Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#21 CLEMENTE

Roberto Clemente Walker (August 18, 1934 – December 31, 1972)



MLB awards and achievements[edit]

Awards
Achievements
  • National League leader in batting average (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)
  • National League leader in hits (1964, 1967)
  • National League leader in triples (1969)
  • National League leader in putouts as right fielder (1958, 1961, 1966)
  • National League leader in fielding average as right fielder and outfielder (1972)

Citizens Medal Citation
"All who saw Roberto Clemente in action, whether on the diamond or on the front lines of charitable endeavor, are richer for the experience. He stands with the handful of men whose brilliance has transformed the game of baseball into a showcase of skill and spirit, giving universal delight and inspiration. More than that, his selfless dedication to helping those with two strikes against them in life has blessed thousands and set an example for millions. As long as athletes and humanitarians are honored, Roberto Clemente's memory will live; as long as Citizens Medals are presented, each will mean a little more because the first one went to him."

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Saddest Story Ever Told - George Stinney, Jr.


In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5' 1" and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.
The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.



I first read about 14 year old George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in the United States, about three years ago while researching the death penalty in the United States.  His story gripped me so that I felt uncomfortable posting it on this blog. It felt like discovering the tragic remains of a shipwreck, like the Titanic, where you just want to leave what you've found at rest. Until today I've done just that.

Last week I'd read that the young 14 year old was exonerated by a circuit court judge in South Carolina, 70 years after their justice system executed him in the electric chair.  George Stinney, Jr was a victim of American southern justice, not by a prejudiced ku klux klan led lynch mob, but a white sheriff, white deputies, white defense attorney, white judge, white jurors and state and federal laws that gave no protection whatsoever to black citizens and their children in these United States.  It was white justice that took this child's life.  If George had been white I seriously doubt he ever would' ve been accused.  But George was black, and in the south of 1944, it was a crime to be black.

I just can't fathom that of all these white people involved with the case, none had the courage or decency to stand up and say putting to death a child, who it had to be obvious did not commit the crime he was accused of, was a wrongful sin against humanity, regardless of their feelings toward Colored folks.  The only answer I can come up with is that the year was 1944.  The U.S. had been fighting in World War II for three years and the country was busy being angry, hateful and down right scared. Its so hard to accept that at that time in the south its just the way it was.

Maybe if it had been a year later and photos and newsreel of atrocities done to Jewish children in Europe by Hitler's German death camps, maybe the grown white Americans of South Carolina would have seen George Stinney, Jr as an innocent human child, different from their own children only by the darker hue of his skin. How could then new Governor, Olin D. Johnston, not act to stop the execution after hearing pleas from local black churches and the NAACP? 

Local churches, the N.A.A.C.P., and unions pleaded with Johnston to stop the execution and commute the sentence to life imprisonment, citing Stinney's age as a mitigating factor. But he did not act, instead allowing the execution to take place.

But still, I just can't see how grown white men and women can allow a child, identified then as a teenager, but he was a 95 pound child, to be executed in a monstrous, man-made killing contraption, while they watched without protest. 

I decided on Christmas day to watch the movie "Carolina Skeltons," a 1988 fictionalized movie based on the George Stinney, Jr. case.  It was truly the saddest story I've ever seen on film. The young actor playing the part of George became George on film.  Just imagine how scared and alone this young boy had to feel while locked up waiting to be judged and killed by what must've felt like alien abductors. His family was run out of town with threats of lynching the entire family not long after George was arrested.

Its said they used little George's bible to prop him up higher in the electric chair so that the headgear and mask would fit.  I know its not the story anyone wants to read today, but take seven minutes to hear the facts about the arrest, trial and execution of young George Stinney, Jr, as read by The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur.  It took four minutes for the precious life of this child to be short circuited permanently by a South Carolina electric chair nicknamed "Ol' Sparky."


