Category Archives: Major League Baseball
When I last posted Sunday, I stated I would not watch the NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Michigan and Villanova, fearing the Wildcats would toy with the Wolverines.
However, I did, simply because I was in a Wichita hotel room with limited television options and no way to plug my iPad into the TV. I was in Wichita to pick up an online order and shop at Target, something I cannot do in Russell or Hays. Also, there was work going on in the bathroom downstairs, so I wanted to give the workers free rein without distraction.
Michigan started well, but by the middle of the first half, it was obvious the national championship would reside on the Main Line of Philadelphia for the second time in three seasons.
Final: Villanova 79, Michigan 62.
Jay Wright has probably cemented his place in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., if he had not already. Wright is one of just 15 coaches to win multiple championships since the first NCAA men’s tournament in 1939.
The Big Ten has not produced a men’s basketball national champion since Michigan State in 2000. The Pac-12’s drought is longer, going back to Arizona in 1997. As bad as that is, both of the “Rose Bowl” conferences have had precious little success in women’s basketball as well–the Big Ten won its only title in 1999 with Purdue, and the Pac-12 last won with Stanford way back in 1992.
I’m done with basketball for the rest of 2018. I don’t care about the NBA–unless the Bucks would make a deep playoff run, which isn’t happening–and I don’t watch early season college basketball. Too many mismatches.
Major League baseball is suffering from a rash of postponements, which happens when there is bad weather in the northern latitudes. The Royals saw last Sunday’s home game vs. the White Sox snowed out, and it was too cold for them to play Wednesday in Detroit, so there will be two doubleheaders later this month. Next up is a trip to Cleveland, which isn’t exactly a tropical paradise.
MLB needs to stop with this idea that every team should have a home opener within the first two weeks of the season. If it’s too cold in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis and Chicago, then they have to play on the road in April. The schedule will even out in July and August. Besides, who really wants to play in Atlanta in August? Even St. Louis is miserably unbearable. The Florida teams and Houston don’t count because they have retractable-roof stadiums. Milwaukee was smart enough to put a retractable roof on Miller Park, so why didn’t other teams in the Great Lakes region? Wrigley Field is one thing, but there was no reason the White Sox shouldn’t have done it. Or the Tigers. Or Twins, which played indoors for 28 seasons.
The NHL playoffs start next week. I am absolutely loathing Tampa Bay, Nashville and Vegas all having good chances to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. I will never, ever agree with the idea of hockey in southern locales. I’m glad New Orleans had a team when I was living there, because it would have been awfully tempting to go. It’s up to the Bruins and Maple Leafs to carry the flag for the Original Six, because the Rangers, Red Wings, Canadiens and Blackhawks are long gone.
Seven days until I depart for the native land.
If you thought I had passed on into the afterlife, I don’t blame you. But March was a pretty bad month for me, so I figured it best not to chronicle just how bad it was. However, I did post some very nasty things on social media which I really am hating myself for.
I am so happy March Madness ends tomorrow night. I have had it with basketball. Enough already. I’m not watching the championship game.
If Michigan keeps it close, it will be a miracle. I can’t remember Michigan being this big an underdog in a major athletic event in my lifetime. Probably the last time it happened was the 1969 football game vs. Ohio State when the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 24-12 to end Ohio State’s 22-game winning streak.
Villanova isn’t as big a favorite as Georgetown was vs. the Wildcats in the 1985 final, but it’s close. With the way the Wildcats dismantled Kansas, there’s no reason to think the Wolverines will come any closer, even though Michigan is riding a 14-game winning streak.
Michigan is 1-4 in previous title game appearances. However, the one the Wolverines won was against Seton Hall, a Catholic school from the Big East, just like Villanova. Unfortunately for John Beilein, Glen Rice has been out of eligibility since that night in Seattle 29 years ago.
Kansas got its comeuppance last night. Jayhawk fans had been talking trash all tournament, crying about the lack of respect and whatever else they could complain about. They can shut up until November.
Notre Dame just hit a buzzer beater to defeat Mississippi State in the women’s championship game.
The good news: UConn didn’t win the title. Again.
The bad news: Notre Dame won.
I do not like Irish coach Muffet McGraw. Not after she whined and bitched and complained about Geno Auriemma constantly during the 2014 Final Four, when the Huskies beat Notre Dame in the final. I am not an Auriemma lover by any means, but McGraw sounded like a shrill shrew.
I also found reason to dislike McGraw after she allowed her players to wear t-shirts supporting Black Lives Matter before several games in recent years. That has no place in sports. Period.
I also have heard in a few places McGraw is pro-abortion, which if she is, should disqualify her from being employed by Notre Dame or any other Catholic university. Then again, many pro-aborts have been featured speakers at Notre Dame, so it would not shock me if McGraw fell in line with that view.
I was very angry with Saint Louis University when it employed the late Rick Majerus, who was outspokenly pro-abortion. Majrerus not only coached at Saint Louis, but also at Marquette, another Catholic institution. Do administrators at Catholic universities do their homework? I’m beginning to believe not.
There was some good news from the sports world this weekend. The Royals lost twice to the White Sox, while the Padres, led by their $147 million man, former Royal Eric Hosmer, were swept by the Brewers. The Reds were also swept–by the Nationals–so MLB opening weekend was pretty god in my book.
I slept until 12:40 this afternoon. Maybe that wasn’t the worst thing.
Yesterday, two of the four major North American sports leagues held their All-Star games.
Both are horrid.
The National Football League once again staged the running joke that is the Pro Bowl. There was a time it meant something to make the Pro Bowl, but today, it’s all about bonus clauses in players’ contracts. The only reason any NFL player cares about the Pro Bowl is the cash he will be making.
