Friday, July 25, 2014

NFL Referee Summer Camp

Finally, with some off-season training, they're learning to let the players play and keep themselves from determining outcomes of games. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Everyone Loves A Race

One of these days I'm gonna fulfill one of my boyhood dreams; I'm gonna drive the fastest car in the world in a race that I can't be beat in.  A car so fast that even the challengers lips can be seen saying 'that's a fast freaking car."

Yeah, here's my car racing a Euro Fighter Jet. Yes, its that fast folks.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Somoan Raider Delivers

Come the regular season, we're not playing for respect; f@ck respect, we're playing for a championship.  Anything less would be unRaider-like.  The Raiders have added more seasoned impact players this off-season than I've seen added since the Gruden days. I think its the beginning of a beautiful relationship between players and coaches. As Somoan Raider so poetically stated in putting this video together, Let's Get It Started.  Good Job my Pacific Island brotha! Great Job!

ESPN wants to rank us a bottom dweller in the league, I say thank you for not only proving the conspiracy still lives after Big Al, but also a big thanks for giving Raiders fans and players some gristle to chew on leading up to the start of the season.  

The Silver and Black are finally emerging from a deep, dark place.  Once they taste the blood of a beaten opponent I don't see this mix of veterans and young'uns letting up until the full mission is accomplished.    Its our time, its our turf, and I pity the fool who thinks they'll be able to come up in here and play us like a bottom dweller.  

Let'em believe the ESPN hype if they want. With the toughest schedule of any team this season, many analysts don't expect us to win a game. But this Raiders team is way too hungry to let others expectations define their commitment to excellence. Its only July, and already I feel the Raiders getting started on being great.  If you're an opponent on our schedule this coming season, you should start preparing for that date.  The Raiders will be playing a style of football bordering on a felony.  They'll be taking what they want and committing assault with weapons of mass destruction.  I'd hate to be the one to say I told you so, but I told you so. They're coming.

Freakin World Cup Soccer

Now I know why us Americans have a hard time watching soccer.  Its not that there's not enough scoring, its just that we look at the game and wonder why a guy with the ball keeps kicking it to the opposing team.  We sit back on our couch thinking our fat butt could've rundown the soccer ball and made a play better than the professional on the field.  And while we're thinking all this it never enters our mind that the players are battling exhaustion and total fatigue.

I watched the World Cup Championship game today between Germany and Argentina.  I ran through all the Americana emotions and wonders which had me screaming 'Come'on Man' from my lazy boy style recliner.  I was sure that I, back in my prime, could've scored at least one goal for the under producing offense of Argentina.  Germany just seemed so much more in control of the ball and the game, and yet after 90 minutes of regulation the game was tied 0-0.

Throughout the game, as I rooted for the underdog Argentina, I screamed and kicked in frustration on almost every miscue the Argentinians seemed to make.  And honestly, I'm no strategist of soccer, but there seemed opportune times that just a little less matriculating and more aggressive storming of the opposing net might've resulted in an Argentina score. I mean, how many times can you let the German team take the ball away and play keep away for God knows how long.  I now realize that I didn't have a clue to just how good the German team is. 

In hindsight I Gotta give the Germans credit for sticking to their game plan. I suppose they played the game the way its meant to be played; as a fearless team unafraid to attack and confident in their defense. I still question some of Germany's flopping and foul calls, but it didn't take away from the game. Germany was the better team and deserving of a hard fought victory.

I believe myself and many other American sports fans have taken much away from this year's World Cup competition.  We as a nation have improved in world soccer competition, but still have a lot of catching up to do.  

I did ask a foreigner what makes non-Americans so fanatic about the game of soccer and the World Cup.  He said without hesitation that its so much more than just a game. He said its something you're born into and live for; a metaphor for life to many.  The chance to compete and/or cheer for your country in a game played the world over by thousands, millions since childhood, is the ultimate sporting experience.  Finally, the foreigner made it clear that America needs time to become passionate about soccer in the way we are passionate about football. Its not something you can turn on and off every four years nor only play hard when the cameras are tuned in.  Until Soccer seeps into the blood of Americans with that need to be great at it, to live and breathe it everyday, only then can an American team find themselves earning the respect of those who've already put so much blood, sweat and tears into the game.  On that I can totally concur.  Today's game had it all. 

