Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Look Who's Hot in MLB

Call me a sucker for the underdog. I've got a soft spot for a player or team who battles against the oddsmakers as well as a predictably better opponent. That being said, there's a baseball team this season that was picked to finish fourth in it's division yet has held onto first since the first week. They've been either the worst or next to worst team in their league for so long that seeing them at the top of the standings seems sort of nostalgic. Not only are they in first place in their division but at 52-25 they sport the best record in major league baseball. Along with the Oakland A's, their one of the hottest teams in baseball.

I wouldn't want to jinx the Tigers with grand predictions, but I'd like to congratulate the players, coaches and owners for turning it around this season. I heard one radio sports analyst say they're the second best team in the league behind the Chicago White Sox; I say the Detroit Tigers are playing better ball than Chicago and are winning in many different ways.

So call them a suprise success story this season, call them a team inspired by a new coach, whatever you decide to call the Detroit Tigers this season you should include the term Winners with it. Compared to the past thirteen seasons, this one for the Tigers is gonna be Grrrrreat!

Detroit Tigers Wikipedia Info:

Founded: 1893, in the minor Western League. In 1900 that league was renamed the American League, and it became a major league in 1901. Detroit is the only charter member of the Western League to have remained in its original city.
Home ballpark: Comerica Park
Former ballparks: Tiger Stadium, Bennett Park
Mascot: Paws
Uniform colors: Home: Navy Blue Old English "D" on white uniform. Navy is used as an accent color. Road: Detroit script in navy blue outlined in orange and white on a gray background. Navy, orange and white are used as accent colors. The Tigers are, along with the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, one of only a handful of teams that do not wear a colored alternate jersey; this may be due to the fact that the Tigers home uniforms have been virtually unchanged since the 1934 season and there is no need for them to sport a "new look" because of this consistency and iconic status of the classic navy on white.
Logo design: An Old English font "D" with a roaring tiger walking through it, but that logo has been seen less in recent years. The Old English "D" without the Tiger appears on the home jersey while a slightly different version of the Old English "D" is present on the home cap (white "D" on navy blue) and road cap (orange "D" on navy blue).
Playoff appearances (11): 1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1972, 1984, 1987
Local Television: FSN Detroit, WMYD
Famous Fans: Tom Selleck, Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Jerome Bettis, Steve Yzerman, Kid Rock

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Raider Nation Podcast

With the Miami Heat closing out the basketball season and the Carolina Hurricanes putting a freeze on Hockey, I'd rather listen to a Raider Nation Podcast than become a bandwagon fan of some foreign Soccer team. Screw Soccer. If for no other reason than that they claim to be the real football game. Pllease, spare me the argument. As Forrest Gump might say, "Soccer is what soccer does." They run around for hours trying to kick a ball into an oversized net defended by one man. And the final scores still resembles a pitchers duel in baseball, 1-0. Maybe they should call it Netball or Goalball. Or how about giving them some sticks to whack the ball and opponents with. Whack away at a soccer players legs with a wooden stick for hours and see if he's as bold running into the opposing territory, now that's a sport I could enjoy. Make'em bleed.

Nothing compares to American Football. The only sport that compares to armies doing battle on the field. Where domination of your opponent takes more than just skill, it takes heart and commitment to win at all costs. Where playing in pain is what makes you great and even your opponent recognizes and respects your competitive toughness. What other sport plays their games in the brutal elements of nature's storms? A football player understands that when he goes onto the field he risks not only career ending injury but possibly life ending injury, yet he plays the game because of his love for it. A General during WWII defined courage in the face of battle as "when your scared as hell to go, but you go anyway." Well, true football players leave their fear in the locker room when they go to do battle knowing that fear can only get in the way of them accomplishing their goal to win. In football, a smaller man with a large heart can humble a larger man with his fearless playing style. A slower man can limit a faster man by instilling fear in him with one crushing blow. Again, it takes heart to play football and those who play the game are constantly reminded of this fact.