Of the 88 players originally named to the Pro Bowl, 10 were members of the Super Bowl LII participants. Another 27 begged out of the game due to injury, whether or not the injury was real.
This meant 37 players who were not originally named to the Pro Bowl got an invitation, and even some of those replacements were injured themselves. Regardless of whether they were injured or not, the players collect their bonuses simply because they were a “Pro Bowler”, even if they were the fourth alternate at their position.
The NFL should eliminate the Pro Bowl. If they want to designate players as “Pro Bowlers”, fine, but then only those originally named can collect bonuses. Or why not have the NFLPA and NFL coaches vote on their own All-Pro team? It would mean a lot more to the players who were named the best by their peers than by the media, although the Associated Press All-Pro team is still pretty significant.
The NFL is constantly publicizing its drive to reduce injuries. Eliminating the Pro Bowl would help.
As bad as the Pro Bowl is, at least it is an actual football game.
The same cannot be said of the National Hockey League’s All-Star game.
Actually, it is now three mini-games of three-on-three between teams made up of players from each of the NHL’s four divisions (Metropolitan, Atlantic, Central and Pacific). The mini-games are divided into two 10-minute halves, and if the score is tied, there is a shootout.
The Metropolitan and Atlantic teams play for the “Eastern Conference” title, and the Central and Pacific teams play for the “Western Conference” title, with the first two winners squaring off again.
If this format isn’t asinine, I don’t know what is.
First, I cannot stand the NHL’s 3-on-3 overtime format in the regular season. Hockey is grueling enough with an 82-game schedule, so I believe overtime should be eliminated. Let tie games stay tied. If the NHL really wanted to reduce ties, it would adopt the association football format of three points for a win, and one point to each team for a tie (draw). The carrot of two extra points instead of one would get more teams to be more aggressive.
Second, the NHL All-Star game has usually been skating up and down the ice as fast as possible and shooting the puck as hard as possible. Checking is frowned upon. Penalties are almost non-existent, and if one is called, it is for something that would rarely, if ever, get called in the regular season or playoffs.
If the NHL wants to have an All-Star game, DO IT RIGHT. Make it real hockey, have the referees call penalties as they would in the regular season or playoffs, and no overtime and no shootouts.
The NBA’s All-Star game is a real basketball game, but defense is completely optional, if not abhorred. If a team doesn’t score at least 150 points in an All-Star game, it isn’t trying. Players will vacate the lane and let the opponent drive to the hoop unimpeded rather than standing their ground.
Major League Baseball has the best All-Star game by far, but from 2003 through 2016, there was a stupid provision where the winning league would secure home field advantage in the World Series for its pennant winner.
The only reason this came about is because the 2002 All-Star game ended in a 7-7 tie in then-commissioner Bud Selig’s hometown of Milwaukee. If Selig, who begged and pleaded with Wisconsin voters to build Miller Park for him so the Brewers didn’t leave America’s Dairyland, was so worried about a tie, he should have allowed pitchers and catchers to re-enter. Also, the manangers have to share some of the blame for the fiasco, since they were trying to play everyone so nobody’s feelings got hurt.
That’s the problem with today’s society. We have to let everyone play. We have to give out participation trophies.
But these are PROFESSIONAL athletes, not kids. They got their bonus no matter if they played in the All-Star game or not. If their ego can’t handle being a mere spectator in an exhibition game, they’re in the wrong business.
The English Premier League gets along just fine without an All-Star game. I think the four major leagues on this continent would not go bankrupt if their All-Star games went by the wayside. Maybe I’m wrong, but I didn’t watch one second of either game yesterday. And I am certainly avoiding the upcoming NBA All-Star game like the plague.
Kansas City may have suffered from bitter cold the last few days of 2017 and the first few days of 2018, but most sports fans in the city are over the moon.
Yes, Kansas’ men’s basketball team lost last night to Texas Tech, the first time the Red Raiders have ever won in Lawrence, and that dates back to when the Big 12 was formed for the 1996-97 basketball season. Tech didn’t play every year in Lawrence until 2010-11 after Colorado and Nebraska left and reduced the conference to ten teams, but that is a long time to go without a win in a given facility.
However, Kansas City’s professional sports teams are on cloud nine.
The Chiefs have bounced back from their miserable 1-6 slide to win four consecutive games heading into the playoffs. What has Chiefs fans more excited than the AFC West championship–the first time Kansas City has won division titles in back-to-back seasons in franchise history–or the playoff game Saturday at Arrowhead vs. the Titans is the play of rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
Mahomes, drafted 10th overall by Kansas City after the Chiefs traded with Buffalo to move up 17 spots in the first round of the 2017 draft, saw his first regular season action and performed well, passing for 284 yards and leading the Chiefs on a game-winning drive in the closing seconds at Denver last Sunday. Mahomes’ performance may prompt the Chiefs to trade Alex Smith prior to the 2018 draft, or at the latest, during training camp. Smith will be the starter in the playoffs, but if he doesn’t get the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game, he’s likely departing One Arrowhead Drive very soon.
The Royals don’t start their 2018 campaign for almost three months, but earlier today, their fans were sent into ecstasy when it was announced first baseman Eric Hosmer was offered a 7-year, $147 million contract by the club.
Hosmer, who was drafted second overall in 2008 behind Steven Strasburg, the All-Star pitcher for the Nationals, has become arguably the second most popular player in Royals franchise history behind George Brett. Hosmer came up to the Royals in 2011 and has been a mainstay in Ned Yost’s lineup ever since, leading Kansas City to the American League pennant in 2014 and the World Series championship in 2015.
