Wednesday, November 30, 2016

GI Joe and the Adventure Team

My friend Joe Plum follows a site called Atlas Obscura on Facebook and I find many interesting things on the site.
I don't have to follow it because Joe does all the work for me,but this article on GI Joe made me think back to childhood.

I knew about the origin of GI Joe and why the Vietnam War contributed to the downfall of the toy line,but what actually happened was memories of toys that I didn't actually have,but wanted desperately.

The GI Joe of my childhood was actually the least popular of the toys.
The original was extremely popular before the Vietnam War and the smaller figures that were re-introduced with the GI Joe "Real American Hero" cartoon series were the big hits for the toy line,but my age group was right in between those two.
My childhood featured the GI Joe Adventure Team,which didn't have the military aspect,but tried different angles to get kids to want the toys.
"Realistic" hair,Kung fu grip,"talking",beards and "eagle eyes" that moved were a few of the gimmicks that were used to sell the Adventure Team to an audience that had challengers from the Mego Super Heroes and other stars of the age such as Steve Austin-the Six Million Dollar Man and Evel Knievel..
It didn't matter much because the team didn't sell as well as their military counterpart or the smaller version of the 80's and other than guys like me from that narrow time frame,these are not nearly as well thought of by collectors or fans of the line

The line sold several of the "playsets" that such things sold through the years to kids to accentuate the figures and the one that I remember best was "Search for the Stolen Idol" which basically was a helicopter with a Buddha looking idol.
This (and secret of the mummy's tomb) looked to be the coolest thing that I could imagine and of course,I wanted all of this stuff.!

I really wanted the blond and red haired Joe because they looked so radically different from the standard Joe (there was an Air,Sea,Land,Adventurer and Standard,each with a different hair and beard color) and they would have been such a cool addition to my other toys.
Other than playing sports,I don't remember being much of an "outside" kid,but I do remember taking various figures outside and putting them in various scenes in my yard or even at my parents cabin on our weekend trips there.
Those toys might have been the only thing to get me out of the house!

In the end and I'm sure my parents would have no idea what I'm writing about or even remotely remember why.
I remember being pretty disappointed,which is likely kinda selfish,but I'll give an 6-8 year old a pass,but the story continues years later...

I'm walking through Wal-Mart and suddenly I see piles of these Joe's lying around.
I collected a lot more at this time than I do right now,but I had no idea why these were and ran to the shopping cart and the lovely Cherie with my find.
She wasn't quite so thrilled with what turned out to be a limited re-issue of the original's for Wal-Mart only.
In the end,I reluctantly put my haul back,steely in my resolve to buy them next week.
Next week,they were off to wherever unsold (or maybe someone bought them) toys go to-never to be seen by me again.
I think I'll get by,although they look so neat and they'd make a great display whenever the day comes that I am able to display such things-(keep in mind,if you happen to have these things-let me know),but I've got lots of cool stuff already (wait til you see the Star Trek figures).

All these memories (or in this case non-memories) brought up by a website that didn't even write about what I really wanted!!!

Hope you enjoyed a little bit of reminiscing of G.I.Joe and his Adventure Team,drop me a line,if you like these types of stories....

Monday, November 28, 2016

Giants KO Browns 27-13

The Cleveland Browns defense played better than expected,but the offense could not produce points inside the red zone and the Browns fell to 0-12 with a 27-13 loss to the New York Giants in Cleveland.
Josh McCown threw for over 300 yards and the Browns only touchdown on a pass to Corey Coleman,while Terrelle Pryor finished with six catches for 131 yards as the main offensive star.
The Browns have a bye week this Sunday and return on 12/11 at home vs the Bengals...

Brownie Bits

1) Offensive line. Offensive line.Offensive line.
After Pittsburgh (and its 13 sacks entering the game) rolled over the Browns for eight dumps of the passer,the Giants ranked 29th in the league added seven more sacks.
The Browns just cannot protect the passer and the off season decisions took an average group and made it awful.

2) You know what I might do-Call the Rams and ask what the cost for Greg Robinson might be?
The former top five pick has been benched for them,wonder if they'd be interested after the season.
I also have no idea why we have seen nothing (more below) from former first rounder and waiver claimee Jonathan Cooper either-like he could be any worse?

3) Game was still in question until former Buckeye Jonathan Hankins stripped Josh McCown of the ball and Jason Pierre-Paul cruised into the end zone for the crushing blow.
I know the Browns need so much,but boy,they have to do something on the line,don't they?

4) Terrelle Pryor went over one hundred yards with a 54 yard catch on the day against the foul mouthed tweeter Janoris Jenkins,but as far as in the game,you can see Pryor's frustration building on the sideline with the Browns.
I was asked last night did I think Pryor was going to stay a Brown (free agent after the season),I think he wants to and I think he feels like he owes something to Hue Jackson

5) Josh McCown threw for 300 plus and didn't throw an interception,which looks nice on the box score.
The reality is different as he often was inaccurate and either threw the ball too soon or too late-taking a sack or a hit.
That's not all his fault,considering his protection,but I thought before that Josh McCown gave the Browns the best chance to win a game.
Not sure I agree with that now as McCown is looking every bit of his 37,but who would be a better choice??

6) Isaiah Crowell has struggled of late and again,the line play is a good reason for that,but his fumble inside the Browns 30 handed the Giants the football and the ensuing drive resulted in a Giants touchdown.
Ball possession has nothing to do with line play.Tuck it in.

7) The pass defense didn't play that badly.
Yes.Eli Manning threw for 3 scores,but the Browns held him to under 200 yards passing and Joe Haden did a better job than expected against Odell Beckham.
The secondary has been horrid at times this year,but I thought they had some good points in this game.

8) I was glad to see Rashard Higgins and Seth DeValve catch a few passes in playing time.
I'd like to see more playing time for both of these young receivers-especially Higgins,who should have been playing more when Corey Coleman was out with injury..

9) The offensive line got worse with John Greco's foot injury that ended the veteran guards season.
The Browns have now lost both of their starting guards,so maybe now Jonathan Cooper will see some playing time...

10) 0-12,Can this team get a win?
The Bengals are in flux and that's in Cleveland,so maybe.
I doubt Buffalo or Pittsburgh are likely road losses and I still think San Diego at home is the one.
Until then,lets hope for a San Francisco win.
Believe or not,the 49ers won their opener and haven't won since.
I'd hate to see 1-15 not be worth the top pick in the draft....

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lomachenko makes Walters quit-Boxing Challenge

The anticipated bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters turned out to be boxing's version of a non-conference cupcake as Lomachenko won every round and made Walters quit at the end of the seventh round.

Lomachenko simply was too much for what was considered to be an elite level fighter and completely discouraged him to the point that Walters meekly surrendered in the corner without a fight.

Lomachenko is arguably the most talented fighter in the sport and appears to be head and shoulders above any fighter from 126-135 pounds.
As far as Walters goes,his timid performance came with a ridiculous excuse that blamed his evening on everyone from his promoter (Top Rank) to the network (HBO) to all of the above for "inactivity".even though most of that was his doing in negotiating for this bout.
I would suspect Walters has plenty of rehab work to do in many eyes and in the eyes of boxing fans,will always be damaged goods....

Ramon Malpica and I each added one point in the boxing challenge for the Lomachenko win,while I added two to Ramon's one for Terry Flanagan's stoppage in round eight of Orlando Cruz to retain Flanagan's WBO lightweight title.
Flanagan is rumored for perhaps an opponent for Lomachenko in the United Kingdom in 2017.
The challenge is currently 133-109.

Don't forget to listen to Fight Heads tomorrow night for more boxing talk on these fights and other issues..

Ohio State nips Michigan 30-27!

Curtis Samuel's 15 yard run for a touchdown in the second overtime lifted the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 30-27 win over the Michigan Wolverines in a classic at the Horseshoe in Columbus.
J.T.Barrett rushed for over 100 yards,but the real story was the Buckeye defense,who forced a Michigan fumble inside the Buckeye five and two key interceptions with Malik Hooker scoring a touchdown with his and Jerome Baker setting up another touchdown with an interception of his own...
Ohio State (11-1 8-1 Big 10) and its win allowed Penn State to win the Big 10 East,but most likely punched their ticket to the playoffs.....

