Blog Archives

Dusting off the soapbox

The NFL has been naming players to an all-time team in conjunction with its 100th season.

First, this should have been saved until 2020, when it would be the 100th ANNIVERSARY of the NFL. I get sick and tired of seeing athletic teams, college and professional, celebrating seasons instead of years. Every October 13, I celebrate my birthday, and it is how many years I have LIVED, not the year of my life I’m entering. It was my 43rd birthday the most recent October 13, because I had LIVED 43 years to that point. I am now in my 44th year; I will celebrate my 44th birthday this year.

The Chiefs are an egregious violator of the rule. This season, the Chiefs claim this is their 60th season, which is stupid in and of itself, since the franchise played its first three seasons in Dallas before moving to Kansas City. The Chiefs should not celebrate a 60th ANNIVERSARY until 2023, 60 years after their first season in Kansas City.

The Saints have violated the rule time and time again. New Orleans wore a patch for its 25th SEASON in 1991, instead of waiting until 1992 to celebrate its 25th ANNIVERSARY. Same in 1996 (30 seasons) and 2016 (50 seasons). YEESH.

I can happily say the football Cardinals wore a 100th anniversary patch in 1998, not a 100 seasons patch in 1997. The baseball Cardinals got it right as well, wearing a 100 years patch in 1992. The Brewers will wear a 50th anniversary patch this season to celebrate 50 years in Wisconsin (the Brewers began life as the Seattle Pilots for the 1969 season, then went bankrupt and were awarded by a federal court to Bud Selig, who moved them to Milwaukee ONE WEEK before the 1970 season began).

Enough semantics. I’m sure you’re fast asleep by now.

Many selections to the NFL’s all-time team have angered me.

First, what the HELL is Rob Gronkowski doing on the team as one of the five tight ends, yet Ozzie Newsome is nowhere to be found?

I was very unhappy Newsome chose to accompany Art Modell’s Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and staying with the Ravens after the Browns were re-established. It would have only been right had Newsome come back to the city which made him a household name to professional football fans.

On the other hand, Newsome was without peer during his 13 seasons (1978-90) in Cleveland. The man was simply sensational. He was a big reason the Browns won the AFC Central over the Steelers and Oilers in 1980 and a bigger reason Brian Sipe won that season’s Most Valuable Player award.

Gronkowski was stellar in New England, but come on. A lot of it is recency bias AND Belichick being on the selection panel.

I have no problem with the other tight ends on the list: John Mackey, Mike Ditka, Kellen Winslow and Tony Gonzalez. But to omit Newsome? Please.

The rest of the offensive line had me scratching my head a little.

Where was Jerry Kramer? For those who don’t know, he was one of the men who made the Green Bay sweep the most feared play in the NFL during Vince Lombardi’s coaching tenure with the Packers. The sight of #64 and teammates Fuzzy Thurston (#63) and later Gale Gillingham (#68) scared the bejesus out of many a linebacker and safety in the 1960s. Was it a coincidence Paul Hornung scored 176 points in 12 games in 1960? Not with that offensive line. Same with Jimmy Taylor winning the 1962 rushing championship, the only season Jim Brown did not win it during his nine-season NFL career.

Larry Allen, who played on Dallas’ most recent Super Bowl team in 1995, is a poor choice. Allen is worthy of his bust in Canton. However, I cannot imagine voting for him over Kramer.

John Hannah? Great choice. Gene Upshaw? Ditto. Bruce Matthews? He was a Pro Bowl selection at every spot along the offensive line, although I may have had him at tackle and not guard. But Allen over Kramer sticks out like a sore thumb.

Two of the offensive tackles, Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden, demonstrate recency bias. They are Hall of Fame worthy, sure. But all-time worthy? Not buying it. However, I have less problem with either of those two than Gronk over Newsome.

At center, Jim Ringo should be there and not Dwight Stephenson. Stephenson was a Hall of Famer with the Dolphins in the 1980s, but he didn’t win any championships. Ringo did.

The NFL’s all-time team has some of my least favorite athletes: Gronk, Ray Lewis, Tom Brady, and the double murderer who used to play for the Bills. YEESH.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern passed away yesterday after suffering a brain hemorrhage two weeks ago.