Monday, December 22, 2014

Media Doesn't Get Why Marshawn Lynch Won't Speak

Sometimes you wonder if television reportage is made up of people so smart that their brain power blinds all their common senses.  One of the greatest running backs in the NFL today hasn't been comfortable talking with the sports media since he came into the league in 2007.  He is the ultimate example of letting his play on the field do the talking for him. When asked the same questions over and over by the media he gives little if no answer and yet remains polite and courteous as they continue not to "Get It."

As much as I dislike the saying "I get that," I must use it here to describe the actions of Marshawn when put in front of a camera; "I totally get it."

Marshawn is as distrustful of the media as any professional athlete in today's limelight should be.  He appears to be a private man being forced to engage in public speaking, and there's no mistaking his reluctance to be poked at, humiliated and or accused of being anything but a man.  Our media can get very upset when athletes choose not to play their game. They can get ugly, discourteous and even vindictive, leaving star athletes with nothing to hold onto except their Cojones when breaking news of less honorable, off field actions are discovered.

I salute Marshawn Lynch for not selling his soul and sacrificing hard earned dollars via fines in order to maintain his dignity and respect.  Maybe its a black and white cultural difference that keeps the media from "Getting It."  A brotha knows when to back off from a brotha, ya feel me?

You only need look at who's asking the questions and how, to understand that they're not friends of Marshawn. They're not there to uplift his career without him giving something juicy in exchange. Media would rather be the first to report a negative story about him than write anything resembling a feel good story, because negativity sells and they're in the business of selling; all of them.

The suspensions, fines and firings of NFL athletes is always a hot item for media to report on.  It can launch a reporter's career.  Most young athletes don't seem to understand just how quickly media can turn on them once they've made a mistake or ruffled some media feathers. Many athletes love to shine in front of the cameras when things are good, but will shove a cameraman in the face when approached by reporters outside the courtroom trying to get an exclusive interview with the now accused.  Media sees it as just a game, a no holds barred game that pays them well if they deliver the goods at the expense of star athletes .  Athletes should see it as a life-threatening curse and wise up. Then clam up and pay the league fine for stiff-arming the media.  

Few if any sports reporters put their careers on the line when they ask questions during interviews. None are risking the amount of monies the professional athletes they interview are risking.  Make one mistake, one misstep in how you answer what could be a loaded question from an interviewer and the entire world gets to see a fool and his money parted. And worse, he has to explain it to is family.

I'm pretty sure that Marshawn was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  He's in the prime of his earning potential as a NFL player and may not have college degrees and such to fall back on should that career be shortened by injury or scandal.  So please media, let the man leave all his talking on the field and stop trying so desperately to squeeze a comment out of him.  For once try to "Get It."  

Marshawn Lynch is a man first and foremost. Whatever obligations and commitments to the media written into his contract were probably done with the understanding of monetary punishment if he should not fulfill that obligation. He has chosen the punishment over public speaking, keeping his Cojones intact.  He'll continue to pay fines imposed by the league for not talking to the media.  And Lord willing he'll someday retire with his dignity, personal life, peace of mind and hard earned income all safe from what has become to be seen as public lynchings of sports figures in the media. 

Right On Marshawn! Never let Go!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Raiders Defense Grabs Buffalo By The Horns

With the Buffalo Bills (8-6) playing for the playoffs and Oakland Raiders (2-12) playing for pride, it was the hometown pride that won out in a hard fought game at Oakland Coliseum.  Buffalo came in needing a win to stay alive for the post-season and it appeared, after a first quarter touchdown bomb to rookie WR Sammie Watkins, that they just might make the coliseum their playground.  Then Sir Charles Woodson and the defense took charge, limiting the Bills offense to a total of 13 rushing yards for the game. Sir Charles 1st quarter interception ignited a fire under the Raiders defensive unit and sent a game changing message to the opponent; Not Up In Here!