Olentangy Offerings

1) Starting with the controversy,the 4th down success in the second overtime that Michigan complains that J.T.Barrett didn't get.
I thought he got it on first progress.where the issue for many is that he was hit,twisted back and there is where it looks far closer.
On either account,the video replay rule says indisputable evidence and there simply is none that is clear cut to change the on field call..

2) Give Urban Meyer tons of credit for going for it with the season on the line.
Many coaches would have said to tie the game with a field goal,Meyer went for it,got it and was rewarded with the win one play later...

3) It truly was the defense that won this game.
Every time that Michigan seemed to be closing the book on this game-the Buckeye defense would make a big play.
The biggest was the fumble recovery at the OSU one yard line when it looked like Michigan was going up by ten early in the second half.
That play alone might have made the difference in this game//

4) The Ohio State linebackers were huge in this game as Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker each notching double digit tackles and Chris Worley just missing that mark.
McMillan's blitz on Wilton Speight in the end zone forced Speight to get rid of the ball and Malik Hooker cruised in with the easy pick six...

5) Jerome Baker's interception return was just as important as it set up a touchdown to pull Ohio State back within three points.
That play and resulting scoring drive (as short as it was) allowed the start of the awakening of the Ohio State offense.

6) You can make an excellent argument that the Buckeyes should have won this game in regulation,if not for an awful day for the special teams.
Tyler Durbin's two missed field goals (one the length of an extra point) alone would have won in regulation time,but there were more reasons.

7) The unsuccessful fake punt by Cameron Johnston set up a short drive for one Michigan touchdown and a long return by Jabril Peppers late in the first half put Michigan in position for their other.
Both of Michigan's touchdowns in regulation were directly set up by weak decisions by the special teams.

8) Let's not go too overboard on the Ohio State offense,
For most of the game,the passing game was a struggle and J.T. Barrett was very inaccurate.
Many of his throws were high and the passing game produced just 124 yards.
Barrett was less than strong for most of this game and played better with his legs (125 rushing yards) than his arm...

9) Wilton Speight got the unexpected start for Michigan at quarterback and played through injury,
Speight threw two interceptions,but give the young man credit for toughness and for being classy in the game both before and after.

10) That's more than I can say for Wolverine backup John O'Korn,who guaranteed a Michigan victory even though he apparently (behind the scenes) knew that he was not going to get the start.
If you aren't going to play,then you shouldn't be talking...

11) I still think Jabril Peppers is a little overrated.
His grab of a tipped J.T. Barrett pass was his first interception IN HIS CAREER (so much for that playmaker tag) and he finished with four tackles on the day.
Peppers lined up a few times in the Wildcat,but did little with it.
I've always said the Wildcat without a passing threat is just a single wing and until you can prove you can throw from it,defenses have defused it.
Peppers is a nice player,but relax the Charles Woodson comparisons,I'm not buying...

12) Not a fan of the helmets used in the game.
I don't mind picking a gimmick helmet/unis once a year to use,but not in this game.
To paraphrase Sam Wyche; You aren't Maryland,you are Ohio State and you don't need that!!

13) I know Jim Harbaugh is complaining about his sideline penalty,but I thought he finally got what he deserved.
Harbaugh has been acting this way on the sidelines since his San Francisco days and he finally was called on it.
My knock on the clipboard throw wasn't throwing the papers,it was that he threw them into the field of play.
Don't want those calls? Quit acting like a child...

14) And speaking of acting like a child-check the officiating whining by Jim Harbaugh at the post game press conference.
Also loved his line "Bitterly Disappointed" which was a line used by his mentor in 1973 when Bo Schembechler didn't get things to go his way.
Nice to see that "Michigan Men" still know how to be classy in defeat...

15) Does that put Ohio State in the playoff?
I think so and I think not playing in Indianapolis is a good thing.
Wisconsin would be a tough game again and coming off a game like this,there would have to be an emotional letdown.
I think this works out for the best.
IMO-Alabama,Ohio State and Clemson are in (pending Clemson's ACC title game) with the final spot going to either Washington or the Big 10 winner depending on how impressive they look...

16) Urban Meyer-first coach ever to win first five games vs Michigan.
Jim Harbaugh-first coach ever to lose first two games vs Ohio State...
Editor's Note;Rich Rodriguez was 0-3 vs the Buckeyes,so Harbaugh has that going for him.
Thanks to Ian McArdle for catching this!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Boxing Challenge

The Boxing Challenge continues with a super fight on HBO as the much anticipated bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters finally takes place in Las Vegas.

Lomachenko and Walters looked to fight last year in what would have been a featherweight unification bout,but Walters dropped his belt after being unable to make weight and Lomachenko was mainly interested in Walters title more than just fighting him.
Fast forward and both are now at 130 pounds and Lomachenko will defend his WBO title at that weight.
It should be a good one as Lomachenko matches his technical brilliance against the lanky and big punching Walters.
If you have HBO-watch this one as it is combined with a replay of the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward bout from last Saturday.

The boxing challenge with Ramon Malpica is currently at 130-107 in my favor.
I have also added a world title bout from the UK as Terry Flanagan defends his WBO lightweight tile against Orlando Cruz.
No American television for that fight..

Also check out the official Fight Heads website that Ramon has been working on-Great work!

WBO Junior Lightweight title,12 rds
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Nicholas Walters
Both:Lomachenko Unanimous Decision

WBO Lightweight title. 12 rds
Terry Flanagan vs Orlando Cruz
R.L:Flanagan Unanimous Decision
TRS:Flanagan KO 10

Pigskin Picking Machine

The PPM returns early this week with so many college games on Friday...

Last Week:7-2
Overall: 77-28

Ohio State over Michigan 24-20
Boise State over Air Force 33-28
Bowling Green over Buffalo 40-28
Baylor over Texas Tech 49-36
Washington over Washington State 28-21
Middle Tennessee State over Florida Atlantic 35-20

Game of the Week
Florida State over Florida 27-16

Giants over Browns 35-10
Saints over Rams 24-10

Game of the Week
Chiefs over Broncos 20-17

Podcast:Special Guest Melissa Pfiester

Melissa Pfiester returns with Ohio State-Michigan talk on a mini-podcast.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers and listeners and say how thankful I am to all of you-friends and family along with those of you that I don't know.
You are all appreciated more than you know!

I'd like to thank my wonderful wife,the ever-present lovely Cherie,along with my children,Ryan and Rachel and too many friends to name,but I'll name a few people that help take care of your humble author and are avid boosters of what I do here,the podcast and real life.
Thanks for Denise Nicarry for being the big sister that I never had.
Thanks to these three gentlemen:Doug Hopkins and Derreck Chupak for filling a void in my life and Fred Landucci (and his manager Miguelito) for being such a great friend and fan of the "empire".
All three of these guys (and Denise) care about me as a person and their friendship means more to me than they can know.
Also thanks to our long time reader Big Don Cain,Ian McArdle and I cannot forget Ramon Malpica.
Don was met on minor league tours and his friendship is quite important to me as Ian's,who I met through a mutual friend and laughter ensued.
Ian is the one person that every Saturday that I "watch" Buckeye games (and others) "with" and talk college football all day!
Ramon is the one person that I know that can and will talk boxing as much as I want!
When people say how bad social media is and it can be quite bad,I'm reminded of Ramon and Ian and how I never would have met them without social media.
Our friendship has grown over the past year and working with him every Monday night is more than I could have asked for!
I also wanted to acknowledge a few of my old friends that I don't see as often,but still talk to a lot.
Even though they are Steeler fans (Ha Ha),Greg Church and the Battler Bob still bring humor to my life and its been nice having Joe Plum back around with his unusual look at life along with the always wacky nephew Jeff Heimberger with his occasional podcast appearances.
One more person to mention is Julie Kendall,who some of you may remember from podcast appearances.
Julie always pays attention and has a great knack for reading between the lines on Twitter with usually leads to emailing me with something to brighten my mood or at least make me think a bit...
I'm quite thankful for you all!
If I've forgotten anyone-I apologize,Work all night can make you a bit fuzzy!

