Sunday, February 22, 2009

SF Bay Area Sports Pride

We've come a long way from Ken "the snake" Stabler, Rick Barry and Joe Montana. We've come even further in our college sports competition with Cal, Stanford, St. Mary's and SJ State.

And while our college sports competition has been competitive at best, our professional teams haven't put a dent into a championship run since the Oakland A's were swept in the 2006 ALCS by Detroit. But that's only if we're still calling our professional hockey team an expansion team with professional promise.

News Flash: Expansion team they are no more. Our San Jose Sharks of the NHL are not only contending for the league's championship title this season, they're favored to possibly take it all. Yes, the Sharks of San HO! The team that has gained respect since they're inaugural season in 1991 is now looking like a league powerhouse on the brink of their first NFL championship.

Well, they may not be on the brink yet, but like barbarians at the gates you can smell the scent of desire rolling off they're hardened sweaty faces. They've actually been contenders in the past four seasons, making the playoffs in all four. But the closest they've come to the championship is their 2003-04 season where they lost the conference finals to the Calgary Flames two games to four.

Yes, the Sharks who set a franchise record with their 26th home win of the season last night against the Atlanta Thrashers are atop their conference and positioned to have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

As we get over our dismal football season showing in the bay area and head into spring training with prayerful hopes of competitive baseball, let's not ignore the strides made by our hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, who appear to be on the brink of greatness.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating WE STOP BELIEVING in the future of Golden State Warriors Basketball, but the Warriors simply "are who we thought they were," a young team needing a bit more veteran leadership and defensive play. Hopefully they'll get it down the road.

SF BAY AREA SPORTS FANS, do not sleep on this season's San Jose Sharks. They are by far having the best season of any Bay Area professional sports team since names like Bonds, Gannon, T.O. and Giambi were suiting up in the Bay.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Asomugha Re-Signed

4-time Pro Bowl Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has been re-signed to what's said to be a 3-year contract. As with punter Shane Lechler, we're taking care of business this off-season. On another note, wide receiver Ronald Curry was released. Guess I'll be looking for his #89 jersey come fan appreciation day. I always liked Curry, unfortunately his relationship with the organization went south when Kiffin took over. Good luck RCURRY.

Valentine's Day Massacre

Okay! The divorce is final, the lawyers are all paid and she got custody of the stinkin' cat. So what do you think this e-card I received from my ex-wife this past Valentine's Day means?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best Leg In The Business Signed

Of course if we were talking the business of Hollywood Horror/Action Movies, no leg is as valuable or as exciting to watch as Cherry Darling's of "Planet Terror.
" She's a terror on the screen and looks damn good while taking down her opponents.

But we're talking Raiders Football here, and everyone knows that the leg of pro bowl punter Shane Lechler is most valuable to the team.

Lechler was signed to a four year contract today that is said to be the greatest ever awarded to an NFL punter. We can all agree that it is money well spent, our special teams have carried us through some tough times of late thanks partly to Shane's golden leg. We knew you we're committed to excellence Sugah Shane and we appreciate you staying on board.

For those Raider fans who only see his punts on television, shame on you. You don't know what you're missing by not being at the coliseum seeing and hearing the pigskin boom off of his foot. I swear some of his punts resemble a blimp flying overhead. I didn't get to see Ray Guy punt for the Raiders, but if his leg was as powerful as Shane's, the Hall-Of-Fame committee should be immediately impeached.

#9 Shane Lechler, a thing of beauty to behold punting a football.

As for that other leg of beauty to behold, Cherry Darling's, I saw her mowing down the bad guys in the movie "Planet Terror" tonight. I must say that I loved the uzi effect. And the gimpy running in the skirt gave off a demented sort of turn-on. But I'd much rather have her blow me away with those shapely pair of legs intact and commanding a stage.

See what I mean?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

KryptoNate Leaps Over Superman

5-foot-9 Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks wins his second Slam Dunk championship with a leaping one-handed KryptoDunk over top the 6-foot-11 defending champion Dwight "Superman" Howard.

