Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Podcast-Live from Avon-Listener's Request Episode

Live from Avon-It's a listener's request episode for topics and we say goodbye to longtime favorite Garry Shandling...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Podcast-Live from Avon Ohio

The podcast hits the road to Avon as we talk from a meeting room at the Duck Tape factory with thoughts on Andre Ward,Robert Griffin,a terrific find for the collection and why 7UP beats all the competition!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An evening in Hershey

The family made their annual trek to Hershey to see the Albany Devils.

This wasn't the usual scouting trip to see the Devils of the future.
The Albany team looks headed for the playoffs,which is unusual for them,but the real prospects of the parent team (Pavel Zacha and John Quenneville) are still playing junior hockey,so this is a team filled with lesser prospects and veterans that aren't part of the future.
Add into that that many of the best players of the team were in New Jersey,having been called up to the injury riddled Devils (Including goalie Scott Westwood and leading scorer Mike Sislo) and we didn't have a ton of faith for a Devils win in Chocolate land.

The Devils managed to play a smart and gritty game and hung in there against the Bears to the point of pushing the game through a five minute overtime and to the shootout,where they would lose 2-1 in the shootout and therefore the game 3-2.
Albany goals to Corbin McPherson (2) and Jim O'Brien (17) with Ken Appleby getting the loss in net.
Editor's Note:Thanks to Jason Christensen for catching my typo calling Jim O'brien "Ken".
The game winner in the shootout went to Hershey's Jakub Vrana,a former first rounder of Washington's and the type of player that Albany has lacked due to the Devils lack of impact players acquired through the draft.
Hopefully with Zacha,Quenneville and maybe another top 10 pick (right now the Devils would pick 13th in the draft unless they had some lottery luck) could mean that next years trip might see a more exciting team next season.

However,as with any trip,the story isn't always on the field or in this case-ice.
We had excellent seats just six rows from the ice and were in the club section,which with the food and other options not found elsewhere,I would recommend highly.
The lovely Cherie surprised me with a very nice sausage sandwich with peppers and onions.
I was pretty impressed with the club section as far as amenities go.

I wish I could say the same for the "fans" around us.
I sat beside a very nice elderly couple that rooted hard for their team,but weren't obnoxious with their rooting or got annoyed by ours.
However,we were under a heavy barrage by the four people behind us,who seemed disinterested and downright obtuse about the game in order to brag about such things as (I'm not kidding) "London is so much better than Paris in the summer","I intend getting Eggbert (I made the son's name up) on a summer internship in Belfast" and my favorite a lady older than Cherie and I discussing her "whoring around in her college days at Villanova".
I suppose many go to games for the social aspect of doing something with others and what it is becomes irrelevant,but I wish the good seats could go to real fans that care about what's going on in the game.

Rachel was on the other side of Cherie,who sat between us,so I didn't know that this older (late 50's) guy was annoying her throughout the game.
I had to work right after the game as it being Easter weekend,I couldn't take the night off as I usually would,so I wanted to make the 90 minuteish trip back as quickly as possible to in order to relieve the person being kind enough to allow me to attend the game.
Considering that,the games couldn't have went worse between an unexpected goodbye ceremony to the long time Hershey Bears general manager pushing the drop of the puck back an half hour,overtime and the shootout-time certainly drug as far as it possibly could.
The sellout crowd slowly filed out and this guy kept stopping on a dime going up the arena steps in front of Rachel in the line,which then caused everyone else to slam on the brakes.
Finally,the guy stops in the middle of the aisle again and starts a conversation with someone else to further slow things down.
What I didn't see was Rachel finally pushing this guy out of the way and saying "move!'.
I was a few steps behind her and the guy started to complain "geez,you didn't have to..."
I cut him off with a "Maybe if you wouldn't have stopped three times and then stopped with a conversation,it wouldn't have happened".
He started to rebut and I asked if he had a problem with that and with that he stepped aside.
Had he done that to begin with,I doubt he would have gotten touched.
My daughter truly is her father's child.

I raced down the road and had an enjoyable chat with my ladies as I hit Hagerstown and work at 11;45.
It's funny how games and interests bond us as family and sometimes friends.
In the end,it really isn't always about wins and losses-It's about the memories that you make and the people you share them with.
I'm pretty lucky to have the ladies here to make them with....

Editor's Note:I was told I forgot this part by Cherie and Rachel,so I wanted to come back and edit
In between periods,I saw Dan, a graphing buddy of mine from Harrisburg,so we each moved a bit to chat a while and in Hershey in between periods-a blimp floats through the arena and randomly drops five dollar bills.
As I stood and chatted with Dan,suddenly I felt the tip of something stab my neck.
I wasn't paying attention to the blimp,so I didn't see the five (folded into a paper airplane style point) flying at me.
Fortunately,I grabbed at it instead of swatting it away and therefore earned five bucks!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Podcast:Special Guest-Kristina Werner

We spend an hour talking weather,Sacramento Kings and mostly San Francisco Giants fandom with the charming Kristina Werner of FOX 40 in Sacramento!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Browns sign Robert Griffin

The Cleveland Browns finally made the splash into the free agency market that fans hope to see as the team signed former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin as a free agent to a two year contract for 15 million dollars (6.5 guaranteed).

Griffin,the former rookie of the year and second overall draft pick,has not played in a game since 2014 and has not been the same player since a Redskins playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks,where Griffin took a beating and then-Washington coach Mike Shanahan kept a clearly injured Griffin in the game to continue to aggravate injuries suffered in the game.

Robert Griffin has a strong arm and is still very mobile (although perhaps not as mobile before his injuries to his ACL/MCL (knee) and then a dislocated ankle that ended his 2014 season.
Griffin still has the potential skills to be a good quarterback,but there are caveats.
Griffin has attempted to make the adjustment to be a true pocket passer and has never quite mastered that skill,despite the occasional glimmer of hope.
Griffin also has shined in the read option offense that allows quarterbacks to be hit far more often than in a more conventional offense and the NFL defenses have become more capable in stopping that system,which has seen the decline in play of Griffin and Colin Kaepernick,who was often attached to Cleveland in trade rumors.
Griffin has also had issues with locking on receivers and holding onto the ball longer than need be,but considering the work that Hue Jackson has done with quarterbacks over his career of varying talent (Joe Flacco,Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell most notably) in making huge strides in their games,it's not impossible for Griffin to find some of his past form.
Griffin also has the advantage of being a college teammate and long time friend (Griffin attempted to get the Redskins to draft him) of Josh Gordon,so perhaps Griffin's influence could help with the oft-troubled receiver's attempt to stay on the straight and narrow path.

