Saturday, July 21, 2018

Passings-Sports Edition

The inbox is filled with items, but sadly, what seems to be the heaviest lifting is with recent passings- Enough of them to do a sports edition and a later non-sports edition.

Goodbye to Mr.Saito at the age of  76 from Parkinson's Disease.
The 1964 Olympian finished seventh in freestyle wrestling before turning professional the following year.
Saito was best known locally for his two WWF tag team title reigns with Mr. Fuji in the territory days, but was a huge star in New Japan pro wrestling as well as the AWA, where he starred in their glory days and their waning ones as well, when he briefly held their world championship, winning it and then losing it back to Larry Zbyszko.
Saito and Fuji were the best "working" tag team of my days as a territorial wrestling fan among the champions of "Captain" Lou Albano and in the ring, the large majority of that was due to the work of Saito.
Sadly, Saito might be most remembered by American audiences for something not televised- his 1984 brawl with Ken Patera against police officers in Wisconsin that would see both men serve jail time for their assault.
Other than Saito's short run in the dying AWA, Saito would wrestle mostly in Japan, following his release...


Goodbye to Gabe Rivera at the age of 57.
Rivera was the best defensive lineman in Texas Tech history and "Senor Sack" often comes up when the topic of Dan Marino being passed over in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team selected Rivera over Marino.
Rivera collected two sacks in six games before being paralyzed in a drunk driving accident.
Rivera would never walk again and would struggle with issues from the paralysis for the remainder of his life.


Goodbye to Ray Emery at the age of 35.
Emery drowned in Lake Ontario in what police called a "Case of Misadventure".
Emery played for four teams, but best remembered for his time with the Ottawa Senators that culminated in the Senators reaching their only Stanley Cup finals in 2007.
Emery was known for being pugnacious on and off the ice, where he had various incidents at both sites.
Emery often would have his goalie masks designed with artists renderings of boxers, most notable of these being Marvelous Marvin Hagler.


Goodbye to Lonnie Shelton at the age of 62.
The burly power forward played for three teams, including the Cavaliers, Sonics, and Knicks was a starter for the 1979 world championship team in Seattle, the only title that the Sonics ever won and was known as an enforcer in the days of NBA fights when punches actually were thrown AND landed.
Shelton also signed with the ABA, but never played there, which when it was discovered caused Oregon State to forfeit several games that Shelton played for the Beavers.
Shelton also was a starter for the 1984-85 Cavaliers, who rallied from a 2-19 start under rookie coach George Karl to make the playoffs as the eighth seed and would give the eventual champion Boston Celtics their toughest series of the playoffs.
Shelton was also the father of former Arizona Cardinals tackle L.J. Shelton,


Another enforcer of the time period, this time of the ABA variety, passed away at the age of 67 as
former Kentucky Colonel Ron Thomas passed after a bout with ill health.
Thomas was unable to attend the recent ABA reunion and the Dropping Dimes foundation, a group to help former ABA players in poor health pay medical bills are picking his funeral expenses.
Thomas was known as one of the better ABA fighters with the Colonels and spent much of his Colonels tenure protecting Louie Dampier and Dan Issel.

Goodbye to Frank Ramsey at the age of 86.
Ramsey was a Hall of Famer as a player with Boston and spent his nine-year career with the Celtics.
Ramsey's tenure in Boston saw the Celtics win seven titles and he averaged 13 points a game for his career, which looking at only the numbers isn't all that impressive compared to the current day.
Can you imagine anyone averaging 13 points and five rebounds in today's game even getting a vote from someone for the Hall of Fame, let alone getting in?
The game was different then though and statistics in all sports need to be evaluated in their own time to be truly considered fairly,
The Kentucky native won an NCAA championship in 1952 with the Kentucky Wildcats and would have likely won another in 1954, but an obscure NCAA rule at the time allowed graduate students to play during the regular season, but not in the tournament.
Coach Adolph Rupp's Wildcats finished undefeated but refused the tourney bid because playing without Ramsey and future Hall of Famer Cliff Hagen would have likely meant a loss and a ruined perfect campaign.
Ramsey also coached a portion of the 1970-71 season with the Kentucky Colonels and took the Colonels from a losing record to one game of the ABA title losing to the Utah Stars in seven games.