#24 Charles Woodson after intercepting Bills QB Kyle Orton

QB Derek Carr and the offense did enough to take a lead and the defense made sure it stuck.  Running Backs Latavius Murray and Marcel Reece gave us some electrifying moments along with Darren McFadden, who it was good to see get pass a few initial tacklers.  Receivers Kembrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes pulled in enough passes to give kicker Sebastian Janowski decent field position for 4 of 5 field goals made. 

Best news of the day was rumor that the Raiders are about to sign a 1-year contract to play next season at the Oakland Coliseum.  Heck, we'll take whatever we can get when it comes to making sure the Raiders stay in Oakland. 

After seeing the San Francisco 49ers squander a brilliant 28-7 half-time lead and lose in overtime to the San Diego Chargers yesterday, I can say that today's blue collar Raiders win leaves silver and black football fans with a bright outlook for bay area football. And if you saw rookie LB #52 Kahlil Mack putting hits and pressure on the opposing quarterback today, you'd understand our enthusiasm.



Shout outs to defensive players Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck, T.J. Carrie, Miles Burris, Brendian Ross and Ray Ray Armstrong. 
Good Job Soldiers!

ISIS - The History Behind A Bully

I should just stop listening to good talk radio in the early morning hours when it comes to world events and how things came about.  If I'd just listen to CNN and FOX news my perspective on the crisis in the Middle East would be narrower and thereby much easier to identify the good, bad and ugly players involved, albeit with a dash of ignorance. 

But listening to commonwealth club guest speakers like Abbas Milani, dir. of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, makes it just about impossible to believe the major news organizations when they report 'breaking news' on middle eastern conflicts and western surprise at the atrocities going on.

Mr. Milani paints a political middle east landscape that has been influenced, trained and likely armed by western countries with interests in oil money, the destruction of Russian communism, and much more. He shares with listeners some of the history of Islam and how two different sects were used against one another by those with interests. It's a Fredo Moment that begs to be heard.

One thing Mr. Milani suggested that caught my ear was him saying that a separation of religion and politics in the middle east is needed in order to solve some of the differences. 




Abbas Malekzadeh Milani is an Iranian-American historian and author.  Milani is a visiting professor of Political Science and the director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University.

A United States and Iran Alliance to solve Iraq Crisis?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I'll Believe It When I See It - Money vs Pacman

Floyd "Money" Mayweather has publicly announced that he wants Manny Pacquaio.



We are ready. Let's make it happen. May 2. Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Let's do it.
- Floyd Mayweather Jr.


Most boxing fans have chewed through the bit, anxiously waiting for this fight of the millennium to happen.  Floyd just threw more gasoline on the fire by calling out Manny and setting a date for the rumble. Now all that needs to happen is the promoting parties gotta put pen to paper with a payoff price that makes the loser feel like a winner.  Is it possible?

I still say I'll believe it when I see those two touching gloves in the middle of the ring, but I have to say that this time hearing Mayweather give lip service to fighting Pacquaio sounded just a bit more like..................Money in the Bank!

Make It Happen!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Raiders Welcome Niners Fans to Coliseum



They came, they drank dance and shouted, and then they watched their team get bounced by the Oakland Raiders. For the most part it was a fun-spirited day for 49er fans visiting the Oakland Coliseum. Raider Nation showed them how to tailgate and get ready for a football game and they'll never be the same.

I guarantee you, that the next time those red and gold clad fans save up enough money to go to a game at sparkling new Levy Stadium in Santa Clara, they'll talk about the really good time they had over at the Raiders tailgate. And the @ss whupping their team received .