It was widely expected Hosmer, along with third baseman Mike Moustakas and center fielder Lorenzo Cain, would leave Kansas City before the 2018 season. The thought was if the Royals fell out of the 2017 playoff chase early enough, they would trade any or all of the players in order to get something in return, but Kansas City hung around long enough to convince Dayton Moore to keep the players around. The Royals faded and finished 80-82, their second consecutive non-winning season since winning the World Series (they were 81-81 in 2016).
Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain all received one-year, $17 million qualifying offers from the Royals in November. The players all rejected them and tested the free agent market.
So far, no takers.
The only player who has received interest is Hosmer, who was offered 7 years and $140 million from the Padres, who are in the midst of a massive rebuild. Right now, it looks like Hosmer will be back in Kansas City.
Moustakas and Cain might be forced to take a one-year deal in Kansas City and retest the market next winter, or else take a bargain deal from another team.
Kansas City fans wanted Hosmer back. Looks like they’ll get their wish.
Now if only the NBA and/or NHL would return to Kansas City…keep dreaming.
I officially turned 41 a little less than two hours ago. Of course, not as big a deal as last year, but it is Friday the 13th, the sixth time my birthday fell on a Friday. I was born on a Wednesday in case you’re curious.
My 13th birthday DID fall on Friday the 13th. I was in eighth grade at Brother Martin High (most of the Catholic high schools in New Orleans have an eighth grade), and I recall Tropical Storm Jerry formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It was pretty gray and damp the rest of the day and all of the next day.
This is the first Friday the 13th birthday since 2006, when I turned 30. I was busy that day: woke up in Wichita, drove up the Kansas Turnpike to Emporia for a tennis tournament, then went to Abilene for a football game, and finally back to Russell, becuase I had to turn around and cover a vollyeball tournament the next morning.
Last year, I was in Hays for a volleyball tournament because Cailtyn was playing and Peggy was coaching. This year, I’m in Kansas City.
My parents always leave town around the time of my birthday to go south, first to visit my brother and his family near Nashville, then down to New Orleans to visit my Uncle Jerry and also gamble on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My parents were going to go to Biloxi right after visting Nashville, but had to alter their plans when Hurricane Nate came ashore in Mississippi last Saturday night. They went yesterday instead.
The first professional sports event of my lifetime was Game 4 of the 1976 American League Championship Series, which started a little more than five hours after I came into the world. The Royals needed to win in the rebuilt Yankee Stadium to stay alive. They did, prevailing 7-4, setting up the fifth and deciding game the next night. Of course, the Yankees won that one 7-6 when Chris Chambliss hit Mark LIttell’s first pitch of the bottom of the ninth (barely) over the right-center field fence to send the Bronx Bombers to their first World Series since 1964. Maybe it was best the Royals missed out on that World Series, because Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine destroyed the Yankees in four straight. I don’t think Kansas City would have fared any better.
The Royals lost to the Yankees in the ALCS in both 1977 and 1978 as well before finally breaking through in 1980 (the Orioles defeated the Angels in the 1979 ALCS). At the time, Kansas City tied the Mets as the fastest MLB teams to reach the postseason (8 seasons), although the Metropolitans won the World Series in 1969.
Not going to be a particularly busy birthday. Lots of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings and a visit to Minksy’s later. Same for tomorrow. Sometimes routine is good.
The Texas Rangers have always been a low-rent, low-class organization in my mind.
The stunt the organization pulled this week simply confirmed it yet again.
The Rangers were scheduled to play a three-game series in Houston against the Astros. While Minute Maid Park, the Astros’ home field, was not flooded, most of Houston was, and every major route in the city was flooded and impassable. Also, the resources of the Houston Police Department and other first responders, already stretched beyond the breaking point, would have been stretched worse to provide security at Minute Maid for the games.
The simple solution to this problem would have been for the Rangers to host the series this week, then go to Houston in September when the Astros are scheduled to come to Arlington for the final time in 2017.
Easy. A lot easier than if the teams were not in the same division, since each team visits the other teams in the league not in their division only once per season.
The Rangers said hell no.
Their excuse: they did not want to “inconvenience” their fans who held tickets for the September series by switching on short notice.
Excuse me, Jon Daniels (Rangers general manager), but what do you think Hurricane Harvey did to the people of Houston? That’s not an inconvenience. That’s what’s called a catastrophe.
Just how catastrophic would it have been if a few thousand Rangers fans could not have attended the series this week? NOT AT ALL. On the inconvenience scale, it would rate at most two out of 10.
THREE games out of EIGHTY-ONE. How many people attend all 81 home games of an MLB team’s schedule? Not many. Likely only those who are retired or not working because they can afford not to work. And even some of those people would probably need a night or two away from the ballpark.
So what if fans don’t show up? The White Sox and Orioles played a game in front of NOBODY two years ago when there were riots in Baltimore following the Freddie Gray shooting. Many a European football match has been played in front of an empty stadium due to hooliganism. Fans are not necessary to play a game. If nobody wanted to show up in Arlington, let them watch it on television.
Instead, MLB forced the Astros to play their “home” games in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. If the floods weren’t injury enough, MLB insulted the Astros by forcing them into MLB’s worst facility (if not, it’s the second worst; only the Oakland Coliseum rates that badly) and playing in a city which does not deserve to even have an MLB team. The Rays have proven year after year after year they don’t care, always finishing at or near the bottom of MLB attendance.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred proved himself a gutless coward. GUTLESS COWARD.
All Manfred had to do was exercise his “best interests of baseball” clause and forced the Rangers to switch dates with the Astros. And if the Rangers didn’t want to play the games in Arlington this week? Fine, they would have forfeited.
Instead of Manfred doing the right thing, he kicked Houston while it was way, way down. As bad as that is, you don’t want to see what I’m going to say about Manfred if he ever approve the designated hitter for the National League.