I also wanted to welcome any new readers that might have found us via Fight Heads.
I have so enjoyed working with Ramon and getting to talk boxing with him every week.
The callers are starting to pick up and I'm just thrilled and thankful for the opportunity!

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the long weekend!
I'll try to put up a mini-podcast with special guest Melissa Pfiester either later today or tomorrow.

Devils rally past Toronto 5-4

The Toronto Maple Leafs ripped off three first period goals in Newark to seemingly send the New Jersey Devils to another defeat.
In fact,it was so bad that I was watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving instead of the intermission show (which if you've heard Deb Placey,the adults in the Peanuts world are more intelligible) and I was resigned to an awful evening.
However,three goals in the first five minutes of the second period turned things upside down and returned the Devils to contention.
In the end,the game was decided by one shot as Jacob Josefson scored the only goal of the shootout to snap a three game losing streak and give the Devils an improbable 5-4 win.
New Jersey received goals from Travis Zajac (5).Michael Cammalleri (4),Yohann Auvitu (2) and Beau Bennett (1 Power Play) in the victory.
New Jersey will next host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Hell Raisers

1) Michael Cammalleri returned to the lineup after missing the road trip and did so with a vengeance as he scored a goal and assisted on each of the other three goals that the Devils scored in regulation.
Cammalleri missed the road swing due to serious physical health issues with his daughter and his play upon his return was certainly inspired.
It's funny how often that happens in sports.

2) The power play finally returned to the scoresheet with Beau Bennett's first goal of the season.
Bennett had seemingly been in bad luck this season and his lack of success with good chances made me think of Jacob Josefson's similar problems through the seasons.
I like what I have seen of Bennett thus far and hope that now that the first goal has gone in that the dam has been busted...

3) Speaking of Jacob Josefson,Jacob has had some problems through the years in scoring,but he seems to have found a niche' as a shootout specialist.
Jacob shows the creativity in the shootout that he sometimes lacks in the flow of the game and in my opinion should be used early and often when the shootout situations are in order...

4) I've been critical of Travis Zajac,not as much as a player as the ridiculously long contract that Lou Lamoriello signed him to.
Zajac is off to a strong start this season though ( 5 goals 8 assists) and finished last night with a goal and two assists.
The Zajac,Cammalleri,P.A.Parenteau line has shown some chemistry,but occasionally against Toronto,Nick Lappin spent some time in Parenteau's place and the line didn't look out of place...

5) Cory Schneider started slow in net in allowing those three first period goals and one would not have blamed John Hynes for calling on Keith Kinkaid as it seemed like one of those off nights that all goalies suffer through.
Schneider stepped up thereafter and was huge in net in both overtime and the flawless shootout in notching the victory.
Sometimes,the coaches patience can be rewarded...

6) Finally,I was very impressed with the latest young star in the league with Toronto's Auston Matthews.
Matthews scored two goals and while I haven't seen enough of him to truly compare with the most recent first pick Connor McDavid,I think the Maple Leafs have themselves a player to build around..

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox-Sports Version

Time for more cleaning out the inbox,this time from the sports world..

Goodbye to Buckeye legend John Hicks at the age of 65.
Hicks was a three time All-American for the Buckeyes and was the Outland and Lombardi trophy winner in 1973.
Hicks finished second in the 1973 Heisman voting and that is the highest Heisman finish for a lineman ever.
Hicks was the dominant Buckeye offensive lineman of his day and until the arrival of Orlando Pace was considered the gold standard of Buckeye blockers.
Hicks was the 3rd overall pick in the 1974 draft by the Giants and played four years for them,but injuries prevented him from a longer pro career.
Hicks passed from complications due to diabetes...

Another goodbye to former Washington Bullet Greg Ballard at the age of 61.
Ballard played eight seasons in Washington after being drafted in 1978 before finishing up with two season with the Warriors.
Ballard's first two years with the Washington were the highlights of franchise history with the team reaching back to back finals against the Seattle SuperSonics and winning their only NBA title in 1978.
Ballard was a solid player,but not a star averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds for his career.
Ballard spent his post-playing career as a scout and coach for various teams....
Ballard passed from prostate cancer...

Goodbye to early 1990's heavyweight contender Alex Stewart at the age of 52.
Stewart was never won a big fight,,but was best known for losing a controversial decision to George Foreman along with losses to heavyweight champions Evander Holyfield (twice),Mike Tyson and Michael Moorer.
Stewart passes of blood clots in his lungs.

Shannon Hogan is the host of the New York Islanders broadcast and I've wished we were able to have her (among many) on the Devils broadcasts.
Hogan recently penned this article on why she moved to sports broadcasting from the news division.
Her words on why sports can mean so much even when things are falling apart around us are very true and well written.
I guess her reasoning is part of why sports have meant so much to me over the years...

UniWatch looks at one of the best uniforms in the NFL-the long hoped for Powder Blue jerseys of the San Diego Chargers that the Chargers wear once or twice a year and then everyone comments on why the Chargers should wear all the time.
The Chargers had a few slightly different uniforms from those days as the article discusses.
As for me-I love em and even have a powder blue Lance Alworth jersey in my closet and I'm not even a Charger fan...

Kathy Duva is best known now as the promoter of Sergey Kovalev,but in the 1980's her Main Events promotion with the late Dan Duva promoted lightweight champion Livingstone Bramble.
Duva offers her memories with Ring Magazine of Bramble's successful upset of then WBA lightweight champion Ray Mancini from Buffalo in 1984.
I always was a fan of the eccentric Bramble and got a kick out of his various behaviors....

The Comeback looks at the conference looked at as the weakest of the conferences in Division I football in the Sun Belt and discusses a strong season for the conference.
With Troy and Appalachian State each having big years,I'd rate the Sun Belt above Conference USA this year and maybe even the MAC as well..

Monday, November 21, 2016

Boxing Challenge-Ward robs Kovalev

The pay per view card Saturday saw just three points between Ramon Malpica and myself awarded-two to me for a total of 130-107...

Neither of us added points for the controversial loss for Sergey Kovalev against Andre Ward.
Kovalev dominated the early rounds and scored a knockdown in the second.
I scored Kovalev a 116-111 (8-4 in rounds) winner and watched the fight twice to be fair.
Fairness is important to me and I wanted to make sure there was no bias with me being a Kovalev fan and not one of Ward,so I watched again and gave every close round to Ward.
All of that and I still had Kovalev a 114-113 winner (6-6 in rounds,but the knockdown making the difference).
I've seen worse decisions,but it's been a long time for one this bad in a fight of this importance.

I didn't see the undercard,but that's where the points were scored.
Junior welterweights Maurice Hooker and Darley Perez fought to a draw.
I picked up a point in Oleskander Gvozdyk's win over Issac Chilemba,when the veteran could not answer the bell for round nine in light heavyweight action.
Ramon and I added a point each for Curtis Stevens and his unanimous decision over James De La Rosa.

Tune into Fight Heads tonight for Ramon and I's thoughts on Kovalev-Ward!

Steelers deal Browns another defeat 24-9

The Cleveland Browns didn't overwhelm anyone,but they did manage to hang around enough to make the Pittsburgh Steelers wonder what was going on in Cleveland before a former Buckeye made his presence felt yet again with a blitz,strip and resulting fumble recovery to end the game with a 24-9 Pittsburgh win over the now 0-11 Cleveland Browns.
Josh McCown came off the pine for the injured Cody Kessler to throw the only Browns touchdown-a 14 yarder to Gary Barnidge,while Terrelle Pryor led the Browns in receiving with five catches for 97 yards.
The Browns host the New York Giants next week in an attempt to win a game before the bye...