I'm not sure what the Browns are getting in Robert Griffin after the trials and tribulations of the last few years,but for the price and comparing that the team got Griffin at no cost compared to trading a draft pick for the more expensive and less talented Colin Kaepernick-I'm OK with the decision.

I don't really see much of a downside.
If Griffin bounces back,the Browns have an impact player for a bridge quarterback price,
If not,the Browns really haven't invested very much money into Griffin and haven't really lost much as any young quarterback wouldn't have done better behind a less than strong offensive line.
If I'm the Browns,I wouldn't allow this signing to take their eye off a quarterback that they like in the draft,but if they aren't in love with Carson Wentz or Jared Goff,I wouldn't be against taking the best player available or even trading down to add picks.

I'll be interested in seeing just what Robert Griffin has to offer and I think he could be a jolt of energy to a roster that needs it badly.....

Goodbye to the White Shadow

The face of the White Shadow passed away today as Ken Howard died at the age of 71.

Howard appeared on Broadway and had numerous films and television shows on his resume',but will be most remembered for the starring role of Ken Reeves on the White Shadow.
The CBS show lasted three years and although never a ratings hit,found an audience through kids like me in syndication-Teenagers that liked basketball gave the show a chance and it ran often on channels through the 80's.

The show,which hooked basketball fans with a snazzy opening from an actual NBA pre-season game with "Ken Reeves" (Howard's character) tearing up his knee in an age where a knee injury could finish a career,featured Howard as a former NBA player coaching at an inner-city Los Angeles high school and coaching the mostly African-American team.
The White Shadow dealt with many issues of the day and because of the show breaking new ground (Reeves was the only white guy on the show) as in the majority of the cast being ethnic gained critical acclaim.
The problem was it was never was a prime time hit and as the show went on,the show became softened and a bit more cliched' as CBS tinkered with it in order to gain ratings momentum that never arrived.

The show really began to slide in season three as five of the Carver High team 'graduated' which wasn't all bad as some of these guys looked closer to NBA retirement age than guys leaving high school and new players came in.
The new characters didn't really click other than former Stanford star and Utah Jazz draftee Wolfe Perry added some realism to the on court scenes.
Some fans like Bill Simmons prefer to pretend the final season never existed and although I bought the first two seasons on DVD and the third season wasn't as good,I still wished that they would have released it so my set could at least have been completed.

Ken Howard would go on to be more of a supporting actor than a lead after the cancellation of the White Shadow and would do so successfully,but to me and so many people of my age,Ken Howard will always be remembered as Ken Reeves-the White Shadow...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Browns lose Craig Robertson

It's a slow day as far as news at the TRS media empire.
No Cavaliers,Devils,baseball not here yet and despite having a really fun podcast finished and ready to go,I decided to wait a little bit before I use that one.
Plus the impending exciting fire safety class that I have to take today and not only is it a slow news day-it's a slow life day!

The only nugget of news is the Cleveland Browns losing linebacker Craig Robertson to the Saints via the free agency route.
Robertson only played in 12 games last season after playing in all 16 the previous two seasons and finished with 29 solo tackles and an interception.

Robertson is a decent,but nothing outstanding inside linebacker and the Saints are trying to hodge-podge some veterans around 2015 first rounder Stephone Anthony (They have now signed 3 veteran linebackers including former Buckeye James Laurinaitis),so it depends on how things work out,if Robertson starts in New Orleans,although I'm sure he'll see playing time.

I'm OK with allowing Robertson to leave,I think DeMario Davis is a superior player and will more than likely out-perform Robertson's numbers in Cleveland.
Robertson always played with a high motor though and I don't have anything bad to say about him,just the Browns replaced him with a better player,which is something I usually can't say about the Browns.

A final note,yes,I have noticed in the posts of players leaving that I always use the old uniform shots when possible,
There will be a day that comes that makes that impossible,but until that day-I'll pretend that the ugly "Alec Scheiner" specials simply don't exist in this timeline....

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox

The inbox filled up faster than expected,so time for a dumping!
This has some good stuff,so I hope you'll enjoy this one!

I stumbled upon this by accident,but I really enjoyed reading this by Paul Putz from 2013 about the old Kansas City-Omaha Kings and their three seasons that the vagabond franchise spent playing a handful of games in Omaha with their main base in Kansas City,
The article is a tremendously detailed article on those Kings and focuses on their players and the Omaha games in particular.
I love this type of article on the lost era,yet my era of the NBA (and ABA),so I'm always on the lookout for them.
I only wish that Putz would consider a book on the years of the K.C-Omaha Kings-It was that good.

The San Antonio Current posted an oral history of the USFL's San Antonio Gunslingers last fall and it was filled with things that made me laugh.
I've been planning a USFL show for the podcast all winter,but not sure if it will happen right away,but I will get one finished sometime.

Bruce Markusen's Card Corner for the baseball hall of fame writes an excellent article on Bobby Bonds.
Bonds was one of my favorites as a kid and it's so easy unless you are my age to just classify him as "Barry's dad".
Bonds was easily one of the most exciting players to watch of my childhood and to this day provided me with a childhood memory with just a few words.

The Hardball Times in a post from a few years back caught my interest as it covers the career of former Dodger catcher John Roseboro.
Roseboro,who was the long time catcher of Sandy Koufax,hailed from Ashland Ohio (my old residence) and I remember Roseboro's picture being painted on the side of a building downtown that has since been painted over.

Mary Beth Marsden has been a long time favorite of mine with her television and now radio work through the years.
I have been reminded more than once on a statement that I made at a ballpark once that "the only thing that I'm interested in listening to or seeing in the city of Baltimore is Mary Beth Marsden".
Marsden will be leaving WBAL radio and is uncertain of her next stop,but will continue to do videos on the autism spectrum,which has a personal appeal to Marsden as her daughter has an autism spectrum disorder.
I'll miss her work and for now-there is nothing that I'm interested in listening to or seeing in the city of Baltimore. HA HA!