It came down to who could out-create the other and thanks to some help from the man-of-steel Howard, Nate was able to overwhelm the crowd and the judges. Decked out in a green uniform with matching Krypto-green armband, sneakers and ball, Nate used Superman as his prop (a la spud webb) and simply soared over top the super hero and slammed home a monster dunk. His smooth landing found him gliding straight into a sideways Crank-Dat Superman Dance with arms outstretched. Yeah, Superman was left looking more like his mild-mannered reporter counterpart Clark Kent, while the green flash of KryptoNate soared overhead and into slam dunk competition lore.

Dwight did have a final dunk remaining and at first it appeared he would fly from the three-point line and render KryptoNate's power ineffective. But it was not to be as Dwight's final dunk was a flight that began from just inside the foul line and looked pedestrian at best for his size. His earlier dunk which began from out-of-bounds in the corner could have easily been the highlight of the night had he not volunteered himself to be Nate's prop in the KryptoDunk. Nate pulled off a move that Superman nemesis Lex Luthor would envy; he beat Superman by using the man-of-steel's compassion and generosity toward us lesser human beings.

In the end it was KryptoNate hoisting up the 2009 Slam Dunk Championship trophy. But unlike the notorious Lex Luthor, Nate was appreciative of Superman's generosity and gave credit to him for his success.

Congratulations to both Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard for putting on a wonderful display of athleticism and good sportsmanship while grandly entertaining us fans. Lebron James officially through his bid into the hat to participate in next year's Slam Dunk Competition to be held in Dallas, TX.

All-Star Saturday Night Winners

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Will We Be Cable-Ready By Week 1?

The Oakland Raiders are in store for another offseason of adds, moves and changes. But this season the change at Head Coach could be the biggest difference from recent years. Why? Because Tom Cable, newly installed HC, is a believer in the Silver & Black's future. Like us he loves the fabled history of the Raiders, but more importantly he sees a chance at making new history right around the corner.

Cable believes that the Raiders are a talented young football team that's coming together. In listening to Cable's press conference the other day he said some things that validated his Raider Nation status. Trust me when I say he's one of "Us" who just happens to be Head Coach.

Remember when former coach Lane Kiffin had his press conference introducing him as head coach of the Oakland Raiders? You said to yourself, "who the freak is this green white-collar wannabe coach?" Then you hoped for a miracle that never came. We won't even talk about Art Shell's second coming. Well, after hearing Tom Cable talk of his passion and plans for the Raiders, I'm sold that he's the real deal. He's a captain who'll stand up for his men and if need be go down with the ship if that be their fate. He knows what Big Al wants, he knows what it will take to get there and he's not afraid to steer the ship through hell to get us there.

So, will we be ready come week 1 of this coming season? It can't start out any worse than Kiffin's opening Monday night loss against Denver this past season, a 41-14 blowout. And Lord forbid if it does, I'd expect Cable to take it like a man and build the season around redeeming the Silver & Black legacy.

Win, Lose or Tie!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Brooks Was Here

Veteran actor James Whitmore passed away this past Friday. He was a true professional from the old school of acting. Recognizable by his bowlegged cowboy style of walk, I'd seen him mostly in Westerns and War movies when I was a kid. I also spotted him in in a Twilight Zone episode or two. But it was his role in one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption, that left an impression on me so strongly.

In Shawshank he played the wise old institutionalized convict, Brooks Hatlen, who'd been inside so long that he'd grown to depend on the prison walls as his safety from the outside modern world. When he was finally paroled, after serving about fifty years or so, he was so scared to leave the prison he almost murdered another inmate just so he could stay. Once on the outside he continued to contemplate ways to get himself thrown back in the clink.

What James Whitmore did in his final scene as Brooks Hatlen was show us a glimpse of what it must feel like to be locked up for fifty years then set free in a fast moving world where nobody knows you, nobody cares about you and everything seems foreign.
As Brooks said while putting on his prison issued suit and tie in his boarding room before deciding to check out, "I'm tired of being afraid all the time, I've decided not to stay."

Yes, James Whitmore always put a bit of himself in the roles he played, and it was that soulful self of his that captured your imagination while watching him in a movie.