We as fans watch football as if we're a part of the action down on the field. We feel the pride and pain that our team feels. We leave the stadium so affected by how our team played a game that the mood, good or bad dependent on win or lose, lingers in our daily lives until next game. We football fans hate our opponents with a passion so great that the mere opposing colors at a game can ignite fury and unsportsmanlike behavior. We don't intend on being unruly fans but one a-hole Bronco or KC fan trying to prove his courage at a Raiders game is enough to bring out the dark side of a diehard Raiders fan. True fans know that when going into an opponents territory you show some respect and act accordingly. The battle should be on the field and not in the stands, but I will admit that the alcohol and adrenaline mix can make for a powder keg only needing a small spark of agitation to ignite the fuse. Word from the wise to opposing fans attending Raider games at the Coliseum, "Don't Be A Spark."

Well friends, fans of football and evil empires of the gridiron, I've exhausted my ramblings today on why Football is the greatest sport on earth. I leave with you Raiders Fans a link to the Raider Nation Podcast, an internet radio broadcast of Raiders news, commentary and notes of Raider Nation interest by Raider Greg.

Hang in there Raider Fans, just 57 days until we "storm the beaches" at Network Coliseum to beat the trespassing san francisco whiners back across the bay. This is a battle for supremacy in the bay, all Raider Nation soldiers report for duty. Battle Attire Black! Whiner fans, bring your courage, leave your sparks!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fuzzy, Well Trained, Needs Home: 1,000 Rats

1,000 rats found in Petaluma home. Dozens of rats are seen in a cage at an animal shelter in Petaluma, Calif., Thursday. Associated Press photo by Mark Aronof

When I first saw this article I thought, Oh here we go again, another human being who's been turned off by people and has decided to keep the company of more trusting, non-latte drinking creatures. In reading past animal articles like this I've heard of people living with Tigers, Pigs, Monkeys, Lizards and that all slithering creature the Snake. Many people are living today with such creatures as live-in pets and are left alone, unharrassed, to enjoy private quality time in their own animal kingdoms.

Unfortunately, it is when either the homeowner neglects keeping the guestroom clean or the guest becomes unruly, that neighbors complain and "snitch" on our animal loving tenant who yet again conflicts with the social order of civilization.

The case in today's paper involved an animal with a dirty image to begin with; Rats. The animal control officers dispatched to the home of our innocent tenant reported that the owner made efforts to accomodate his house guests but at some point the task became just overwhelming and unmanageable. Unless part of a laboratory experiment, Rats know nothing about birth control.

Of the 1,000 pet Rats found at the one room house, 20 were uncaged and running around the room. Their ages ranged from 3-year-old adults to little pink newborns. Also in the home were eight cats. I repeat, 1 Room, 8 Cats, 900 Rats. That's just too much fur and tail for my blood. My guess is that the cats may have started out as being a form of population control for these Rats. How else do you explain Cats and Rats living in a one room house with one adult human supervising? Maybe he should've used snakes to keep those Rats sexually starved. Rats have a lot of respect for snakes, so much so that they'll sit in a corner for hours quiet as a "mouse" when a snake is in the room. No thoughts of sex, food or water when the big bad Snake is in-the-house.

Here's a description of the scene inside the house when animal control agents arrived: "About 20 Rats were running around the room, the tenant's bed was in the middle of the room and there was food, cat litter and who knows what else all over the floor."

Now I may be a messy bachelor in a small apartment with leftover chips and dip sitting around a few days, but you won't find anything with fur and a tail running around my bed. I take that back, once I brought home a girl from a halloween party dressed in a cat outfit. We were drunk, she was game and I awoke the next morning with her cat tail tickling my nose. I must say that I had one Tail of a time that night, but no neighbors complained, she left the next day and a litter wasnt born out of that one nighter. She's since moved out of state but manages to send me a friendship card every year around halloween time with just four letters written inside. Meow!

Our tenant's guests didn't fare so well upon departure from his home. Animal control ended up having to euthanize 70 of the Rats due to sickness or injury. The 900 or so remaining Rats were taken to the animal shelter and........put up for Adoption? Yes, you can adopt an adolescent male Rat for $5 each starting next tuesday at the Petaluma Animal Shelter. The female Rats will be put up for adoption after 21 days - their usual gestulation period - to make sure they aren't pregnant.

