Friday, May 30, 2014

Streakin' San Francisco Giants

Baseball God's Shining Down On San Francisco Giants

So this is what it feels like to have the best team with the best record (36-19) in major league baseball.  Blissful!

My San Francisco Giants have won four games straight, winning eight of their last ten.  They're playing winning baseball and dare I say they look like a powerhouse team?  They can shutout a team just as easily as beating them in extra innings.  They've got some big bats, shutdown pitchers and gold glove infielders.  Manager Bruce Bochy is pulling the right strings at the right time, getting the most out of every roster spot.

Injuries to major parts has not stopped this team from performing with precision and purpose. They play hard yet relaxed with a skill that seems just a step above the rest.  At first I thought, "geesh, the Giants are having a lucky year, getting all the breaks."  But then I realized luck was a very small part of their early season success.  The boys in orange and black are simply playing their butts off, hungry for another taste of this decade's even years championship pie (2010, 2012). 

The Giants and their fans these days are just groovin' on a baseball afternoon, feelin no pain. Just continue to win series boys, that's been my motto from the start, win series.  Its an odd feeling, to be able to look a loss squarely in the mug and shrug it off without a second thought. 

Mike Morse
That my friends is what having a dominant team does to a fan.  The Giants have replaced torture baseball with tape measure home runs and eye-popping double plays. And they're making it look like just another fun day at the amusement park.  

In the infamous words of Ferris Buehler,

"Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

I don't plan to miss any of this wonderful SF Giants baseball season. It feels too too good rooting for a juggernaut as it mows down opponents.  Every fan should know this feeling at least once. May the baseball God's continue to smile down on us.  

Brandon Crawford

Final Score
Giants 9
Cardinals 4

2014 Scripps Spelling Bee Tie

They say its only happened four times in the 89 year history of the contest, the last being 52 years ago.  Ladies and Gentlemen we have a "Tie" in this years annual Scripps Spelling Bee championship.  I think its a perfect ending to what I'm told was a 'riveting final-round duel.'

Congratulations go out to 1st place co-champions Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar.  Its not often that representatives from Texas and New York find themselves sharing anything in common.  Ansun and Sriram are proving that regardless of our differences, a victory shared can bond competitors as much if not more than individual domination.  Isn't there a verse somewhere in the Christian Bible that says "and the children shall lead?"  Well Done children, well done!

Ansun (left) and Sriram (right) will each take home a trophy

 "feulletion," the features section of a European newspaper or magazine.
Championship Finalists

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Great Dr. Maya Angelou Passes

This incredible woman who embraced life and fought not just a good fight, but an honorable one, will always be loved, respected and held up high so that others can see what she taught us.

Dr. Maya Angelou passed away the other day and I immediately asked myself what it was that I'd learned from her.  Right away thoughts of how my views about women, especially those in my family, were changed by reading the great doctor's verses.  For a young man like myself, so wrapped up in a young man's life, I'd never fully given thought and consideration to the goodness that women had brought to me throughout my life.  Of course I loved my mother, sisters and aunts, but it was as much out of obligation as it was out of respect.  

After seeing and/or reading the honorable Dr. Angelou's "I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings" I began questioning the struggle and courage it took to live as a strong woman, or just as a weak woman trying to survive in a man's world.  It was an eye-opening education for me, and one that continues til this day.  

As soon as I begin to think I know the pains of a woman I stop, drop and pray forgiveness for my arrogant thoughts.  Its taken me years to overcome some of my deepest thoughts of women as the weaker sex, even though I was raised in a family full of strong women.   I suppose its just a man's way to label women as we do, that is until we find our lives hanging by a thread with at least one special, loving woman by our side, holding our hand, keeping watch over us with love and prayer.  It is then that many of us men are awakened to what love truly is.   It is when another type of caged bird is freed and begins to sing.

Its never too late to love deeply or learn how. There are special beings put on this earth with talents that enlighten us to the God given beauty that is this life we are living.  There is a season given for these special beings to shine their teaching beam on us so that we may walk a path of divine purpose.  Dr. Maya Angelou was one of those beams, sharing her literary talent and more, so that the season of her world blossomed under the rays of her words.  