I almost forgot to mention. Before checking out of his room permanently, Brooks left behind the only mark that a convict who'd spent just about his entire life behind bars could. He
took out his pocket knife, probably a violation of his parole to have, stood up on a wooden chair and proceeded to carve three scraggly words into the old chalky headboard above the rafters. Those three words were as good as having a headstone in a plot at a cemetery for good old Brooksy. It said as much about him as anything on a gravestone could ever have read. Those three words?


James Allen Whitmore, Jr.
(October 1, 1921 – February 6, 2009)

IMDB Link to James Whitmore

Pictures of Ohio State Reformatory (Shawshank Prison)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Say It Ain't So Cowboys

We all know how the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football league have a way of garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons. Well, today I came across two news headlines with stories featuring Cowboys. The players involved are "former" cowboys, with one being deceased, but who ever said post-cowboy career actions and death exempt a Cowboy player from media exposure and criticism.

Take former Cowboy wide receiver Terry Glenn for instance, a 34-year old who's been unemployed for the past two seasons. Glenn was a great receiver under coach Bill Parcells. He led the team in receptions from 05- 06 with 132 catches for 2,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. But injuries sidelined his career and Dallas released him last July after he refused to sign an injury waiver.

Last week the former Cowboy was arrested, boy that sounds so familiar. Police were called to a hotel in Irving, Texas, for a suspicious naked person who was wandering the hallways checking door handles. The former Cowboy was charged with public intoxication and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Obviously Glenn needs some help, though not all Cowboy fans see this as a cry for help. Here's a fan comment from one blogger page:

Oh please, I walk around hotel hallways naked when I'm not drunk. That's hardly a personal life in shambles. Half these writers have all kinds of skeletons in their closets yet they just love to judge...

This commenter may have a point, but then again, Terry Glenn has more in his past than just a walking hallways while naked incident. He assaulted the mother of his fiver year old son in 2001 and was book for urinating behind a restaurant dumpster in 2005. Okay, even I have experience in urinating behind fast food restaurants, sorry Jack! But I swear I wasn't drunk at the time, like Glenn was. And I don't think of assaulting women as a skelton in the closet, its a criminal act punishable in the court of law.

Enough about Terry Glenn though. I hope he gets the help he needs. I also hope not to find myself passing through Texas anytime soon and needing a hotel for the evening. I just don't need naked and drunk ex-football players entering my dreams of Obama's change for America.

The other Dallas Cowboys news item is less assaulting but just as controversial. My childhood sports hero, #22 WR Bob Hayes, was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame this past weekend. I was overjoyed by the news and moved to almost tears when listening to Lucille Hester, his now alleged sister, deliver a speech of thanks to the NFL. As an encore to this momentous ocasion, Lucille read a letter that "allegedly" Bob gave her just before he died, to be read should he ever be inducted into the HOF. It was truly a glorious moment for the NFL and fans of Bob Hayes's like myself to hear him being honored.

Unfortunately, that old Cowboy smear showed up on this wonderful story within days, maybe hours, of its airing on national television. Word is that Lucille Hester "IS NOT" the sister of Bullet Bob Hayes, but a fraud. There's people alleging that Lucille only met the star receiver on his death bed and has since crowned herself the spokesperson for anything related to Bob Hayes. Supposedly Bob Hayes's family is aware of Mrs. Hester's self anointment as Bob's posthumous agent and wants this to stop. There is a Bob Hayes Jr., and its expected that we'll hear from him before all is said and done.

Adding more damage to Lucille Hester's claims are expert computer font analysts who say after reviewing the letter Bob Hayes "allegedly" gave to Lucille in 2001, it appears to be typed in a font that was not released by Microsoft until 2007. So either the experts are wrong, Lucille is lying or Bullet Bob pulled his fastest move ever and is alive and well in some undisclosed location. I feel for Bob's family if fraud is the case. To wait so long for him to be inducted and then have this ugliness hovering over it just distracts from the celebration. But then again, Lucille Hester, Fraud or Faithful Sister, did one helluva job in eulogizing the Bullet and delivering a speech that was so fitting. The fraud supporters will say that an expenses paid trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa, as received by Lucille, is enough to inspire any well spoken fan to stand in front of the cameras and speak eloquently of their most admired player.