Anyone interested in adopting a Rat can reach Petaluma Animal Services at (707) 778-4396.

As for our human tenant, labeled a "Hoarder" by Animal Services, no charges were filed against him. He'll be allowed to keep two of his furry, long-tailed friends but will have to submit to mandatory monitoring by Animal Services of Petaluma. Animal Services say that "Hoarders" have a 100 percent rate of recidivism unless some action is taken. The tenant was deemed a "Classic Hoarder" and therefore will be required to adhere to Animal Services rules and regulations for Hoarders.

Now if only I can get a Animal Control Adoption program like this for the coachroaches that visit my apartment every so often. They really are fun loving animals when the lights are off, honest!

NBA Champion Miami Heat

Today the NBA Champion Miami Heat will parade their trophy down a predetermined street route in Miami. The Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in game six to take the Finals series 4-2 tuesday night. The basketball world witnessed the coming out party of superstar player "Dwayne Wade" who was awarded the series MVP.

The lingering question many sports analysts are asking is did the Mavericks "Choke?" Well, choke is such a strong word, just ask the ghost of Luca Brasi. I'd say that Miami's defense took Dallas out of their gameplan by putting a stranglehold on Dirk Nowitzki. Miami beat Dallas without Shaq being much of a factor in game six. For Dallas to have won without Dirk factoring in the gameplan called for others to step up their play. Those players couldn't step up to the level of play that Miami guard Dwayne Wade and supporting cast had. It appeared that by the closing minutes of game six Dallas had lost their drive and will to fight for victory. And that my friends is the sign of an overpowering opponent.

So, I ask myself, did the Dallas Mavericks "Choke?" If the NBA finals were a seven course meal and during the eating of the third course dish Dallas needed water to wash down the food but didn't get it, they may not suffer from Asphyxation due to obstruction but it sure would make finishing the remaining courses of food very difficult.

Congratulations Miami Heat on winning your first NBA Championship!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Before TV Sports Became Big, The Biggest Choke Job Shown On Television was Of The Godfather's Luca Brasi

After a weekend full of what many of us sports fans know as a "CHOKE," I decided to look up some of the most memorable Choke jobs in sports history. I first came across a list of 10 that must've been put together in England. On that list there were mostly Soccer and Golf Chokes from Europe. Funny that two names on that list who we in the U.S. won't forget were Scott Norwood and Roberto "No Mas" Duran. Duran, nicknamed "Hands of Stone" prior to his 1980 fight against Sugar Ray Leonard, came in at a whopping number 4 on the European list. Even today when I choose to quit doing something I use the term made famous by Duran, "No Mas." (No More).

As for Luca Brasi, his garroting was probably the best "whack job" on television to date. You may remember what the message of a dead fish wrapped in Luca's bullet proof vest conveyed to the Corleone Family? "Luca Brasi Sleeps with The Fishes." But that's another story for another time.

Here's a list of five Chokes in sports that will probably need updating real soon:

5 memorable chokes

1993 HOUSTON OILERS: In the AFC Wild Card, Buffalo scored four touchdowns in the third quarter and rallied from a 35-3 deficit to down the Oilers 41-38 in overtime, marking the greatest comeback in NFL history. Backup quarterback Frank Reich led the charge.

1994 LSU BASKETBALL: Kentucky completed its greatest comeback in school history, rallying from 31 points down in the final 15:34 to defeat LSU, 99-95. The Wildcats hit 11 three-pointers and outscored the Tigers 62-27.

1996 GREG NORMAN: Nick Faldo won his third Masters golf tournament with a 67 on the final day after Norman shot a startling 78 to lose a 6-stroke lead in the worst collapse in Masters history.

1997 LATRELL SPREWELL: As if a 1-12 start wasn't bad enough, the Golden State star grabbed first-year coach P.J. Carlesimo by the neck and tried to choke him after the coach asked the player to leave practice early. Sprewell was suspended for one year by NBA commissioner David Stern.

2004 NEW YORK YANKEES: The Yanks led the Boston Red Sox three games to none in the AL Championship Series before the hated Sox rallied to become the first team in baseball history to rally from such a deficit.