Goodbye to Lenny Chappell at the age of 77.
Chappell was the centerpiece of Wake Forest's 1962 ACC champions and led the Demon Deacons to their only Final Four appearance in program history in that season.
The 6'8 center was the ACC player of the year in 1961 and 62 and would become the all-time leading scorer in ACC tournament history, which held up until Duke's J.J Redick broke that mark in 2006.

That gets rid of some things from the inbox, but many more to come over the next few days...







Boxing Challenge

The Boxing Challenge returns after missing last week's bouts due to time constraints- as in I missed putting them up, but three interesting fights on the docket for this version.

The lead fight is one that most Americans won't see unless they have something called Klowd Tv on the stream as the World Boxing Super Series crowns its first tournament champion with their cruiserweight finals that will see the winner walk away with all four world title belts.

That's too bad because this is not only one of the game's best fights to be made, it's maybe one of the most exciting too.
WBC/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk invades Russia and the home of WBA/IBF champ Murat Gassiev as the top two seeds hook it up for all the marbles with what has the potential to be a fight of the year quality.
Usyk is more of a boxer/puncher, while the booming bombs of Gassiev hide an underrated standup boxer in a true matchup that is so close that you could easily decide the winner by a flip of the coin.
Gassiev's semi-final win over Yunier Dorticos will deserve some fight of the year consideration, while Usyk's victory over Marius Briedis was entertaining to watch as well, so the styles should create some action exchanges.
I picked Gassiev to win the tournament as the second seed before it started, so I shade towards him by a hair and don't forget the fight is in Gassiev's home country, so it could be tough for Usyk to win a close decision...

HBO returns to the boxing airwaves with a two fight card led by Jaime Munguia's first defense of his WBO junior middleweight title against former champion Liam Smith.
Munguia is a rising star after his impressive title-winning performance when he blew through Sadam Ali with an aggressive style that is going to make him a fan favorite.
Smith held the title in the past before his loss to Canelo Alvarez, so he's established at the weight and should be a decent test for Munguia.

Alberto Machado defends his WBA 'regular' title against Rafael Mensah.
Machado was the top WBA champion after his win over Jezreel Corrales before a mind-boggling decision by the always inept organization gave their top title to Gervonta Davis, dropping Machado down a level (three titles in a division SMH) without a particular reason.
Machado's win over Corrales was an exciting one and seeing him again is a good thing.
Mensah is undefeated against weak competition, but fighters from Ghana have a tendency to pop from the unknown to provide some excellent efforts.

I lead the boxing challenge over Ramon Malpica 112-86

Unification WBA/IBF-WBC/WBO Cruiserweight Titles
World Boxing Super Series Final
Murat Gassiev vs Oleksandr Usyk
R.L: Usyk Unanimous Winner
TRS: Gassiev Unanimous Winner

WBO Junior Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
Jaime Munguia vs Liam Smith
R.L: Munguia KO 9
TRS: Munguia KO 8

Junior Lightweights, 12 Rds
Alberto Machado vs Rafael Mensah
R.L: Machado KO 11
TRS: Machado Unanimous Decision



Friday, July 20, 2018

Indians bolster bullpen-Costs top prospect

The Cleveland Indians have struggled all season with a bullpen plagued with ineffectiveness and injuries.

Chris Antonetti and the Wahoo's attempted to shore up the hull a bit with a trade that added two new arms to the bullpen, one of which is coming off a trip to the All-Star game, but nothing comes for free (Unless you are dealing with the Orioles apparently) and it cost the Indians their best position prospect.

