Monday, May 30, 2016

Julie Kendall talks to Chad Hartigan

Many of you remember actress Julie Kendall from her appearances on the podcast and
her contributions covering the Atlanta Film Festival for us.
Well,Julie and Adriana Martinez covered the festival again this year for us and we are thrilled to have them in the TRS family.
Here,Julie talks to director Chad Hartigan for his film "Morris in America".
I'll let Julie's work speak for itself!!!

Adriana Martinez then offers her thoughts in the written form..
The 40th annual Atlanta Film Festival closing night featured Morris from America

from Writer/director Chad Hartigan. Hartigan’s love for film began when he was a

kid, “messing around” with a camera and reenacting Mortal Kombat scenes using

ketchup packets for special effects.

True to the spirit of independent film making, his first film Luke and Brie Are on a

First Date was experiential. In his words “I was young and trying to figure things

out.” After proving to himself that he and his team could make a movie, they then

set out to prove to that they could make a “really great movie,” and the efforts paid

off with This is Martin Bonner, which won the 2013 Sundance Best of Audience

Award and the 2014 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.

Hartigan is back on the independent film circuit with Morris from America,

bringing us a unique coming-of- age story. The movie does rely upon some of the

formulas of your usual coming-of- age story: conflict with parents, unrequited love,

road trip, experimentation, single parenthood; the unique angle to the story is

founded in the main character’s being an African American teenage boy finding

his place in a foreign country, Germany, where he struggles to adjust to not only

the typical growing pain of adolescence, but a difference in language, age, and

race. Morris is played by breakout star Markees Christmas. The father is played by

Craig Robinson, in his first dramatic role. The anchor to the story is the bond

between father and son, who in their own worlds are both facing the alienation of

cultural dislocation.

Cleaning out the inbox-Sports version

Time to dump the inbox with a sports version.

Goodbye to former Giant third baseman Jim Ray Hart,who passed at the age of 74.
Hart,who was part of those talent loaded Giants teams of the 1960's that never seemed to win it all.
Hart hit 31 homers as a rookie in 1964 and never hit fewer than 23 bombs over the next four seasons in San Francisco.
Hart's decline came fast though as he would as only play more than 100 games once after 1968.
Bruce Markusen of Hardball Times has an excellent take on the career of Jim Ray Hart.

ESPN has an interview with Rob Wicall,who has been the San Antonio Spurs coyote mascot for twenty plus years and has just retired from being inside the suit.
I found it interesting just what goes into being the mascot in major league sports.

ESPN continues to have a turnover in talent after a recent drop in viewers as people "cut the cable cord".
Mike Tirico left Monday Night Football for NBC,which as I find Tirico rather bland,wasn't a big deal,but Heather Cox leaving college football for NBC?
A bigger deal as she is my favorite sideline reporter (with Olivia Harlan gaining ground by the yard) and her replacement would be Sam Ponder on Saturday night games,which I don't look at as an upgrade.
I've noted in the past that that job in general is superflous,but Heather Cox does the job better than the rest,so NBC has themselves a real pro...

I've also noted that I surprisingly liked Katie Nolan's show Garbage Time on FS1,which I didn't expect to do.
From the old school Nintendo style graphics to open the show,to the irreverent behavior and the charm of the host,Nolan has become the one breakout star of FS1.
Awful Announcing catches up with Nolan after Garbage Time pulled an upset and won a sports emmy award.
Now,if we could just get Nolan to tone down the Boston homerism just a tick....

We wrap up with Golf Channel's article on Inbee Park of the LPGA tour,who has to make starts and then withdraw from tournaments in order to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
The HOF has incredibly stringent requirements in which Park has covered all them but one-make 10 starts for 10 years.
Park needs one more now,but has been staggering through injuries and a struggling game and is starting to just to hit the level before a possible retirement.
I'd rather see things lightened a hair than make a great champion look like a has-been.

Inbox cleaned!
I'll be back over the next few days with one or two (!) podcasts and a recap of my trip to Akron,Lake County and Erie!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Eastern Conference Champion-Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers won their second Eastern Conference title in a row as they closed out their series with the Toronto Raptors with a 113-87 win in game six of the series.
LeBron James finished with 33 points with help from Kyrie Irving's 30 and Kevin Love's 20 more.
Cleveland will either host Oklahoma City or travel to Golden State on Thursday for game one of the finals..


1) LeBron James was massive in this one-Attacking the basket early and often,James set the tone with 14 first quarter points.
The crowd was taken out of the game and they never seemed to return.

2) Cleveland might have caught a break with Tristan Thompson's elbow didn't get a flagrant foul in the first quarter.
Especially when Bismack Biyombo was called for one on a similar play later...

3) Shutdown defense-Cleveland held Toronto to just 16 points in the second quarter and then put the game away in the third with a spurt of offense that pushed the lead to 26.

4) So now what?
The six days off and the only two games more than the minimum played is going to help against either Golden State or Oklahoma City as far as wear on the wheels go,but both teams have reasons to me to like to see them against Cleveland.

5) Golden State would bring the revenge factor for last year into play against a healthy Cavalier team and a Warrior series win would push the series to seven for more wear and tear.

6) Oklahoma City would play less (I'm assuming they would win a game six at home,unlikely but could win game seven in Oakland),but would give the Cavaliers home court.

7) Look for an NBA Finals podcast with Ramon Malpica to preview those finals.
I'm hoping that this is finally our year.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports Version

Time to get on the ball here and get working on the inbox cleaning!
We have built up so much that we have enough to do a non-sports version!

Goodbye to Alan Young at the age of 96.
Young was best known as the befuddled owner of the talking horse, Mister Ed on the show of the same name.
Young had made his name earlier with his hosting of a variety show on CBS "The Alan Young Show in the early days of television but was best known as Wilbur Post in Mister Ed, the lovable and bewildered owner of the world's only talking horse.
Mister Ed was a show that I laugh at to this day because it is just plain funny.
I like silly shows like that, but Young looked younger than he really was as he was in his mid 40's doing Mister Ed and looked a good decade younger.
Post was also noted for his voice work in his later days including a stint as "Scrooge McDuck" in Disney's DuckTales, which I used to see a lot of when Ryan was little as he was a big fan of the Disney cartoons of that time.

My podcast on Person of Interest with Kaily Russell smashed all of our records for blog hits and podcast downloads.
Now that's more Kaily's popularity and the show more than anything I did, but I'd like to thank the POI fans for such a great response.
Buzzfeed offers a look at the show and its struggles over the last year with the CBS network despite better-than-average ratings.

Joe Plum posted a Facebook link from Atlas Obscura that looks at the hobby of collecting ready-to-eat meals from various militaries.
Oftentimes, many people post their reviews of eating these things on YouTube and there appears to be a decent trading community growing.
Technically, the buying and selling of these items are illegal, but it appears pretty harmless and fun and I would doubt that many if any would go through the hassles of prosecuting.
Looked pretty interesting to me.

My favorite chips in the world (Other than Gibble's Red Hot) will be making a change mandated by the government.
The Jones company in Mansfield, Ohio is changing the oils that made their chips so good as the government is eliminating the use of partially-hydrogenated oil and the company has to shift to corn oil.
My dad brought me a bag of the new version (I favor Salt and Vinegar) and they are good, but missing that thickness that held the excess flavoring in.
I'll miss those chips, the new ones are about as close as one can expect, but it'll never be the same.
Another childhood love goes down hard...