Brownie Bits

1) I tweeted this yesterday,but it bears repeating.
Cody Kessler was knocked out by yet another Steeler cheap shot to the head-this one by Lawrence Timmons.
Now,I realize that this is a tough game,big hits happen and sometimes even to the head.
However,this is a long time pattern of these things happening against this particular team.
I'm not going to re-list the amount of Browns players (especially quarterbacks) injured by head shots against the Steelers,but what I will say is this-Until this front office (or any future one) starts smacking players back and showing that the bullying tactics will start coming with a price,the popular coaching term for rebuilding "Culture Change" will never take effect....

2) Was yesterday time for the  "mercy rule" for Cody Kessler?
I've been a proponent of "seeing what Kessler has",but he is taking such a beating that I'm reversing course.
Behind this line and their "support" a young QB that holds the ball long anyway might be getting any future that he has pounded away by pass rushers-Kessler has suffered two concussions.
I fail to see the need for more as we are going to learn nothing from continued playing time under this conditions.

3) I'm not in the habit of rooting for Steeler players,but I still have a soft spot for former Buckeyes-after all,it's not their fault that the Browns refuse to take them and Ryan Shazier is another star that got away.
Shazier was all over the field in both pass coverage and pass rushing and his play that essentially ended any chance of the Browns coming back with a sack and strip of Josh McCown.
I generally am not a proponent of taking Buckeyes just because they are such,but I'm a huge fan of Ryan Shazier...

4) The offensive line is just a sieve and Joe Thomas after the game mentioned the poor play and the lack of signing Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz.
I agree that the Browns erred in not keeping Schwartz,who seemed amenable to staying,but bemoaning the loss of Mack,who had no interest in staying cannot be blamed on the front office.
Thomas is correct in that statement,but the time for that argument might have been long past due-not after losing eleven games in a row.

5) Terrelle Pryor played well with the two biggest gains of the day.
I don't think any of the Browns current quarterbacks will be anywhere near Cleveland by the time this team is even close to competitive,but Josh McCown's arm gives Pryor (and maybe even Corey Coleman) the best chance to make plays.

6) Disappointing day from Corey Coleman,who had some more drops and finished with just 4 catches from 12 targets.
Not all the targets were his fault,but still some drops....

7) Another poor day on the ground as the Browns ran for just 33 yards and Josh McCown (as in 37 year old creaky McCown) leading with 11 yards.
Much of that is the soft offensive line,but thinking that any of these backs are anything better than pedestrian is pie in the sky ideas...

8) Cody Parkey missed an extra point on the only Browns touchdown.
The Browns had just cut the lead to a touchdown and had Parkey nailed that,the lead would have been just seven.
The miss caused a little bit of "here it comes" and the loss of any momentum...

9) Gary Barnidge came alive with the entry of Josh McCown into the game.
McCown looks for Barnidge first and the decrease in Barnidge numbers comes when anyone but McCown plays at quarterback...

10) Then there was the end of the first half which showed the lack of any respect for the Browns defense.
Second and goal from the Browns three with five seconds to go.
The Steelers go for it and eschew the field goal.
A pass interference call resulted in an untimed down and another pass interference call.
LeVeon Bell then rushed for the touchdown from the one...

11) The shiny spot of the day was the play of the rapidly improving Danny Shelton.
Shelton was physically moving the Steelers interior line (including Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey) and was pushing blockers back into Ben Rothlisberger.
On NFL radio recently,a host was criticizing the various Browns first round busts and included Shelton.
I thought then that he hadn't seen many Browns games this season,Danny Shelton is a player and getting better every week...

12) So,0-11...
There was a time this season that I thought the Giants were a possible win,but Big Blue has ripped off five wins in a row and the thought of the Browns covering Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard scares me-this is going to be a blowout,but one thing to consider-Eli Manning.
Look at the Giants and once or twice a year,Eli Manning blows a tire and the Giants lose to someone that you never expect.
A slim ray of hope...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sometimes,the truth hurts

Another robbery in Las Vegas tonight as Andre Ward took the light heavyweight titles away from Sergey Kovalev via an awful unanimous decision.
I'm not going to discuss the fight too much,I'll be doing the boxing challenge later to do that and I'm sure it will be a main part of Fight Heads Monday night.

What I am on this night is tired.
Tired of supporting a sport that doesn't seem to care enough to get it right.
Tired of people looking at my sport as corrupt at worst,incompetent at best and maybe after all this,its time for me to walk away.

I'm not threatening anything and Monday night,I'll be on the air with Ramon and I'm sure I'll howl about this among other things.
However,this is different for one reason-the feeling is different.
I'm not mad.
I'm sad and there is a difference.
I've been a fan for over 40 years and I've seen my share of bad decisions before,but I would get upset at the horrible judges that populate boxing.
This time,I'm just numbed-like you saw it coming and you still have to take the needle.

Boxing has been in my life since I was a small child.
Some of my best memories were around boxing and I can still relate some fights to where I saw them.
I watched Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks I at my grandfather's and was stunned to see Spinks pull the shocker,I remember dragging a portable black and white TV to my summer job announcing little league games to watch the Saturdayafternoon fights (where are you now Milton McCrory?) and going the extra mile to see whatever I could.
There were bad decisions then too and maybe it's the nostalgia in me,but they didn't seem so predetermined.
That could be wishful thinking,but we are at a point in the sport where judges cards seem to be filled out before the bout starts or even giving makeup rounds (Andre Ward won the last 6 rounds on two judges cards) in order to get the result required.
I'm not saying boxing is pro wrestling-you'll never hear me say that the fighters have any knowledge of winners and losers,but if you have the judges,you don't really need the fighters.

Boxing is a sport that features skills and heart and yet the rewards for the fan often are far outweighed by the underside.
Paying for bad undercards,less than thrilling main events and the issues in getting to see top fights are just a few of the problems for the boxing fans that can leave you feeling screwed and that's just us.
Add to that the expenses of pay per view and premium cable and more often than not,you can see boxing as a brutal taskmaster that asks so much and gives very little back.
For the fan,you can see how many other hobbies and interests give so much more.

I feel bad for Sergey Kovalev mainly because he deserved a win,but I feel for Andre Ward too.Readers and listeners know that I have been critical of Ward and not a fan,but tonight I gained respect for him in defeat and was ready to write that Ward won some fans over on this evening
with a gallant,but losing effort.
Ward lost all of that by getting the decision.
The story changed from Kovalev's excellent victory and Ward's showing the grit that so many doubted that he had to "Oh gee,boxing shoots itself again" returning all the ill feelings that many had toward Ward.

When you drill into the ground for anything-oil,gas,water-you name it,when you succeed there is no bottomless pit.
Eventually,you run out of what you are drilling for in any particular area and you move on.
For the first time in my life,I can see a life without boxing and I'm not sure just how much I'll miss it.
If I can be run off,how on earth can you draw and keep the new fans?
That's a question for another day.

Thanks for reading,I'll be on Fight Heads Monday night at 8 EST to talk more boxing.
Call in and talk to me....

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Buckeyes survive Sparty with 17-16 win

On a dreary and dank day in East Lansing that saw all sorts of crazy things occur to allow the Michigan State Spartans to hang tough with the second ranked Ohio State Buckeyes,it wasn't until a two point conversion was intercepted and then a floater deep inside MSU territory was grabbed by Gareon Conley to put the plucky Spartans away for a 17-16 Ohio State win.
Mike Weber and J.T. Barrett each rushed for over 100 yards in the nailbiting win.
Ohio State moved to 10-1 (7-1 Big Ten) with the victory and returns home to Columbus to play you know who next week..

Olentangy Offerings

1) Not sure what it is about Sparty,but even when they are bad (like they are this year),they play the Buckeyes tough.
A smart and well coached team,Michigan State is dangerous when overlooked and next week when they go to Penn State-the Nittany Lions better not take them lightly..

2) One thing that people (Including myself) tend to forget about Michigan State is the massive amount of Ohio high schoolers that wind up in East Lansing.
That means the OSU game is huge to players that likely grew up dreaming of a Buckeye offer and not to get one-Maybe that is some of the reason that Michigan State plays Ohio State so tough...