First, the return as the Indians added All-Star closer Brad Hand and rookie Adam Cimber.
The southpaw Hand, who collected 24 saves in the first half for the last place Padres, has an ERA of barely three and is fanning opposing hitters at a rate of 13 per nine innings to set him up as a possible new closer for Cleveland.
I suppose it is possible that Terry Francona may stick with Cody Allen and use Hand as the lefty closer, but it also might be that Hand slots in behind Allen and Andrew Miller and becomes one of the top options for the seventh and eighth innings.

Hand throws in the 90's, throws a wipeout slider. has been durable for the Padres since arriving from the Marlins ( Hand pitched here in Hagerstown with the Marlins low A affiliate Greensboro), and being under contract for two more seasons (plus a 2021 team option) made him very appealing to the Tribe with the expected departures to free agency after the season by Allen and Miller to step in as the future closer.
The only small concern that I have about Hand is that he wasn't successful in Miami and his rise to prominence in San Diego came in the massive Petco Park, where flyballs go to die.
That's a minor concern and one that I don't think is very likely to be a problem, but still worth noting.

Adam Cimber is an interesting player as well as he posted an ERA of 3.17 as a twenty-seven-year-old rookie in San Diego.
What I find most interesting about Cimber is the submarine motion that he uses.
Pitchers with odd motions can be quite devastating when used in small doses against opponents that share the same dominant side (righthander vs righthander usually gives the pitcher the advantage) and right-handed batters are hitting just .210 against Cimber and have hit just one home run.
Cimber's issue with becoming more than a situational reliever has been his problems with lefties, who hit over .290 against him in San Diego.
Still, even if he is a back of the bullpen piece at best, Cimber could be an Indian for quite a while with the team holding a few years of control.

And as mentioned earlier, when you are acquiring quality assets, you have to give up quality and the Indians did just that as they shipped their top position prospect and in the eyes of some, their top prospect in catcher Francisco Mejia to the Padres.

At 22 and considered to be a potential plus bat, the switch-hitting Mejia carried plenty of value, add in that he adds that potential from behind the plate and actually wants to remain there and you have a blue-chip prospect.
Mejia was hitting at a .279 clip with seven homers for AAA Columbus, but the Indians have tried to make his bat play with attempts to have him learn to play third and the outfield at various points with less than full success.
Some of that has been reported to be due to Mejia's less than enthusiastic response to the trials and with the return to form of Yan Gomes with the parent club (And Gomes has a year and two more years with team options) could leave Mejia blocked on the depth chart and even with the Indians less than strong situation in the outfield, Mejia was a somewhat expendable, if valuable trading piece.
The Padres stated that they see Mejia as a catcher despite having a fine young defensive minded catcher in Austin Hedges and in order to continue Mejia's development, he was assigned to the Padres AAA club in El Paso.
Mejia's arrival bolsters an already powerful farm system in San Diego and gives the Padres ten of MLB.com's top one hundred prospects, which is pretty impressive on its own, but is even more impressive when you consider the ten is a pretty even mix of homegrown prospects and players obtained in trades.

I hate losing Francisco Mejia, but it seemed like his shine had dimmed in the front office over the last week or so and dealing him from a position of strength now is a good idea.
Brad Hand and Adam Cimber will bolster a bullpen in need of such bolstering, they are the type of acquisition that the Indians like to make and small market team should make- affordable players with some control before free agency.
With the expected loss of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller at the conclusion of 2018, this trade will hopefully pay benefits for the next few seasons with Hand likely to slot in as the closer for 2019 and Cimber as a situational reliever with the possibility of moving into a setup role with an improvement against left-handed batters.

Still have plenty to work on, but the trade took precedence, so back with more later.










Thursday, July 19, 2018

5-0 without the Hawaii

The big 5-0.
Yep, another hurdle reached in the mile markers
of the interstate highways of life and yet I feel
great!

Why so?
Let us start with a recent clean bill of health (except extra weight, which I was told that considering the rest of my health isn't an issue other than some joint stress) and move on to what was a terrific birthday weekend.