"I Sing Because I'm Happy, I Sing Because I'm Free"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spend Memorial Day With A Conga Master

As a young boy I'd play my older brother and sister's R&B records while banging on the tops of two bar stools in our living room.  I was funky.  Having an ear for music allowed me to adapt to percussion instruments with ease, however it wasn't until years later that I was introduced to Latin Salsa rhythms and began attempting to mimic the faster sounds.  

I'm still learning, which is what I'd like to have put on my tombstone.  Music is the medium that brings people of all backgrounds together.  I witnessed it yesterday at the SF Carnival Festival, a collage of peoples from all parts of the globe, eating, laughing, dancing and enjoying the gift of life.  Life is incredible, and music reflects the happiness our souls fill up with from loving life.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bochy Says Duck, Casilla Hears Rabbit

Listening to KNBR hosts Tom Tolbert and Ray Ratto discuss Santiago Casilla's ill-advised swing, hit and run brought tears of laughter to my eyes.  It reminded me of that infamous Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck dialogue with Daffy getting the short end of the exchange, as usual.

For those who missed the injury causing play: Giants pitcher Casilla was up to bat and had been supposedly told by manager Bruce Bochy, the two-time world series champion manager Bruce Bochy, not to swing the bat.  Well, somewhere along the way between the dugout and the batters box, Casilla got it into his head to swing the bat. Twice!  And by golly if he didn't make contact with the ball. The excited pitcher, possibly egged on by his fellow ball players in the dugout, took off sprinting toward first base as if he had rabbit speed and agility. He didn't.

Arriving at the plate reality sunk in; his duck feet waddled over the bag pitching him into an awkward tumble that was hilarious to watch.  It appeared that even the pitcher got a laugh out of his flop until the smile turned into a grimace as he rolled over in pain.  

It was a very hard-earned lesson for the pitcher to learn as he was helped off the field with a strained hamstring, unable to waddle without assistance.  When a proven leader like Bochy, with quick Rabbit wit tells you its Duck season, don't try to match wits with him.  The Duck got the short end of the exchange yet again; he was called out!

Santiago Casilla Out Four Weeks

Giants 5  Rockies 1

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Forget Godzilla 2014, This is what Scares Me

Today's Law Enforcement roundup of people caught sharing child pornography online turned up persons who've earned some trusting titles as adults.  Its as if what we thought we knew about child porn has been completely turned upon its head.  

The Jerry Sandusky story was shocking, but it netted just one monster.  Today's bust of 71 potential monsters caught in the net is numbing in its revelation.  Not only are many of the 71 monsters educated, but they're professionals who've earned the trust and respect of colleagues in their fields as well as the respect of their communities.  They're people who prior to this bust, we'd of thought of as good guys and gals.

"Many of the defendants are in fact educated and successful in their professional and private lives," Hayes told reporters. "We can no longer assume that the only people who would stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters."

What do a policeman, boy scout leader and rabbi have in common?  Trust me when I say the punchline ain't pretty.  Is the internet awakening a monster living in the depths of normal human consciousness or has the monster always been awake and active, only to add the internet as a new tool in its child predatory practices?  It really is a horrific and scary monster to look at, but we must look it straight in the face and learn everything we can about it in order to stop it's terror.  Little lives are at stake. How many can only be estimated in the billions since the internet reaches every civilized community on earth.

Today's bust reminds us of that all valuable lesson of not judging a book by its cover.  There are good books with raggedy covers and bad books with pristine covers.  Until the cover is lifted and you get a glimpse of what's inside, you can't begin to know all the book is about.  It's about time we began uncovering and disarming the monsters.  

There's plenty of work to be done.  It includes reevaluating our own perceptions of sexuality and what we accept to be marketed to us as acceptable stimulation.  When it comes to our children, we adults are who they look to for protection and guidance. If we are doing or allowing things to occur that threaten that protection, how must the children feel about their so-called guides and protectors?  

