thought of it while watching the All Star Game.

Williams was always at odds with the local sportswriters. One off day the usual gang of hounds were at the park to sniff for stories, and got into it with Williams. "How well do you really see the ball" he was asked. He replied "I can tell if I hit the ball on the flat or on the seam." This drew the usual laughter, and finally they went to the plate with a pine-tar-blackened bat and someone threw him ten pitches to hit. With each crack of the bat he'd yell "seam" or "flat", the pine tar leaving a mark. When it was over, he'd called 9 correctly. The other one was marginal. The writers had to admit he'd proven his point.

But the best was reserved for last. Whether Ted was serious or just jabbing the wounded writers one more time is a topic for conjecture, but he added the following: "Now I'm going to tell you something you wouldn't have believed before. I can see the ball compress against the bat!"

No one argued with him.

A Long Journey's Uncertain End.....

Posted by Ark_Razor on July 10, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (8)

For nearly 4-1/2 years, I had been dogged in my determination. My quest technically began in 6/11/12, so really it was close to 5 years.

One by one, I hunted them down....... 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18...... (link 1st 7 in comments)

(link) Over the years I hunted them down.......... 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12........

Various events- sometimes coming up empty........ 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5.........

Until, those were of no more use to me..........

and then there were 4........

Some real thinking outside the box was going to be necessary for those 4........

(link) Then those 3.........

(link) Then those 2.........

(link) Finally, only 1........ 1 remained........

Jonathan Bernier

Dustin Brown Captain*

Jeff Carter*

Kyle Clifford

Drew Doughty*

Davis Drewiske

Colin Fraser*

Simon Gagne

Matt Greene*

Dwight King*

Anze Kopitar*

Trevor Lewis*

Alec Martinez*

Willie Mitchell

Jordan Nolan*

Dustin Penner

Jonathan Quick*

Mike Richards

Brad Richardson*

Rob Scuderi*

Jarret Stoll*

Slava Voynov*

Kevin Westgarth*

Justin Williams*

*Denotes photographic provenance

I had procured 23 of the 24 L.A. Kings players whose name was on the Stanley Cup in their first championship. I had presented the guitar to each of them personally and told the saga and the story. (Many of you already know it).

Wayne Gretzky may not sign this guitar

Luc Robitaille may not sign this guitar

Bobby Orr may not sign this guitar

Gordie Howe could not have signed this guitar

but YOU can with the other 23 of your teammates.

So, this is the story of my attempts at #24. However, there was a sense of urgency associated with this one, which you will see soon enough.

Davis Drewiske...... the last of the Mohicans so to speak.

Who? You may say? Exactly.

Davis Drewiske was born in November 1984 in Wisconsin and went to UW to play for the Badgers- after a year in the USHL. (My dad went there and graduated in 1948, hence I already knew I would like the guy!) He was on the NCAA Championship team of 2006.

He was undrafted coming out of college, but the Kings signed him as a FA after his graduation from Wisky and cup of coffee with then AHL affiliate of the Kings, Manchester, April 2008.

He was up with the big club by the end of the next season, where he pretty much stuck with them until he was traded by the Kings to Montreal near the end of the 2013 season. MTL signed him to a 2 year, one way contract (translation: he's guaranteed several hundred $K per year). He was sent to their AHL affiliate. After that he was signed on a partial two way deal with the Flyers where he played the entire season with their AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He retired at the end of the 2016 season.

He did not make the huge $$$ in terms of hockey players, but he had several years of league minimum type deals, which were several hundred K a year.

Primarily known as a "stay at home" defensemen, the original DD, had 5 goals in his entire career. Also known as somewhat of an enforcer, I liked his game for us when we stunk. I was glad to see him hang around long enough to see the fruits of that labor.

In the 2012 season, he was primarily our 7th defenseman. We used only 6 d-men for the entire cup run, so he didn't play in the post-season. However, he was on the roster for the entire season so the league granted a variance and allowed his name to be on the Cup. Well deserved!

Here is his last goal as a King, from a 2013 road beatdown on our then whipping boys.... the St. Louis Blues.

OK. So much for the background. How do I track this guy down?

Well, I had a couple of leads, but they didn't play out. However, all hail social media.... all hail private messages on social media!

I hailed Mr. Drewiske privately on February 22, 2017. I did get a response from him a couple of weeks indicating his ready willingness to sign my guitar!

Problem, he was in Minnesota.

Then, I let the ball drop b/c of some business commitments. I restarted this backup again. It took a while, but he corresponded with his continued willingness. After about 3 weeks of logistics, I flew to Minneapolis to meet him at the Hilton Hotel MPLS airport on 5/22. He had tried to come to LA, but he was in the process of taking a new job (in a field that I am VERY familiar with).

Sure enough, at the appointed time, Mr. Drewiske came into the lobby.