It’s sad to see anyone pass away, but I hated Stern as NBA Commissioner. HATED HIM. Let me count some of the ways:

–He screwed Kansas City by openly helping the Kings’ ownership move to Sacramento in 1985, even though the Kings were flagrantly invading the Warriors’ territory in northern California and were moving into a converted warehouse for three seasons before the taxpayers of California were fleeced to build a new arena.

–I believe Stern fixed the first NBA draft lottery in 1985 in order for the Knicks to draft Patrick Ewing. He made sure the envelope containing the Knicks’ logo was bent so could easily find it.

—Stern flagrantly favored the big markets in most cases. If it were up to him, New York would have five teams, Los Angeles four, Chicago three and places like Milwaukee, San Antonio and Utah would not have a team.

–He made sure the Pelicans (then the Hornets) couldn’t leave New Orleans, one of the smallest markets in pro sports. The team had terrible attendance prior to Hurricane Katrina, and when the Hornets played in Oklahoma City temporarily for two seasons, the attendance far surpassed that in the Big Easy.

–Stern also worshipped small-market Sacramento. He prevented the Kings from moving to Seattle despite the team losing money, and he forced the taxpayers of California to foot the bill for yet another arena. I wouldn’t be surprised if California Governor Gavin Newsom would order a bronze statue of Stern be placed outside the Kings’ arena. David Stern is THE reason the NBA is still in the crap hole known as Sacramento.

Goodbye David Stern. You’re a big reason I can’t stand the NBA 99% of the time.

I realized this morning how bad 2020 is going to be. The presidential election is November 3.

Trump is a slimy SOB who has done thousands of unethical things in the White House, but he’s just like every other man who has occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. EVERY president has a few (hundred) skeletons in his closet, except William Henry Harrison, who didn’t serve long enough to accumulate skeletons.

That said, the Democrats are using impeachment as a vehicle to vent their frustration over losing the 2016 election. Look in the mirror, Democrats. You nominated the only person on earth short of Lucifer himself Donald Trump could beat in an election, and maybe even Lucifer would have been more successful than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This is going to occur every time the party not in power is angry. I’m certain the Democrats will launch a new impeachment inquiry if Trump is re-elected, or the Republicans will do so to the Democratic president if they win control of the House. It will never end.

And you thought partisanship was nasty during the presidencies of LBJ and Nixon. Those two are probably screaming from the grave.

I’m in Kansas City for the first time in over two months. My dad is undergoing a heart procedure at KU Medical Center in KCK tomorrow. I agreed to drive my parents, and they in turn are paying for most of my expenses. Can’t beat that.

The Chiefs are off this weekend, so it will be quiet. That’s good. I wouldn’t want to be here for the playoff game January 12. Probably going to be ear-splitting in every sports bar in the area.

NFL vs. Trump: both sides are wrong

I have had it up to here with National Football League players refusing to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner prior to games.

I have had it with Donald Trump bitching about NFL players who don’t stand for the Star-Spangled Banner

I have had it with the media highlighting the protests.

Just go away already.

I watch football to get away from the stress of the everyday world. The United States of America has enough problems worrying about Kim-Jong Un, who has no compulsion about killing millions of people with a nuclear weapon, whether they be in another country or his own. His father, Kim-Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim-Il Sung, didn’t have any problems killing milions of Koreans becuase they didn’t subscribe to their worldview.

I want to watch FOOTBALL when I turn on an NFL game. FOOTBALL. I don’t want to hear about Malcolm Jenkins giving the Black Powe Salute, I don’t want to hear so and so too a knee, I don’t want to hear about the Seahawks and Titans choosng to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem, and I don’t want to hear about Collin Kaepernick’s protests.

Also, I’ve had it with people making excuses for why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job with an NFL team right now. He is not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL. Period. His skill set probably translates better to the Canadian Football League, where the field is longer and wider, there are 12 players on the field, and receivers can gain a running start by going in forward motion prior to the snap. A lot of quarterbacks similar to Kaepernick who couldn’t make it in the NFL have thrived in the CFL. Condredge Holloway, the first black quarterback in the Southeastern Conference for Tennessee in the early 1970s, is a lot like Kaepernick—athletic, not the strongest arm, but dangerous in the open field.

Trump made the comment that NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be fired—if not fired, then suspended without pay—was a little harsh. I believe the flag of the United States of America deserves the utmost respect and people should stand at attention when the national anthem is played, but the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for freedom of speech, and that includes protesting the flag. We do not want to become North Korea.