If this had been the National Football League and it had been the Texans and another AFC South team playing a regular season game, Roger Goodell would have told the team scheduled to play in Houston that it would have to host, and they would have to go to Houston later in the year. That’s that. No appeal.
Had the Saints been scheduled to host Carolina in week one of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, I’m sure Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s predecessor, would have asked the Panthers to play in Charlotte, then travel to either San Antonio or Baton Rouge later that season, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and then-coach Jon Fox would have had no problem with it whatsoever.
Instead, Rangers GM Daniels uses a cheap, petty excuse to screw the Astros, who are running away with the American League West. Texas is below .500 and only in the wild card race because the DH league is a whole bunch of mediocrity, except for the Astros and Indians at the top and the White Sox, Athletics and Tigers at the bottom. How else would the Twins go from 59-103 in 2016 to leading for the second wild card spot this August 31? If the Rangers played in the National League, nobody in Dallas/Fort Worth would give a damn.
Why am I not surprised by the Rangers’ pettiness? It’s in their orginazational DNA.
It began in 1968, when the Rangers were still the second incarnation Washington Senators.
The team was purchased by a Minneapolis businessman named Robert Short. Short was exiled from the Twin Cities in 1960 when he moved the Lakers to Los Angeles, then made a nice profit by selling them to Jack Kent Cooke in 1965. Cooke and later Jerry Buss turned the Lakers into one of professional sports’ iconic franchises.
Short probably wanted to buy the first incarnation of the Senators and move them to Minneapolis, but Calvin Griffith beat him to the Twin Cities in 1961 and renamed the club the Twins.
The second incarnation of the Senators were a laughingstock, just like the first team was after Walter Johnson retired in the late 1920s. The Senators were fortunate in that the Kansas City Athletics were just as terrible and kept the new Senators out of the cellar many years.
Somehow, Short convinced Ted Williams, probably the greatest hitter who ever lived, to manage the Senators. Williams led Washington to 86 wins in 1969, the franchise’s only winning season in the nation’s capital, and was AL Manager of the Year. Washignton hosted the 1969 All-Star Game at RFK Stadium.
Yet Short only cared about the almighty dollar, and he thought he could not make enough of them in Washington.
Near the end of the 1971, cheapskate Short conned owners into allowing him to move the Senators to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and play in a mionor league stadium halfway between the two cities.
Arlington was just another town on the Dallas/Fort Worth Turnpike (now Interstate 30) not too far from where the new DFW Airport was being built. It had Six Flags, but not much else.
Ten of the AL’s 12 owners at the time–the White Sox (John Allyn) and Orioles (Jerold Hoffberger) said no–let Short take baseball out of Washington. This greatly angered commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who despearately tried to get Short to sell. Yet Short showed he was just as egotistical as he was cheap, refusing an $8.5 million offer from grocery magnate Joseph Dazansky so he could put one over on the nation’s capital.
Williams quit after his first season in Arlington. He hated Dallas/Fort Worth and especially hated the shithole that was Arlingon Stadium, where more than 40 percent of the seats were aluminum bleachers in the outfield, where it was hot enough to fry eggs most days. Whitey Herzog was hired following Williams, but Short thought it was a big mistake from the start.
Herzog said it best when at his first press conference he declared “This is the most horseshit excuse for a Major League team I ever saw”.
Unfortunately, Whitey, the Rangers are still a horsehit organization.
Short forced Herzog to pitch 18-year old David Clyde less than a month after his high school graduation. Clyde eventually became an alcoholic, developed arm trouble, and eventually flamed out of MLB by 1981. The only reason he isn’t considered the worst #1 overall pick in MLB history is because at least he played in MLB, unlike Steve Chilcutt (1966) and Brien Taylor (1991).
Herzog was fired with 24 games to go in 1973 and replaced by Billy Martin, the same Billy Martin who would be hired and fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Martin led the Rangers to 84 wins in 1974, but the better news was Short sold the Rangers to Brad Corbett, a local pipe salesman.
Corbett’s ownership was just as horseshit as Short’s, and the Rangers were pretty terrible for 15 years, save for a season of contention here and there (1977 most comes to mind).
Then came George W. Bush, future governor of Texas and 43rd President of the United States. His predecssor, Eddie Chiles, left the son of the then-POTUS the gift of Nolan Ryan, who was offered a boatload of cash to come north on Interstate 45 from Houston.
Bush turned the Rangers into a semi-respectable outfit. Ryan filled decrepit Arlington Stadium every time he pitched, including once when my brother, father and I watched from the left-center field bleachers for Ryan to face the Brewers in what turned out to be his final season, 1993.
Yet Bush 43 made one gigantic mistake.
The Rangers got a new stadium under Bush’s ownership. Arlington Stadium was demolished in 1994, about 15 years after it should have been.
The bad news? NO ROOF.
Let’s see: we’ll build a new baseball stadium in Dallas/Fort Worth without a roof after fans have suffered for 22 years in the extreme heat in Arlington Stadium, a shithole where many fans had to burn the butts–literally–on metal benches.
I visited the new stadium in Arlington, currently called Globe Life Park, once, in 1996. It was better than Arlington Stadium, but much crappier than Kauffman Stadium, and certainly nowhere as good as PNC Park, which I visited in 2005.
The Rangers are correcting Bush’s gigantic mistake by building a new stadium with a roof, set to open no later than 2021. But the Rangers should have got it right the first time.
If that were the Rangers’ biggest problem, I wouldn’t have such a beef with them.
But it isn’t.