Are you familiar with the phrase "Smoke Filled Room" in political talk?
Time magazine writes about the origin of the term from the 1920 Republican convention in Chicago.
The article discusses the term, the decision-making, and the eventual nomination of Warren G,Harding.

When you hear about invasive species taking over an area, the poster child for this is the Burmese Python establishing a foothold in Florida, but there could be an even more dangerous species entering Florida and this one could be a potentially dangerous animal to man.
DNA testing showed that three Nile Crocodiles have been found in Florida over the last decade and that makes some (including me) wonder if they are in the wild.
The Nile Croc. is known to be a larger more aggressive competitor than the American version and has been known to attack and kill man.
The Nile Crocodile has the biggest bite force in the entire animal kingdom-In other words, he's a pretty bad dude.
National Geographic looks at the Nile, compares it to the American Crocodile and Alligator
Imagine the damage that this animal can do to the ecosystem, other species, and the safety of humans.
I hope that this is a situation that does not get worse...

That's all for now, Back later with hopefully a podcast!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rollin',Rollin,Rollin-Cavs stampede Raptors in game five!

After much hand wringing from the media (and me) after two less than stellar efforts in Toronto,the Cleveland Cavaliers just needed a trip home to turn things around as the Cavaliers ran up,down and over the Toronto Raptors 116-78 in Cleveland.
The big three of Kevin Love,LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 71 points in the brutal beating.
Cleveland leads the series three games to two and can clinch the series with a win Friday in Toronto...


1) I was critical of the play of Kevin Love in Toronto and you cannot deny that,but he was a different player tonight at home.
Love was eight of ten from the floor with three from beyond the line and attacked the basket instead roaming around the perimeter jacking up three's.

2) And as far as a fellow named LeBron James goes,he looked like a man loaded for bear.
His numbers (23,6 and 8) might not have reached triple double country.but he drove the lane and showed an intensity that you knew minutes into this game that it would be Cleveland leading this series when the border was crossed for game six.

3) It was nice to see Tristan Thompson arrive with ten rebounds too.
Points that you can get from Thompson are a bonus,but for the cash you are paying him,you have to get plenty of boards,an inside defensive presence and energy.
They didn't get that in Toronto,they did in game five.

4) The defense stepped up its game as well.
DeMar DeRosian and Kyle Lowry were so effective in Canada and finish with just 27 points combined for the game.
Lowry truly has been two different players in each arena...

5) So,can the Cavaliers clinch in Toronto?
The place will be rocking and loud with the Raptors back against the wall,the environment will be difficult.
However,after watching tonight and the late rally in game four,I like the Cavaliers to pull out a tough game.
Biggest key? Ball movement.
Don't be afraid to keep the ball moving,create open shots and I have a feeling that will be enough...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Podcast;Special Guest-Kaily Russell

Special Guest Kaily Russell discusses Person of Interest,fandom and various issues.

Cavaliers drop game four in Toronto

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't play up to par for three quarters,before making a huge move in the fourth to erase a two-digit deficit to take the lead for a short time.
It wasn't enough though as the Toronto Raptors escaped with a 105-99 win in Toronto.
The win ties the series at two with game five later this week in Cleveland.
LeBron James finished with 29 points with Kyrie Irving adding 26,but the Cavaliers received little help from anyone else other than Channing Frye in the defeat..


1) Let's accentuate the positive -the Cavaliers were down 16 at the half,didn't roll over and played hard until the end.
Were there flaws? Yes,but unlike in game three-I didn't think that they were due to lack of hustle...

2) The Cavaliers were an anemic 13/31 from three point range (31 percent),but considering it was around 15 percent at the half,the number could have been far worse.
I'm beginning to fear that the Cavaliers have fallen into the trap of just jacking up threes..

3) Finally,Channing Frye was a positive as his four three pointers were awfully large in the comeback.
It was nice seeing one of the "4's" being able to stretch the floor a bit and that was exactly why Frye was brought to Cleveland....

4) Kevin Love was just awful for the second game in a row.
After a 1 for 9 clunker in game three,he threw up (literally) a 4 for 14 stinker in this one.
Just cannot dispute the stat sheet....

5) Kyrie Irving rebounded offensively with 26 points,but for the second game in a row was torched on the defensive end by Kyle Lowry,who finished with 35.
Irving is almost to the point of being a defensive liability after these last two games...

6) Tristan Thompson is being paid for defense and rebounds,but isn't 80+ million a lot for a guy with 2 points in 2 games?

7) I wrote in game three's recap that I wasn't worried,but I'd review that after game four.
I know it's a loss,but I think the late charge is going to go a long way in game five.
Cleveland still has home court and almost pulled tonight's game out.
I think they are OK.
At least I hope....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Browns Release Brian Hartline-Mini inbox cleaning

I have tons (and I mean TONS) of stuff building up inside the inbox and I was going to dump some of that today.
That was before the Browns announced the release of the only veteran wide receiver looked to be safe entering training camp as former Dolphin (and Buckeye) Brian Hartline was given his release.

Hartline broke his collarbone late last season after catching 46 passes for 523 yards,which was decent production,but not tremendous numbers.
The release comes right after mini-camp and the Browns drafting four wideouts to the roster.
I'm mildly surprised only by the timing.
Hartline would have been a veteran pass catcher that might been useful with rookies,but the writing was on the wall for the future and the money savings was likely a factor.
The main thing that I take issue with was once again,the Browns waited far too long to release a veteran player and as a result hindered his chances of finding another team.
After the Donte Whitner waiving,I would have thought that the Browns might have learned a lesson in how to handle players-Apparently that lesson hasn't take hold yet....

Another Browns note from the inbox as the Browns made an unusual move in their search to challenge incumbent kicker Travis Coons.
I wrote a while back about the signing of Maryland kicker Brad Craddock as that challenger,but after camp,the Browns released Craddock and claimed another rookie undrafted free agent in TCU's Jaden Oberkrom off the wire from Jacksonville.
Oberkrom must have been really impressed with Cleveland,the Browns or pro football in general as he promptly retired and left the Browns still looking for another kicking contender...

We are still loaded with inbox notes,so I'm going to slide a few in here!

From the feel good department,Donnell Alexander,the son of former Chief Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas,went undrafted and was given a tryout by his dad's team.
The former Akron Zip runner was invited by the team and the odds are against him,I have no word on whether he was given an invitation to the full camp or not....

The Canadian Football League has left Nike and went with Adidas as its apparel source and announced their uniform changes.
Some I like as Winnipeg went back to its classic royal blue,some was meh as Hamilton went all black (I like black jerseys,yellow pants),some stayed the same and some revamped helmets that were pretty bad (British Columbia)....

Howie Rose,the long time voice of the Mets and Islanders has trimmed his responsibilities down to one as Rose will not be returning to the Islanders next year.
Rose has always been one of my favorite hockey announcers and back in the days before Rachel cared about hockey,I would watch the Devils games on occasion on the opponents networks,if the announcers were of quality.
The Islanders were one of those teams.
Rose will still remain in his role as the TV voice of the Mets.

We wrap up with an article from SABR on Santo Alcala,who went 11-4 in 1976 with the World Champion Reds as a rookie and would win just three more games in his career afterward.
Guys like Alcala were a big deal to stat hungry kids like me in the 70's because you had to dig his information out from obscure sources and he was one of many "common" players that their names are memorable to me from this day from the "wonder years" of baseball that everyone has from childhood.