Thursday, December 11, 2014

Raiders: Champions for a Bay

QB Derek Carr outstanding in Battle of the Bay 2014


Final
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  •  
  • T
(7-6, 4-3 away)
  • 7
  • 3
  • 3
  • 0
  •  
  • 13
(2-11, 2-5 home)
  • 3
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  •  
  • 24
Game Leaders
S
F
  • PASS:
  • RUSH:
  • REC:
O
A
K
  • PASS:
  • RUSH:
  • REC:
Game Stats

248
330
OFF. YDS
2
0
TURNOVERS
27:05
32:55
TIME POSS



Friday, December 05, 2014

Hell on Earth - Bay Area Gridiron Battle

Like a blazing comet roaring through the football universe; its fast, furious and only comes around every so many years.  Yep, it's the battle of the bay with the San Francisco 49ers crossing the mote to take on the Oakland Raiders.

For this game the experts can throw away all their statistics, history and current standings of these two teams.  The game is not a game; its a battle. And as battles go, their outcomes are determined only by the blood and sweat left on the battlefield that day.


This Sunday, Dec. 7th, football fans in the bay won't be reminiscing on the hell that was the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941, they'll be busy watching, and possibly participating in, a battle as real to them as a struggle for world military supremacy.  The worse place anybody can be caught this weekend is in the middle; the mote. Because come this Sunday you're either with the Niners Empire or the Raider Nation; the middle will be full of battle wounded and casualties.  Time to grab your weapon and choose you're true allegiance mate. arrghh!


Warriors Out-Duel 'The Brow"

New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis, nicknamed 'The Brow', came to play in the bay and was magnificent. He had 30pts and 12rebs on the night showing that he's more than just a catchy nickname; he's an upcoming league superstar.  But against a star-studded team like the Golden State Warriors, 'The Brow' had to bow down to what in my opinion is a championship-caliber team.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Pelicans 112-85 for a franchise best eleven straight wins as well as to claim the NBA's best win-loss record (16-2.) The funny thing is the Warriors came out a bit slow, then took control and was able to put it into cruise control down the stretch.  

The second string was as exciting and productive as the first, with Livingston, Igoudala, Barbosa and my bench mvp of this young season Mareese Speights. Speights has turned up his offensive production and at times has carried the team during this historic winning streak they're in.  Keep it going Mo!

We basketball fans in the bay area gots to be careful; the Warriors are spoiling us with their dominating style of play. 

Marreese 'Mo' Speights
From Zero to Hero by Angelo Mendoza

Friday, November 28, 2014

49ers Get Roasted On Turkey Day


The San Francisco 49ers, playing a Thursday Night Thanksgiving Day game at home, were exposed and embarrassed by the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.  After two earlier Thanksgiving Day game blowouts (Eagles 33, Cowboys 10; Lions 34, Bears 17) I was ready for the highly hyped defensive battle that pitted the teams who met in last season's NFC Championship game. The match-up would save the day for the NFL.

Oh well, so much for saving grace performances in professional football.  The Seattle Seahawks played like champions while the 49ers clearly looked like 2014 pretenders.  I waited for the Niners to make that game changing play that would turn their night and make it a competitive affair.  The game changer never came and the Seahawks would walk off the field with a decisive Turkey Day victory (Seahawks 19, 49ers 3).

This day after finds sports talk radio fielding calls from irate Niner fans trying to wrap their heads around what's wrong with their team. CEO Jed York apologized to 49er fans for an unacceptable performance by his team. Now it seems the Niners, now longshots to make the playoffs, are in total disarray.  Folks are blaming everything from the head coach to the new pristine home stadium and its fair-weather fans, for the Niners drop in performance.  Its hard to believe that a team with such individual talent, coming off a super bowl appearance sandwiched by two championship games the past three years, can fall to failure so fast.

Is it possible that as a team they just aren't that good anymore?  If you ask Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman; the Niners offensively were never that good.  Who am I to argue with Sherman, the player with two interceptions in the game, seen eating a victory turkey leg while fielding questions during the post-game interview taking place atop the 49ers logo at midfield. Sherman, always a showman, bit into that turkey leg like it was the meat of sweet victory. It was!