We had some small talk. I spoke with him about his new job (which I think he will be well suited for). He is still in contact with many of those Kings players. Oh, he and his longtime wife were expecting their first child, I believe in July!

Then, he did the deed.

Here is the provenance.

When I travelled back through the MPLS airport, I ran into another Kings season seat holder! I showed him the guitar and got a couple of better pics (I have a flip phone, he did not!).'

Count em! 24!


Davis Drewiske*

So, why the uncertain ending?

Many of you remember the great blogger gymrome from the old site. I've never met him, but he is a FB friend of mine (one of only 56). I have been hoping to meet him someday. Really, the guy is an Ohio State fan, and he's a cool guy!

Well, he has been a big encourager to me in this whole process. He has believed that I would get this done and has told me to tell others about this quest.

Alas, gymrome has been ill. I have not had direct contact with him for a while, but at least he has made a mild comeback on FB acknowledging posts.

The reason that this is an uncertain end is b/c gymrome needs to see this guitar in person and hold it.

A lot of that is out of my control.

gym, if you are listening, I am ready. Tell me where you are and we will make it happen!

So Long Jumpin' Gene

Posted by Radatz on July 6, 2017 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (8)

You don't remember him but I do. His name was Gene Conley, and he passed away at 86. Who was this guy, you ask?

He was an amazing athlete. To me, he was the sub center for the Boston Celtics at their peak, winning 3 rings. He was no small part of it. Russell called him the meanest player he ever played against, and he played against him every day in practice. Johnny Most dubbed him Jumpin' Gene. In the 1959-60 season, with probably the best team Boston ever put on the floor, he averaged almost 20 minutes at nearly 7 points and over 8 rebounds per game. He along with Sam and KC Jones and others were instrumental in keeping Boston's stellar starters fresh all season.

Not bad. But he also pitched for the Red Sox at the end of his baseball career, 1961-63. Prior to that he had come into the league with the Boston Braves and gone with them to Milwaukee where he won a World Series in 1957. The 6-8 righty was an All Star 3 times in the National League.

RIP Gene Conley.

The Halfway Point

Posted by Radatz on July 2, 2017 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (4)

A day before the 4th, we're close enough to the actual halfway point for jazz. Some are at 81 games, some over, some under. So it begs the obligatory summary. How do the divisions look? Predictably not as unpredictable as perhaps a month ago, but still with some surprises.

ALE: John Farrell blessed the Red Sox with his absence for a couple of games this past week and the team responded predictably, playing their best ball of the season so far. They opened a 3-game lead over NY, reaching .573, but with a threatening series in hot Texas looming and no travel day from Toronto. Still, only 9.5 games separate the entire division. A run or a slump by anybody could turn things upside down.

ALC: The Indians have gotten some help lately from the slumping Twins who now sit 3 back. Not, however, from the Royals, who also sit 3 back. This division is even tighter than the ALE with but 8 games of separation top to bottom.

ALW: If you've been waiting for Houston to come down to earth, keep the telescope oiled. The Astros lead baseball with a remarkable .675 percentage, and their division by an equally remarkable 14.5 games over 2nd-place LA/Anaheim/Whatever. Six games separate the 'bottom four', one of whom (Angels) are as high as .500.

NLE: The Nats have slid to .580, still good enough for a 7 game lead over sub-.500 Atlanta, who've actually picked up all of the last 3 games in the standings. If it continues it may get interesting someday.

NLC: The highly-dissed underdog Brewers continue to confound with a 2-game lead. The Cubs continue to confound as they sit at .500. The Cards have been hot lately, but still sit 2 games under .500. The battle for first, featuring two teams with a combined 4 games over .500, may not be the classic battle of the titans, but it's the hottest battle in the majors at this point.

NLW: The Dodgers, at a lofty .655, still sit in first with the Lovullo-led Dbacks 2.5 games back at .627. Colorado has come down from a long high. They haven't crashed yet, but it could happen anytime. They're now 7 out. LA is nearly at Houston's level, but unlike Houston they have a competitor and sit in what is currently the second-hottest battle for first in baseball.

Happy NHL Free Agent Day

Posted by Galfur on July 1, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (8)

Also known as Canada Day! You people sure know how to celebrate a holiday! Enjoy, stay safe, God bless and best of luck with the roster!

Top 100?

Posted by Radatz on June 27, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (10)

Maybe you caught NFLN's 'top 100' series for 2017, or maybe not, but it's done and the list is published (even in Wikipedia). Voted by 902 players. Big news was Brady making #1 for the second time, the only 2-timer at #1 so far in the short-lived (since 2011) list.

