Monday, March 31, 2014

NYC Mayor De Blasio Blasé on Being Booed for Met's Opening Day Pitch

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) got to perform a time honored tradition for the first time- get booed while throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for baseball's opening day in the nation's largest city.  Feisty fans are not limited to just doing the Bronx Cheer at Yankee Stadium as the boo birds were flocked among the Flushing Faithful at Citi Field.

De Blasio was quick to deflect any catcalls by claiming ahead of time  that it was too cold to clamor.  Granted it was in the 40s at game time. But the new mayor did hear some boisterous boos.  

Still de Blasio took it in stride and supposedly threw a strike for his ceremonial pitch.  

One wonders how de Blasio, who is admitted die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, will be greeted on the mainland in the South Bronx with the New York Yankees fans. 

Bart Giamatti on Baseball

Saturday, March 29, 2014

John Thompson on Passion

Vin Scully's Unshakable Disposition

Vin Scully, the legendary 86 year old Hall of Fame broadcaster of the Dodgers since 1950, is well renowned for his dulcet voice and steady demeanor.  These professional attributes were at the forefront during the bottom of the sixth inning of  Freeway Series Exhibition ballgame  between the l.A. Dodgers and the L.A.Angels of Anaheim when an earthquake shook Dodger Stadium.

This temblor was a shallow quake 1.2 miles beneath Brea, California. This was unlike the 2.2 earthquake coming from raucous cheering from Seattle Seahawks fans in December, 2006

Some say that Scully's laid back attitude toward the shaking was typically LA.  Others may point to Scully's 65 year experience in being a consummate professional.  Both of those points have elements of truth to it.  However, one should not discount Scully's sunny disposition.  Scully's call projects a calm cheerfulness which invites viewers into the action.  This understated announcing would not emphasize the geologic event.

That being said, Vin Scully sounds best when speaking in his own voice.  The Ozzie accent which Scully tongue-in-cheek started the 2014 MLB Season Opening Day in Sydney Australia rubbed some baseball fans the wrong way.

Michelle Obama on Tai Chi

Tai Chi (also known as "supreme ultimate fist", "boundless fist" and "great extremes boxing") is a wonderful martial art which is helpful for increasing balance and improving psychological health particularly for senior citizens. 

There would seem to be a synergy between Tai Chi and the First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" fitness campaign.  But Tai Chi is best not practiced in kitten heels, even in people-to-people exchange photo ops.

SEE MORE about "Let's Move" in China at 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kobe Bryant's Prudence Protecting Body Armor

In a wide ranging interview with New Yorker magazine, Kobe Bryant was asked about the widespread displays of solidarity in reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012.  In fact, the Miami Heat posed in hoodies in homage to the slain teen domicilled in Miami Gardens, Florida. 

 Bryant’s reticent reaction to the iconic Miami Heat hoodies pose is in sharp contrast to the politically correct groupthink amongst African American activists just weeks after the incident and even before George Zimmerman was charged.

Bryant’s insistence of thinking for himself and not jumping to conclusions based upon group identity shows prudence in the traditional sense.

Unfortunately, in this American Wonderland, such judicious and independent thinking is unacceptable for celebrities who seek to profit from popularity in these politically correct times. For instance, The Urban Times alleged:

Over the span of Kobe Bryant‘s career….we’ve seen him do and say some very smug, cavalier and even cornball things at times but the comments that he made regarding the Miami Heat‘s support after Trayvon Martin was killed…by far takes the cake! 

So unity must overcome all. The piece progressed to pummel Bryant for not appreciating how he appealed to racial solidarity when there was the Colorado rape allegation from “a less than African American female.”  

As the social media firestorm blazed, the career Laker seemed to walk back his diffidence. Bryant tweeted:

That assertion has tries to have it both ways in buttressing his not jumping to conclusions as well as asserting solidarity that the judicial system did not work. This retort may well have been  public relations prudence to protect Byrant's  multi-million investment in BodyArmor, an emerging sports drink.  While Bryant will not be used in Body Armor’s marketing campaigns, this Trayvon controversy could tarnish the brand among basketball enthusiasts, thereby risking Kobe, Inc’s at least 10 percent stake in Body Armor. 

