Breaking the Mold

By LaDonna Williams

As a woman that loves sports, especially football I feel like I am a rare gem. I am not saying I am the only woman that watches sports, because I know plenty of women that watch every sport out there.  I also know some men that don’t watch sports at all.

This blog may piss off some ladies and men that don’t watch sports, but you all need to listen. There is nothing worse than a nagging spouse during a sports game. You had the whole morning, or afternoon depending on when the game comes on to address your issues. Don’t come at us during the game. The game we are watching we probably already had it mapped out in our head what we are wearing, eating and where we are watching the game before the game actually came on.

For me, watching a game is a way for me to be loud, yelling at the television, or jumping up and down without getting judgement from others. I am a trash talking girl when I watch a sports game on tv or live. If you don’t want your spouse to be loud during a game. Then don’t get mad when they leave and go somewhere to watch it. Don’t text ask what we are doing when you know dang well the game is on. If it’s not a life threatening situation, don’t call or text just to nag.

Break the mold spouses, allow your other half to watch the game in peace. Watch the game with us and try to learn what the heck is actually going on. Just ask questions during commercials or replays so we won’t miss nothing.

Allow us to enjoy our games, especially football season. We only have it from August through February.

Don’t Let A-Rod In

By Brian Jones

Thankfully (and mercifully in some circles) Alex Rodriguez will be gone from the Yankees after Friday’s game. He’ll go home to Miami and rest, reflect and hopefully stay out of public view until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. He’s got his money and a new job title and he won’t be around the Yankee organization every day any more.

 

In my opinion, that’s not enough. There have been some rumblings about putting A-Rod into one of the most sacred places in baseball history: Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. I cannot be any clearer on this (and I speak for most of, if not all, of Yankee Nation when I say this): DON’T LET A-ROD INTO MONUMENT PARK.

I mean, ever. Don’t ever let him in there. That is hallowed ground in Yankee history. It is a place to remember and praise the immortals. Names like Ruth, DiMaggio, Munson, Jeter and Mattingly are out there. Legendary baseball and Yankee figures, MVPs, world champions, baseball pioneers and Hall of Famers make their home there. Alex Rodriguez does not belong there. Not now, not today, not ever, I cannot express this enough.

He’s an admitted cheater of the game of baseball and outside of being a contributing part of the 2009 World Series-winning team he’s done nothing to merit entrance. He won’t be remembered as a Yankee great, he doesn’t have  that landmark moment in his Yankee career. He’s not going to be remembered as a beloved player in Yankee lore and, quite simply, he doesn’t have caché or the makeup of what makes a Yankee a Yankee.

The organization owes him nothing. The fan base despises him. Baseball fans (for the most part) don’t particularly care for him or like him as a player. It would be an insult and disgrace to every inductee in Monument Park to allow Alex Rodriguez to be celebrated in this fashion. He’s got his new, shiny “job title”, he got a ring and he’s getting the remaining salary on his contract. That’s more than enough. They have gone above and beyond to give him what he wants (even after he lied to them and threw then under the bus several times). He doesn’t deserve this. 

Don’t let him in Monument Park.

Prince Fielder Succumbs to Injury, Retires at 32

Prince Fielder is known to many as the son of Cecil Fielder another former slugger and 1st basemen, but it seems that the prince has seen his final at bat come to past as he has been told by medical doctors that it is not safe to resume his professional baseball career. 

Fielder 32, has now been through two neck surgeries for a herniated disk and had a cervical fusion July 29th. He is under contract through 2020 and is in the 5th year of a 9-year/$214 million dollar deal he signed back in 2012.

The Rangers will hold a press conference for the six time All-Star to announce his retirement. He ends his memorable run in the majors with 319 homers, ironically the same as his famous father Cecil. Prince also holds the Brewers record for home runs in a season with 50 back in 2007.

After Begging to be Traded to a Contender, Jonathan Lucroy Vetoes Trade to 2nd Best Team in A.L.

I understand that it’s frustrating to play for a team that hasn’t done anything real exciting to speak of in almost 4 decades. I also get that Milwaukee might not be the most exciting place to take up residence.

…this is a huge business decision for a player that is heading out of his prime.

However, when you play for an extremely loyal fan base that is desperate to see their team win, and a franchise that is willingly to give you exactly what you’ve been asking for, it would be nice if you at least considered their plight whole making your decision.Lucroy is one of the best catchers in the league, and one of the few bright spots on a small market team that is constantly rebuilding and spinning their tires.