[Last modified November 17, 2004, 00:03:19]

SF Giants Pitcher Matt Cain Flawless Through 7 2/3 Innings

I attended a San Francisco Giants game tonight and saw a young pitcher pitch a superb game. Because of the early throwing error score by the Angels of Los Angelos, BOO, most of us fans who arrived with the score already 2-1 didn't realize we were watching a potential no-hitter. Cain and the Giants came up short of a no-hitter but won the game 2-1, Armando Benitez getting the save. Whew!

Headline News:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain came within four outs of recording the first Giants no-hitter in 30 years as San Francisco edged the Angels, 2-1, on Monday night. For the entire story click on the story at SFGIANTS.com.

Carolina Hurricanes Win NHL Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup will spend the next year on Tobacco Road -- the Carolina Hurricanes are champions of the NHL. The 'Canes beat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-1, in Game 7 at a thunderous RBC Center in Raleigh Monday night. Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP.

Congratulations to the 2006 NHL Champion Carolina Hurricanes, beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in a loud, standing room only game 7. Hats off to the Edmonton Oilers for making these NHL Finals a series to remember, especially after losing their star goalie in game 1 of the series.

The Canes, formerly the Whalers of Hartford,Conn., earn their first ever championship. I promise next season to attend a game and get a real feel for the hockey culture. This is for sure, the CUP will not goto that Cold Klondike Country of the North.

Hurricanes' captain Rod Brind'Amour hoists the Stanley Cup after receiving it from Commissioner Gary Bettman.

12 Round Fight a DRAW!

I hear I missed a good one. The twelve round fight between challenger Winky Wright and Middleweight Champion Jermaine Taylor was ruled a draw. With a busy weekend in sports this fight should've been near the top of my watch list, but I somehow missed it, shame on me.

Here's what ESPN fight analyst had to say about it:

Jermain Taylor D12 Winky Wright
Taylor retains middleweight title.
Scores: 114-114, 115-113 Taylor, 115-113 Wright
Records: Taylor, 25-0-1; Wright, 50-3-1

Rafael's remark: If there was ever a fight that could have gone either way, this was it. If there was ever a fight that illustrated the need for the return to 15-round fights in certain instances, this was it. Those last three rounds probably would have made a huge difference. Alas, we're stuck with this exciting 12-rounder to judge. Let the debate rage. If you like the busier and much heavier puncher, Taylor was your man. Every time he landed, which was often, he moved Wright with the blows. If you like the more accurate fighter with the quicker hands and better defense, Wright was your man. The judges obviously couldn't agree. And on press row, the scores were also all over the place, as much as for any big fight we have ever covered.

Bottom line: It was a close fight, not a robbery as Wright and promoter Gary Shaw cried. Wright's disappointment is understandable, but he showed a lack of professionalism by dissing HBO in the ring after the fight and by dissing the media at the postfight news conference, as if we were the ones who turned in the official scorecards. That's a pretty lame move for a guy who wants a future as a promoter. Perhaps someday there will be a rematch, and there should be. But for the time being, these guys need to go their separate ways. Taylor deserves his Little Rock, Ark., homecoming fight this fall after fighting three massive bouts in a row (two with Bernard Hopkins and then with Wright). For Wright, there are other good fights for him besides another match with Taylor, which would probably be just as close the next time around.

And now a word about the promotion: This fight was one of the biggest and most important of the year, but it sure wasn't treated that way by organizers, as the arena sat almost half empty on fight night. What a disgrace. The reason was not, however, because fans didn't want to come. It's because the tickets were so grossly overpriced that few wanted to spend so much money for such crappy seats. Who is going to pay $1,000 or $750 to have a seat in a corner or not even on the floor, especially when the fight is free on HBO and the undercard is filled with one blatant mismatch after another?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Miami Heat Win Game 5 of NBA Finals, Lead Series 3-2

Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson argues with official Joe Crawford about the timeout called near the end of overtime of the NBA Finals basketball Game 5 against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Sunday, June 18, 2006. Miami beat Dallas in overtime 101-100.