Podcast tonight-Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Can't win them all-Cavaliers dusted in Game three

The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn't shoot well forever and the time ran out in Toronto as the Raptors defeated Cleveland 99-84 in game three of the Eastern Conference finals in Toronto.
LeBron James scored 24 points with J.R.Smith adding 22 to lead Cleveland.
Game four is Monday in Toronto...


1) Asking the Cavaliers torrid shooting to continue was asking a bit much,but I had thought all along (and posted in last recap) that if the Cavaliers were going to lose a game-it would be game three.
I'm not worried a bit,lose game four Monday and the worry quotient goes up.

2) Kyrie Irving shot 3 of 19 and Kevin Love was just 1 of 9 from the floor.
Again,you couldn't expect shooting at the level that Cleveland was shooting at,but you could reasonably expect better than that!
I'd bet on a bounceback tomorrow night.

3) Tristan Thompson isn't paid for his offense (good thing 0 points) and finished with eight rebounds,but was out-Thompsoned by Toronto's Bismack Biyombo with 26 rebounds!
Now,26 boards is a massive amount for one player,but it takes a lot of missing for a guy to finish with 26 rebounds!

4) The Cavaliers did make a few runs in the second half as twice they were able to get as close as five points,but could never sink the basket to really put the pressure on the Raptors..

5) The biggest worry was not just missing so often,it was how they were missing.
The Raptors tried to do the tactic that Atlanta tried by just hanging back in the paint and challenging the Cavaliers to hit from the outside.
For the first time in these playoffs,they couldn't.

Dull night in Vegas-Boxing Challenge

On a busy day in boxing,the boxing challenge had five fights on the slate and saw R.L.Malpica and I each add seven points to our totals.
I lead the challenge 62-52.

The day started with two fights from outside America that I didn't get to see live,but did watch through the wonder of YouTube.
The most meaningful fight on a day with four world title fights,might have been the one without a title on the line as New Zealand's talented young heavyweight Joseph Parker earned a unanimous decision over veteran Carlos Takam to become the mandatory contender for IBF champion Anthony Joshua,should Joshua defeat Dominic Breazeale as he is heavily favored to do next month.
Takam tested Parker in the type of way that is good for young fighters to take a step forward and I think it will serve Parker very well in his challenge of Joshua.
I scored Parker a 116-112 winner.
R.L and I each scored one point for the Parker win...

In Moscow Denis Lebedev impressively unified his WBA cruiserweight title with the IBF belt with a second round knockout of Victor Ramirez.
Lebedev knocked Ramirez down in the second and then hammered Ramirez around the ring before the referee jumped in to end the fight.
A Lebedev-Murat Gassiev fight (Gassiev is the IBF number one contender) might be one of the best action fights that can be made....
I added two points for the Lebedev knockout win with R.L.gaining one..

In Las Vegas,three of the four junior middleweight titles were on the line and at the end of the night,all three resided in the same stable in Houston.
That's not great news for boxing fans when none of the three have the slightest interest in fighting each other.
The 154 pound class is one of the weakest in the sport and that didn't change in Vegas.

The main event saw a rematch of a fight that few wanted to see the first time,let alone a second as Erislandy Lara retained his WBA title with a unanimous decision win  over Vanes Martirosyan in a fight that was reminding no one of a good action battle.
I had Lara a narrow 115-112 winner.
R.L and I each collected two points for the win.

Jermall Charlo kept his IBF title with a unanimous win over Austin Trout.
I've been critical of the Charlo brothers,but Austin Trout is an excellent name to have on the resume and I give Charlo credit for taking Trout on.
I had Charlo a 115-113 winner as Trout came on in the late rounds,but started too late.
R.L grabbed two points for the Charlo win to my zero as I picked Trout..

Jermell Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a sudden eighth round knockout of John Jackson.
Jackson was leading on my card when Charlo struck seconds into round eight to stun Jackson,who turned his back away just before the referee stopped the fight.
Charlo gave me two points and R.L one for the win....

The Charlos and Lara aren't fun fighters to watch and I suppose we'll have some boring fights to look forward to.
Lara's the top fighter in the division until beaten,but Demetrius Andrade and Julian Williams are boxing fans best hopes to break the Houston stable's chokehold on the division....

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Boxing Challenge

Five fights on the Boxing Challenge this weekend with three of them on Showtime featuring the junior middleweight division with three of the four titles in the division on the line in fights that don't seem all that great on paper.

The best fighter in the division-the tediously dull Erislandy Lara defends his WBA belt against Vanes Martirosyan in a rematch of a fight that few wanted to see once,let alone twice..

Jermall Charlo defends his IBF title against former champion Austin Trout (who holds a win over Miguel Cotto) in a bout that looks good on paper,but may wind up being a dull fight due to styles and the other Charlo-Jermell shoots for the vacant WBC championship against John Jackson in what might be the best action fight on the card.
The issue here is with Jackson having fought just two quality opponents and losing both to receive this opportunity...
Not a great card of fights,but perhaps one that could clean up some issues in the division,if only someone made the next step instead of another questionable card...

The best two fights of the day aren't on U.S. television as Denis Lebedev and Victor Ramirez meet in Moscow to unify the WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles.
The fight was originally going to be the co-feature to the Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin before Povetkin flunked his PED test last week.
The other is an IBF heavyweight eliminator between New Zealand's talented Joseph Parker and veteran Carlos Takam.
The winner will get a title shot against IBF champion Anthony Joshua,should he defend successfully against Dominic Breazeale.
Should it be Parker,a Joshua-Parker bout matches the best two young heavyweights in the world...

The scorecard on the boxing challenge has me ahead 55-45

WBA Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Erislandy Lara vs Vanes Martirosyan
Both:Lara Unanimous Decision

IBF Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Jermall Charlo vs Austin Trout
R.L;  Charlo Unanimous Decision
TRS: Trout Unanimous Decision

Vacant WBC Jr.Middleweight title.12 rds
Jermell Charlo vs John Jackson
R.L;  Charlo Unanimous Decision
TRS: Charlo KO 4

WBA-IBF Cruiserweight title unification.12 rds
Denis Lebedev vs Victor Ramirez
R.L; Lebedev Unanimous Decision
TRS:Lebedev KO 9

Heavyweights.12 rds
Joseph Parker vs Carlos Takam
R.L;  Parker KO 5
TRS: Parker KO 8

Day Three-Chattanooga and Tennessee

The trip entered its final day with stops in Chattanooga and Sevierville-the respective homes of the Lookouts and Smokies.

A quick stop for breakfast at Shoney's was an unexpected treat.
We couldn't (and didn't) stay long, but since Shoney's has left our area completely, it was cool to return there.
I never really liked their dinner menu very much, but I always liked their breakfast buffet...

Chattanooga was two hours away from Nashville and we had to move quickly because in order to do pre-game there and still make it to Sevierville for post-game, we had to keep moving.
The interesting thing about the road to Chattanooga (which sounds like a network promo for an NCAA tournament) was that we kept seeing these signs for Ruby Falls and Rock City, which I had never heard of before, but I'll not forget soon!

Chattanooga really is on top of a mountain-so much so that the team has an escalator installed at AT&T Field to bring fans from the parking lot to the field.
It's a steep climb and I bet older fans (and ones like me) appreciate the escalator, but the hill is so steep that a down escalator might be a good future investment.
When we left, the hill was pretty steep and I bet some people have fallen through the years at Chattanooga.
Upon entering, we were serenaded by the lady that gives away their programs with "Free Programs, FREE"! She was so loud that you could hear her at the bottom of the hill in the parking lot.
I still hear her mantra in my head a week later!