The Brewers have been making a noticeable attempt to improve over the last decade or so, and have one of the best farm systems in the league. This move would have strengthened the Brewers hopes for the future even more and placed Lucroy immediately in the hunt for a World Series.
I understand that sports are more than “just a game” like some fans want to believe, and that this is a huge business decision for a player that is heading out of his prime.

However, his latest decision sends even stronger mixed messages than the first, and may make any team and fan base leery of acquire his assistance.

It’s also has to give Brewers fan’s mixed emotions about cheering for a player that no longer wants to play for them, and ultimately seems to have no idea what he really wants.

Do all championships matter?

January 15th, 1967
Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi enjoy a cigar together. They have just won their 4th championship together, it’s a back to back championship  (they would 3-peat a year later) they had just won a game they had considered a formality. To us now it was a way more important game. It was Superbowl I. This date divides NFL fans like no other. Imagine what Vince and Bart would have thought if this game, that meant so little to them at the time, would matter more then the 3 championships they had already won. That this one was more real then then the one they had won just the year before.

…do all championships deserve to be counted in any sport?

In 2020, just 4 years from now, the NFL will celebrate it’s 100th anniversary. That NFL season will crown a champion at Superbowl LVI  (56). That leaves 44 championships that happened before the Superbowl. Do those presuperbowl championships count? This question divides many NFL fans. If you enjoy a good argument go to a group with a Packer fan (the NFL leader with 13 if you count presuperbowl) and a Steelers fan (the NFL leader if you only count Superbowls with 6) and ask them if championships count before the Superbowl era. 

This begs the question; do all championships deserve to be counted in any sport? Should we count World Series titles from before the league was integrated? NBA championships from before the NBA and ABA merged? Stanley cups from the original 6 days? College football National Champs from before the playoff system (or before the BCS)? Any heavy weight boxing champion since Lenox Lewis? 

Here’s the argument for why they shouldn’t count in the various sports. 

Baseball

So we can talk about how pitchers pitched in 3 and 4 man rotations on 3 day rest. Or how there was no such thing as specialized relief pitchers, set-up men, or closers. Let’s focus on the integration of the league. 

Stars like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson would have dominated in any league or era. Had they not been stuck in the negroe leagues, how many MLB records would these two hold? How much would the influx of these stars affect who won world series? How can you say you’re the World Champs if half the best players in the world play in a different league?

Basketball 

Which  NBA team drafted drafted Dr.J? The Milwaukee Bucks. Thing is he signed with a team from the ABA. As did so many of the stars of basketball. The two leagues champions both can legitimately claim to be the world champs. They didn’t play each other so who is the true champ?

Hockey 

Six teams. “6.” How can you call yourself the champion of anything in a 6 team league?

College Football

Here’s the one the argument is easiest. Before the BCS sportswriters just picked a champ. The top 4 teams rarely had played each other in the season. There were multiple champions in several seasons. There were years that a one lose team was champ over an undefeated team. 

Even the BCS era can be debated. Could the 2007 Florida Gators really have beaten the USC squad thats almost entire defense has made a nfl pro bowl? How can anyone justify having the championship game being two teams from the same division of the same conference? 

The NFL

Really there is no reason other then calling it the superbowl to start counting then. It started at the end of the second Packer dynasty, how can you say that the 66 or 67 Packers are intrinsically better then the 65 or 63 Packers? Many will tell you 1932 is the true start of modern football. You can make the argument that football wasn’t the game we know until 1981, when the west coast offense proved that a pass first offense can win, and transformed the league from a running back driven league to a quarterback driven league. You can even argue that nothing before 1993 and fee agency really can count. Deion Sanders, Charles Haley, and Reggie Whites free agent moves definitely changed who would win the championships for the next few seasons.

This all seems legit. The athletes back then weren’t as big or fast as today. The number of teams they had to play was so small how can they be considered champs? There were other leagues playing so how can one leagues team be the true champ?

So why should all championships count?

Simply put those other leagues weren’t as good. The NFL and AFL had agreed to merge in 1962. They had drafted as one entity from that point forward. The AFL (then the AFC) wasn’t able to actually compete with the NFL until 1969. That’s 8 years of building on equal terms before they compete with the NFL. When the NBA and ABA merged the ABA contracted 2/3rd of its teams. They entered the nba as essentially ABA all star teams. They didn’t dominate, these all star teams didn’t even win a championship in the NBA. 

It comes down to this you play the teams they put in front of you. You beat them and you are the champion.