Star of the Game: Dwayne Wade
Goat of the Game: Josh Howard

Scoring 42 points in the Miami Heat's thrilling 101-100 over-time win, Dwayne Wade adds to his new superstar status. My man Gary "The Glove" Payton made another clutch shot. And Josh Howard of the mavericks called a timeout that was almost as devistating to his team as the Chris Webber timeout call was to Michigan's "fab five" NCAA Championship hopes years ago.

With 1.9 seconds left in overtime D'Wade had just made one free throw when Josh Howard called what was the last available timeout for the Dallas Mavericks. He and coach Avery Johnson tried desperately to take it back but there's no taking back timeouts in basketball. The result being that if Wade makes the second free throw then the Mavericks would have to go the length of the court with 1.9 seconds remaining, no timeouts, little chance. Wade made the second free throw to give the Heat a 101-100 lead and the Mavericks made a futile attempt at a shot from half court. End result, Josh Howard ruined a chance, mind you it would have still been a longshot had Josh not made the goof, but his mistake seemed to take the air out of the Mavericks sails. I've never seen such a dejected face as Howard's on camera after blowing the game. Almost like a golfer missing a winning putt from a foot away. What a coincidence, Phil Mickleson choked in losing the U.S. Open to Geoff Ogilvy today. I hear Phil had that same dejected look.

Here's what ESPN said about Mickleson's look:
Mickelson looked as if he needed to be treated for shock. He shook hands with playing partner Kenneth Ferrie and then made his way to the scorer's area to sign his card. NBC's cameras showed him sitting with Amy, his body language screaming, "What have I just done?"

Meanwhile, game six of the NBA Finals will be played in Dallas. And if these finals continue their theme of home team wins, odds favor the Mavericks winning the next two games at home and becoming NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history. But there's this one little obstacle of a superstar standing in their path and it ain't Geoff Ogilivy. This superstar obstacle makes you think that this time the oddsmakers may have it all wrong. And if Vegas knows what's best for them they won't go betting against Dwayne Wade.

Is Racism A Hoax? Figment of the Imagination?

Today I read of a belief by young Black people that racism does not exist here in America. I was suprised to hear that not one but many young Blacks hold this belief. The article quoted a conversation where a Black girl and guy, both believed to be college undergraduates, were having in the company of an older Black female.

She says, "This is what I'm saying to you man. Racism doesn't exist."
He agrees. "Racism is just a figment of your imagination."

Here was what I, a Black male in his 40's, wrote as my two cents worth:

It's scary to hear there are Black Folks in America today who believe Racism doesn't exist. What do they believe happened to it? Or do they believe it never existed?

Why if that statement were true that would mean that Blacks in America have open access to the best jobs, best neighborhoods, best schools, best hospitals, even best country clubs that this great country has to offer. It would mean that we're just not motivated enough to take advantage of what this great country unconditionally offers us.

Last I checked Blacks can't assume they'll get equal access to a Denny's Restaurant here in this wonderful country of ours.

Unfortunately, there's a word that defines people who can afford to have such beliefs; PRIVILEGED

1.privilege - a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all

2.privilege - a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right); "suffrage was the prerogative of white adult males"

Who would've thought that my favorite quote from the book "Showing My Color" by Black author Clarence Page would apply to some of our own.

"Privilege is least apparent to those who have it"

Maybe racial blindness is the price we'll pay for equality. But we won't know until equality truly happens for all.

106th U.S. Open Championship

Again, a sport I know very little about. I don't think anybody has ever been nearly clubbed to death on the green due to heated attitudes, but the players are as competitive in Golf as in Hockey.

Watching highlights of this amazing Golf tournament today I witnessed the most shots ever where the golf ball finds the hole from incredible distances away. You don't have to be a golf fan to appreciate the skill it takes to get that small ball into that small hole from distances the length of football fields. I always thought a good dose of luck was involved in golf, but upon closer inspection I see there's many things the player must do to increase his chances; Things like surveying the field, picking the best club for the situation and focus. Well, maybe luck does play a huge part, but I suppose it does in many sports. After all, Golf is a game where you play the field and not the opponent.