The team store wasn't really up to an average AA team store to my surprise and I didn't buy anything.
I might have been tempted to buy old team sets, but usually, the team sets from past years are severely discounted and Chattanooga didn't do that at all.
The concourse felt a lot older than a ballpark opened in 2000, but the field was neat and there is a raised grandstand in the right field for some seating and a party deck as well.
We graphed in an area way down the right field line where you could get both teams, which on this day were the Lookouts (Minnesota Twins) and the Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee Brewers).
The Lookouts came out from behind a door right beside the right field line, while the Shuckers (and some dazzling blue uniforms) arrived through a door in right center.
I only wish the Shuckers had a hat that combined the blue with the cool oyster logo, they don't and that's too bad because I'd consider buying one of those!

I didn't bring as many cards for the two Sunday stops as I did the previous days, but there were some important players.
Chattanooga's big addition for me was Mason Melotakis, but I was able to get their manager Doug Mientiewicz on two cards for Ryan's showdown set.
It always makes me feel good to get those for Ryan because it was with Ryan after all that I started this crazy hobby that allowed me to make such good friends...
The Shuckers had the biggest catch with new top 100 player Brett Phillips, who was super nice in signing all of my cards. but also added outfielders Victor Roache and Tyrone Taylor as well.

Finally, as we prepared to leave, I was able to see Josh Hader, who I had gotten in Delmarva, and at the California/Carolina All-Star game as he prepared to chart.
Hader signed all three of my cards and when I told him of seeing him in Hagerstown, he asked "That place has more than three showers that work yet"?!
Gotta love the "House of Sadness"!!
I grabbed a frozen lemonade from the concession stand that was more slush puppie than frozen lemonade but was still very good before we traversed the hill that I noted earlier and made the two-hour trip to Sevierville, my buddy Corey White, and the Tennessee Smokies.

The Smokies ballpark was different than the one that we left back in 2011.

There were plenty of decks and buildups beyond the outfield fence in both left and right fields that didn't exist in my previous visit.
Compare the picture that I took and compare it to the 2011 picture to see some differences.
The Smokies had built things up in the ballpark and the players now stay in the hotel built next door rather than the Days Inn down the road (Corey said it had burnt down).
Meeting up with Corey, swapping items, helping Corey with Birmingham pitcher Tyler Danish and getting the lowdown on the Smokies along with the visiting Birmingham Barons, and getting to see the final two innings of the game all wrapped up the prep work for the final graphing stop of the trip.
After a team shop stop for another Doug Hopkins program, we went outside to add the Barons as the teams exit from opposite sides of the stadium.
The big get for me was 2015 first-rounder Carson Fulmer on his top 100.
Fulmer was nice enough, although the signature isn't very neat and I got to see a long-time favorite in Nicky Delmonico, a former Frederick Key that is always very accommodating.
Some other Barons were added although Courtney Hawkins slipped out somehow and getting Fulmer as well as Corey's top 100 help with Willy Adames and Conor Gillespie among others in the early year made this a great stop.

The drive home was long, but fun as we did the podcast that you see below and lots of chat with my buddies.
Thanks to Kendall for all the legwork and planning and to Derreck for setting up things on the trip.
I appreciate everything and value your friendship.
Thanks for having me!

Whew! Now that the trip recap is over, I've got a large inbox to straighten out, Cavaliers this evening. a boxing challenge to do and plan for yes -another trip this weekend!
Thanks for reading and I'll be back soon....

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cavs roll again in Game Two

The Toronto Raptors were able to stay in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers for most of the first half.
Cleveland finished off the Raptors before the break with a 16-2 run that broke their Jurassic backs and cruised to another win to go up two-zero in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 108-89 win was led by LeBron James and his triple-double (23,11 and 11) and Kyrie Irving with 26 points.
Game three is Saturday in Toronto.


1) Loved that first half rim rocking jam by LeBron James that brought to mind the younger LBJ with the spectacular slam.
The younger James was a very underrated dunker and could really fly through the air...

2) If Toronto steals a game in this series,it's this one coming up in game three.
I can see a capacity crowd,first time visit to the ECF and adrenaline taking over for an upset,but I still don't see this going past five,

3) Kyrie Irving is shooting more and leading the team in scoring and that just might make the difference in the finals-Anytime that an option outside of LeBron James of that quality exists,that means trouble for the opposition.

Cutting this one short as I have a massive amount of inbox buildup and still day three of the trip to go.....

Day Two-Nashville

Day two saw the trip continue with the Nashville Sounds and their ballpark, which is in its second year.

We were able to eat at some pretty good places in the Music City and I'll get into those as we go on.
We woke up and were treated to a terrific breakfast buffet at the Henpeck Village Market, which has the motif of an old country store with a fabulous buffet.
It was terrific and if I'm ever in Franklin (a Nashville suburb) again, I'd be sure to check Henpeck out again!

There is so much to be said for southern cooking done without the chain restaurant food and we had a great lunch too at the Row, but first a trip to the ballpark for some pre-game graphing.
It wasn't a total success, but we did get some Nashville Sounds players coming in such as Max Muncy, former Pirate farmhand Andrew Lambo, who delivered the line of the day during postgame, Joe Wendle (always nice going back to his days with the Indians) and Dillon Overton, who was especially cool in chatting with us a bit.
Fresno and their Grizzlies came in on two shuttle buses, but we left before the second of the two showed up.
We did get Colin Moran to sign one card (Moran was just promoted to Houston on Wednesday) as it seemed that most of the Fresno players that we needed were on bus two.

We were then off to the Row for lunch.
The Row is near downtown Nashville, but not in the middle of the tourist area, and looks like a retro "run down" joint, but on the inside is anything but.
The country music motif is in evidence here as each booth honors a different country music star on the wall with a huge picture and biography.
The Row features barbeque (although it isn't just B-Q) and I ordered a pulled B-Q turkey sandwich with fries.
I was very thirsty after being outside and guzzled several sodas (Thank goodness that they were diet Cokes) and the meal was excellent.

Nashville is in its second season at First Tennessee Park and it is a great park.
The stadium has a wide concourse and on a night that was a sellout, that was a huge help.
The team store was one of the best that I've ever been to and I bought Cherie and Rachel each a Nashville Sounds shirt and a program for Doug Hopkins.
The stadium has great sightlines and of course a newer version of the famous guitar scoreboard from their previous home at Greer Stadium.
This version is bright and more high-tech than the famous one and I love stuff like this inside stadiums.
I wish more stadiums would have such features unique to their area and history!

Pre-game graphing was tough with a sellout crowd.
I did get a few guys with the best being Matt Olson of the Sounds, who signed his 2015 top 100.
Olson was a bigger deal than I thought when we were told afterward that he rarely signs.
Those top 100's are always important, but even more so when you only get one shot at getting them finished.
I also was able to get one of Renato Nunez of the Sounds and Chad Pinder as well.
Nunez was reported to be not so bad as a signer, but Pinder was noted as being occasionally tough.
Derreck got blown off by former Hagerstown Sun Jake Smolinski when he asked if he would sign, Derreck was met with a sneer and "not right now" with the unspoken term being not at all.
Derreck tried again for Smolinski off the field from warmups and was met with a barely discernible head shake no.