Is Abortion A Poor Choice?

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die
 so that you may live as you wish"

I saw this quote by Mother Teresa on the back of an anti-abortionist t-shirt yesterday.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  First thought was did Mother Teresa actually say it?  Then I thought it odd that she used the word "poverty" as opposed to "sin" or "crime." 

I realize from this wording swap that Mother Teresa was a very smart, politically minded woman.  In using the word "poverty" she keeps the heat off herself and forces the reader to reflect on their decision to choose abortion.  It’s as if she’s saying you might legally have the right to choose, but abortion is a poor decision.

The second half of the quote points the finger straight at the pro abortion believers by making abortion wrong for any reason. What type of human being would kill a child in order that they may continue or begin living as they wish? That "wish" is sure made to sound like a selfish, uncaring, un-responsible life. Again, Mother Teresa uses an interesting word; "wish." Why not the words "as you please?" 

Is it that to live as you wish is all encompassing and applies to any and every choice one would ever make? The lines "to live as you choose and/or please" are synonymous with decisive action(s) you make, whereas "live as you wish" is a hope and not an action.

To please -  is to make pleasurable and comfortable
To wish  - a wish is a hope for better or worse, more or less
To choose – is to make a choice between two or more (right or wrong, good or bad, rich or poor)

Friday, May 16, 2014

From Pie-Derman to Careless Whisper

The Oakland A's player who's known for performing the classic pie-in-the-face stunt on teammates during after game interviews has now come up with a smashing classic of another type.

Outfielder Josh Reddick has changed his walk up music to the classic 1980's hit song "Careless Whisper," and the fans love it.  If you haven't heard it you'd think, why the heck would a ball player use That girly tune to step into the batter's box with.  But I tell you, once you hear it and see it you'll be the one changing your tune.  The smooth, trumpeting sound adds something................mystical and meditative to the game, and to Reddick's batting average.  

The outfielder has been smacking the ball all over the yard since "Careless Whisper" became his lucky charm.  Today in an away game in Cleveland, Reddick hit two home runs for six RBI's.  And the music hasn't diminished his spider man senses that allows him to climb and stick to outfield walls and fences in order to steal a hit.  I don't think the Indians played Careless Whisper for him today, but it didn't matter; when you're hot your hot.  

In news across the country the name of the major leaguer in green and yellow, who bats to the tune of Careless Whisper is no secret. Josh Reddick has awakened those who might've thought baseball a bore, and he's climbing the charts on the media billboard.  Go Spidey!

Final Score
Athletics 11
Indians 1

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

OKC Flops, Clippers Choke, Devil Collects

It was one heck of a comeback for the Oklahoma City Thunder.  I was sure that the Los Angeles Clippers had game 5 in hand leading by at least seven points with under a minute left.  I actually need to confirm the clock and points, but believe me, the Clips are walking away from this game in Shock!

I question some of the calls and wonder if OKC got away with some things at home.  But the Clips had it and simply coughed up the game to the home team.  Even though they're from that superficial land of lies labeled L.A., and even though their billionaire owner has just committed what's being made to feel like the racist crime of the century, I feel for the Clippers.  They didn't deserve to have this game end in the manner it did.  Tonight the devil came to collect his dues and there was nothing Donald Sterling & Co. could do to avoid or postpone payment.

Even the final play with Chris Paul attempting a prayerful inside pass to Blake Griffin looked as if Lucifer himself poked it away with his pronged pitchfork. It was a pathetic end to a full collapse. 

My guess is they're injecting coach Doc Rivers with a strong sedative as I type this post, such was his wide-mouthed jawing and gestures of protest at the referees' game changing calls.  The worst call being the Chris Paul foul on Russell Westbrook's three point shot with under ten seconds left. I simply didn't see a foul.  Of course Westbrook made all three of the foul shots, putting the Thunder ahead for the final score. Yep, me thinks the doc needed a doc.  