I hope this can be cleared up quickly and we can move on to talking about Bob Hayes the player and not Lucille the............

Say it isn't so Lucille!

Link to Story: "hall of fraud"
Link to Story: "further evidence"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tom Cable A Made Man

Now that Tom Cable has been officially made the Oakland Raiders Head Coach, let's see if Big Al allows him to run the outfit like a real capo or captain.

I hear it said that when reporters asked Cable what it felt like being summoned into Big Al's office to be told his fate, he began to sing the Gypsy Anthem (Dark Eyes).

Dark Eyes (The Gypsy Anthem)

Eyes of ecstacy, always haunting me,
Always taunting me, with your mystery,
Tell me tenderly, you belong to me
For eternity–dark eyes talk to me!

Eyes so dark and dear, eyes of loveth here,
Beauty full and true, I’m in love with you.
Give me eyes of love, like the stars above.
You stole my heart. May we ever part!

Gypsy melody that has haunted me,
Won’t you set me free of all memory:
Of the time that’s waste, of the path we traced
Of the pain we taste–so endlessly!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sugar Shane Mosely Dispatches Antonio Margarito

Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Shane Mosley finishes a flurry that led to Antonio Margarito's corner throwing in the towel in the ninth round of their WBA welterweight championship fight Saturday night at Staples Center.

While waiting for the Super Bowl to begin I watched last week's WBA Championship Boxing title match between Antonio Margarito and Shane "Sugar" Moseley. Margarito came into the fight favored over the 37-year old Moseley, mainly because of his win over formerly unbeaten Miguel Cotto six months ago.

Sugar Shane Moseley took it to Margarito through nine toe-to-toe rounds that simply wore down Margarito and had his corner finally throwing in the towel. Though Moseley dominated, Margarito showed he deserved to be there. Margarito's fighting philosophy is never retreat. With that he kept coming forward and engaging in combat even though he was coming out on the short end of the exchanges. He proved that he can take a punch, and believe me Sugar Shane was winding up with some dynamite-filled power punches.

There was controversy prior to the fight where Margarito was alleged to have had some type of hardening substance found under his hand wraps prior to the match. It was said that Margarito was ordered to have his hands re-wrapped three times. After the fight the state of California suspended Margarito's license. The fight was a title bout held at the Staples Center Arena in Los Angeles.

Good Fight Sugah!

Big Ben Rothlisberger & The Pittsburth Steelers Are Champions Again!

Super Bowl XLIII went above and beyond its hype with some historic plays and an electrifying finish. In the end though it was Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger standing tall and leading his team down field to score a game winning touchdown with thirty-five seconds left in the game.

The Arizona Cardinals are probably feeling like former coach Dennis "We-Let'em-Off-The-Hook" Green this morning. After Pittsburgh's defense had bottled up Cardinal WR Larry Fitzgerald throughout the first half, QB Kurt Warner found his #1 target twice for touchdowns in the second half. Fitzgerald's last touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 64-yard strike, put the Cardinals ahead 23-20 with 2:25 to play.

With the pressure coming in on him Big Ben Rothlisberger delivered time after time on that final Pittsburgh drive, alluding pass rushers and putting the ball where it needed to be. No pass was more defining of Big Ben's mvp-like performance than his final pump pass to Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end-zone for a ballet style toe tapping touchdown. WR Santonio Holmes may have been named game mvp, he made some clutch catches, but it was Big Ben who lead the way in keeping his team on track to win the game.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin probably said it best when asked on the championship podium how he felt at the time of the Arizona Cardinals comeback. Tomlin said there wasn't any different feeling, that Steeler football is a full sixty minutes of playing smash mouth, nothing pretty football.

The game was an entertaining performance put on by the best of the NFL. Both teams are to be commended for delivering their best on a stage that defines greatness. Super Bowl XLIII will go down as one of the most entertaining, nail-biting championship games to date. Yes, it was as good as last year's Giants vs Patriots work of art.

Congratulations Pittsburgh Steelers on winning your league leading sixth Super Bowl Championship!

Final Score:

Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 23