I spent much of the game talking to a family in front of us that told me that it was their first Sounds games and that the father was a high school friend of Dan Uggla, the former big league second baseman that rehabbed with the Suns last season.
The game was nothing special (a Sounds win) that saw Derreck's new friend Jake Smolinski homer, but the best part was the racing country music legends.
Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Reba McIntyre were a fun and interesting touch that again brought a local flavor.
Imagine that compared to a beer can, wine glass, and beer bottle.....

We did manage to get a few guys off the field from Fresno-Matt Duffy (3/3), Andrew Aplin (2/2), and Nolan Fontana (1/3) before going to the back of the stadium to try to do some more post-game.
I met local graphers Shane and Bryce there and they were involved in the line of the night as they asked the aforementioned Andrew Lambo to sign.
As they tried to get to their cards quickly (On this trip, I knew the feeling) Lambo said "Fellows, the shot clock is on in this situation" and walked away.

The Fresno shuttle went inside the stadium and few made the walk down to us.
Tony Kemp (since called up to Houston) did, but I didn't have cards for him and Jonathan Singleton was a pleasant surprise in signing three cards for me.
The rest didn't bother including former Hagerstown Sun Eury Perez, so that was about it for the Grizzlies.
I did get a few more Sounds including fast-moving pitcher Daniel Mengden, who signed three cards, and Rangel Ravelo on his heritage card before we left.

We left through the craziness of downtown and saw all the craziness of the tourist section in Nashville, but the funny part was after we took a wrong turn on the way back.
We went to turn around and were in a parking lot with a large sign that said something motel and touted its rate-three hours for twenty-eight dollars!
We said it was the type of place that was so slimy that we should have had condoms for our tires!
The even better part was the two vehicles on our bumper waiting to turn into the motel!!

All and all -I really enjoyed Nashville, the park, and its surroundings, and added some pretty good stories to the bank too.
I'll try to be back later with a look at the Cavaliers win and maybe tomorrow with the final day in Chattanooga and in Sevierville for the Tennessee Smokies!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day One-Bowling Green

One of my trips for 2016 was off to a great start and as I got off work early to be driven by Kendall Morris and accompanied by Derreck Chupak to Bowling Green Kentucky for a visit to the Bowling Green Hot Rods,the Low A (Midwest League) affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kendall likes to drive fast and stop seldom,but I must add a story to our only stop for gas in West Virginia.
I'm not sure of the exact name of our stop,but the sign following it was "Big Otter" WV and the stop was a treat.
As I pumped the gas,Derreck and Kendall went inside and reported that the cashier ran to the back of the store like the old 1980's WWF wrestler the Repo Man!

As I came in,Derreck was loudly crowing about his "new hick friend" who had touted "just down the road is the geological center of West Virginia"!
Being that I imagine that the rock that was the "geological" center,doesn't really exist by itself-I guess that he meant "Geographical",which was funny enough on its own merits,but to add "my new hick friend" cracked me up.
Cracked me up to the point of being unable to look the cashier in the eye as I checked out with Derreck and Kendall already out the door and because I couldn't look him in the eye,I got a view of this guy's name tag "Denzl" as in Denzel Washington,but missing the second "E".
I just couldn't stop laughing as I left the store and entered the car.
We discussed Denzl a good bit over the course of this trip!!

We drove through most of Kentucky,including a really neat drive through Lexington that enabled me (an old horse racing fan) to ride by Keeneland Race Course and the famous Calumet Farm.
For me,that was a really big deal just to see as we drove by..
When we finally arrived at Bowling Green (very hungry),we were greeted by the ballpark not opening until 30 minutes before the game instead of the standard 60 minutes.
That would then mean a severe cut in the amount of time spent graphing,time that would come back to haunt us later.

We did manage to get some players from the Hot Rods,which was the more important of the two teams rather than the visiting Lake County Captains,who we can see when they jump a level to High A in the Carolina League.
The best prospects were Jake Cronenworth (hitting .377 as of this writing),and former Maryland Terrapin Brandon Lowe.
We were able to meet Lowe's parents at the game as well as they were visiting from Virginia.
The most intriguing prospect was one that we didn't have a card for-left reliever Jose Alvarado.
Alvarado hit 98 on the radar gun and consistently was in the 95-96 range,but struggled with control.
A lefty arm like that will get plenty of chances with Tampa Bay and beyond.

The food at BG was memorable as in being Suns-worthy in being bad.
My hot dogs were decided upon after dreadful ratings for the burger and fries by both Kendall and Derreck.
They were average at best,but beat the reports on the pizza that Derreck and Kendall gave.
Between the crummy food and two dollars for a program that wasn't as good as the one that the Frederick Keys give away for free,the Hot Rods concessions left much to be desired.

But there were two positives to the Hot Rods.
One was sitting next to Kim,a superfan that was super into the game and knowledgable to boot.
I didn't introduce myself,but I really enjoyed sitting near her and watching her enthusiasm.
The other was Jennifer Johnson (I looked on her nametag).
Jennifer walked the concourse and seemed interested in interacting with fans,answering questions and actually listened-which is a refreshing change from the Suns.
Ms.Johnson is exactly the type of person the Suns need and if I owned the Suns,I'd be calling her tomorrow for the GM job,but in her current position,she was quite impressive-the Hot Rods need to keep her around.

I was using the "book" of a friend to try for the trip and frankly,I didn't care for it.
It was mostly me being uncomfortable with it and getting flustered,but it just wasn't smooth for me.
Every grapher has their own ways of doing things and what works for one grapher can be clunky and
difficult to handle.
In the end,it has to be what works for you in getting to what you need quickly and easily and for me,that just isn't the book.

In between games,Derreck and I discovered the outfield at Bowling Green and that gives the best access of all.
The players walk from their clubhouses to the field through a walkway in left-center field and through a set of steps,you can get players from both teams,which we managed to get a lot of players to sign between games.
We figured we would be able to finish up in that area after the game,but alas it was a fireworks night and we weren't allowed in the area.

In the end,I just didn't feel the "it factor" in Bowling Green from the fans and from a ballpark that opened seven years ago and felt like it was twice that age,
Ok,but nothing spectacular other than stretching that stadium chart a little further west...

Back tomorrow or later with day two in Nashville....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cavaliers crush Toronto in Game one!

Kyrie Irving scored 27 points and LeBron James shooting was dead on in adding 24 as the Cleveland Cavaliers continued to steamroll their way through the Eastern Conference with a 115-84 win over the Toronto Raptors in game one of their series.
I wish I could add more about the dominance of the win,but I just don't have the words!
Game two in Cleveland Thursday night...


1) The Cavaliers have now won their first nine games of the playoffs and I'm sure that you might have noticed that I haven't done recaps of all of those games.
They were so one sided other than one game in Atlanta (that I didn't see as I was in Scranton) that I didn't have much to say.
From here on out,I'll be here...

2) LeBron James hit his first nine shots,including a crushing dunk as he cut around DeMarre Carroll.
James finished 11 of 13 from the floor and sat most of the second half.

3) Kyrie Irving's 27 points also built the lead that allowed him to sit the same in the second half.
Considering the noted fragility of Irving,any rest that he can be given is a positive decision...

4) The 31 point win was the largest ever for Cleveland in the playoffs and they did it by driving to the basket.
James did not hit a three pointer and the teams stretch of double digit three pointers ended.

5) Toronto missed center Jonas Valanicuius for the game and the ailing center will miss game two as well.
Without the bulky center taking up room in the paint,the drives to the basket will continue.