In 1999, when Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he went in wearing a Rangers cap on his plaque. It turns out the Rangers offered him financial inducements to wear a Rangers cap, even though he pitched four career no-hitters with the Angels and played nine seasons with the Astros. I don’t care if he collected his 5,000th strikeout and pitched two no-hitters with the Rangers.
Last I checked, it’s called bribery when financial gain is offered in return for a favor. If it happened in a political arena, the briber and the bribee would both be in federal prison. Instead, Ryan is a hero in Dallas/Fort Worth, even though he is from south Texas and played the longest with the Astros.
In 2002, the Hall of Fame said enough was enough and told Gary Carter his plaque would have him in an Expos cap, even though he wanted to wear a Mets cap on his plaque. Now the Hall of Fame determines the team cap on the plaque.
Wade Boggs tried that shit when he wanted a Devil Rays(??!!) cap instead of the Red Sox. The Hall of Fame said no.
Too bad the decision is not retroactive. Reggie Jackson should be wearing an Athletics cap, not a Yankees cap.
Catfish Hunter had it right when he insisted on a blank cap on his plaque, not wanting to offend the Athletics or Yankees. Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves) did the same.
The Rangers continued their reign of error by signing former crack whore Josh Hamilton, the former #1 overall pick who was banned from baseball for a time for extreme drug usage.
It hired Ron Washington, a former admitted coke junkie, as its manager.
And now this.
There are some teams I just will never like.
The Reds are one. Pete Rose can get fucked, and Marge Schott should rot in deepest hell.
The Cubs? Obnoxious fans. Just because your team won its first World Series in 108 years does not mean you rule the earth.
The Marlins? Jeffrey Loria is a fuckwad. Jose Fernandez killed two other people because of his abject stupidity. He is not a hero. Besides, I can’t stand Miami to begin with. I despise the Heat. Dolphins and Panthers just as much.
The Texas Rangers fall into that club.
I hope the Lord has something nice in store for this dirtbag crew, who gave a giant middle finger to their in-state neighbors just because they couldn’t handle a very minor inconvenience.
Reports of my demise, while not exaggerated, are premature–at least for now.
I am well aware I haven't posted for over a month. However, there hasn't been anything worth reporting in July, at least outside of the first 40 hours of the month.
I have barely left Russell the last three and a half weeks. I have no desire to fight the scorching heat which has gripped Kansas for much of the month. It's really bad when 95 is considered a decent day. It has been over 100 half the days of the month, and as high as 110 a couple of days. Next summer I'll plan a return to Louisiana so I can escape the heat.
Today is not supposed to get to 90, which calls for a parka. Seriously, I cannot wait for fall. This summer has been downright brutal.
Kansas City is in a lather over the Royals, who take an eight-game winning streak into this weekend's series with the Red Sox at Fenway. Royals fans are saying "bring on the Dodgers" and "Kershaw is no Bumgarner" already. Sorry to be the wet blanket, but the Royals have won all eight of those games against the Tigers and White Sox, who are putrid. The White Sox are easily the worst team in the American League, and while the Tigers don't have the second worst record in the Junior Circuit, they are paying just as badly as the White Sox.
When I lived in Louisiana, I took pity on the Royals after they fell into the abyss. Since Louisiana doesn't have an MLB team and it never will, the pipe dreams of some idiots in the 1970s notwithstanding, there really wasn't a team to root for, although the Astros were popular in many parts, and the Rangers had a few followers in the northwest corner of the state. I was, of course, rooting for the Brewers, and then the Royals, because I heard it from some people about how bad they were, knowing I had roots in Kansas.
Royals fans have become quite insufferable since going to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning the latter. It's like 1986 through 2013 were an alternate universe, and the 2014 and 2015 teams have direct lineage to the 1985 World Series winning team, and the 1970s squads which won three consecutive AL West championships. Losing 100 games in four of five seasons between 2002 and 2006? Didn't happen. Trey Hillman as manager? Nope, not real. Emil Brown, Mark Grudzielanek, Mark Teahan, Yuniesky Betancourt? Who were they?
Nope, the Royals history goes straight from October 27, 1985, the night they won Game 7 vs. the Cardinals, to 2014. At least, that's what die-hard Royals fans will tell you. Ned Yost is the second coming of Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, if not John McGraw and Casey Stengel. Eric Hosmer is the best first baseman who ever lived. Danny Duffy is better than Sandy Koufax.
Keep drinking the Flavor-Aid, Royals fans. When your team is watching the postseason, don't say I didn't tell you so. And then get ready for what's to come in 2018 and beyond. You can party like it's 1999 (or 2002 or 2004 or 2005 or 2006).
As for the other team occupying the Truman Sports Complex, the Chiefs are starting training camp in St. Joseph. WHY St. Joseph?
This is something that should have ended when Todd Haley and Scott Pioli were fired. It was their brilliant idea to move training camp from Wisconsin, where a more temperate climate allowed for more work outdoors, to a Division II college only 50 miles from their training complex. WHY?
If the Chiefs are going to go away from home for camp, do it a long way from home. If there was a Division II school to use, it would have been Northwest Missouri in Maryville, the dominant Division II program of the 21st cenutry. I understand the idea of drawing fans from Kansas City, but if that's the idea, then hold practices at the high school fields in Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Olathe and Overland Park.
Missouri Western State University got a sweet deal out of it, not only getting the publicity of having the Chiefs, but massive upgrades to its facilities. MWSU had fallen far behind Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) rivals Northwest Missouri and Pittsburg State as far as facilities. Now that the NFL and the state of Missouri have ponied up, the Griffins have palatial digs, at least for Divison II.
Last I checked, training camp is for the players and coaches to get ready for the season, not for the fans to mingle. The Chiefs would be better off holding practices at their complex and televising them instead of letting fans in. The fans would be able to watch from the comfort of their air-conditioned living room (or sports bar if they so desire).