3) Many are debating Mark Dantonio's decision to go for two points and the lead after the 4th quarter touchdown to pull within a point.
I'm not.
Michigan State isn't going to a bowl and this game (and next weeks at Penn State) are their chance to make waves-I liked the decision,but

4) Not the play call,L.J. Scott had gashed the Buckeye run defense for that entire drive  (He may have been the only player to touch the ball) and what do you do?
Throw with Tyler O'Connor...

5) Once again,the Buckeyes just didn't get the ball in the hands of Curtis Samuel enough.
Samuel did have a 24 yard touchdown catch,but only touched the ball eight times (4 rushes,4 catches).
They'll need to do better next week.

6) It was windy and the conditions were far from great,but that doesn't excuse J.T. Barrett for a less than great passing day (1 TD 86 yards).
Yes,some balls were dropped,but a lot were off target too....

7) The Buckeyes finished with two sacks on the day,but the rush came big when needed as Tyler O'Connor's heave to avoid a sack sent the ball fluttering to Gareon Conley to end the game forced the pass.
The pass rush has been off and on this year,but it tends to show up when needed..

8) Rough day for the usually solid Pat Elflein at center,who had a bad snap,a few penalties and was beaten on a few plays,

9) Phenomenal interception by Chris Worley in the first half on a Tyler O'Connor pass that was not thrown poorly.
Worley showed terrific instincts in flying to the ball and nice hands in coming down with it with a leap and still inbounds...

10) Now onto the team up north,who didn't exactly polish their rep with a ten point win over Indiana at home.
Gonna be a tough one,but I have a feeling-we get this one...

Bonus: Eleven Warriors had a great idea for the game-Have both teams like UCLA-USC wear their home jerseys.
That Scarlet vs Blue would look great on TV and yet not be a sellout for the rivalry.
I love it!!

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge continues with the most anticipated fight of the year as three belt light heavyweight champion Sergei Kovalev defends against former super middleweight champion Andre Ward.
The battle of two of the five pound for pound fighters in the world might not be as action packed as many hope for,but the skill set will be quite high.
If you like boxing and have the means-buy this card on pay per view tonight.
If you want to see the best fight the best-support it when it occurs...
I lead Ramon Malpica 128-106 in the challenge

WBA/IBF/WBO Lt Heavyweight titles. 12 rds
Sergei Kovalev vs Andre Ward
R.L:Kovalev KO 8
TRS:Kovalev Unanimous Decision.

Junior Welterweights.10 rds
Maurice Hooker vs Darleys Perez
Both:Hooker Unanimous Decision

Light Heavyweights.10 rds
Issac Chilemba vs Oleskander Gvozdyk
R.L;Chilemba Unanimous Decision
TRS:Gvozdyk Unanimous Decision

Middleweights.10 rds
Curtis Stevens vs James De La Rosa
R.L:Stevens KO 7
TRS: Stevens KO 4

Friday, November 18, 2016

Podcast:Special Guest Jason Christensen

Jason Christensen returns to talk about the newly dubbed Binghamton Rumble Ponies and minor league baseball names.
I also talk some New Jersey Devils,Fight Heads,a little bit on the election and more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pigskin Picking Machine

With an early football week for some teams,we will do the PPM early this week..

Last Week:5-5

Ohio State over Michigan State 30-14
Boise State over UNLV 45-20
Texas Tech over Iowa State 55-30
Washington over Arizona State 38-24
Middle Tennessee State over Charlotte 35-19

Game of the Week
Oklahoma over West Virginia 41-26

Steelers over Browns 35-10
Saints over Panthers 28-24

Game of the Week
Raiders over Texans 32-21

Henrique dims Stars with OT goal!

The slow start to the season for Adam Henrique hopefully has ended as Henrique took a pass from Kyle Palmieri on a 2 on 1 breakaway in overtime and flipped it over Antti Niemi to give the New Jersey Devils their fifth win in a row-this one 2-1 over the Dallas Stars.
Henrique's goal (3) allowed the Devils to start their four game road trip with a victory on a day that started with concern (more below) and ended with a strong effort against a good team.
Damon Severson scored (3) the first goal of the game for the Devils with Cory Schneider stopping 24 Dallas shots.
The next game for the Devils is Thursday night in Anaheim-no coverage due to the late start time and work....

Hell Raisers

1) The big news and concern is Taylor Hall missing the game with the "lower body injury".
Hall returned to New Jersey for an MRI today and a loss of Hall for this lineup could be massive.
Hall is tied for the team lead in points with Damon Severson and if this could be a long term absence,the Devils are going to be right back where they were last season as far as scoring goals go-trouble..

2) I wrote in the season preview that someone was going to have step up in the absence of Adam Larsson among the defensive corps,if the Devils were to have any chance of continuing to improve this season.
Thus far,someone has-In Damon Severson,the Devils just may have found their young blueliner that can combine offense with defense.
Severson currently is tied for the team lead in points with Taylor Hall and has been solid on the defensive end as he is comprising a solid tandem with Andy Greene.
Long way to go,but I like what I am seeing...

3) Adam Henrique hasn't played well most of the time this season and though I wouldn't attribute that to a lack of effort,this is a results business.
It was nice to see some of that effort rewarded with the game winner.
Henrique scored 30 goals last season,but I don't believe that he is a true 30 goal scorer and don't expect that from him,but I do think that he is a better player than he has shown this season.
Hopefully,this is the start of better things...

4) Cory Schneider didn't have as many saves as his counterpart Antti Niemi,but he had a tremendous night.
Schneider made some tremendous saves and kept the Devils in the game to give them a chance in the offensive end,,

5) Very classy of the Stars to give Vernon Fiddler a tribute on their video board before the game and equally as classy for John Hynes to give the fourth line (which Fiddler is a part of) the chance to start the game as the first line on the ice for the faceoff.
Guys like Fiddler don't get a ton of face time,but they are the grinders that make the game what it is and often are shunted into the background.
Kudos to the Stars and coach Hynes for remembering that...

6) Finally,Five wins in a row?
I don't have a stat in front of me,but it has been a while since five wins in a row.
This might be just because I am happy with the recent level of play,but I think we are on the right track with Ray Shero and John Hynes.
I think there is a long way to go in this overhaul of talent into a new style of play and there will be plenty of time for frustration and even doubt,but I think we are moving forward and with a few more drafts,the Devils are going to get there....

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports (mostly) Version

The inbox starts with a link to Five Thirty Eight and a short film on the election of Jesse Ventura to the Governor's Mansion in Minnesota back in 1998.
Lots of parallels to the events of last Tuesday,showing once again that strange things can happen when people ignore history!
As far as the LP to the left,I did own it and I'm sure it's around here somewhere.
I had forgotten about it until stumbling upon this photo when looking for a Ventura picture.
I just might have a post sometime about "the Body" and a few good stories from the past-including this record!!

Ernie Johnson Jr. is much better known for his sports knowledge than what he speaks on politics,but his two minute spot on Inside the NBA on the election was so elegant and heartfelt that it was more than a sports segment.
Awful Announcing looks at this portion and I think of all the news notes and all talking heads-it took two minutes from a basketball anchor to sum it up best.
Great work.

The New York Times writes about David Letterman and what he has been up to since leaving Late Night.
Letterman has been mostly out of the limelight,but has recently shown up on "Years of Living Dangerously" to host an episode based on renewable energy sources.
Nice to see Letterman doing something in television-he has plenty to offer...

Ryan Heimberger makes a lot of appearances here,but he sends this note on "Jeremy the Snail" who apparently had trouble finding a mate because his shell swirls counterclockwise and his sexual organs are on the left side.
Apparently snails usually are the opposite and Jeremy had some issues.
A mate apparently has been found,but the real miracle is-what are the odds on finding a snail of this type,then from someone that would look at him closely and then know that he wasn't "right".
Quite long,I'm sure.