Moving on to my birthday, where I was snookered into thinking that it was going to be a small party involving Cherie, the kids and my mother in law, Beverly and upon arrival, discovering that most of my good friends had been invited and were waiting for me at Ryan's home.
It was such a wonderful surprise and the gift of their appearance, considering how some of them passed on other places to see and things to do meant the world to me.
Thanks to all of you for the gifts, time and the great time.

I wanted to give a special thanks to all of you for pulling this off without suspicion on my part.
Apparently, this was planned for months and yet all of the participants managed to listen to me and not tip anything off.
More thanks to Cherie and Rachel for the planning and to Ryan and Courtney for allowing us to use their home for the event.

I also have a special thanks to someone that hardly knows me.
Janet works at the grocery store that we go to and she was kind enough to give me a birthday card with a special gift- a fifty cent piece from 1968 (which is the reason the coin is pictured above) that she received from her grandfather.
Janet was kind enough to pass this along to me along with a wonderful note inside the card and I was quite touched by her gift.
I wish that I could contact her right away, but unless she is reading this, I'll have to wait until next week- Thank you so much

I don't feel a lot different from 50 than 49 or 40 or even 30.
Immaturity will do that for a person-Ha Ha.
I've never been a numbers person that things like this bother me.
30 or 40 never bothered me and 50 hasn't either.
Sure, middle age has its issues, but I'm not feeling bad about it-I have a long way to go,

Honestly, what has bothered me more than anything of late has been the recent one-year "anniversary" of the loss of Big Ed.
I don't think I'll ever look at 4th of July the same way again after 2017 and it bothered me enough that I didn't even want to write about it.
The big guy is missed by all of us...

I'll be back to normal now with more posts soon.






Wednesday, July 18, 2018

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part Two

Part two of the TRS ratings will feature the lighter-weight fighters from the lightweights down through the flyweights.
I'll be editing this later with the addition of pound for pound ratings.

Part One can be found here.

Lightweights
1: Vasyl Lomachenko WBA Champ 14 Pts (Unranked)
2: Mikey Garcia WBC Champ 13 Pts
3: Jorge Linares 9 Pts (Down Two)
4: Robert Easter IBF Champ 6 Pts (Down Two)
5: Ray Beltran WBO Champ 2 Pts
Also Received Votes; Richard Commey

Junior Lightweights
1: Miguel Berchelt WBC Champ 15 Pts (Up One)
2: Gervonta Davis WBA Champ 12 Pts (Up One)
3: Alberto Machado 9 Pts (Up One)
4: Francisco Vargas 7 Pts (Unranked)
5: Jezreel Corrales 3 Pts
Also Received Votes; Christopher Diaz

Featherweights
1: Leo Santa Cruz WBA Champ 15 Pts
2: Gary Russell WBC Champ 11 Pts (Up Two)
3: Carl Frampton 9 Pts
4: Oscar Valdez WBO Champ 7 Pts (Down Two)
5: Josh Warrington IBF Champ 3 Pts (Unranked)

Junior Featherweights
1: Guillermo Rigondeaux 14 Pts
2: Issac Dogboe WBO Champ 13 Pts (Unranked)
3: Rey Vargas WBC Champ 10 Pts (Down One)
4: Danny Roman WBA Champ 7 Pts
5: Jessie Magdaleno 5 Pts (Down Two)

Bantamweights
1: Naoya Inoue 15 Pts
2: Ryan Burnett WBA Champ 8 Pts
    Luis Nery (Down One)
4: Emanuel Rodriguez IBF Champ 5 Pts (Unranked)
    Zolani Tete WBO Champ (Down One)
Also Received Votes: Juan Carlos Payano

Junior Bantamweights
1: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai WBC Champ 15 Pts
2: Juan Francisco Estrada 12 Pts (Up One)
3: Jerwin Ancajas IBF Champ 8 Pts (Up One)
4: Kai Yafai WBA Champ 5 Pts (Up One)
5: Roman Gonzalez 3 Pts

Flyweights
1: Artem Dalakian WBA Champ 14 Pts (Up One)
2: Cristofer Rosales WBC Champ 9 Pts (Up One)
3: Donnie Nietes 5 Pts (Down Two)
    Vincent LeGrand (Unranked)
5: Sho Kimura WBO Champ 3 Pts (Down One)
    Daigo Higa
    Andrew Selby
    Moruti Mthalane




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Whirlwind

It's been a whirlwind of a few days for me and I'll try to get caught up over the next day or two.