Susan Petrone is an author that also blogs and does some interesting writing about the Indians,but this hit isn't about either.
Petrone smacks a double into the gap with a post about her daughter,who is entering the "tween" years and her letting go of her first favorite doll.
It hit home to me as someone sentimental about such things for me and my children and brought some remembrances of me.
Very touching,I thought.
Susan has agreed to do a podcast down the road and we'll talk about her book,the Indians and maybe even a question or two about "Big Baby".

We wrap with a goodbye to Charlie Fulton.
Charlie was one of the better "bad guy" wrestlers on the televised squash matches of my childhood,which basically meant that he would be able to get some moves in during these matches and show a little more talent.
Fulton was a talented wrestler that just didn't have the charisma to be a bigger star despite having the skills to do so.
Fulton appeared most often on WWF television and the Jim Crockett ran Mid-Atlantic territory and was just one of those guys that never got a break.
The former Vietnam veteran left the ring on a regular basis in 1985 with heart issues and his final match was 1992.
Fulton trained wrestlers after his retirement with his best known protege being Scott Levy AKA Raven.
Fulton was 67...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Podcast-The Graphing Guys return!

The graphing guys return as Brad Adams and Kendall Morris return to talk graphing,baseball,toys and more including Suckerman????

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Top Five New Jersey Devils Enforcers

I haven't been talking much hockey lately and I had an idea last night for a fun little column about the dying breed in a changing game-the enforcer.

That led to this idea about the top five Devil's enforcers, but a few caveats before we begin.
One-this is a list of my favorite enforcers, not a bracket of who would win if I ran an eight-man tournament. (hmm,).

Two-Why not Scott Stevens?
Well, for all of the intimidating factors of Stevens and for as often as Stevens dropped the gloves, I don't like to rank a Hall of Famer as an enforcer.


1) Troy Crowder.
Troy Crowder only spent two years in the Red and Green, but his standup skills rank with the best ever and his destructive win over my all-time favorite fist-thrower Bob Probert stamped him as one of the best ever on any particular night.
Crowder may not have been a Devil long enough to rank him tops on quantity, but the quality certainly puts him in the running...

2) Krzysztof Oliwa.
The Polish Hammer spent three years as a Devil and it might have been the best three-year run for a Devil enforcer ever.
Oliwa's size (6'5 245) made him tough to take down and his uppercut ranked with the best bangers in his time....

3) Mike Peluso
Peluso wasn't just an enforcer, he was a vital member of the CRASH line for the first Devils Cup winner.
Peluso's biggest problem was that his balance wasn't always the best, but with the long hair flying with every punch thrown and taken, Peluso's fights always had a great visual effect.
Peluso is also the last NHL player to record 400 penalty minutes in a season, although that was before his Devils tenure.

4) Ken Daneyko
Mr.Devil was a solid, stay-at-home defenseman and not a one-dimensional performer, but he wasn't afraid to drop the gloves either, especially in his early years before the Devils became a playoff contender.
Daneyko makes the list for consistency, not for being among the elite battlers.

5) Randy McKay
McKay was among the best middleweights of his day and yet had a decent scoring touch around the net.
In the 90's-2000s, there were almost divisions and the middles delivered just as much action as the big bruisers.
McKay was also a CRASH line member and for a player that accumulated penalty minutes, McKay was strong on the plus-minus stat board..

Honorable Mention
David Clarkson-Would have been much more effective in McKay's day, similar style.
Jim McKenzie-Underrated heavyweight with lots of teams on his passport.
Cam Janssen-Didn't seem to win as many fights as others, but always tried hard...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Podcast-Special Guest Joe Werner on Baseball Prospects

We welcome back author Joe Werner from the Prospect Digest Handbook for some baseball prospect talk!!

Indians bring in Marlon Byrd

The Cleveland Indians finally attempted to address their outfield and power issues with the signing of Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal which pays Byrd a million dollars,if he is on the team for Opening Day.

The 38 year old Byrd hit 23 homers in a season split between the Reds and Giants and has hit over 20 homers in each of the last three seasons.
Byrd was known more as a speedster as a younger player,but as he has aged,Byrd has turned into more of a slugger,although his average has dropped for each of the last two seasons.

The Indians will be the 10th team of Byrd's career and after being a bat for hire over the last three years (arguably the most productive),could finally be in a position to not be a trade deadline piece.
The 2015 Indians only had one full-time righthanded hitter (Carlos Santana hit 19,but is a switchhitter) hit 12 homers last season (Yan Gomes in an injury-filled season) and screams for righthanded power,which is exactly what Byrd can provide at this stage of his career.

Byrd will likely have an excellent chance to win the right field job in at least a platoon role as the Indians will give lefthanded hitting Lonnie Chisenhall every opportunity to earn plenty of at bats in right field as well.
The Indians are receiving good reports on an early return for Michael Brantley,which is a huge jolt to a lineup in need of one,but even with Brantley and Byrd,I still wonder if this team has the type of hitting to complement one of the games best pitching rotations...

I have a feature in mind for tonight,if I have the time and if nothing breaks in the news...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Browns release Karlos Dansby and Dwayne Bowe

The rebuild of the Cleveland Browns continued as the Browns released two players to get younger,cheaper and maybe even faster as the team cut the big contracts of linebacker Karlos Dansby and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Karlos Dansby is the bigger loss of the two as he played well last season,but not so well that with a contract that would have paid Dansby five million a year over the next two years that a 35 year old veteran was worth sticking around on a rebuilding team.

Dansby finished last season with 63 solo tackles and three interceptions,but for the first time in his 12 NFL seasons-failed to record a sack.
Dansby provided the "intangible of veteran leadership" in his Browns tenure and I have nothing negative to say about him or his effort,but when you can save a few million per year and get similar performance from Demario Davis,a team such as the Browns have to consider it at minimum and pull the trigger the majority of the time.
Dansby will be looking to sign with a contender and he still has enough hop in his step to help someone,but he would have to be the Terminator to push the 2016 Browns into anything near playoff contention,so it works for both parties.

Meanwhile,the Browns also let go Dwayne Bowe,the poster child for everything wrong with the Ray Farmer era in Cleveland.
Bowe,who was given a two year deal by Ray "WR's don't influence the game more than a few plays per game" Farmer worth 12.5 million (9 of that guaranteed) was clearly paid beyond the value of his performance,which was a whopping five catches for 53 yards.
Bowe was a Farmer favorite that Mike Pettine wanted nothing to do with and was inactive more often than not.
The less than I type about Dwayne Bowe,Ray Farmer and anything else to do with this signing the better.
Goodbye and good riddance....