The Cardinals used to hold training camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. In the state, but far enough away from the training facility in Tempe. Also, the Cardinals trained at elevation (7,200 feet), so their stamina was built up. That's the perfect idea of going away for camp.
Holding camp at Division I colleges isn't going to work, now that the season starts before Labor Day. It wasn't that way until the 11th game was added by the NCAA in the early 1970s. Now it wouldn't work if the Chiefs went to Columbia to train at Mizzou. Same for the Saints going to LSU. Or the Cardinals using the University of Arizona.
It poured in Kansas City overnight. Two of the television stations are reporting two people are trapped in a restaurant in south KCMO near the state line.
Four hours until kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium. Four hours until the most important Chiefs vs. Raiders game in 22 years gets started. At stake is first place in the AFC West, and in all likliehood, a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The parking lots at Arrowhead (and Kauffman Stadium) opened early today. Those fortunate enough not to be working today can get plenty of eating and drinking (bad idea; alcohol is not recommended in cold weather, since it lowers the body’s ability to fight the chill) before kickoff.
I know all about that from attending numerous games at LSU, where many fans start tailgating on Friday before a Saturday game. Many fans want night games at LSU in order to have more time to tailgate. The worst thing to some is an afternoon kickoff, since it curtails the time to be eating and drinking.
Kansas City is going to melt down if the Chiefs lose. There are two all-sports radio stations in the area (KCSP 610 AM and WHB 810 AM), and not one local personality believes the Chiefs will lose tonight. They say the Raiders’ defense is soft, they think Derek Carr will buckle under pressure from the Kansas City defense, they think it wil be too cold for the Raiders, whatever. If you believe some of the talking heads, the Chiefs might as well book their reservations for Houston and Super Bowl LI. For a franchise which hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1969, and has played in only one AFC championship game (1993) since winning Super Bowl IV, that’s heady stuff.
Many sports fans in the area are upset already. Wade Davis, the Royals’ closer on the 2015 World Series winning team, was traded to the Cubs yesterday. Simply put, Royals owner David Glass didn’t want to shell out the $$$$$ to keep Davis in blue and gold. Instead, Davis heads to Wrigley, where he joins Joe Maddon’s juggernaut. Kelvim Herrera becomes the closer after being a setup man the last few seasons.
The Royals weren’t the only team to trade their closer this week. The Brewers dealt Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox. Milwaukee isn’t expected to contend until 2018 or 2019, but general manager David Stearns is taking a chance on some prospects developing. Closer has been a royal pain in the butt for the Brewers since the heyday of Dan Plesac in the late 1980s. Before that, it was also a pain, because Rollie Fingers was injured and could not pitch in the 1982 World Series. It may not have made a difference, but Milwaukee would have had a better chance against the Cardinals. More recently, Francisco “K Rod” Rodriguez blew up as the Brewers stumbled down the stretch in September 2014 after leading the NL Central for most of the season.
Speaking of the Brewers, Bud Selig is going into the Hall of Fame. His reign as commissioner of baseball was an abomination. Ignoring steroids, foisting interleague play upon us, and worst of all, giving the winning league in the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series. On the good side, he brought baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves pulled up stakes and moved to Atlanta, and built a solid core around Robin Young, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Cecil Cooper and Ben Oglivie, all of whom started on Harvey’s Wallbangers, the Brewers’ 1982 American League championship team. Also, Selig got Milwaukee into the National League.
I’ve been at Buffalo Wild Wings since 1 p.m. Going to stay for part of the Chiefs game, but how long is up in the air.
The Cubs won the World Series.
I hate it.
I turned the game off in the fifth inning last night, with the Cubs leading 4-1. I couldn’t take it anymore. The Indians came back to tie in the eighth, but still lost 8-7 in 10 innings.
I have never liked the Cubs. NEVER. I got sick and tired of them in 1984, when they won the National League East division (although the Cubs should have been in the West), and Harry Caray gloated over them on WGN. Since then, they’ve been one of my most disliked sports teams.
One good reason you should hate the Cubs, too: Hillary Clinton loves them. That would be enough for me, but I hated them long before anyone outside Arkansas knew who Hillary Clinton was and how insatiable her desire for power is.
The Cubs are one of four MLB teams I truly despise.
Another is the other team in Chicago, the White Sox. I hate their black uniforms, which are not only ugly, but they evoke memories of the biggest cheaters sports has ever known, the 1919 White Sox, who threw the World Series to the Reds, another team I am not fond of.
I loved the uniforms the White Sox were wearing when I was born. I’m sorry, but the jerseys with the big floppy collars were cool. I bought the hat this summer, not only because the uniforms were awesome and it was the team’s hat when I was born, but because asshole Chris Sale cut up the throwback jerseys in July.
The White Sox play in a shitty ballpark in a shitty neighborhood. The original Comiskey Park had charm. The current park, now known as Guaranteed Rate Field, is the complete opposite of charm. It has a steep upper deck, and if you have a seat in the upper deck, you cannot move, period. Not even to sample the concessions. What a bunch of turds the White Sox are.
The biggest reason to hate the White Sox: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA or Barry Soetoro or whatever his real name is.
The third team in my axis of MLB evil: the Atlanta Braves.
I hated the Braves from the first time I saw them on TBS. I got sick and tired of hearing them proclaimed as “America’s Team”.
First, Georgia does not speak for all of America. Maybe for itself, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, but not all of the South, and certainly not all of the country.