Final Score
Clippers 104
Thunder 105

Thursday, May 08, 2014


The first round selection of University at Buffalo Outside Line Backer Khalil Mack could be the best draft pick the Raiders have had in years.  Of course I was hyped in 2010 when they picked inside line backer Rolando McClain in the 8 spot of the first round.  Surprisingly, Mack was available in the 5 spot and the Raiders pounced.

I was more impressed with the Rolando McClain college highlights, but then again, he rolled with the 2009 national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. But K Mac is a play maker, no question.  And he brings an engine that is always revved up in high gear.

The Raiders can definitely utilize Khalil's tenacious pursuit and pressure he puts on the offensive backfield.  He seems to have a very long arm reach with good wrapping up technique.   Once he wraps his prey they seldom escape.

He has all the potential to make an instant impact on defense.  With his on-field football intelligence and the host of veteran players around him, Khalil's professional learning curve could be complete by the first quarter of the season. Its all about how the defensive coordinator plans to use him in different sets.

Though one impact player does not make a contender, the 2014 Oakland Raiders are filling the voids and adding the pieces that will produce a stronger competitor than last season. 

 K MAC  
Mack may be the most complete defender in this draft, even ahead of Clowney. His ideal fit probably would have been in a 3-4, but the Raiders will show multiple looks on defense and will find ways to utilize Mack. Considering he is adept at rushing the passer, stuffing the run and dropping in coverage, working him into the mix should not be too difficult.

Note: With #1 picHouston Texans selected DE Jadeveon Clowney

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Raiders Tailgate Experience - It Never Gets Old

I've been tailgating since the Raiders Return to Oakland in 1995, and this video 2011 clip here captures what I remember about the tailgate experience best. Unfortunately, the bands of the early days are no longer allowed, but everything else is here.

From the food, to the music to the diverse partying and love for one another. It's all here and I owe it to my man President L. Davis for keeping this archive alive on youtube.  Helluva job on this L., if you're the one who put it together.

Anyone who wants to know what true Raider Tailgating is all about, check out this clip, then make it out to the Oakland Coliseum on NFL Sunday to do it LIVE!

One Nation Baby!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Fix Is In; Don't Tell The Horse

Wow, this weekend's sports calendar is overflowing with exciting challenges and competitions.  T'is the season to become a true couch potato with all the snacky finger foods at your side.  April showers (for those not in drought barren California) are over and the smell of May flowers are in the air.  Money May that is, as our pound-for-pound best boxing champion, Floyd Mayweather defends his title tonight against challenger Marcos Maidana.  

Boxing is the sport that invented the practice of 'fixing'.  Fixing simply comes with the territory of the sweet science.  They're saying nobody, not even the challenger's fans, think he has a shot at winning tonight.  I heard a sports analyst compare this fight to the Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas classic upset; where the underdog challenger steps up to shock the world.  Was the fix in on that 1990 fight in Tokyo, Japan?  

My Golden State Warriors will participate in one of three NBA game 7 playoff contests tonight. It has just about become standard practice that NBA playoff series go the full distance.  Why leave all that money sitting on the table when sports consumers and the television networks are screaming for more basketball?  You want a classic game 7, you got it, in High Definition.  Doesn't mean no strings are attached to the final outcome. Point shaving never hurt anybody, right?

Hockey tries to use the same formula as basketball.  Six of eight NHL round 1 playoff series went six or more games so far this season.  The networks love it.  Round two is in full swing today and my San Jose Sharks aren't in it, so my enthusiasm ain't what it was. As we learnt with boxing, anytime there's a fight there's opportunity for a fix.  And need I remind fans that Hockey is full of fighting.  As I write this the Boston Bruins are battling the Montreal Canadiens with no score in the first period.  Expect more game 7's on ice in May.

Baseball might just be the purest sport today when it comes to the fix.  Though it carries the old bruise from the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, baseball without a clock feels truly like a "For The Love of The Game" competition.  Today's performance enhancing drug scandals don't fall into the fixing category; PED's are really just competitors trying desperately to get the edge over an opponent, or over an injury. But that classic scene of the Chicago newspaper boy yelling "Say It Ain't So Joe" to White Sox star Shoeless Joe Jackson is embedded in our sports memory log. Joe deserves better.