The Washington Post writes about Tilapia,which apparently has a bad reputation for being "icky" and not the best tasting.
I personally don't mind Tilapia,but this article looks at how it can be farm raised,it's environmental effects and includes a taste test against other types of fish..

Wrapping up,I wanted to thank Ryan.
Ryan wrote me recently with a picture of a NFL tray from someplace that he was and I was immediately taken aback.
The tray was from 1972 and I had one as a child and spent hours with it,spreading out my football cards on it,playing with my collection.
I wrote him back telling him about that and the next time I saw him,Ryan had purchased it for me as a gift.
I'm a odd guy with lots of awful memories of childhood that I struggle with to this writing,but few things make me smile more than things from childhood like sports,toys,television,books,etc from those times.
I've written before about what memories those things bring and what I was a child.
Thanks to Ryan for caring to enough to bring one of those things home...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Boxing Challenge-One bad weekend

The boxing challenge continued with Ramon Malpica and I adding points.
I added nine to Ramon's eight in a weekend that was filled with mismatches,bad fights and worse=bad decisions.
The standings are in my favor at 128-106.
The bad decision brought out the Hamburglar from my childhood and the 1970's McDonaldland toys.
I decided any time that there was a drop dead decision that should not have been close and yet the wrong guy got the duke (as Vince McMahon used to say),I'm bringing out the Hamburglar!

The dull?
Well,watching Luis Ortiz try to catch the non-combatant Malik Scott over twelve LOOOONNGGG rounds in Monte Carlo on HBO made me wish for anything more exciting-like say watching square dancing.
If someone ever wanted to make a case for why not to watch boxing-pop in this fight.
Ramon and I each added a point for the TRS top ranked heavyweight's unanimous decision.
I had Ortiz winning every round 120-108

Danny Garcia was expected to win against his overmatched opponent Samuel Vargas and he did stopping Vargas over seven one-sided rounds on his way to expected opponent Keith Thurman over the winter.
I'll believe that when I see it since Garcia hates fighting real opponents and Thurman gets injured in training a lot..
Ramon picked up three points with one being a bonus for calling the round,while I added two.

Jarrett Hurd pounded Jo Jo Dan around the ring before Dan's corner stopped the fight in the sixth.
Another talented fighter against an opponent not near up to the task.
I added two points for Hurd's win to Ramon's one..

The best fight of the weekend was the PBC opener was Javier Fortuna won a unanimous call over Omar Douglas in a good action fight.
Douglas dropped Fortuna in the first round and the bout was filled with strong exchanges..
I received one point for Fortuna's win,while Ramon picked Douglas.
I had Fortuna a 95-94 winner on my card.

In Monte Carlo, the worst decision of the weekend occurred and the resulting Hamburglar picture came Jamie McDonnell retained his secondary title with a unanimous decision over Librado Solis.
I had Solis winning nine of the twelve rounds and 117-111 on points.
It's garbage like this that poisons the game with one of the worst decisions of the year...
Ramon and I each scored two points for the McDonnell "win"

Jason Sosa retained his secondary title via unanimous decision over Stephen (No A) Smith.
Sosa scored a knockdown in the second round and won 117-110 on my card.
Sosa will next defend in a rematch against the aforementioned Javier Fortuna....
Ramon and I each scored two points for the Sosa victory...

Catch Ramon and I on Fight Heads Monday night at 8:00 EST for commentary on the weekend fights and a preview of Sergei Kovalev vs Andre Ward.
You can call the show at 646-787-1746!

Devils win fourth in a row

The New Jersey Devils won their fourth game in a row and second in two nights over the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-2 win at the Rock.
Kyle Quincey scored the first goal (1) before Buffalo tied the game at one.
The remaining Devils goals to Kyle Palmieri (3),Nick Lappin (2) and John Moore (2).
Cory Schneider had 21 saves in the win...

Hell Raisers

1) The Nick Lappin goal was the sweet one as Taylor Hall zipped a sharp pass that Lappin quickly deposited behind Robin Lehner.
Nick Lappin has played well in his first few games as a Devil and might be making a move to stick around for a while.

2) Taylor Hall was brought in as a scorer,but what has been a surprise to me has been his passing skills.
Hall has an ability to hit the open man and his skills in traffic are far better than expected..

3) Damon Severson continued his strong start with a assist on Kyle Palmeiri's goal.
The cross ice pass by the defenseman was the main part of the play,but I've been quite impressed by Severson thus far in his attempt to establish himself as the top young defender on the team...

4) Power play struggles continued as none of the Devils goals came on the PP.
Gotta turn this around soon...

5) Mike Cammalleri missed his second game in a row with a personal issue.
No idea what that is,but hopefully things work out and the veteran winger will return to a lineup that could use him..

6) The Devils traded a conditional seventh round pick to the Flyers to right winger Petr Straka.
Straka was assigned to Albany following the deal.
Straka scored 19 goals and 18 assists last year for the Flyers AHL team in Allentown.

Turtled.Ohio State rolls over Maryland 62-3

The term "Turtled" comes up usually when in a fight,a person completely surrenders and put his arms over their head and pray for the best.
That's how watching this games felt as Ohio State hammered Maryland 62-3 in College Park.
J.T.Barrett threw for two scores and ran for two while Curtis Samuel ran for two and caught one of Barrett's TD tosses..
The now 9-1 (6-1 Big Ten) Buckeyes travel to East Lansing for a revenge game against the Spartans next Saturday...

Olentangy Offerings

1) Urban Meyer said after the game that the Buckeyes are making a concerted effort to get the ball into the hands of Curtis Samuel and the dividends paid off with 3 scores.
I look back at the losses in the Urban Meyer era and they all came down to not getting the ball in the hands of their best player.

2) The overmatched Terrapins lost their starting running back before the game to a suspension and then on their first drive,lost starting passer Perry Hills.
An overmatched team without those players? Big trouble..

3) Maryland wore their "red ops" unis for this game and might have been better suited to wait on those.
I posted on Facebook that I drank a glass of V-8 juice that had less red in it.
Red is my favorite color,but that was way too much of it..

4) Binjimen Victor caught his first TD pass in the blowout.
I really like Victor and I think he is going to be a huge part of next years offense..

5) Urban Meyer figured out that Dontre Wilson needed to be replaced as the punt returner and did so with Curtis Samuel.
While Samuel will do a fine job,I'm sure,I'd still rather see someone else doing that job to save to hits on Samuel.

6) The above picture is tight end Marcus Baugh hurdling over a Terrapin defender.
Not a bad leap over a six foot player.
I've been more and more impressed by Baugh as the season progresses

7) Mike Weber came into the game with a shoulder issues,but still rushed for over 90 yards before ending his day early.
I like those decisions for a nicked up player,need him to be ready for the last two games.

8) Loved Urban Meyer's answer to which player was more of a Heisman contender-Curtis Samuel or J.T, Barrett- "Beat Michigan State:.

9) As much as I enjoy these beatings in conference play,I always feel a little bad when it is Maryland.
I've written before about my years of Terrapin fandom and wish that I would have never been forced to choose between the two.
I still can't get used to the Terrapin basketball program being in the Big 10 and I always feel bad after these football poundings..

10) What were the odds that a team would win two conference games in a row by the exact score of 62-3???

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Greene day in Buffalo-Devils top Sabres 2-1

Andy Greene trickled a penalty shot through the five hole of Buffalo netminder Anders Nilsson in overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo...
Greene's goal (2) was set by a holding penalty on Evander Kane,who grabbed Greene on an overtime scoring chance.
Yohann Auvitu scored his first goal of the season (and career) in the third period to tie the game for the other Devils score.
Keith Kinkaid finished with 25 saves in notching the win on a Cory Schneider night off.
The same two teams face off tonight in New Jersey.

Hell Raisers

1) The Andy Greene winner was really stopped by Anders Nilsson initially,but the puck was never controlled by Nilsson and the puck kept moving between Nilsson's legs to the net.
The reaction of Nilsson was priceless as he knew he should have made the save,,

2) I had to laugh because I would think Andy Greene winning a game on a penalty shot would rank pretty low on the scale of how to win games.
Greene had never taken part in a shootout,let alone a penalty shot,so who really knew how well he would do in this situation?