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Browns sign Demario Davis

The Browns made three moves today-adding and subtracting.
I'll look at the subtractions later as there could possibly be more players released and keep this post to the one addition that the team made.

Demario Davis was added from the Jets for eight million over two years to play inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
Davis was a player that I really liked coming out of Arkansas State in 2012 and has been productive in his time with the Jets after being selected in the third round.
The tackle numbers for Davis dropped a hair last season,but some of that has to be attributed to the Jets hiring Todd Bowles as head coach,who used more of a rotation at linebacker and therefore limited the snaps for Davis last season compared to the previous seasons.

Davis should slot into a starting inside linebacker position with the release of Karlos Dansby (more on that in the next post) and the apparent departure of Craig Robertson,who is visiting other teams and joins the high motor of Christian Kirksey in what should be a reasonably decent position on a team that decent might rank near the top.

I like the signing,I think there is a fair chance that the Browns could receive comparable production from Demario Davis compared to Karlos Dansby at a reduced cost-analytics at work!!

As I was typing this,the Browns made another signing as safety Rahim Moore arrived from Houston on a one year contract to challenge Jordan Poyer for the safety position vacated by Tashaun Gipson.
Moore was a second round pick of the Broncos in 2011 and spent four years with Denver before leaving for Houston.
If Moore reverts to the Denver form of 2014(4 interceptions and 45 tackles),the Browns could have a steal.
The problem is that Moore signed with the Texans for three years before the 2015 season and played so poorly that he lost his starting job halfway through the years for the playoff bound Texans and was released just one year into the contract.
So which Moore have the Browns signed?
Was his struggles in Houston signs of a player in decline? Or was it simply that Moore didn't fit into the Texans schemes as well as expected and the Browns are a better fit for him?
On a one year contract,I don't mind gambling on Moore....

I expect to be back later to talk about the players that the Browns released today...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Podcast with Special Guest Anya Alvarez

We welcome special guest Anya Alvarez to the podcast and I think it's a great show.
Anya pulls few punches on golf,the LPGA,The Golf Channel,her background and more.
I personally think it's a great hour.....

Time to differentiate

A recent discussion made me want to clear some things up and make clear just what I do here and with the podcast..

I look at them as two different entities in the same family with one major thing in common-the guy that overlooks both of them.

The podcast is where I get to discuss things,get interviews (which I think goes so much smoother than here on the blog,mainly because it doesn't take as much time for the person being interviewed)

The blog is also an opinion piece,but whereas the podcast is a lot of me talking about other things.people etc,the blog is a lot more about me-my background,my passions,the things I care about and events that carried me to the place that I am on the day that I write it.

To me,they are both parts of the overall product,but different in what they talk about (or often how things are discussed),so while I hope that you would like both products,I can also see how one may be more appealing than the other.

I have some decisions to make on the podcast and I'm excited about them.
Some of the decisions have to do with content and a potential collaboration with a friend of mine for a weekly show,but others are more on the business side as well.

As far as the blog,we near our 9th anniversary and this isn't going anywhere.
This little nook on the net has evolved a few times over the years,but I enjoy this and it isn't going anywhere.

Just wanted to catch you up a bit and I have two interviews for the podcast to do today,so continuing to be busy!!1

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On the signing front

We finish up the 2015 season with thanks to three traders that have become friends of mine.

Thanks to Corey White all that he does in the Southern League for me.
Corey was able to get so many for the top 100 sets that I've already put away,but his work is so much appreciated!
Not counting those-here are some standouts from Corey's year for me.
Baseball America pitcher of the year Blake Snell,Daniel Robertson,Johnny Field,Edgar Diaz.
Billy McKinney (who I just missed in Frederick when he was with Myrtle Beach),Kyle Schwarber,Albert Almora,Orlando Arcia,Cubs catcher Miguel Montero when he did a rehab assignment,Jose Berrios,Adam Walker,Jorge Polanco and too many others to mention along with a Tennessee Smokies team set...

Tom O'brien helps me in Bowie with odds and ends that for scheduling quirks that I might not get in the Eastern League and the occasional big league cards,
Tom has gotten me guys for my 1988 and 1990 Score sets that have been already put away and a Bowie BaySox team set.
Tom also got a card signed that had traveled with me for years in Melky Mesa's 2012 Eastern League All-Star card.
Tom helped me with prospects J.P.Crawford,Tyler Wade (on a pack pulled Silver Ice),Dylan Bundy,Dariel Alvarez and more!

My newest trader and friend is Craig Lindgren of Utah,Craig helps with the Pacific Coast League and Pioneer League.
Craig did the Ogden Raptors team set,added some guys from the Pioneer League All-Star set,some score additions and all-time favorite Cory Snyder on a BYU card among others...

Thanks to all of my friends and traders and I'm looking forward to 2016!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pirates sign David Freese

The Pittsburgh Pirates attempted to fill a gap at third base and may have filled two in the long run with the one year contract signed by former Cardinal and Angel David Freese.

The contract worth three million seems reasonable and Freese will see time at both third and first base.
Freese will be the starter at third until Jung-Ho Kang returns from injury,which is expected to be in late April to early May and upon the return of Kang,will shift to first base to platoon with John Jaso in an attempt to replace Pedro Alvarez.

Freese hit .257 with 14 homers last year for the Angels,so the soon to be 33 (in April) year old has some game left and even if he (and Jaso) falls short as the first base tag team should provide decent value for the contract.

The Pirates designated Jesse Biddle for assignment to make space for Freese on the 40 man roster.
Biddle was recently acquired from Philadelphia,but will likely clear and return to his rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Browns cut Johnny Manziel

Please bear with any typos today.I'm feeling pretty bad over the last day or so and in order to continue to function and go to work-I'm pretty run down.

The Cleveland Browns stepped forward yesterday with the beginning of their rebuild with a few moves including their first two free agent signings,but most importantly moved away from troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel with his release.
Cleveland,who reportedly are among a team or two that has interest in trading for Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers,had to get away from the toxic Manziel and took a temporary cap hit in order to move the Texas A&M product along.
Manziel finishes his Cleveland career with seven touchdown passes with seven interceptions and won two starts and sends the Browns back to the drawing board.