Can players play in any era? I’m sure Dick Butkus  would still be a pro bowl middle linebacker today. Jim Brown would still be a star. Deacon Jones could lineup with JJ Watt.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robinson or Bill Russell would still dominate.

With their style of play, Jerry West and Pistol Pete Maravich would probably be bigger stars today then in their era.  Lou Gehrig and Ted William’s bats would have been feared in any era. 

You can only play the teams they put in front of you. You beat them and you are the champion. Period. If you win a NFL championship in 1941 and you win a championship playing in the NFL in 2011 you’ve won the exact same thing. What would you say if in 2027 they decide that all championships before instant replay don’t count, since they cannot be accurate?

You can’t pick and choose. You can’t say that college football championships only count from the BCS on and then say that all World Series count. You can’t say that all NBA championships count but only Superbowls count for the NFL. 

Either all championships count in all sports, or you have to draw a line in every sport. How does that line change if those teams were the best in the world in their time? 
J.Russell Zinn 7/28/16

He Who’s Name We Dare not Speak

I bet you didn’t know that Pete Rose was more than just a great ballplayer who loved to gamble on sporting events. Since his ban from baseball, people rarely talk about him anymore, and if they do its in hushed tones behind closed doors as if he is some type of pariah.

The truth is, he was the personification of what any athlete who loves their sport should aim to be. He received his nickname “Charlie Hustle” when opposing manager Whitey Ford watched him sprint to first base after drawing a walk in a preseason game before his rookie year. Ford meant it as an insult. Rose wore it as a badge of honor throughout his career.

“I’d walk through Hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.” Is how Rose explained it.

He went on to win Rookie of the Year that season, which would be the first of many awards in what would turn out to be a very illustrious career.

He holds the Major League record for most hits, 4256, games played, 3563, most at bats, 14053, singles, 3215, and outs,10,328.

He made seven All-Star teams, at five different positions (something no one else has ever accomplished), won three batting titles, two Gold Gloves, one MVP award, and has three World Series rings.

He definitely left his name imprinted all over the statistical side of Major League Baseball. However, what impresses me even more than the numbers, is the way he played the game, head first, full speed ahead, and with a reckless abandon unequalled by anyone.

“Sliding headfirst is the safest way to get to the next base, I think, and the fastest. You don’t lose your momentum, and there is one more important reason I slide head first, it gets my picture in the paper.” Rose explained.

Critics like to think there should be an asterisk next to his hits record because he played more games and had more at bats than anyone else, and spent the last two years as a player/manager, resting and only playing when he wanted to.

I find those accimplishments impressive in there own right. It means that he laced up the cleats and stepped into the batter’s box more than anyone else in league history, and is a testament to the type of determination this dude played with, and that he was hell bent on owning Ty Cobb’s record no matter what measures he had to take.

Cobb had a reputation as one mean human being on and off the field. That means Rose had to out nasty the nastiest to get the record, and he did it with his own type of class.

Rose saw it a bit different then I do. “When I get the record all it will make me is the player with the most hits. I’m also the player with the most at bats and the most outs. I never said I was a greater player than Cobb.”He said.

He also said. “I’m just like everybody else. I have two arms, two legs, and four-thousand hits.

It’s that kind of humility and humor that endears me to this man who was known for his grit on the ball diamond. He had a honest perspective on life that very few athletes share. He knew he wasn’t perfect, that he was going to make mistakes, but he forgave himself for it and refused to come up short.

Major League Baseball seems to think that the mistakes Rose made are big enough to just delete him from its memory. The man who defined what “America’s Pastime” is all about, gone with one click of the button. His memory stolen from generations of sports fans to come. 

He’s never been convicted of using illegal drugs, steroids or ever even appeared in a erectile dysfunction commercial, and yet he is shunned from the sport he sold his soul to.

“During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage…I never bet more or less based on injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind I wasn’t corrupt.” Rose explained.

Can we forgive a man for being human enough, to risk his health and well being to play the game the way it was meant to be played? Who was just reckless enough that he risked his reputation to live his life to the fullest and to leave us with a legend we should never forget?

“I never gave up as a player and I won’t give up as someone who wants to go to the Hall of Fame because it’s the ultimate goal for a baseball player or a football player or a basketball player.” He said.

So do I think Peter Edward Rose should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Hell No! I think we should erect a Casino in Cooperstown with his name splashed all over it that overshadows every other building in the town, just like he overshadowed his peers in his day, and deny access to anyone associated with pursuing his demise. 

It’s okay that he made mistakes. His humanity makes his accomplishments even more god-like. His failures are just an intriguing part of his legend.