3) Yohann Auvitu continued his surprising play with his first career goal from the point.
Taylot Hall started the puck movement to Travis Zajac,who then got the puck to Auvitu for the shot.
I really like what I've seen from the NHL rookie/Euro veteran thus far.

4) Good night for Keith Kinkaid,who was sharp in goal.
The only puck that eluded Kinkaid was the Matt Moulson goal,which was against a wide open net and slammed in.
That wasn't being stopped by Keith Kinkaid,Cory Schneider or anyone else.
Very nice night for Kinkaid,who did exactly what you hope from your backup in these situations-play well enough to keep you in the game and give you a chance to win,.

5) The Devils power play continued to be ineffective as the team went zero for six with the man advantage.
The most notable omissions was a 5 on 3 chance for almost a minute and a half and a four minute failure in the third period.
It wasn't like the Devils had Anders Nilsson standing on his head in these chances either,so this is an area of concern..

6) I have been impressed by the line of Taylor Hall.the suddenly rejuvenated Travis Zajac and PA Parenteau.
Seems to be some chemistry there.

7) I've always had a soft spot for the Sabres (and Bills too) ,especially when they returned to their classic (and awesome) uniforms a few seasons back.
Buffalo (from afar) reminds me so much of Cleveland and I hope with luck to maybe hit Buffalo next summer to hit the AAA Bisons and see the town.
Hoping to see how close I am to being correct on my take.

8) I haven't seen as many games of late with the Indians in the World Series etc and I'm not sure if I am going to do coverage every night,but I enjoy doing it when it is fun.
I'll see how it goes..

Friday, November 11, 2016

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge rolls on this weekend with a PBC card on Spike and a nice card from Monte Carlo with three important fights.
I lead Ramon Malpica in the challenge 119-98.

Premier Boxing Champions offers a horrid mismatch as its main event with WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia in a non-title match against journeyman Samuel Vargas,but has two interesting fights underneath it.
Jarrett Hurd impressed me a lot in his last two wins against good opposition and he'll take on former welterweight title challenger Jo Jo Dan and the best fight of the night could be first with former junior lightweight champ Javier Fortuna moving up to lightweight to fight undefeated Omar Douglas.
The moral to this card-If you have to miss some of the show-miss the last part not the first..

Monte Carlo did have four interesting fights,but the flu knocked Dmitri Chudinov out of an interesting super middleweight bout vs Martin Murray.
HBO is showing our top rated heavyweight Luis Ortiz against Malik Scott and two WBA 'Secondary'
titles (We only recognize their "super" champion) are on the line as well.
Bantamweight Jamie McDonnell takes on Libojo Solis in a bout that should he win,could see McDonnell promoted to full champion as champion Rau'Shee Warren was ordered to face McDonnell,but as of yet has done agreed to that match,
McDonnell doesn't want to have a long layoff,so he took this fight to stay busy.

Jason Sosa upset Javier Fortuna in his last bout to win the WBA minor belt and defends against one of the many Smith brothers from England-Stephen.
Sosa was far behind on the cards vs Fortuna before a stunning 11th round knockout.
The winner of this bout will face the true WBA champion next in the winner of the New Years Eve rematch in Tokyo between Jezreel Corrales and Takashi Uchiyama..

Welterweights.10 rds
Danny Garcia vs Samuel Vargas
R.L:Garcia KO 7
TRS:Garcia KO 4

Junior Middleweights.10 rds
Jarrett Hurd vs Jo Jo Dan
R.L;Hurd Unanimous Decision
TRS: Hurd KO 8

Lightweights 10 rds
Javier Fortuna vs Omar Douglas
R.L:Douglas Unanimous Decision
TRS: Fortuna Majority Decision

Heavyweights.12 rds
Luis Ortiz vs Malik Scott
R.L:Ortiz KO 6
TRS:Ortiz KO 3

Bantamweights.12 rds
Jamie McDonnell vs Liborjo Solis
Both:McDonnell Unanimous Decision

Junior Lightweights,12 rds
Jason Sosa vs Stephen Smith
Both:Sosa Unanimous Decision

Browns get the hook in Baltimore 28-7

The Cleveland Browns managed to put one good drive together and keep things under control on defense for a half as they took a 7-6 lead into halftime in Baltimore against the Ravens.
The second half was a different story as the Browns did nothing on offense and allowed three touchdowns in a 28-7 loss.
Cody Kessler was replaced at quarterback in the second half by Josh McCown with the offense not improving under McCown.
Kessler threw a 25 yard pass to rookie tight end Seth DeValve in the second quarter for the only Cleveland score of the game.
The now 0-10 Browns will host Pittsburgh in their next game in the first of three home games in a row...

Brownie Bits

1) The biggest news out of this game was the replacement of Cody Kessler in favor of Josh McCown.
Hue Jackson's decision to remove Kessler looks like one of desperation to try to win a game-any game.
I'm not a believer in the long term viability of Kessler as the quarterback of the future,but this decision couldn't have been done for any reason other than desperation...

2) Hue Jackson said "trust me" when Cody Kessler was drafted earlier than expected because he valued accuracy.
Now,Jackson isn't happy with Kessler's inability to get the ball deeper downfield-well,Kessler's arm strength was the biggest question entering the draft and now you have issues with that?
If you wanted a bigger arm to get the ball downfield,Cody Kessler wasn't your guy and the fact that he cannot do those things is on the people that drafted him...

3) Josh McCown was completely ineffective in his appearance with two interceptions,a lost fumble and having a few passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The argument of mine was that if the Browns were looking for a win,their best chance would come with McCown.
Last night's game might have proven that theory askew...

4) The call to replace Cody Kessler with Josh McCown now has tossed the team's quarterback situation in flux.
The one thing that made some sense was to play Cody Kessler,get him as many snaps as possible and see if Kessler has any chance to be the team's future quarterback.
Now,Kessler has to be looking over his shoulder,the team has to be questioning if Kessler is going to finish games that he struggles in and one cannot even say that the healing Robert Griffin is even out of the situation should he return.
This messy situation just got worse last night..

5) The only bright spot of the night was rookie tight end Seth DeValve getting behind safety Eric Weddle and making an over the shoulder catch for the only Cleveland touchdown.
DeValve was drafted as a developmental pass catching tight end and the catch showed some of the potential that the Princeton product could harness...

6) Jamie Collins finished with seven solo tackles,one for a loss and a sack in his first full week to prepare.
It's pretty clear that Collins talent level is the best on this team,the bigger question is will he want to stick around and be part of the building process?
One thing that I am pretty sure about is in the Browns only national television appearance,Jamie Collins showed the energy that teams looking to sign will like to see...

7) The Browns did have interceptions by Joe Haden and Briean Boddy-Calhoun against Joe Flacco,who usually kills the Browns.
The interception by Boddy-Calhoun,who was downed at the Browns one yard line,killed a drive and the diving pick was a nice one.
The problem was that two of the Baltimore touchdown passes were at the expense of the rookie from Minnesota.
Boddy-Calhoun has his limitations in physical abilities or he would not have been an undrafted free agent,but he has had his moments and I have hope for him eventually being a productive player...

8) Another quiet night from the wideouts with Terrelle Pryor (5 for 48) and Corey Coleman (3 for 17) being non-factors.
It doesn't seem to matter,the Browns cannot get the ball downfield to their playmakers,whether the arm is big (McCown) or accurate (Kessler).

9) The laughing started early in the game as the Browns trotted 12 players on the field to start the game on defense and then were forced to use a timeout before the first snap.
Another first for the 2016 Browns!

10) This team is the first ever Cleveland team to hit 0-10 and the loss put the Browns at .500 for their history.
That shows you what a powerful franchise that once resided in Cleveland that it took all of these years of terrible football to drop to this level.
Just a shame....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pigskin Picking Machine

The PPM starts early with the Browns on Thursday night...