Cleveland lost another player before the signing below as special teams star Johnson Bademosi left the Browns to sign a two year deal with the Detroit Lions.
Bademosi led the Browns in special teams tackles in each of his four years in Cleveland,but the new regime thought that Bademosi wasn't worth the cost of a special teamer,especially when Bademosi was exposed at defensive back as a less than stellar performer.
I'm fine with allowing Bademosi to leave

The Browns were given three extra compensation picks in the draft with one coming at the end of round four and the other two at the end of round five.
These picks are given for lost free agents at the 2015 free agency period and cannot be traded.

Rumors have the Browns (among the Broncos and Jets) as the interested suitors in Colin Kaepernick from San Francisco,with one report has the 49ers wanting a second round choice for him and the Browns offering a third instead.
I wouldn't offer either for Kaepernick and would offer a 4th at best with hesitancy only because the Browns suddenly have an extra 4th rounder.
I just cannot see the interest in a quarterback that plays in a style that the league has caught up to,is coming off shoulder surgery,often injured of late and sat on the bench for a bad team so they could play Blaine Gabbert.
Anything other than a day three pick is far too excessive for Kaepernick.

The Browns also signed their first two free agents,who could see lots of playing time,but neither were players to get overly excited about.
Offensive lineman Alvin Bailey was signed from the Seahawks,where he made eight starts in three years for Seattle at guard and tackle.
Bailey doesn't appear to be of starting timber,but does look to be a versatile backup that can play two spots in the line rotation.
Bailey could challenge Austin Pasztor or any future additions to start at the hole opened at right tackle by the loss of Mitchell Schwartz to the Chiefs,although at 6'3 320 Bailey might be best suited for guard.
The one thing that Bailey's signing was a similar signing a few years of a backup lineman that could play a few positions and he turned out to be a pretty decent player in John Greco.

The other signing was linebacker Justin Tuggle from the Texans.
The son of former Falcon pro bowler Jessie Tuggle,Justin started two games last year in Houston at linebacker,but was more noted as a special teamer.
Tuggle could compete for a starting linebacker spot on the inside,which could be weakened if Craig Robertson leaves via free agency,which currently appears likely.

If I feel up to it,I plan on trying to be back later with a few words on the Pirates signing David Freese...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox

Time for a quick inbox cleaning in an attempt to keep things clean.

First off,thanks to all of you and Ricky Cobb (of @super70ssports) for listening and making that our most listened to podcast!
The podcast numbers are added by me because some download off Podbean (those numbers are viewable via the public) and others play it here,so the numbers are added for the final number.
In any case,thanks and if you just visited for that reason,I hope to keep you around for future podcasts and of course the flagship here...

I also plan on returning to two of our most liked features from the past sometime over the next month as I will return to the Zabbies (boxers that I'm tired of seeing ) and If I ran a network.
Some things have changed since I did that last,some people that weren't on the past lists have dropped off and others jumped on.
Looking forward to re-visiting those lists....

This article is a few years old,but I found it interesting from the Charleston Post-Courier as Mike Mooneyham writes about the lives that still run together from one of the hottest pro wrestling feuds of the 1980's between Magnum T.A (Terry Allen) and Tully Blanchard.
It's a long and detailed article that discusses the feud,the wrestlers background and what they were doing (as I said the article is a few years old) then with Allen marrying Blanchard's ex-wife and the two being involved in raising Blanchard's children with his ex-wife.
It's an excellent article and well worth the read,if you are a wrestling fan or not.

Three recent passings of note.

Goodbye to Pat Conroy at the age of 70 from pancreatic cancer.
Conroy is famous for his fiction work including the Great Santini (made into an excellent film) and the Lords of Discipline (another good film),but my favorite of his was his autobiographical work in My Losing Season about Conroy's senior season of basketball at the Citadel.
I always enjoyed that book.
Santini dealt with a difficult relationship with a father that was occasionally abusive and I could relate to that at times.

Tony Burton passed away at 78 from undisclosed causes.
Burton was best known as his role as "Duke" in the Rocky films as first the trainer of Apollo Creed and transitioning into the trainer of Rocky Balboa.
Burton ,to this day, often appears on the internet when discussing a huge whipping in a fight that should be stopped or a really lopsided game with this..

Sonny James "the Southern Gentleman" passed away at the age of 87.
James was best known for his first hits "Young Love" and "Running Bear" or for taking pop and R & B hits and putting them to a country set which sent him to the top of the charts.
James (to me) was noted for his covers of Petula Clark's "My Love" and the Seekers "I'll never find another you",but was more than that as James set the music (not just country-MUSIC) record for 16 straight number one singles.
That might rate as the music world's unbreakable record!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Browns hit the Silver Sombrero in free agency

I wrote yesterday that I didn't expect the Cleveland Browns to be involved in making big waves in free agency,but I never dreamed that they would be the joke of the league as their Harvard "whiz kids" would sign no one,lose all four of their top free agents and be criticized in how they handled negotiations in one of them...

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Browns had a chance to re-sign the player that I wanted most in tackle Mitchell Schwartz,but when his agents asked about the offer that the Browns had on the table for him as recently as the combine-he was told that the team had pulled their offer.
Schwartz was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs to a five year deal at 6.6 million per year,which was cheaper than expected and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns would have likely done a deal with Schwartz at that cost,had they known that is what would have gotten a deal finished.

Alex Mack took a offer for less money reportedly (no word on if the offer was similar in length) to sign a five year deal with the Atlanta Falcons for 9.5 million.
So,this one was not on account of the Browns being cheap,Mack was tired of the losing and questionable management and took a lesser offer.
I can understand the player moving on and I cannot hold it against the Browns because in this case-they clearly tried.

Travis Benjamin signed a four year deal with the San Diego Chargers worth 24 million to be their second receiver and frankly I'm OK with not signing Benjamin at that price.
I wrote yesterday that I don't believe he is a number two receiver and the Chargers paid him as one,so no problems in allowing Benjamin to leave.

The final player to leave was safety Tashaun Gipson,who signed a five year deal with 35 million as the final amount with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The die was cast for Gipson's departure long ago,so this was a matter of landing point not a matter of the Browns keeping him.

The larger problem is the Browns not bringing in anyone to add to the roster on the first day of free agency.
I didn't expect a huge splash,but a ripple would have been nice.
Losing four starters and not signing even one replacement is a solid shot on day one.
I understand and even believe in building through the draft,but you can fill a few holes on your team with free agency,
Let's be real-it's unlikely the Browns are replacing any of these four with equal players as far ability in free agency-at least in the case of the two linemen and yes the Browns will be able add some compensation picks in 2017,at least two of them at the end of the third round in my opinion.
However at this time (repeat at this time),the 3-13 team that finished the season is appreciably worse.