So if you haven't already, take a peak at the highlights of the U.S. Open Championship today. Currently Phil Mickelson and Kenneth Ferrie of England share the lead.

Here's a link to the many Eagles made and one Hole-in-One: U.S.Open

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stoll & Staal? They're making the NHL Finals Thrilling

The names may sound alike, but the Carolina Hurricanes wouldn't give up Eric Staal. Nor will the Edmonton Oilers part with Jarret Stoll. Both have been important players in the thrilling Stanley Cup Final, which stands at 3-2 for Carolina after the Oilers' Game 5 win in overtime....

Hold it! Hold it!

Okay. I know, I know. I know next to nothing about professional hockey. I ripped off the above paragraph and header from the NHL site, shame on me. If it ain't a smiling Wayne Gretzky then I don't know who the guy in hockey gear is. But since the NHL season and playoffs run concurrent with the NBA, it only seemed sportmanslike to include something about Hockey on my blog.

But what does someone who's knowledge of Hockey begins and ends with the one Black player in the league being brutally attacked during a game? And the guy who attacked him snuck'em from behind at that? Well, now that I've gotten that off my chest, it looks like the NHL Finals won't be a walk in the park for the Carolina Hurricanes after all. Much like the NBA's Dallas Mavericks who took a 2-0 lead in the best of 7 series against the Miami Heat before losing game 3, the Carolina Hurricanes began their series 2-0 before losing game 3 to the Edmonton Oilers. Many had already put a fork in the Oilers who'd lost their star goalie Dwayne Roloson to a knee injury in the third period of game 1. Now with the Hurricanes lead cut to 3-2, the stage is set for a classic do-or-die game six for Edmonton on their home ice. If Carolina isn't careful, they may lose more than the opportunity to celebrate on their home ice. They could end up hearing that familiar Canadian National Anthem playing triumphantly at the end of game 7 on their own American ice. For those of us who remember the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series in the 90's, it ain't a pretty sight.

In the meantime, I guess those cold weather Canadians have their fat lady gagged and stored in the ice box while they enjoy their teams' unimagined success in these here NHL Finals.

Go Sharks!

Miami Heat Scorch Dallas Mavericks 98-74

I cannot tell a lie. I missed game 4 of the NBA Finals. I heard the most exciting part of the game was a hard flagrant foul commited on Shaq by Jerry Stackhouse. So, can someone tell me if Shaq turned into Deebo and Stackhouse "got knocked the f*ck out" or what?

Looks like we got us a Finals after all. I won't miss that all important game 5, that's for sure.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Rothlisberger in stable condition after motorcycle accident

Last reports indicate that Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger is going to be okay after surviving a critical motorcycle accident. He's suffered some serious injuries but doctors report he'll recover. Prayers go out to "Big Ben" Rothlisberger for a fast and speedy recovery. Big Ben was not wearing a helmet when the crash occurred.

For us who still play sports or still have that competitive drive to challenge life once in a while, we must use good judgement in safely preparing ourselves when facing such risky challenges.

When it comes to motorcycles I know nothing about riding, but I have learned that Helmets save lives. Their are many families who see this piece of preparatory safety equipment as an angelic savior in preventing one of their loved ones from loss of life during an accident. Below I've listed some facts from the National Traffic Safety Administration regarding the advantages of wearing helmets when riding motorcycles. If you are a father, son or brother you should consider that wearing a helmet may someday prevent those family members from crying over your body at a memorial service and hearing the doctors regretful words echo in their head, "If only he were wearing a helmet."

The Case For Helmets
According to a Jan. 2006 publication from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

• An unhelmeted motorcyclist is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury and 15 percent more likely to suffer a nonfatal injury than a helmeted motorcyclist when involved in a crash.

• Motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by an estimated 37 percent.

• From 1984 through 2004, helmets saved an estimated 16,019 lives of motorcyclists.

• Motorcycle helmet use saved an estimated $1.3 billion in 2002 alone. An additional $853 million would have been saved if all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had worn helmets. From 1984-2002, the NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmet use saved $19.5 billion; another $14.8 billion would have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets during the same period.

Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, Jan. 2006

'D Wade Brings Miami Heat Back to Respectibility

Dwayne Wayne put his stamp on game 3 of the NBA finals scoring 42 points and bringing the Miami Heat back to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 98-96. Miami came out strong and looked like tonight was their night. But the Mavericks showed their resilience and battled back to take an eleven point lead by the fourth quarter. That's when Wade put it in high gear and let his quickness and rebounding lead his team to victory. I don't know why ABC network didn't replay more the layup where Wade, with Dallas defenders all around, floated to the basket, faked to his right then used his incredible hang time to fake out the other defender and make the basket. That shot brought bake memories of MJ, though we don't want to get into comparisons do we?

Shaq played well and suprisingly improved on his free-throw shooting. Shaq claimed that a friend as well as his father told him to slow his shot down and shoot like he did in high school. It worked.

My man Gary "The Glove" Payton made a clutch jump shot for Miami with nine seconds left in the game. Payton's shot gave the Heat a huge lift helping them down the stretch.

As for the Mavericks, some may say that they just let this game slip away. Perhaps. But I still say they are the better TEAM and when they play as a team they can dominate any opponent. Whereas Miami needs their superstars to carry them, Dallas wins with good coaching and team effort. Who knows, had Dirk Nowitzki made his second free throw at the end, the game may have had a different ending. But then we would have been deprived of the hype leading to game 4 this Thursday. With Dallas leading the series 2-1, I'll bet Thursday's game gets a very high viewer rating as those who missed this game will not miss the next.

Congratulations Miami Heat for making this 2006 NBA Finals exciting and competitive.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Stackhouse and the Dallas Mavericks Dominate in Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Shaq scores 5 points as the Miami Heat succumb to another dominating performance by the Dallas Mavericks. The final score was 99-85, and that was closer than it could have ended. At one point Dallas led by as many as 26 points. Dallas took control around the second quarter and you just felt that Miami didn't have an answer for what the Mavericks were doing both offensively and defensively. Again, both teams played good defense but it was Dallas whose offense kept attacking the basket while Miami's sputtered and collapsed.

It appears that the Dallas strategy on defense is to keep pressure on Shaq and force Miami into shooting from outside. For the most part that strategy is working and it doesn't look like Miami coach Pat Riley can come up with a game plan to stop it. One would think that all Miami has to do is have Shaq kick the ball out to the open man and he knocks down the shot, but in many cases the Dallas defenders aren't even allowing the ball to get to Shaq. And that just frustrates the big man even more. It doesn't help that his free throw shooting has reached historically horrible levels. Josh Howard is doing a superb job of staying with Dwayne Wade and limiting his playmaking abilities.

As for the Mavericks, the player of the game was Jerry Stackhouse off the bench. Though he scored only 19 points, the timeliness at which his points came made them dagger-like in their effect. Here's what was said about Stackhouse as well as how he felt about his hot hand:

Jerry Stackhouse scored 19 points for Dallas, including a stunning 10 in the final 79 seconds of the first half that sent the Heat headed to the locker room with their heads hanging. He drilled three 3-pointers, including one in Wade's face that became a four-point play. Here's what Stackhouse had to say about

"After I shot the first one, there was no hesitation once I caught it the second time," Stackhouse said. "I was probably three feet behind the 3-point line on the second one. When you're feeling good, you let it ride."

I guess the Mavs will "let it ride" all the way to Miami for game 3. Wonder who'll be the Mavericks player to shine in this game? Don't look now but former Warrior player Eric Dampier is making a name for himself in these here finals.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Raiders Sticky Icky Jam with Slideshow

Came across this homemade Raiders video/slideshow on the net. I'm posting it for two reasons. One is I like the rhythm of the song. The other is that in the clip there's this shot of a "Got Moss?" Nike-type logo that I'm dying to get on a t-shirt. Anyone who knows where I can get either the logo or t-shirt please comment below.

And if any of you Oakland Coliseum t-shirt selling entrepeneurs want a tip on what Raiders prints will sell, here's one for you.