Last Week: 7-3

Ohio State over Maryland 53-10
Akron over Bowling Green 31-20
Boise State over Hawaii 44-14
Oklahoma State over Texas Tech 43-30
Washington over USC 33-27
Middle Tennessee State over Marshall 34-24

Game of the Week
LSU over Arkansas 25-19

Ravens over Browns 28-13
Saints over Broncos 30-28

Game of the Week
Patriots over Seahawks 24-21

Post-Election Blues

Damn, I was wrong.
I've kept believing that the Donald Trump phenomenon was going to be a comet that burnt itself out.
I was wrong-Donald Trump-the man that destroyed the USFL is about to become the President of the United States.

Let's face it-I'm not a fan of Mr.Trump and didn't even ponder voting for him.
I lost many things on my opinions of Trump,his qualifications and my lack of understanding of how people could even consider this-most notably a good friend.
I think this could (Could means maybe folks- not a definite) be a disaster and we may about to find out that when you vote an outsider in with zero experience,what you usually get is even more of what we have had for years-gridlock.
You have to be able to work with people and the experience inside the political machine is like everything else-it comes at a cost.
Can Trump put ego and personal gain aside to do what needs to be done?
Can he avoid any personal entanglements (eventually a tax release,his business put in a blind trust or not or any further issues from his past with women) to be able to govern?
Can he manage to deal with a system that despite him being the leader does not have to jump when he beckons?
Intriguing to think about and interesting to see how this plays out.

If Donald Trump is a successful President,then he has re-written how we look at Presidencies,candidates and how one runs campaigns.
If not-then this could be a disaster that takes years to recover from.
We'll see.I'm not in the business of not supporting my country because the President isn't my guy.
I've seen one side of the bench behave that way towards Barack Obama and that wasn't right and I bet I'll now watch the other side act in that manner towards Donald Trump-Neither side will be right.

I've been wrong before,I didn't think that Trump would get anywhere near the White House,so what do I know-but I do know this-I'll be rooting for him.
Because I root for my country first.

On the Democratic side,this might be a wakeup call.
Hillary Clinton was a disliked candidate that was shoved down voters throat like a child is forced to eat a hated food and in this regard,the Democratic party got just what they deserved.
It has traditionally been the GOP that ran the candidate that was "their turn" and this time it was the Democrats turn to make this mistake.
I think Joe Biden would have won this going away and dare I say it-Bernie Sanders would have made a better candidate than Hillary Clinton because he would have fired up the left wing base that was never going to accept Hillary Clinton as representing their hopes.
In hindsight,the revealing of the DNC emails that the party was working against Bernie Sanders looks awful large for the base that didn't appear at the ballot box.
To me,it appeared that the Democratic base rebelled against the chosen candidate and therefore didn't have the motivation to turn out for her.
Only themselves to blame for losing to the least (well,maybe second least since he won) liked President candidate since these things were measured.

And now to you-the reader.
I used to write about politics a lot and I even mentioned it on the podcast.
I've tried to avoid that anymore,especially after my feelings on Donald Trump and what that cost me on a personal level.
I still have the desire to write about these things,but for the most part,I feel like it just isn't worth the effort despite the creative part of me that comes out during those times.
I consider myself pretty middle of the road.reasonably liberal socially (being that what you are and do personally is none of my business) and pretty conservative fiscally,but I'm not sure that is where most are anymore.
Our country has been cleaved into such dividing halves that people only want to watch,read and listen to that will cater to their personal beliefs and I'm not in that place anymore.
It's one thing for me to write on sports and have people disagree-sports are supposed to be our vacation from the day to day struggles and the fun is the discussion and conversation.
However,Politics is personal-often intensely so and people take it that way,as if their beliefs are being attacked,when actually it's opinion.
I wonder why we cannot converse as civilly on Clinton vs Trump as we do Indians vs Cubs.
I think we'd be better off for it,but those are the reasons that I have faded away from writing as much about the political game..

Few things are worth losing friends and relationships over-especially opinion,whether they agree or not.
Between the issues,the candidates and opinions both mine and others-It just isn't worth it.
Thanks for reading.....

Monday, November 7, 2016

Podcast:Special Guest Jeff Heimberger on Jim Crockett Promotions

The TRS Podcast returns with special guest Jeff Heimberger (AKA Simon Shadows) with 90 minutes on Jim Crockett Promotions and pro wrestling!!!

Cowboys corral Browns 35-10

The Ohio return of Ezekiel Elliott proved to be a bad matchup for the porous defense of the Cleveland Browns as the Dallas Cowboys drilled the Browns 35-10 in Cleveland..
Cody Kessler threw for 203 yards and a 12 yard touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor late in the first half for the only Browns touchdown.
The now 0-9 Browns travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens on Thursday night....

Brownie Bits

1) Cody Kessler didn't throw an interception,but took another beating against the Dallas rush,especially in the second half.
Kessler just seems to take too much time getting the ball out and as a result takes shots that he shouldn't.
Getting rid of the football sooner needs to be the first thing that Kessler needs to work on in the off season....

2) The Browns defense was its usual awful self,but nothing said more about this day than the inability to cover the Cowboy tight ends.
The aging Jason Witten finished with 135 yards and a touchdown receiving with backup Gavin Escobar grabbing another Dak Prescott touchdown toss.
Tight end coverage is often on the linebackers and Witten took advantage (at least I hope) of Jamie Collins being new to what the Browns do as Collins allowed Witten to roll out to the flat alone.
Collins might have been expecting some help from a safety that he didn't get on the play,but that was just one of eight Witten catches...

3) The other interesting issue came in the first period when Cameron Erving was ejected for fighting with Dallas's David Irving..
The funny thing was that might have been the most contact that Cameron Erving made with a defensive lineman all season...

4) The two minute drive late in the first half that finished with the only Cleveland touchdown was about the only offensive highlight for the Browns.
For one drive,Cody Kessler had some time to throw,showed some poise and got some things done.
It was one of the rare highlights of the day..

5) Corey Coleman made his return to the lineup from a broken hand and had little impact with three catches for 41 yards.
Much of that is due to the lack of time that Cody Kessler to find anyone other than emergency checkdowns,but I'm sure Hue Jackson hoped for a little more in the return of his top draft choice...

6) Jamie Collins looked a little lost in pass coverage in his Cleveland debut,but finished with five tackles,just missed a sack and did take down Ezekiel Elliott down for a loss.
Collins might have his occasional struggles against Baltimore Thursday night with the short week,but I expect a big game when he has ten days to digest the playbook and coverages against Pittsburgh on the 20th..

7) Much of the publicity during the week was the Ezekiel Elliott return to Ohio.
Elliott finished with 92 yards,two scores and spent the fourth quarter on the bench with the Dallas win long secure.
Elliott is a great back and he would have given Cleveland fans a thrill or two this season had he wound up a Brown (They could have had him at 2),but considering the line and team talent,Cleveland would still be winless or one win at most...

8) I must admit I didn't have Dak Prescott at the top of my draft board.
I liked his arm,but I had him scoped as another spread offense quarterback (he ran the spread at Mississippi State) and was doubtful of being a guy to build around.
I'm not saying Prescott is a franchise level quarterback yet,but he fits what Dallas is running-great line,great runner and pound the ball..

9) Some of the issues that we have noted through this season are talent related,but some of just dumb play cannot be excused.
Just as lining up offsides as the Browns did three times,two of them by Xavier Cooper.
I can understand players jumping offsides in anticipating a snap,but lining up that way?
Is it that hard to look down at the line?

10) The Browns are 0-9 and 1-19 in their last 20.
Do I see things getting better not for a while and I'm driving the lovely Cherie to work and listening to the NFL channel on Sirius (Bleech) and a caller calls into Jason Taylor and talks Browns.
First thing out of his mouth is "One player won't do it-they can trade down and get more players".
I'm not saying that is a totally bad idea,but not this time.
This mess was partially created by trading down and to be fair not hitting on those picks,but passing on players that could have built this team.
I have a feeling that this anxiety isn't going away anytime soon...