Still,this looks really bad and the Browns would have been better served to go after one player to fill one position from a talent and public relations perspective.
To the outside observer,it looks like different minds in charge-same old Browns.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Why the Browns might not be wrong to cut ties

The NFL free agency period begins today and I'm looking at the Cleveland Browns to make a little noise,but not a huge bang....

I'm thinking the Browns are going to lose all four of their top free agents in house as Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz are going to go for far more than the Browns will be willing to pay.Travis Benjamin may not be a perfect fit in the Hue Jackson offense (no matter what the teams says) and Tashaun Gipson seems downright annoyed at the tepid response that that Cleveland has given his contract situation over the last year or so...

Sashi Brown says the Browns have to do better in keeping their own free agents and they do,but to take that step forward,you may have to be proactive in the future.
These guys aren't locked up and want to win,so for all of the ballyhoo about how smart these guys are-the newspapers aren't out yet,so they might have to start signing guys from the next wave of players before that group hits the market.
I'm going to make the case that with one exception that the Browns shouldn't break the bank on these 4 players.

Let's start with the player that I would try to keep in tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
Schwartz is reasonably young (26),has gotten better each year and is coming off a career year.
Add into that the Browns are likely going to be drafting a young quarterback and will need to protect the young man or risk turning him into the next Tim Couch.
I have been on the soapbox for years that Couch wasn't a bust (as so many say) simply because he played well for a guy running for his life-while taking a beating that made one recall the beating that Archie Manning took every week for the Saints in the 70's,
Schwartz wouldn't be cheap and I just don't see a way that the Browns keep him,but if there is a case to overpay one of these players-I overpay Schwartz.
The Browns will have to address right tackle in losing Schwartz in either free agency or the draft,so an argument can be to make Schwartz the focus of the homegrown free agents.

I wouldn't overpay Alex Mack,although someone is going to.
Mack didn't really return to previous form last season in his comeback from a broken ankle and considering his age (30) and already having money tied up into a similar aged player on the line in Joe Thomas,I can see why an overpay doesn't appeal to the Browns.
After the pathetic rookie year showing by Cameron Erving,the Browns might not want to risk handing Erving the center job after Mack leaves,so look for the Browns to add a medium priced center as an insurance policy against Erving not being able to do the job.

I would bring Travis Benjamin back at the right price,but I'd bet that the right price isn't going to sign the speedy Benjamin.
Fleet on foot and slight of build,I'm not convinced that Benjamin is more than a tweener or a one-dimensional speedster.
I'm doubtful of Benjamin being able to take the pounding in the slot and yet I am unconvinced that he is a true every down player on the outside either.
I'd rather the Browns put the money at receiver into one or even two free agents at WR (two covers them in case Josh Gordon wants a Miller Lite or something) and even a day two draft pick to build a receiving corps that has fallen far behind the rest of the league,..

Tashaun Gipson on the surface looks like a cornerstone at safety,but at 25 has already had issues staying healthy.
Health issues rarely get better as players get older,so there is a warning flag there.
Gipson's interceptions dropped to just two last season,so the big plays that made him a breakout star in 2013 and 2014 were missing last season.
The Browns have fought over contracts with Gipson over the last two years and I doubt those ruffled feathers will be straightened out in time to sign Gipson.
I wouldn't overpay him,but wouldn't be against a return either,if things could be worked out.
I'd rather the Browns draft a replacement or sign a young veteran to fill the slot of Gipson if I had my way.
The Browns will need someone with speed,if slower veteran Donte Whitner is brought back at the opposite safety....

I'll be following the Browns day tomorrow and if any players sign,I'll be here with some thoughts...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Podcast with Guest Ricky Cobb of Super 70's Sports!

We talk for the hour with Ricky Cobb-the man behind the hilarious Twitter account-Super 70's Sports!!
We talk sports,wrestling,toys,television and more...

Austin Jackson-Does he finally tip the scale against the Indians?

I've always tried to be an understanding fan.
Being a fan of Cleveland teams in sports (Particularly non-capped ones),you have to be!
It can be hard to entice players to come to Cleveland in the first place and often the teams (read Indians) are underfunded,but this time I cannot fault the city,pro sports or anything else but the Indians themselves.

The Indians entered the winter with one of best rotations in baseball,but with a desperate need for hitters-particularly at third base and the outfield.
The outfield was a huge need considering only Michael Brantley was an average big league outfielder and the outstanding Brantley's status was considered to be tenuous at best with an injury that was figuring to keep him out of the lineup for a minimum of a month and likely more of the 2016 season.

Cleveland's answer to this was signing aging Mike Napoli to be the first baseman based off a good final month of the season (after a awful rest of it in Boston) in Texas and a spring training sign of another aging player in Juan Uribe-who at 36,245 pounds and losing defensive range by chunks,looks to be perhaps a risk likely to fail.

However,the bigger indictment was the signing of veteran Rajai Davis in the off-season.
Davis signed a one year deal for a nick over five million,which is a little of an overpay,but not outrageous.
However,Jackson is a better player,younger and both would eventually sign for similar deals,but lets not get too far out front yet.
Put aside the questionable decision of Davis,a player that at 35 brings one tool to the table (speed) that is beginning to fade (Steals dropped in half last year 36 to 18) and was a 4th outfielder at his peak and that brings us at the decision to bank on Abraham Almonte.
Again,put aside the eventual PED suspension of Almonte-the Indians didn't know that was coming entering the hot stove league,Look deeper to see why the team banked so much on a career AAA outfielder that put together this line in 51 games at the Jake (.264 ,5 and 20) to begin with,
What about Almonte enabled the Indians to believe that he was the everyday answer to begin with,even with a healthy Michael Brantley,Almonte wasn't anywhere near that type of player.

Which brings us back to Austin Jackson.
Now Austin Jackson's numbers have dipped over the last two years,but I'm willing to excuse that a little by considering he played for three teams in that span and some players are affected more than others by changes in ballparks,leagues etc.
Jackson is younger than Davis (29 to 35) and comparable to Almonte (Jackson turned 29 in January to Almonte turning 27 in June),has better career numbers and has a track record of being able to be a full time starter,which is more than I can say about Davis,Almonte or any of the other players out of the grab bag that the Indians signed in the off season for outfield competition in Collin Cowgill,Joey Butler or the in-house competitors headed to a AAA ballpark near you in Zach Walters, Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey.