The room for debate is of course cavernous, so these lists are always fun. But filtering is fun too. For example, based on the list, what's the best offensive lineup you could have (excluding such minutiae as 'chemistry' etc.)? Well, assuming a common setup of 3 WRs, 1 TE and 1 RB, it would look like this:

QB: Tom Brady

RB: LeVeon Bell

WRs: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham

TE: Rob Gronkowski

C: Travis Frederick

G: Marshal Yanda, Zack Martin

OT: Tyron Smith, Joe Thomas

Another interesting note is that, in the 'age of the cornerback', not one cracked the top 18. Peterson of KC was 19, Sherman was 21.

And one more detail: how were the QBs ranked within the list?

1. Brady

6. Rodgers

10. Ryan

11. Carr

14. Prescott

16. Brees

22. Ben

24. Wilson

31. Stafford

44. Newton

50. Mariota

51. Luck

57. Winston

70. Cousins

73. Rivers

81. A. Smith

A lot of omissions. Cam probably should have been one of them based on team impact, stats, and those left off the list. It's hard to find a QB with a worse completion percentage in 2016, and perhaps hard to find a less inspiring team leader north of Ozzy and Goff. Winston sits 13 spots back despite making the playoffs over Cam in the same division? Both Mariota and Luck led supposedly worse teams to better records. Eli Manning's not even on the list despite an 11-5 year for the Giants and a 63% completion percentage (Cam's was 52%)?

Viper Derek?

Posted by Radatz on June 24, 2017 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (2)

How valuable are top-tier quarterbacks really? It seems a silly question to answer in the wake of a decade-plus of Brady-Manning classics and in a league that hasn't seen a team win without one since the 2002 season. But you have to do it right.

Consider the Ravens. After 2012, when Joe Flacco led them to a Super Bowl win, he became Viper Joe. His huge contractual reward was questioned even then, both by yours truly and by many others, most of them better informed I dare say. It's not that Flacco wasn't good. He was in fact magnificent, using an unusually strong arm to pinpoint drop-in throws far downfield through windstorms on the way to the title. There was little doubt he'd been a huge part of Baltimore's success ever since his arrival. Perhaps they knew that rebuild time was approaching and they couldn't rebuild the premier position on call. They had Harbaugh, whom they may have considered Belichick's heir apparent in the football world. They knew Ray Lewis was done. They had to keep him.

But history shows now that it was a double-edged sword indeed. The contrast between Flacco's five pre-contract seasons and the past four is astounding. After a middling 8-8 record in 2013 that missed the playoffs, they went 10-6 again in 2014 (their record in 2012, by the way) and nearly got past New England again. But they didn't. 2015 was an abysmal 5-11. 2016 was another 8-8. To summarize, since the Viper Joe deal, the Ravens have missed the playoffs 3 times and lost once in the divisional round. They have had one winning season, one losing season and two .500 seasons. Their record is 31-33 (32-34 including the one playoff year). They have Flacco, but the cost of keeping him has produced some bitter fruit so far. And he's 32 now. You could guess that the 'plan' (if they had one) wasn't anticipated to take this long.

Can we toss Andrew Luck into the mix? His new contract in 2016 was predictably astronomical. There was little denying that he was the major (and perhaps sole) cause of Indy's abortively short post-Manning rebuild. Was it a result of unanticipated early success lulling the now-fired Grigson into forgetting about rebuilding? Perhaps. But the early reward for Indy was to have Luck hammered into mediocrity in 2016, finally sent for surgery. Not a glowing account of one's support package. And the abuse seems to have taken a toll on Luck's decision-making. He's not getting better any more. Was there a choice? Maybe not. Was it too much? Maybe.

Which brings us to Derek Carr. Sages are saying his bonanza new contract was actually a Bradyesque deal designed not to cap-cripple the team. Carr's lip service is certainly along those lines. But will it do to Oakland/LV/Wherever what Flacco's deal apparently has done to the Ravens? Insufficient data.

He is hailed as a franchise QB, and may very well be that. But here's the rub. Flacco's contract, itself possibly a bad idea in retrospect, came after he had led his team to five consecutive playoff appearances, three conference championship games and a Super Bowl. Carr's claim to fame so far is having led the Raiders to contention in the AFC West. All the rest is speculation and nostalgia from a huge media center in the Bay area. This scribe recalls him dropping the ball when his pinky was broken and leaving it for the dogs. His team folded like an accordion without him, showing little regard for the opportunity still beckoning. It's not exactly a Flaccoesque pre-bonanza track record.

Nobody knows how things turn out. It could be that the Raiders made an investment. Or it could be that the rest of the team, widely hailed as a juggernaut, is simply a fabrication by PR experts tapping the nostalgia of great seasons gone by.

Ultimately the Raiders had no choice it seems. And pinkies notwithstanding, it's not likely that Carr is either easily distracted or gutless. In fact, he's developed noticeably. The question that will be answered is whether what he has around him is overrated. If so, his contract will be an impediment to his support package's development. And if not, it may be an impediment to its continuity.

It will be an interesting season.