On the other hand, NFL players are paid quite handsomely to play a game. I believe that once a player puts on a uniform whether it be in practice or a game, it is work, and he should be held to the rules and regulations of the worplace, the NFL. If players wish to PEACEFULLY on their own time, more power to them. But once they are in uniform, they are there to do a job.

I barely watched the NFL last Sunday. I did not watch any of the early games, which was partly to protest the fact the Fox affiliate in Wichita insisted on showing the Giants-Eagles game instead of Falcons-Lions. The reasoning of the station was that becuase the Giants and Eagles are in the NFC East, they felt it was important to show the game, as it would afect Cowboys fans, who are many in southern Kansas. PLEASE.

I watched a few minutes of Chiefs-Chargers, but once Kansas City led 14-0, I tuned out. Did not watch one snap of Raiders-Redskins Sunday night nor Cowboys-Cardinals Monday night. I watched a few plays of the Bears-Packers game on Amazon Prime last night, but that’s it.

I’m not missing the NFL that much. Not really.

The new guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Donald John Trump is President of the United States. Until the wee hours of last November 9, very few people not named Donald John Trump believed it would happen. Yet here it is. 

Unlikeliest president in American history? Maybe. I certainly did not see this day coming. 

If you would have asked me if Trump would have been president in 1984, I would have laughed. I was not quite 8 years old, but I knew Trump was a real estate tycoon and the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League, which played in the spring in 1983, ’84 and ’85, and then foolishly attempted to change to a fall schedule for ’86. 

Trump tried to buy a super team with the Generals. Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner for the Georgia Bulldogs, was signed to the richest contract in professional football history by the Generals’ first owner, oil magnate J. Walter Duncan, but Duncan became disillusioned with football, and thus sold the team to Trump following the 1983 season. Trump signed Brian Sipe, the 1980 NFL Most Valuable Player, to be his quarterback for 1984, and the Generals went 14-4 in the regular season, only to lose to Jim Mora’s Philadelphia Stars in the playoffs. The Stars, who lost the 1983 USFL title game to the Michigan Panthers, won back-to-back USFL titles in 1984 and 1985. 

The Stars played their last season in Baltimore after the Phillies refused to allow the Stars to negotiate a new lease at Veterans Stadium for 1985, and also because the Stars would never make it in Philly going head-to-head vs. the Eagles, not to mention the 76ers and Flyers once their seasons started. The Stars tried to use Franklin Field, where they played a few games late in the 1984 season, but the University of Pennsylvania also said no.

Back to Trump. He didn’t see Sipe as enough of a star to bring people to the Meadowlands to watch the Generals, so he signed Doug Flutie right out of Boston College after he won the 1984 Heisman Trophy. Again, the Generals had a tremendous regular season in 1985. Again, the Generals failed to reach the championship game. 

Trump was the lead plaintiff in the USFL’s $1.3 billion lawsuit against the NFL, claiming Pete Rozelle’s league was a monopoly. Trump felt it was unfair the three major networks at the time–CBS, NBC, ABC–refused to negotiate with the USFL to televise games in the fall of 1986. ESPN, which broadcast many USFL games in the spring, agreed to televise the USFL. 

Problem was, where was Trump going to play in the fall of 1986? No way he was going to be able to play on weekends in the Meadowlands, especially after the Jets moved to New Jersey in 1984. Rutgers? At that time, Rutgers’ stadium in New Brunswick was a joke. Not happening there. Princeton? Too small. Ditto with Columbia on the other side of the Hudson. So that meant Trump would have to play home games on Wednesday or Thursday nights. Thursday night going up against The Cosby Show? Ha. 

In the end, the USFL won its antitrust case, but the USFL was awarded only $1 by the jury, who found the USFL slit its own throat by overpaying players and not sticking to a budget. ESPN was fortunate; with the USFL buried, it could televise the NFL, which it has now done for 30 seasons. 

Even though Trump’s football team was no more, he still had his hand in sports. His casino in Atlantic City was beginning to attract top fights which almost exclusively were held in Las Vegas throughout the 1980s, and he attracted the World Wrestling Federation’s biggest event, Wrestlemania, to Trump Plaza in 1988 and ’89. 

Trump isn’t the first sports owner to become president. 