The 49ers come to Oakland Coliseum for their next game. They'll have plenty of time to lick their wounds and try to regain the respect of their fans.  The Raiders, coming off their first win of the season, take on the St. Louis Rams this Sunday. Should the silver and black come out victorious in St. Louis, they'll be pumped to get back to the bay and attempt to stretch their winning streak to three games. Even should they lose in St. Louis, the battle of the bay is a game that needs no incentive. Never has the Raiders moniker "Just Win Baby" meant as much as this battle of the bay, where they can put a dagger in the Niners playoff hopes. Who knew that it could be the Raiders playing in a trap game this weekend, as they lick their chops looking past the Rams for a chance to take their bay rivals down a notch.

Just Win Baby!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Curry Connects On 8 Three Point Shots



The Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry were in Miami taking on the Heat.  Miami led 62-61 at half-time. Then came the second half and a surge by Stephen Curry doused any chances for the Heat to win the game. Curry was on Fire with a scorching 40pts as he led the Warriors to their sixth consecutive victory.

We knew that the Warriors would be contenders this season just by the way they performed in last seasons' playoffs.  But who knew that new head coach Steve Kerr would have them playing some of their best basketball Ever!  

The Warriors are tearing through NBA teams top to bottom, like they're in a race to reach the playoffs and revenge past season failures.  They've given notice to the league, as well as us fans, that they're not to be taken lightly this season.  

If they ended last season with a spark, then you can say coach Kerr has begun this season with a mountain brush fire blazing underneath this Warriors squad. There seems to be a burning desire by this team to go out every night and not just beat the opponent, but torch'em to a crisp. Tonight, Steph Curry set flame throwers to full blast, scorching everything in his path not wearing Warriors protective gear. So get your Hazmat suits ready, the Warriors have come out to play.

Final Score
Warriors 114
Heat 97


Top Performers

Golden State
Miami
Stephen CurryCurry
Points: 40
Reb: 6
Ast: 7
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
Chris BoshBosh
Points: 26
Reb: 9
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Flame On!

Happy Raiders Thanksgiving

Nothing beats a win before the Holidays.  The Raiders rollicking win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday night was enough to carry my sports appetite through to Thanksgiving.    It was a great win that Raider Nation is still savoring the juicy flavors from.

The Oakland Coliseum was louder and prouder before, during and after the game than they've been in years. This win, anticipated by all Raiders fans, allowed us silver and black soldiers to let out all that frustration we've endured through the losses.  It gave us a national platform to roar and show exactly why we stick through it all with the Raiders; win lose or tie, you don't abandon your family.



One such family member came blustering into the coliseum on autumn winds to be honored for his 2014 induction into the NFL Hall of Fame: Ray Guy, first punter inducted into the HOF. With other Raiders HOF'ers underneath umbrellas cheering him on, Ray showed enduring class, poise and pride accepting his HOF ring in a downpour of rains. It was a special night, and the family just wasn't going to be denied anything. Congratulations Ray!

As for the Raiders on the field of play, when players wearing silver and black play bad, the uniform looks bad, but when they play good, there's no better looking uniform sweeping past defenders for a 90 yard touchdown in the NFL. Thursday night, with their silver helmets glistening under pouring rains, the Raiders looked knightly.

Sure we fans and some players celebrated boisterously like we'd just won the friggin super bowl, its been that long and that painful a losing experience. Now we move onward with a winning swagger, a villain to teams we'll face who are looking to seal playoff berths.  In the infamous words of Mr. T, "I pity the fool" coming to play the Oakland Raiders without bringing their A-game.

Final Score
Chiefs 20
Raiders 24




The Autumn Wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea,
With a rollocking song, he sweeps along,
Swaggering boisterously.
His face is weather beaten.
He wears a hooded sash,
With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache.
He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.
The Autumn Wind is a raider,
Pillaging just for fun.
He'll knock you 'round and upside down,
And laugh when he's conquered and won.