Podcast: Chasing Cardboard Episode 2!

The podcast returns with Chasing Cardboard with Derreck Chupak and Kendall Morris from the road!
We catch up on lost time and discuss our trip to Kentucky and Tennessee...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Scranton What?

Last Sunday after work,my good friend and often travel companion Doug Hopkins made the three hour trek up I-81 to Scranton PA for my first trip to the home of the Railriders,the AAA Affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Scranton is a ballpark that was completely renovated and reopened in 2013 and unless you know that,you would assume that it was a new stadium.
PNC Field was a stadium with wide concourses and lots of room in an open area when you enter the stadium.

I didn't eat at the stadium because we were planning to eat afterward,but I walked around and there were plenty of places with food concessions.
The seats were pretty decent as far as size goes for width and plenty of leg room as well.
With my aching knees often times,my knees will tighten up in the better seating area,but it didn't happen once at PNC Field.

PNC Field also is built into a mountain with lots of exposed rock clearly visible around the bowl of the outfield.
It has some neat features as high above the outfield,you can see some restaurants and shopping from the stand along with a grassy area to sit in the outfield area,which is becoming more of a standard feature in newer minor league parks.
Visually,it's not outstanding,but it's solid and I'd rank it as above average..

If you are a Yankee hater,this may not be the place for you,because the Railriders have completely bought into the Yankee mystique-almost to the lack of real attachment to the teams own name and image.
There are far more attention paid to the Yankees affiliation than the name Railriders and I don't really have an issue with that.
I bet that they get their fair share of traveling fans from New York (about two hours away) that buy into the Yankee marketing and I heard more New York accents than I've heard in years.
The team brings in older Yankee legends on certain days each month and the team store has more Yankee items than for the hometown branding.
My favorite part of the day was the "Racing Yankees".
Different teams have various gimmicks,but this added a baseball flair to it as Billy Martin,Mickey Mantle,Joe DiMaggio and Thurman Munson raced around the field.
I thought that was pretty cool.

The game moves along there and doesn't have the ear-splitting noise and time wasters that some parks have (Hagerstown).
It isn't as much that they don't have them (they do),it's just that the noise level is so much lower,so you can ignore if you wish.

This game had former Yankee (among others) Nick Swisher attempting a comeback,so after the game,most of the graphers were on the Yankee side attempting to add Swisher along with powerhitting prospect Aaron Judge,who smashed a long homer in this game.
Scranton's clubhouses are on opposite sides of the field,so you cannot do post game for both teams.
I needed top 100's for both team,but needed more for the visiting Lehigh Valley Ironpigs,so did them.
The graphers didn't really say much to Doug and I,except for one guy who was pretty helpful.
I did reasonably well for AAA, as I was able to get the first two top 100's for the 2016 set in Lehigh Valley's Nick Williams and Jake Thompson along with some more players from the new Reading top prospect set.
I needed three top 100's for Mark Appel,the former top overall pick in the draft,who the Phillies traded for over the off-season.
Appel was very nice,but a one per,so Doug helped me out,so I was able to get the 2014 and 15 finished,but still need the new card finished.

Doug and I usually try to find interesting places on trips to eat and this was no exception as I did homework on tripadvisor and came up with Cosmo's-a cheesesteak and fries joint that learned from the famous Philly steak places in Gino's and Pats.
My volcano chicken cheesesteak (this sub was unavailable in beef for some reason) and volcano fries were very good,
It's a few miles from the ballpark (Cosmo's is in Scranton,with the stadium in suburban Moosic),but worth going out of the way for.

I'd consider myself pleasantly surprised by Scranton and I can't really think of anything negative to say about the trip.
I'd certainly return!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox-Sports edition.

The sports inbox needs to be cleaned and I'll start with the unveiling of the Sacramento Kings new logo as they prepare to enter a new arena next season.
I like the new logo because it is very much like the old Kansas City Kings logo that the team used for years when they first arrived in the capital of California.
The funny part is the picture from USA Today,which takes the Kings and Atlanta Hawks logo,turns them upside down and looks a lot like a game of PacMan...

Sports Illustrated posts an oral history of the first great quarterback crop in the NFL draft from 1971.
The crop did not produce any Hall of Famers,but did have two Super Bowl winners in Joe Theismann and Jim Plunkett along with two players that were considered among the best of their time in Archie Manning and Ken Anderson.
Its interesting looking back at just how little news that the draft created in 1971 compared to the media behemoth of today.....

Hardball Times has an excellent oral history on the Doug Mirabelli trade in 2006.
Mirabelli was a generic backup catcher with one plus skill-the ability to catch a knuckleball.
That skill generally is like being an excellent surfer in the Arctic Ocean,but on a team with with a knuckleballer,it's worth its weight in gold.
Those Red Sox needed Mirabelli by employing Tim Wakefield,but yet traded him away over the previous winter and expected Josh Bard to catch Wakefield,which quickly proved to be a less than successful expectation.
This tells the story of the trade and the extraordinary extremes that were used to get Mirabelli to catch on the day that he was obtained from the San Diego Padres....

Jim Weber at the SI Cauldron discusses how much better NFL Helmets used to be and writes what helmet each team should be using.
I agree with all of his choices except for two- Weber would keep the current Redskins (I'd use the Lombardi yellow R helmet) and he would go back to the 80's Giants with the GIANTS name across it (I prefer the current NY logo),
Other than I like Weber's pick with the heavy on tradition selections!

Eleven Warriors has an excellent article on the late Drushaun Humphrey,who passed away as Ohio State's top recruit at running back in 2002 (Yes over Maurice Clarett) from a heart condition suffered during a high school basketball game.
It's a good read on Humphrey,but it covers other points as well-Clarett,Toledo's decline,high school sports and recruiting of the day.
Another point that I didn't know was one of the things that the NCAA went after Jim Tressel on when he was relieved of his duties was giving Humphrey's mother a 2002 championship ring and his high school coach a Buckeye jersey with Humphrey's name and number on it.
Please tell me what Tressel or Ohio State got out of that gesture to have it be an official reprimand?
That's the stuff that drives me nuts about the NCAA...

The Guardian looks at the best show on the fledgling Fox Sports One and its charismatic host Katie Nolan.
Garbage Time has been the only show on FS1 that I even try to see and Nolan is the main reason why.
Nolan attacks issues,but not in an obnoxious way and I think has the potential to be a star in the industry in a way that far surpasses the Erin Andrews of the world.
Nolan isn't afraid to take stands (like her takedown of Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy and the softballing of him by the media) and prides herself on being more than just eye candy-I like her.

Finally,wanted to wrap up with a word or two on the graphing circuit-I have been having a great time and hope to have a post on my weekend trip up to Scranton up tomorrow or Thursday.
I'm behind but not out!!
Until then!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Boxing Challenge-Canelo wipes out Khan-Is GGG next?

For five round Amir Khan appeared to be using his speed and jab to keep himself in a fight with a much bigger man.
The problem was the fight was scheduled for 12  and when Canelo Alvarez crashed home one booming right hand against Khan-the knockout of the year followed and the evening was concluded with a sixth round KO that allowed Alvarez to retain his WBC middleweight title.
The bigger question is will Alvarez fight the fearsome Gennady Golovkin in his next fight?
Look for that discussion on next week's podcast.
I picked up three points (win,method and bonus point for round) in the Alvarez win and R.L,Malpica added two.