George W. Bush owned the Texas Rangers from 1989 until his election as governor of Texas in 1994. He helped the Rangers build a new ballpark in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, a park which was 15 years overdue. The Rangers’ first home, Arlington Stadium, was horrid, especially if you sat in the bleachers, which stared directly into the setting sun. More often than not, games in June, July and August began with the thermometer above 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius). 

Bush attracted Nolan Ryan to north Texas after nine years with the Astros. Ryan recorded his 5,000th strikeout, 300th win, and two no-hitters with the Rangers. 

Ronald Reagan wasn’t an owne, but he was a Chicago Cubs broadcaster in the 1930s, paving the way for successors Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray. 

Mark Cuban has toyed with running for president. He just may do it in 2020. He was a huge Hillary Clinton supporter. And I believe Shark Tank will still be on the air in 2020. Cuban and Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary were on opposite sides of last year’s election, and maybe the Canadian Conservative Party can draft O’Leary to run against Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister. 

Other than the inauguration, it’s a dead Friday. Just not a lot happening.  

Feeling stronger (apologies to Chicago the band)

I was in no mood to post for most of the previous week. Thankfully I am this morning. Time and a change of scenery helped.

I’m in another hotel in Kansas City, this time in Clay County. The hotel is on the dividing line between Kansas City proper and Liberty, the largest suburb of KC in Missouri. It’s about 20 minutes to Zona Rosa, not bad, especially at night, when the traffic is lighter. It’s not as far as Overland Park, but nowhere near as close as the hotels on I-29 in Platte County.

Last Saturday and Sunday, I was an angry person. Very angry. And not for a good reason.

Alabama beat LSU 10-0 last Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals held the Crimson Tide scoreless for three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, LSU’s exhausted defense finally gave way, yielding a 21-yard touchdown run to Jalen Hurts and then a field goal. LSU gained just 125 yards against Alabama’s defense, which may be better than half the defenses in the NFL, and were shut out at home for the first time in 14 years.

I was pissed. REALLY PISSED. I tweeted and posted on Facebook that (a) LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron should be fired, (b) Alabama was a horrible place and (c) losing 10-0 was much, much, much worse than Nebraska losing 62-3 to Ohio State.

None of the above was really true.

First, Orgeron can’t do anything right now. He’s playing the hand dealt him by Les Miles, who was fired Sept. 25 after LSU lost to Auburn. Who knows, maybe he could remake the offense with a recruiting class under his belt and a full season to work with the team as head coach. Orgeron wanted so badly to end LSU’s drought vs. Alabama. He was pretty emotional all night. I could tell it mattered a great deal to him.

Second, I can’t generalize all of Alabama just because I don’t care for one of the state’s flagship universities. I’ve enjoyed my time in Hoover for the SEC Baseball Tournament, and I’m sure Huntsville is a great place to visit, especially the Marshall Space Center.

Third, LSU gave it all they had. But it’s hard to defeat the top-ranked team when your offense just doesn’t have the talent to compete with the best defense in college football, designed by the best coach in the game today, Nick Saban.

I was still very upset Sunday and Monday morning. I got so despondent Monday I called and made an appointment with Dr. Custer. She had an opening that afternoon. I told her my blood pressure was running way high, my blood sugars were sky high, and my bowels were obstructed.

Only the last one was true, and not entirely.

Later that evening, I met Peggy at Walmart in Hays. I’m not a Walmart fan, but I agreed to help her shop. She was there not only to shop for her family, but for the student council at Norton Junior High, where she teaches. She stopped at Walmart on her way to Plainville for  a Mid-Continent League meeting. It was out of her way, but it was easier than driving the other way to Colby, or north to Lexington, Nebraska.

I did not watch election returns Tuesday evening. It wasn’t until 7 a.m. Wednesday I found out Donald Trump would be the 45th President of the United States. I certainly did not comment on social media like I did in 2012, when I made a complete imbecile of myself with lots of cursing and hatred.

I left for Kansas City at noon yesterday. No stops, not even for the restroom. I was at the hotel by 3:35. Pretty good, considering I had to go into downtown KCMO and then drive north on I-35 for 17 miles.

Buffalo Wild Wings went well. I saw Tori and Dana behind the bar, and played good trivia. Hopefully Robb and Dawn will be back soon. They took the election very hard.

Time to leave. Got a few errands to run before heading west.