When you consider all of the things wrong with the Indians lineup and especially the outfield,one would make an argument that Jackson (still a free agent until yesterday) would have been a nice fit on a one year deal (which he signed with division rival Chicago) and at a cost BELOW that of Davis (five million) for a team in either need or (in my opinion) desperate need would have been an excellent fit.
However,Indians fans saw this "the budget is tight and Jackson would have wanted more to play here than Chicago" and naturally thought-finances,AGAIN.

I'm not going to argue against that,especially considering that for an additional five-six million that the Wahoos would have a much better chance of avoiding dropping to their knees out of the gate,but what I will say is this-The Indians did a poor job of allocating the finances that they did have.
Rajai Davis is not a MLB average starting outfielder and even if Austin Jackson didn't perform up to expectations over his career,I'd still consider him a better player than Davis.
The Indians took what money they had and invested into a guy that looked ready for retirement before a final month in one of the best hitters parks in the game,a mediocre 4th/5th outfielder and then in desperation signed a older player with a slowing bat and a weight problem to address a problem that wasn't even mildly looked at.

Now is the issue that the Indians don't have the funds or don't allocate them properly?
I'd make the argument that it is both.
Combine the two and you have a good reason why the Indians have a tough time pleasing their ardent fans and capturing the casual ones....

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ortiz,Vargas post KO's-Boxing Challenge

HBO went to Washington with a two bout card and was rewarded with a chalk bout along with a surprise in two levels...

Jessie Vargas ended a surprisingly good fight with a knockdown just before the end of the eighth round of Sadam Ali and then finished Ali off in the ninth round to win the vacant WBO welterweight title.
Vargas had not scored a knockout in ten fights,but suddenly looks to be revitalized with a new more aggressive style...
R.L.Malpica and I each picked Ali for no points.

Luis Ortiz dropped Tony Thompson twice early before ending the fight near the end of round six.
Ortiz wasn't quite as entertaining as in his destruction of Bryant Jennings,but some of that is due to the lanky and less than active Thompson's refusing to engage..
I earned three points for Ortiz's win and KO with a bonus point for the correct round,while R.L added two.

In an untelevised bout,Oscar Escandon knocked out Robinson Castellanos in round seven.
Both of us selected Castellanos for no points..

Over on Showtime,Julian Williams became the mandatory challenger for IBF jr.middleweight champ Jermall Charlo with a seventh round stoppage of Marcelo Matano.
I earned three points for the Williams win,KO and correct round,with R.L. picking up two...

Lucas Browne moved himself further in the WBA "tournament" to clean up their heavyweight title mess with a 10th knockout of Ruslan Chagaev in Russia.
Chagaev knocked Browne down in the eighth,but couldn't finish him off.
R.L. picked Browne to win for one point as I picked Chagaev...

On the day,I added six points to R.L's five.
The boxing challenge now stands at 23-16 in my favor.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge steams on with three bouts from Washington,a title eliminator and a bout from Russia.

Two of the WBA's minor titles at heavyweight on the line tonight and even though neither are the real champion (Tyson Fury is),give the WBA credit as their new president has realized how silly their three titles are and have begun proceedings that will eventually rid us of all this mess.

In Russia,the WBA "regular" (unrecognized) champion Ruslan Chagaev defends against Australia's Lucas Browne.
The issue here is do you like Chagaev,who hasn't beaten a top 10 opponent in five years and lost to the only one he has fought in Alexander Povetkin or Browne,who is undefeated and is reputed to be a big puncher,but in his 23 wins has faced only one fighter that you have heard from-very faded champion James Toney-who he could not stop.
This one is a hard one to pick....

The WBA "interim" title is on line in Washington as Luis Ortiz comes off his most impressive win in a seven round destruction of Bryant Jennings and battles veteran Tony Thompson.
Thompson has multiple title challenges in the past,but at 44 has lost three of his last five fights and in his last bout dropped a decision to light punching Malik Scott.
To be fair to Ortiz and his promoter (Golden Boy),several fighters turned the bout down and Alexander Dimitrenko accepted before pulling out...

The best fight of the night is also in Washington as talented Sadam Ali faces Jessie Vargas for the WBO welterweight title vacated by Timothy Bradley,who chose huge dollars for his third (yawn) fight with Manny Pacquiao rather than defend against Ali.
Robinson Castellanos takes on Oscar Escandon for the WBC's "interim" featherweight title on an untelevised bout.
I normally hate interim belts,but considering the WBC champ in that division is the perpetually inactive Gary Russell,so it makes sense here.

Showtime has three bouts tonight,but we are only adding one for the challenge as Julian Williams is a heavy favorite against Marcello Matano in a IBF 154 pound division eliminator.
The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for IBF champ Jermall Charlo.
The challenge with R.L.Malpica currently stands at 17-11 in my favor.

Heavyweights.12 rds
Ruslan Chagaev vs Lucas Browne
R.L;Browne Unanimous Decision
TRS:Chagaev Split Decision

Heavyweights.12 rds
Luis Ortiz vs Tony Thompson
R.L;Ortiz KO 4
TRS;Ortiz KO 6

Vacant WBO Welterweight Title.12 rds
Sadam Ali vs Jessie Vargas
R.L:Ali Split Decision
TRS:Ali Unanimous Decision

Featherweights.12 rds
Robinson Castellanos vs Oscar Escandon
Both:Castellanos Unanimous Decision

Jr.Middleweights.12 rds
Julian Williams vs Marcelo Matano
R.L;Williams KO 7
TRS:Williams KO 4

Alec Scheiner-Goodbye

It's been a long time since I've been so happy to see someone move on that really didn't have a lot to do with the on-field product (that we know of) of a favorite team, but yesterday I was thrilled to see the resignation of Alec Scheiner as President of the Cleveland Browns.

Now these front office titles often blend together, but Scheiner wanted to be more involved in football matters and reportedly was the key figure in the total shift in the front office, only to apparently get aced out by the "analytic" guys.

Jimmy Haslam's press release stated that "the new structure would limit the opportunity for his leadership"-which basically means they didn't need him with Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta in the one cook too many theory.