Second, the Braves were shitty for the vast majority of their first 25 years in Atlanta. The only things mitigating it were (a) Hank Aaron setting the home run record (he still is the legitimate home run king; I will never recognize Barry Bonds) and (b) winning the NL West in 1982 with Joe Torre as manager. I loved watching the Braves lose, which happened often between 1985 and 1990.
Third, the Braves were owned until recently by supreme asshole Ted Turner. Not only is the son of a bitch far to the left, but he also has bought up all the water rights to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to most of central United States, including all of Kansas. Now farmers and the states will have to pay this piece of shit to reacquire the rights. What a fucking turd.
The fourth MLB team on my shit list: the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins are owned by another real fucking asshole, Jeffrey Loria. Jeffrey Loria, the man who ruined the Montreal Expos by running them on a shoestring budget and then selling them for a handsome profit to Major League Baseball, giving Bud Selig and his minions the excuse they needed to abandon Montreal and return MLB to Washington DC for the first time since 1971. Yes, Washington deserves a team, but Montreal should not have had to lose its team.
Somehow, the franchise has won more World Series (2) than division championships (0). The Marlins bought both championships, 1997 and 2003, by using high-priced free agents, then dumping them when their contracts expired after one year in most instances. For all of you who bitch and whine and moan about the Yankees buying their teams, shut the fuck up. The Marlins perfected it, simply because they went back to being shitty after their one year of glory on both occasions.
Right now, I’m sick and tired for all of the sympathy the Marlins are receiving.
Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ ace pitcher, died Sept. 25 in a boating accident. Turns out he was high on coke and drunk. Too fucking bad. Did himself in. Just like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and millions of others.
Four of my most hated teams. Here are some of the others.
—Anaheim Ducks–Don’t hate them, but California needs only ONE NHL team. The Kings fit that bill long before the Ducks or The Mighty Ducks. At least they can beat up on the Coyotes.
—Arizona Coyotes–The team moved from Winnipeg in 1996. That made me hate this team forever. Winnipeg has a team again, but it should not have been forced to go without the NHL for 15 years. That’s bullshit. Not only did the team leave Winnipeg, it refuses to let the new Jets have the old Jets’ history. What a bunch of shitheads. Bobby Hull and Dale Hawerchuk never skated one second in the state of Arizona. Why should the Coyotes get to claim their achievements?
The Coyotes also went bankrupt many years ago. Yet commissioner Gary Bettman demanded the team stay in Arizona. Heaven forbid the franchise move to a city which can actually support an NHL team, like Hamilton, Hartford, Quebec City, or Toronto, which could easily support two teams. Even Seattle would have been a major upgrade.
The Coyotes will always be the sixth most popular team in Arizona, behind the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns, Arizona State and the U of A.
—Carolina Hurricanes–Stole the Hartford Whalers thanks to shithead owner Peter Karmanos. Hartford supported the Whalers when they would get their brains beat in regularly by the Bruins, Sabres and Canadiens, which was most nights. The Nordiques even took their turn for several seasons. Karmanos said FUCK YOU to the loyal fans of Connecticut and moved the franchise to that hockey hotbed, North Carolina. The first two seasons, the Hurricanes played before empty seats in Greensboro, while the arena in Raleigh now known as the RBC Center was under construction.
What do you call a Hurricanes season ticket holder? One who is (a) too poor to own North Carolina State basketball season tickets or (b) someone who is too stupid to realize the NHL has no business in your state.
—Colorado Avalanche–Don’t hate them. Colorado should have a team. However, it still depresses me they were once the Quebec Nordiques.
—Florida Panthers–Florida should not have hockey. Period. Especially not the NHL. Gary Bettman is a fuckwad. Putting teams in Miami, Nashville, Raleigh and Tampa, yet teams can’t survive in Hartford and Quebec City? Or Hamilton? Or Saskatchewan? HOLY SHIT. Bettman, you fucking suck. Then again, you learned from the ultimate piece of shit, David Stern.
—Nashville Predators–First and foremost, Nashville does not deserve a hockey team. ANY CITY WHERE YOU CAN’T SKATE OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER SHOULD HAVE AN NHL TEAM. Second, my pissant brother and his wife are huge Predators fans, so another reason I hate them. Third, Carrie Underwood forced the Ottawa Senators to trade her husband, Mike Fisher, to Nashville. Since when does Carrie U. Fisher run an NHL team? The Senators should have sued Carrie and the Predators for extortion. I refuse to listen to Carrie’s music. She’s on my no-play list as much as Bruce Springsteen. At least in Carrie’s case, it’s not because of toxic politics. The Boss hates America and always has.
—San Jose Sharks–California only needs ONE NHL team. The Kings were around long before the Sharks came along.
—Tampa Bay Lightning–Again, Florida should not have any NHL teams. Worse, Tampa is a real piece of shit city with piece of shit people. It’s a cesspool. Yet somehow three of the four major sports organizations in North America see fit to place teams in the area. Steven Stamkos’ wife must look hot in a bikini. That’s the only reason he would re-sign with Tampa over going to Chicago, Detroit, Toronto or any other REAL hockey city.
—Atlanta Hawks–Once owned by Ted Turner. Good enough reason to hate them. Also, Atlanta is a shithole with no redeeming value. The only reason to even like them was the cool pea green uniforms they wore when Pete Maravich played for them in early 1970s. Otherwise, they’re a bunch of turds.
—Brooklyn Nets–Russian shithead owner who tried to buy a team. Great to see the team fail miserably.
—Charlotte Hornets–Owned by Michael Jeffrey Jordan. FUCK THEM.
—Chicago Bulls–Michael Jeffrey Jordan. His arrogance is all you need to know about why I despise this franchise. I do not worship Jordan. I do not believe he is the greatest of all-time. I do not believe the 1995-96 Bulls are the greatest NBA team of all-time. Jordan benefitted from a watered-down NBA, one which let him get away with everything. I’m sure he could have murdered someone on an NBA court and nobody would have said a peep. FUCK JORDAN AND FUCK THE BULLS.