On the undercard,Ramon and I would each add three points in different ways.
Both of us would receive two points for David Lemieux's 4th round KO of Glen Tapia,but one point in different ways as I picked up one in Curtis Stevens knockout of Patrick Teixeira and Ramon added one for Frankie Gomez's decision win over Mauricio Herrera.

In Europe,both of us added two points for wins by Anthony Crolla (knockout winner over Ismael Barroso) and Kubrat Pulev (split decision victor over Derreck Chisora).

For the weekend,I finished with eight points and Ramon finishing with seven to move the season total in my favor to 55-45....

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge vs R.L.Malpica rolls on with a PPV card and two fights from Europe.
Some of these fights are not quite up to the quality that usually are in the challenge,but we decided to mix things up a bit...
I currently lead the challenge 47-38.

The Canelo Alvarez show moves on as he defends his WBC middleweight title against the smaller Amir Khan.
The interesting part of the fight almost comes afterwards to see if Alvarez fights Gennady Golovkin next...

WBC Middleweight Title 12 rds
Canelo Alvarez vs Amir Khan
R.L: Alvarez KO 2
TRS: Alvarez KO 6

Middleweights.10 rds
David Lemieux vs Glen Tapia
R.L:Lemieux KO 5
TRS:Lemieux KO 6

Welterweights.10 rds
Mauricio Herrera vs Frankie Gomez
R.L:Gomez split decision
TRS:Herrera split decision

Middleweights.10 rds
Patrick Teixeira vs Curtis Stevens
R.L; Teixeira  KO 9
TRS: Stevens split decision

WBA Lightweight Title.12 rds
Anthony Crolla vs Ismael Barroso
Both:Crolla Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights. 12 rds
Kubrat Pulev vs Derreck Chisora
R.L;Pulev unanimous winner
TRS;Pulev KO 10

Friday, May 6, 2016

Podcast-Special Guest Ramon Malpica

Special Guest Ramon (R.L) Malpica returns  with talk on boxing,television and technology too!!

Browns sign their UFA's

Normally,I don't write posts on the players signed as undrafted free agents by the Browns.
However,with this crop of players being acclaimed as either the best or second best in the league by most sources,I decided to offer a few comments,..

There are a few players that I was surprised didn't get drafted on this list and I bet some of these signees make the Browns.

To me,the one player I am really happy about is Maryland's power leg Brad Craddock,who drilled 81 % of his field goals and won the Lou Groza Award as the best kicker in college in 2014.
Craddock didn't repeat the award due to missing time with an injury,but Craddock kicked several field goals of over fifty yards in showing the leg strength that incumbent Travis Coons lacks.
I asked my buddy Kendall Morris,a devout Maryland football fan about Craddock and Kendall reports that Craddock came to Maryland as a punter and with work with former Brown Matt Stover developed into quite an accurate kicker.
Kendall describes Craddock as having a "strong and accurate leg that reminds him of former Terp Nick Novak".
If Craddock is like Nick Novak,who has had a pretty good career,I'll take that all day!
If I had to make a prediction right now,I bet Brad Craddock is the Browns kicker for the opening game...

Dominique Alexander of Oklahoma is a talented linebacker that led the Sooners in tackles the last two seasons.
Alexander was a mild surprise in going undrafted and I like him as a player,but he does arrive in Cleveland with two other rookies in Joe Schobert and Scooby Wright,so he'll have to do well in camp to make the team.

Mike Matthews is a somewhat undersized center from Texas A&M that has been tutored by the best in his father-Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.
Matthews is 6'0 and 290,which is pretty sizable for the average man,but undersized for an NFL lineman.
I still wouldn't be surprised to see Matthews work his way on this team and might just stick on motor and attitude,,,,

Two defensive backs are interesting in Tracy Howard of Miami Florida and Kenya Dennis of Missouri.
Howard was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and Dennis was a captain as a Tiger.
Both were rated by Ourlad's Dan Shonka over the Browns 5th round corner Trey Caldwell,so either or even both could surprise in camp and make the club.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Podcast-Special Guest Dorian Craft

Photo Courtesy WLEX-18 
The Podcast returns with former WHAG sports director and currently of WLEX in Lexington Kentucky-Dorian Craft.
Dorian discusses this weekend's Kentucky Derby,her love of Kentucky hoops,her dislike of Duke and the NBA and her time in Hagerstown covering sports and the Hagerstown Suns....

We also talk Canelo Alvarez,the Cavaliers vs the Hawks,Person of Interest and the future of the podcast!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2nd Annual Zabbies

Time to revisit a promised (and a bit overdue) return to the Zabbies.
We did the Zabbies last year for the first time for fighters that we are sick of seeing and the Zabbies were recently mentioned on Ramon (R.L.) Malpica's podcast-Thanks as always for the plug.

Here is last year's description of what the Zabbies are all about!
The Zabbies are named after former champion Zab Judah, who I grew tired of seeing get big fight after big fight and always accompanied by excuses after excuses for his losses, which were then followed by lots of talk about this being "a new Zab Judah" blah blah...
Judah hasn't fought in a year and hopefully will not fight further, so the namesake for the list is not on it.
The list has various reasons for being on it ranging from Judah-like excuses, weak chins, quitting when the going got tough and being susceptible to cuts, etc.

Well, over a year later, Zab Judah is still threatening a return to the ring, although it hasn't occurred yet and two of our Zabbie winners from last year are back for repeat wins!
It's showtime!!!

1) Victor Ortiz
I described Victor's faults last year and why I'm tired of him, so I won't re-write it, but they didn't go away in Ortiz's recent fight against Andre Berto in which he was floored, got up slowly, and then surrendered without a word.
How many times do you want to see the same guy quit and now that his only noteworthy win has been avenged in the rematch vs Berto, name one compelling reason to watch Ortiz.

2) Robert Guerrero
Our other repeat winner has fought three times since the first Zabbies and has gone 1-2 and on my card should have been 0-3.
Plodding losses to Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia were bad enough, but his split decision "win" over clubfighter Aron Martinez (I scored Martinez the winner) showed the same dull fight again and again.
The most excitement that Guerrero brings to the table is when his father shoots off at the mouth about the damage Guerrero is going to do, which you know has no chance of happening...

3) Brandon Rios
Rios once was a game warrior that went all out.
No longer as now the problem is that Rios is not always guaranteed to make weight and now tends to just aimlessly follow fighters around the ring ineffectively.
Rios has one decent win in the last three years and that was a disqualification win over Diego Chaves in a fight that I had him losing.
Rios doesn't care to get into shape or show much effort-if he doesn't care, why should I?

4) Chris Algeri
Algeri, a tough guy with a light punch, was just another clubfighter before being given what I thought was an outrageous split decision over Ruslan Provodnikov.
Algeri parlayed that win into a Manny Pacquiao bout that saw him get dropped six times.
Algeri since has fought decently in a loss to Amir Khan, a win over Erick Bone, and was steamrolled by Errol Spence.
Algeri cannot break soap bubbles with his punch, cannot outbox most fighters, and doesn't have a chin.
Guts only take you so far in the sport and Algeri just isn't capable of doing more than he does-which gives him a Zabbie and just might get him hurt badly in the ring...

5) The Dirrell Brothers
Pick the Dirrell of your choice-Andre, the fighter with the better resume', but shows the killer instinct of my dog Posey, content to just jog around the ring and notch unanimous decisions against overmatched competition or Anthony, who has fewer top fighters on his record,but did win a world title, only to lose it in his first defense,
Anthony occasionally turns it up a hair to stop the lesser opposition that the Dirrell's usually face, so that is a small notch in his favor.
For fighting basically the same dull fight against the same generally lousy PBC opponents, I'm sick of both Dirrell's...