Bernard Hopkins Retires Antonio Tarver to gain IBO Light Heavyweight Title

The picture above gives the impression of a knockout punch, it wasn't. But by the end of the fight Antonio Tarver may have wished he'd just laid down for the ten count.

Not only did Bernard Hopkins defeat Antonio Tarver in 12 rounds to gain the IBO Light Heavyweight crown, he did it against 3 to 1 odds, at 41 years old, moving up two weight classes, adding on 14 pounds, coming off two losses, with retirement in mind.

Hopkins was paid the minimum $5 million for the fight, but he did it more for the historic value (no middleweight has ever won a light heavyweight title) and to honor his idol Sugar Ray Robinson.

In 1952, Robinson, who was the reigning middleweight champ, challenged light heavyweight champ Joey Maxim at Yankee Stadium. Although he was leading after 13 rounds, the 100-plus-degree heat had taken its toll, and Robinson quit on his stool because of heat exhaustion.

Bernard Hopkins wouldn't let anything stand in his way in pursuit of his dream. Now that he's fulfilled that dream and silenced critics once and for all, the question asked was what if someone offered him $20 million to fight again, would he come out of retirement and fight? The Champ answered, "Well, I might come out of my grave for that kind of money."

Maybe now the boxing world will give Bernard Hopkins his due and recognize the sterling career of a tough boxer who always showed up to fight.

Bernard Hopkins, Under-rated Boxer, now Light Heavyweight Champion, Shocks the World.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dallas Mavericks Win Game 1

Dirk Nowitzki, who constantly reminds me of a favorite monster movie character "Sanda" (War of The Gargantuas) and the Dallas Mavericks took game 1 of the NBA Finals winning it 90-80.

Though Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade battled a flu-like illness all week, he played with abandon and heart. Shaq however wasn't quite as productive and at times seemed to be slow adjusting. Poor free-throw shooting by Miami (37%) contributed to their loss.

My take on the game is that Avery Johnson out-coached Pat Riley. For the Miami Heat to have a first half eleven point lead and then be down by two at half-time shows which team made adjustments and which team didn't.

Player of the game for Dallas was Jason Terry with 32 points. Dirk admittedly had an off night and JT carried the team with clutch shooting. Both teams played strong defense throughout. After the game Dirk, JT and Avery Johnson all said how the Mavericks playing as a team is what allows them to adjust to opponents and take over games. It's hard not to like the Dallas Mavericks in this one. The players have a good team attitude with plenty of confidence in each other and their coaching staff. Game 2 will be played on Sunday, again in Dallas.

As for that War of the Gargantuas character that so much resembles Dirk, I'll pay the market value plus 10% to anyone that can provide me with a copy of that monster movie classic, vhs or dvd. And Dirk should be thankful he resembles the Brown Monster (Sanda), who was the good one and not the uglier green one (Gaira) who was a human eating beast.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Billy Preston - Another Musical Talent Gone

My first memories of Billy Preston were funky performances he made on SoulTrain during the early 70's. He was an Afro sporting keyboardist who rocked side to side while playing like Ray Charles. Many compared him to Ray Charles and I now see why. Billy Preston was a pioneer of sorts. Rather than try to list all his accomplishments I direct you to an article that says it all.

But before I do that let me say that gone but not forgotten is yet another brilliant piece of that which made up my coming of age era. To have grown up during an era bracketed by the rebellious 60's and greedy 80's makes me that much more grateful for those colorful fun 70's. What other decade can boast a Pariament Funkedelic Band with a star bassist named Bootsy? A time when Rainbow colored suspenders were worn by comedians like Robin Williams of "Mork & Mindy" as well as Pop Dancing Fred Berry as "Re-Run" on the sit-com "What's Happening." If you missed the 70's you really missed something special. No VCR, No answering machines, No Cellular phones, No War. Just Disco and Sex, Can You Dig It? And of course the sounds of a funky keyboard playing Billy Preston.

I guess that's why we're left with memories of great talents, to remind us of a time when life was young, fun and down right funky.

Here's the article, Billy Preston -- keyboardist, 'the fifth Beatle', a must read for all who enjoy music.