Yeah, anybody playing any sport can be got at by the fixers.  But there's one athletic body stepping up to the starting line this weekend that can't get got.  He's built like a thoroughbred, needs no animal or superhuman logo to reflect his strong and fast attributes, and he doesn't do interviews or make guarantees. He's a mind of his own and in any given competition, though being urged on by trainer and rider, he can upset the field or lay down and take the day off.  Nobody tells him to take a dive; and unless someone tampers with him physically to render him scratched from the event, the odds of him coming out victorious lay in his hooves.  Yes, I'm talking about a racehorse.  

This weekend the 140th Kentucky Derby is scheduled to be run, and the contenders ain't talking to nobody.  There've been two scratches but nobody's crying foul.  My money is on who else but California Chrome.  Why?  Well, you gotta ask the horse.  

California Chrome Favored To Win Kentucky Derby

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Raiders Feeling Draft Day

I mean really, what else is there to talk about when it comes to the 2014 NFL Draft?  We've seen, we've tested and we've talked about all the aspects and attributes of this year's draft prospects.  

We're 7 days away from putting our money where our hearts are. It comes down to who do we want and how badly do we want him/them. 

We're slotted to pick #5 in the first round and can trade up or down if need be.  We're in a good place feeling pretty positive about our chances of getting our man/men.  We can cruise on into draft day on a high so sweet that it'll make you feel like 1976, the year the Raiders won their first super bowl.  Do you feel me?  

What better way to bring in this draft day than with the 1976 album of the year and one of the best selling live album's to hit the United States. 

Frampton Comes Alive (Peter Frampton)

Do You Feel Like We Do Raiders Fans!

Bay Area Sports: Next Man Up

The SF/Oak/SJ Sports landscape is a sea of change. One minute its taking us high on the waves of a championship crest and the next its dropping us down into the depths of despair and loss.  Such is the ebb and flow of competitive sports, season after season.  

The seasonal waves of basketball and hockey have taken us to heights of promise of late.  But last night our teal, black and white Sharks were thrown against the coastal rocks of a playoff game 7 by the Los Angeles Kings.  The Sharks couldn't fair the storm that nobody on deck saw coming.  They were out-maneuvered and overpowered, scuttled to the depths of defeat with all hope of a first Stanley Cup championship smashed to smithereens.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors find themselves rowing for dear life as the storm wave that is the Los Angeles Clippers rolls into town tonight to engulf and drown out all hopes of bay area basketball reaching the next tier of championship competition.  

The two California teams have given us basketball fans much to cheer and gripe about throughout this series, but tonight's game 6 could see it all come crashing down for the Warriors as the Clips can douse all hope for the Dubs once promising season.  

Maybe the L.A. squad, a transplant from San Diego via Buffalo for you sports trivia buffs, was designed to weather the playoff storms better. After all, I'm told a clipper ship is a strong, durable craft designed to roll on the waves with grace.  The Warriors are fighting an up-wave battle tonight.  Good Luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

And so, as seasons change, so change the hopes of our sporting hearts.  Baseball is here and our bay area vessels are atop their divisions, riding the early waves of triumph.  The San Francisco Giants are 17-11 and 1.5 games ahead in the NL West.  The Oakland Athletics are 18-10 and find themselves leading the AL West by 3 games.  Both are showing the rest of the competition that they aren't giving up the king-of-the-division seat without a fight.  

The baseball season is a long journey across violently shifting seas.  Its as much about keeping the vessel healthy and in ship-top shape as it is about enduring the rigors of a long and at times perilous voyage.  The goal is to safely reach the World Series championship shore. Could it be another long awaited Bay Bridge Series come October?  Again, the answer lies in the seas of change and the hands of fate.  

We wish the Warriors all the best in their game 6 survivor showdown tonight.  We look forward to a jolly good season from the A's and Giants.  Full Steam Ahead!