—Dallas Mavericks–Mark Cuban can go fuck himself. He’s a complete asshole on Shark Tank, the same way he’s a complete asshole owning the Mavericks. I would love to see Kevin O’Leary (MISTER WONDERFUL) kick him in the balls on Shark Tank. Better yet, it would be much sweeter if Barbara Corcoran kicked Cuban in the jimmy.
—Miami Heat–The Heat committed collusion for FOUR YEARS and David Stern didn’t give a shit. Dwayne Wade begged LeBron and Chris Bosh to come, and of course, who were they to say no? FUCK THEM.
—New York Knicks–James Dolan is a big piece of shit. Cunt. Asshole. Motherfucker. Good enough reason to hate them entirely.
—Sacramento Kings–Left Kansas City in 1985 to move to the cesspool which is California’s capital city. Team was going to move to Seattle, but mayor (and former Suns guard) Kevin Johnson, an admitted criminal, bribed NBA owners to keep the team in Sacramento. Bought by a Russian turd who is just as big a turd as the one owning the Nets. FUCK SUCKRAMENTO.
—San Antonio Spurs–Bruce Bowen got away with attempted murder against the Suns during the 2007 playoffs, thanks to degenerate gambler/”referee” Tim Donaghy. Bad enough. Then there’s the gigantic piece of shit Greg Popovich. The walking definition of CUNT.
—Washington Wizards–Changed name from “Bullets” to be politically correct. FUCK THEM.
—Atlanta Falcons–Once employed dog killer Michael Vick. Also, Atlanta has no redeeming value.
—Baltimore Ravens–Where do I start? Let’s see: Art Modell stole the Browns from Cleveland because he was broke and desperately needed to pay off 700,000 creditors. Ray Lewis got away with murder. Ray Lewis flaunted his “innocence” and Baltimore fans thought he was the greatest athlete in the city’s history, not remembering men like Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken. Okay, that’s enough.
—Carolina Panthers–Once employed murder mastermind Rae Carruth, who was so callous as to order a hit on his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Cherica Adams, after she refused to get an abortion. Adams died; the baby survived, but is mentally retarded. What a total piece of shit. Why Carruth didn’t get the death penalty, or at least life without parole, is absolutely sickening. North Carolina has some really fucked up people.
(S)Cam Newton has done anything nearly that bad, but he’s an arrogant turd who can’t take it when things don’t go his way.
—Chicago Bears–They play in CHICAGO, home of BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA and birthplace of HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. There.
—Miami Dolphins–Sick and tired of the overrated 1972 Dolphins celebrating when a team loses so their perfect record can’t be equaled. The 1972 Dolphins played an absolutely shitty schedule. Would have lost Super Bowl VII had Redskins coach George Allen not been so fucking paranoid. HE lost the game for the Redskins. Not Billy Kilmer, Larry Brown, or the Over-the-Hill Gang Defense. George Allen was responsible. Hope he’s rotting in hell over it.
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Employ gigantic asshole Jameis Winston, who got away with rape and only a slap on the wrist for shoplifting. Once employed gigantic asshole coach Jon Gruden and gigantic asshole player Warren Sapp. Have disgusting uniforms which they stole from the Raiders. Tampa is a shithole. Need more?
—Tennessee Titans–Nashville is a shithole. I hate that city. I hate it. Vanderbilt is the only thing making that city remotely tolerable. I also hate Nashville stealing the Houston Oilers. Yes, Houston has another team, but for the nation’s fourth largest city to go without an NFL team for five years was very bad.
I do not recognize Major League Soccer as legitimate. Not as long as they want to have playoffs to determine its champion.
I’m only a few minutes from leaving Kansas City and heading back to Russell.
Had the World Series ended by now, I might have stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina, since my favorite trivia game, SIX, is tonight. However, no way in hell I’m going to battle the crowd for Game 7 of the World Series.
Cubs fans are the worst. They are the most arrogant, most insufferable, most whiny fans around. They believe God owes them the World Series after the franchise has suffered for so long. They believe they are God’s chosen team and there is no way you can possibly hate the Cubs. If you hate the Cubs, you are some freak who also hates America.
I have never been a Cubs fan and I never will be. I got sick and tired of it in 1984, when the Cubs were winning the National League East, and WGN broadcast almost every game. I got nauseous listening to Harry Caray gloat over the Cubs’ success. I hated his complete bias. His son, Skip, was just as bad doing it for the Braves, who were on TBS.
I was so happy when the Padres rallied from 2-0 down in the 1984 National League Championship Series to win, but it might have been just as good if the Cubs had made it to the World Series then gotten hammered by the Tigers.
I left Buffalo Wild Wings last night during the first inning, by which time the Cubs led the Indians. In the third, Addison Russell’s grand slam made it 7-0, and I just about gave up. Joe Buck, the worst announcer in sports, is so far in the bag for the Cubs it’s terrible. He and all the other national media are on the Cubs bandwagon, not only because the Cubs are trying to win their first World Series since 1908, but they’re also playing the Indians, who have that evil Chief Wahoo mascot.
I’m so glad the Indians have told the politically correct assholes SCREW YOU by wearing the Chief Wahoo hats every game.
The trip to Kansas City has been a very good one, save for an incident Monday night, when four illegal aliens were sitting outside an entrance to the hotel drinking and smoking, making me fear for my safety. I saw Robb and Dawn three times, which made it much more worth it.
Brittany Davidson Morgan, the bane of my existence, is pregnant. More on that when I get back to Russell.