Scheiner's reign with the Browns will best be remembered for four things-some work on the stadium, his relentless branding of everything down to the garbage cans as "Dawg Pound", the laughable non-change of the team logo, and of course the controversial dog (pun intended) ugly uniforms that Scheiner pushed for and made final decisions on.

I suppose anyone that was put in those positions could have made similar decisions, but what I think happened to Scheiner was this-Scheiner came to the Browns from Dallas and working with Jerry Jones, you learn that everything is for sale and everything has a brand.

Scheiner never learned that Dallas isn't Cleveland and that Browns fans are a traditional bunch that like having a link to the past.
Considering the rotten product that the fans have received since 1999, that was really all that we had and this guy took some of that away!

The statement that Scheiner made was that he would be "Stunned if the fans didn't love these uniforms" would be the one that haunted him the most as they are so hated as the fans just need to wait until the mandated time period expires to get rid of them.

The uniform decision was going to backfire, no matter the look, but the decision of the various "garanimals" mix-and-match types made things worse.
Combine that with the much-ballyhooed logo change that basically just brightened the orange a bit and Scheiner overestimated his brilliance to sell what people didn't want to see changed (think new Coke for those of you that can remember that) which in the end may have written his own exit strategy.

Goodbye, Alec -I won't miss you, but there is one good thing that I can add- Looking at the off-field destruction that you left, Imagine the damage you could have done with the on-field influence that you desired?
There is a bright side to everything and I stretched to find it!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Miracle in Richfield

I know that I have written about this bunch before (six years ago),but tonight is the 40th anniversary of the Miracle in Richfield.

Sadly,not only will I not be there,I won't even be able to watch much of the celebration as the opponents (just as in 1976) are the Washington Bullets (nee' Wizards),so I'll have to watch the game on the Washington network.
Terry Pluto writes far better than I at the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the 40th anniversary and I've written about the team before,but what I want to write about this time is about the difference in being a fan then and now.

In a era that that you can see every game that your team of choice plays,it's hard to imagine that most of the games in this series were not televised!
Truly a different age as the radio was the only place to "see" every game (at least for baseball and basketball),which is how local broadcasters became such icons in their particular markets compared to today.

Another difference that Pluto touches on and made me think is how truly loud games from those times were compared to today.
Today just has too many distractions from "entertainment",cell phones,etc that just as you get into the game,something causes a distraction and the crowd noise doesn't reach that peak roar that lasts for a while...

Another difference between then and now is just how distant of a third sport that the NBA really was.
You couldn't buy NBA stuff in stores when I was a kid.
The only NBA pennant (Cleveland of course) I ever owned was bought at a Bullets game vs Phoenix.
Watching clips of that series and you see next to nothing in NBA items on the fans and many of what you do see are homemade/custom made.
Remember going to a mall to get decals on a shirt???

I miss the Richfield Coliseum and it seemed like the Cavaliers were there forever and just left a few years back.
Actually,the Coliseum has been gone for 22 years and the "Q" has now been an NBA arena longer than the Coliseum.
The Coliseum just seemed (despite its size) more of an basketball arena than the Q.
And the place certainly had better acoustics!

Finally,for as good of a team that the Cavaliers have now,the Miracle team played solid team basketball without no selfishness.
The current game has so much more of that and that team (along with the Price,Daugherty teams) involved all the players in their offense.

Check my above link for more specifics on the basketball side of 1975-76 Cavaliers.
I cannot believe that 40 years have gone by-Going to be a melancholy night at the home office tonight!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox

Time to clean out the inbox and sadly we start with three recent passings from baseball.

Journeyman outfielder Walt "No Neck" Williams has passed at the age of 72 after a heart attack in Texas.
Williams,known best for the nickname "No Neck" which is pretty obvious when you look at his baseball card,played for four teams in his big league career.
Williams was always a fan favorite for his hustle and was noted for being a very fan friendly player.
Williams never hit double figures in homers in any season,but did hit over .300 with 22 doubles for the White Sox in 1969,
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains how Williams acquired his neck issue and speaks of knowing Williams personally as a teenager before becoming a writer as a fan of the Indians of the early 1970's...

Jim Davenport,an original member of the San Francisco Giants and one of few surviving members of the New York baseball Giants passed away at the age of 82.
Davenport,who spent his entire career as a Giant,was usually the teams starting third baseman and peaked in hitting .297 with a career high 14 homers for the 1962 National League champions in a 13 year career with the Giants.
Davenport also managed the Giants for one season in 1985 going a dismal 56-88 before moving up to become a scout,advisor and minor league instructor for most of the next thirty years....

Tony Phillips passed away from a heart attack at just 56 in Scottsdale,Arizona.
Phillips known best as the super utility player for the Oakland A's last 1980's dynasty,spent time with six teams in a eighteen year career and was a constant favorite for his well-known hustle and intensity.
Despite being best known for his term in Oakland,when you look at the numbers of Phillips career,his best season came at age 36 with the Angels as he hit 27 homers in 1995 at the age of 36.
This number does look odd considering the time,Phillips advanced age and the fact that he had hit 19 homers just one time in his career before that point.
Phillips was a versatile and winning player-the type of player that good teams always seem to have and rarely stand out on the stat sheet...

I asked my friend and favorite baseball writer Christina Kahrl for some thoughts on Phillips.
Christina is a long time Athletics fan and was a big fan of Phillips.
"Lots of folks note that Tony Phillips was (Ben) Zobrist before Zobrist,but that barely touches the subject of what he brought to the mix.
Phillips was one of the most viscerally aggressive guys on the diamond,but more importantly-he was a guy that visibly enjoyed playing".
"It might have been that hard-charging style that kept him from staying healthy as a regular in the middle infield,but that helped make him the super utility player that he was meant to be"
Thanks to Christina and check her work out on ESPN...

Alan Sepinwall writes on Hitfix about the late comedy Parks and Recreation after it has now been off the air for a year.
Parks,along with the Office,ranks as my favorite comedies of the last 20 years.
It currently can be found in repeats on WGN,I highly recommend it....

Our favorite LPGA player Jessica Korda talks with about her struggles during 2015,the Olympics and about her presence on social media among other topics.
The 23 year old Korda currently ranks 22nd in the Rolex sponsored world rankings...

That ALMOST empties the inbox-but the one remaining item will have to wait until our next post and I might even make it a podcast.
I hope you'll like it.
Until then....