Kobe Bryant and Body Armor product line.
h/t: The Urban Times
     Hot Air

Rick Majerus on Talent

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The No Fun League Outlaws Post- TD Dunks

During the NFL's spring meeting, the rules committee has decided to penalize players who "dunk" the pigskin over the field goal uprights.  NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino confirmed the rule change on the Dan Patrick Show, noting that dunks will be penalized starting in the 2014 season along with other touchdown celebrations that require props.

In the past, some post touchdown celebrations like the Dunk and the Lambeau Leap had been grandfathered from prohibitions against excessive celebrations.

This NFL anti-dunking policy will most profoundly effect New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham as he has caught 36 touchdown passes over the last three seasons, the most in the NFL.  Ironically, the dunking ban may have been prompted by Graham's exuberant upright celebrations.  Graham has twice bent the uprights with his dunks causing delays in the game.  Reacting to rumors that the NFL would impose this rule, Jimmy Graham posted on Twitter:

While delays called by "bending the uprights" by dunking might give some rational basis for the rules change, the further quashing of celebrations after touchdowns contributes to New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Kenny Stills' biting quip that the NFL is becoming the No Fun League.

This NFL rule change comes in the middle of the NCAA's March Madness.  Some sports fans have gravitated from professional sports to college sports because the pros have less genuine enthusiasm while college players often wear their emotions on their sleeves.  Continued tamping down on "excessive celebrations" may make athletes into the equivalent of automatons which would alienate emotion driven fans. 

h/t: ESPN

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bud Selig on Baseball

Can you believe that the 2014 Major League Baseball season has already opened in Australia?

Mike Krzyzewski on Losing

Yet after Duke fell in the "second" round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Coach K had the class to congratulate Mercer for their victory over the Blue Devils. 

Alas, Krzyzewski  did not apologize to so many who had their March Madness brackets totally blown. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Erin Go Boom-Boom-- Cork Hurlers Superfan Joe Lynch

For those of us who are unacquainted  with the sport of hurling, assuredly it is neither reserved for post St. Paddy's Day revelry or nor necessarily part of the domain for Wayne's World.  Hence hurling requires some clarification.

Hurling it is an amateur outdoor sport with allegedly a 3,000 year tradition administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association.   Hurling fans claim that it is the fastest sport on grass.

Spot of tea, anyone?

Friday, March 14, 2014

US Mint Strikes Curved Coin Celebrating Cooperstown

The US Mint will be striking its first curved coin in order to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Following the mandate of PL 112-152 passed by Congress in 2012, this limited edition legal tender is supposed to be produced like the French Mint's 2009 coins commemorating the Year of Astronomy.

David Everhart
The shape of the coin has the convex side depicting a raised Major League baseball which was designed by US Mint Engraver David Everhart and the concave obverse side will display the winner of a design competition judged by Baseball Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton and Dave Winfield.

Cassie McFarland
Cassie McFarland, a 28 year old artist from San Luis Obispo, California, entered the baseball coin design competition because: "she was fascinated by the notion that America's coins could reflect the personality and history of its people".  McFarland's  "Hand Full of Gold" design beat 177 other contestants by depicting a stylized baseball glove.  McFarland's glove design complimented the concave shape of the cupped glove.  Two shafts of wheat on the side of the glove unite with the glove stitching to form a circle, depicting national unity and perhaps the importance of our national pastime to American culture.

The San Francisco Mint will produce up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins and 750,000 half-dollar coins. These commemorative coins will be sold at a premium of $35, $10 and $5 respectively, with the proceeds going to benefit the Cooperstown based National Baseball Hall of Fame's non-profit operations.  

Numismatics can catch their curve-ball coins starting March 27th. However, due to the baseball theme and the convex curvature of the commemorative coin, it still would have been a bad bet for Broadway Joe to use for the Super Bowl XLVIII ceremonial coin toss