Bonus Zabbie

6) Gary Russell
This Zabbie isn't for lack of talent as Russell has loads of that, but the flashy Russell has fought one quality opponent (Vasyl Lomachenko) dropped a lopsided decision to Lomachenko, and doesn't fight very often.
Russell doesn't deserve to be on this list because of losses, but he makes the list for his pattern of overwhelming poor opponents, calling out big names (like Lomachenko for a rematch) that's unlikely to occur, and then fighting more crappy competition.
Russell can get off this list easily for next year by fighting even top ten competition, which is more than he's done for his entire career...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox-Non Sports Edition

Time for an overdue cleaning of the inbox.

We start with the pictured one hundred and twenty side die as written about in the New Yorker.
Larger amount (above six) sided are often featured in gaming of different types and I even use them when I play Strat O Matic on the cards with the twenty sided ones.
The 120 is regarded as the "ultimate fair die as allowed by Mother Nature"although I cannot imagine what type of game (or anything else) it would be good for.
Still a neat story and a cool looking little lumpy thing!

The Guardian offers an interesting article on the Mountain Chicken Frog in the island nation of Montserrat that is the equivalent of a miracle as one of the final two frogs of the species are used to attempt to mate in the wild.
The issue is that the male is literally "out in the woods" and the captive female's calls will be used to find the male and then hope that nature takes its course.
The frog,which looks nothing like a chicken,has been decimated by a fungus that have overtaken many amphibians in the chain of islands....

The Hollywood Reporter has a rare interview with Rick Moranis formerly of many films and most notably to me as one of the stars of the classic SCTV.
Moranis,who has basically taken an hiatus from film in order to raise his children after their mother's passing,discusses why it took him away from Hollywood and why he passed on a cameo role in the new Ghostbusters reboot....

The one place that I wanted to check out when Rachel's trip to Cleveland took place that I missed is now entering the food truck game as Slymon's and their world famous corned beef hits the road.
Just goes to show you that there is always hope....

Wrapping up with the Cleveland food theme,the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about the various hot dogs served at Progressive Field.
The best to me sounds like the Reuben Dog with corned beef,sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.
Topped of course with Bertman's Ballpark Mustard!!!!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Entertainment from PBC? Boxing Challenge

R.L.Malpica and I each added three points Saturday night on a surprisingly fun to watch evening from the PBC on two networks.
The current score is 47-38.

From Los Angeles,Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz squared off in a rematch that was held about four years too late.
Considering the two fighters involved flaws and less than clear future,the fight was exciting and fun to watch.
Ortiz appeared to be controlling the fight and dropped Berto in the second.
Berto turned things around in the fourth with a strong uppercut that dropped Ortiz,a dazed Ortiz got up,but quickly was dropped again and didn't give an answer when asked if he wished to continue.
Fight was decent enough,but the problem is now we are likely to see another undeserved Andre Berto title shot-this one against WBC champ Danny Garcia,who would love Berto as another stop on the soft touch tour.
R.L added two points for the Berto KO win with myself settling for one...

The co-feature saw two wild,sloppy,but exciting to watch rounds from light heavyweights Edwin Rodriguez and Thomas Williams.
Trading bombs that bounced off each others chin,Williams finished Rodriguez in the second to earn a likely shot against WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.
From what I saw,that might be another fun,but short night.
R,L and I each picked Rodriguez to win...

In Washington DC,two super middleweight belts were on the line as IBF champ James DeGale and WBC boss Badou Jack were supposed to skip by opposition on their way to a fall unification match.
That bout will take place,but not without some controversy.
DeGale looked to outclass another questionable IBF mandatory challenger in Rogelio "Porky" Medina,but instead found himself in a life and death struggle.
I scored the fight 115-113 for DeGale,who won a unanimous decision that could have just as easily been 115-113 Medina-it was that close.

WBC champ Badou Jack settled for a majority draw against Lucien Bute in a bout that I thought Jack won 116-112.
The fight was decent enough,but I thought the first fight had more of a case as a draw than this one.
DeGale's struggles and Jack's draw took a little luster off the fall fight,but in the world of PBC,such things rarely matter....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Browns complete day three

The Cleveland Browns finished their draft with some players that might turn out to be steals and made a trade to attempt to help a player with a change of scenery.

The Browns did add a fifth rounder in a tradedown with the Raiders and later added cornerback Jamar Taylor from the Dolphins in swapping seventh rounders.
Taylor,a second rounder from Boise State in 2013,had been regarded as a bust in Miami and given that the Browns already have Justin Gilbert,one could make an argument the Browns really didn't need another disappointing corner on the roster.
I look at it differently.
The cost of giving Taylor a chance was just dropping in the seventh round,the pick still resulted in Scooby Wright and if it doesn't work out,the team can just release Taylor.
At 25,Taylor is still young enough to put it all together.

I love the two drafted linebackers,which were the Browns first pick and their last one in Wisconsin's Joe Schobert  (4th)and Arizona's Scooby Wright (7th).
I attempted to reach Ryan to ask for more about Schobert,but on the podcast,I spoke about how much I loved Wright.
Wright is one of those linebackers that are always underestimated in the draft based on size and speed and then just go out and tackle everything in sight for years.
Schobert was a pass rushing outside backer as a Badger,but most likely will move inside in the NFL.
I think both of those guys make the team and one if not both start sometime in the next two years...

The Browns took a lot of pass catchers to try to spray a bunch of picks around to maybe wind up with a good one or two.
Auburn's Ricardo Louis (4th) is a terrific physical specimen that has been rumored to be moved to corner due to bad hands,which is a small problem for a pass catcher.
That brings to mind last years pick in the fourth round of another Browns receiver pick that had issues catching the ball and didn't even make the team in Vince Mayle.
I hope Louis doesn't meet the same fate as Mayle.
Princeton's Seth DeValve (4th) was a college wideout that the Browns plan on moving to tight end and the best two picks came in the fifth with UCLA's Jordan Payton and my favorite sleeper (mentioned on the podcast preview) in Colorado State's Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins,who was an absolute theft at this stage of the draft.
The Browns have added quite a few interesting receivers and I would be surprised if more than one weren't on the final roster for 2016.

Cleveland added two players to the secondary in TCU's Derrick Kindred (4th) and Trey Caldwell (5th) of Louisiana-Monroe.
Kindred is noted as a hard tackler that played his entire 2016 season with a broken collarbone,choosing to play through the pain rather than miss the season and should at least be a benefit on the special teams
Caldwell isn't the biggest corner at 5'8,but did finish with 52 tackles last season.that's about the extent of what I know about Caldwell as none of the three draft books that I lean on had a writeup on him and I couldn't find much on YouTube about him either.

Bruising Baylor guard Spencer Drango (5th) will attempt to move inside after playing tackle at Baylor.
At 6'6 and 315 pounds,Drango has a chance to add some depth to the offensive line,but despite his size will need to work on his run blocking after spending so much time being a pass blocker at Baylor in an offense that preferred the throwing of the football.

On the overall,I liked this draft day with a few flaws-I would not have drafted Seth DeValve or Trey Caldwell because I think there would have been an excellent chance of being to sign them as undrafted free agents,but clearly in the case of DeValve,they must have had the feeling that another team was interested.