My friends know that I turned 50 on Sunday, but my wonderful friends and family surprised me with a wonderful birthday party.
Almost everyone in the area that is important to me was able to make it and I had a great time.

It's hard to put into words what that meant to me and I tried to thank everyone on Facebook, but one always seems to miss a few people that are important enough to mention.

In any event, I'll be writing a decent amount over the next few days.
I have to finish the boxing ratings, I want to talk about my party and turning 50, I also have something in mind about an anniversary that I haven't had time to write about as well.

It was a busy three day weekend for me, but one that was as fulfilling as I've had in a while;
I'll be writing quite a bit over the next few days- stay tuned..

Friday, July 13, 2018

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part One

The TRS Boxing Ratings return with the rankings from the Heavyweight division through the Junior Welterweights.
The lightweights down through the flyweights will be posted later this week.

Heavyweights
1: Anthony Joshua WBA/IBF/WBO Champ 15 Pts
2: Deontay Wilder WBC Champ 12 Pts
3: Luis Ortiz 9 Pts
4: Alexander Povetkin 6 Pts
5: Joseph Parker 3 Pts

Cruiserweights
1: Murat Gassiev WBA/IBF Champ 15 Pts
2: Oleksander Usyk WBC/WBO Champ 12 Pts
3: Mairis Breidis 7 Pts
4: Yunier Dorticos 5 Pts
5: Krzystof Glowacki 4 Pts
Also received votes: Andrew Tabiti

Light Heavyweights
1: Sergey Kovalev WBO Champ 15 Pts
2: Dmitry Bivol WBA Champ 11 Pts
3: Adonis Stevenson WBC Champ 10 Pts
4: Oleksandr Gvozdyk 6 Pts (Up One)
5: Artur Beterviev IBF Champ 3 Pts (Down One)

Super Middleweights
1: Gilberto Ramirez WBO Champ 15 Pts
2: George Groves WBA Champ 9 Pts
3: James DeGale 8 Pts
4: David Benavidez WBC Champ 7 Pts (Down One)
5: Callum Smith 4 Pts
Also received votes; Jose Uzcategui IBF Champ

Middleweights
1: Gennady Golovkin WBA/WBC Champ 15 Pts
2: Billy Joe Saunders WBO Champ 11 Pts (Up One)
3: Canelo Alvarez 8 Pts (Down One)
4: Jermall Charlo 7 Pts (Up One)
5: Daniel Jacobs 4 Pts (Down One)

Junior Middleweights.
1; Jarrett Hurd WBA/IBF Champ 15 Pts
2: Jermell Charlo WBC Champ 12 Pts
3: Erislandy Lara 8 Pts
4: Jaime Munguia WBO Champ 7 Pts (Unranked)
5: Julian Williams 2 Pts (Unranked)
Also received votes; Austin Trout

Welterweights
1) Errol Spence IBF Champ 15 Pts
2) Terence Crawford WBO Champ 12 Pts (Up One)
3) Keith Thurman WBA Champ 9 Pts (Down One)
4) Shawn Porter 5 Pts
5) Manny Pacquiao 4 Pts

Junior Welterweights
1) Jose Ramirez WBC Champ 13 Pts (Up One)
    Regis Prograis
3) Antonio Orozco 7 Pts (Up One)
4) Josh Taylor 6 Pts (Unranked)
5) Kiryl Relikh WBA Champ 4 Pts (Unranked)
Also received votes: Eduardo Troyanovsky, Sergei Lipinets