Congratulations Germany on your 2014 World Cup Championship

Friday, July 11, 2014

Shot Heard Round The World - Giants Baseball

With the Giants needing a resurrection of sorts these days, I thought it appropriate to remind myself exactly why I continue to watch and suffer through the highs and lows of another torturous baseball season. Its the unforgettable Moments.

Moments like 1951's Robbie Thompson "shot heard around the world," that reminds old Giants fans and new alike, that baseball is a game of little seasonal moments that when sprinkled with a bit of magic can lead to big, breathtaking moments linking peoples, places and sporting lives from one generation to the next.  

Its these moments that are passed generation to generation like a family heirloom given to a young bride, departing soldier or in this case a precocious, inquisitive child.  Just one moment in sports can become an everlasting jewel that one rubs on and shines until it sparkles brightly for those lost in the darkness wondering what joys there are in life.

There are two things that make moments like these so  precious and memorable;  The thrill of experiencing such a dreamlike event and the joy of sharing it with others for the rest of your natural life.  In this scene, you see grandfather and grandchild sharing the joy and thrill of baseball.  One discovering his young voice through the magic of baseball and the other seeing and hearing his voice come out ever so passionately through his grandson's lips as the little guy recites a Giants Moment taught him by grandpa.  

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, from the movie "Parental Guidance," I give you actor Joshua Rush receiving and giving the gift that is one of the Greatest Unforgettable Moments in Giants Baseball History.

“Bobby Thomson ... up there swinging' ... He's had two out of three, a single and a double, and Billy Cox is playing him right on the third-base line ... One out, last of the ninth ... Branca pitches ... Bobby Thomson takes a strike called on the inside corner ... Bobby hitting at .292 ... He's had a single and a double and he drove in the Giants' first run with a long fly to center ... Brooklyn leads it 4-2 ... Hartung down the line at third not taking any chances ... Lockman with not too big of a lead at second, but he'll be runnin' like the wind if Thomson hits one ... Branca throws ... [sound of bat meeting ball]
There's a long drive ... it's gonna be, I believe ... THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they're goin' crazy, they're goin' crazy! [crowd noise]
I don't believe it! I don't believe it! I do not believe it! Bobby Thomson hit a line drive into the lower deck of the left-field stands and this blame place is goin' crazy! The Giants! Horace Stoneham has got a winner! The Giants won it by a score of 5 to 4, and they're pickin' Bobby Thomson up, and carryin' him off the field!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Running of the Bulls 2014

For the past few years I've always posted something about Pamplona, Spain's annual Running of the Bulls event. First I was fascinated by the exciting risk that a man would take to come butt to face with a full grown bull.  After awhile I found myself thinking maybe it was something I'd like to try.  

Then the other year I saw a father running with his young, scared out his wits adolescent son, desperately trying to avoid the onrush of a mad, charging bull.  Don't know if the son lived to tell about it without attending long term therapy sessions.

Last year I'd changed my tune and was rooting for the Bulls.  I figure any fool that would put not only his God-given life in jeopardy, but also that of his child should easily earn a "Darwin Award" and be booted from the island; by sharp bulls horns if necessary.

The heart-stopping run and subsequent parties were originally organised in honor of San Fermin, patron saint of Navarra, although the religious aspect has now faded

I'm truly becoming an old prude when it comes to grown men doing stupid things, just so they can brag about it to friends and anybody willing to listen.  It seems more and more that wealthy, white collar businessmen are taking the plunge against the bulls of Pamplona. I suppose they see it as a badge of courage and adventure.  Maybe a return to the gallant hunter leaving the sanctuary of the cave to challenge his wits against wild animals. 

That is until they find a bulls horn gorged balls deep into their backside, as they lay splayed facedown, spread eagle, eating Spanish dirt; crying and praying for the bull to stop!  And yet and still, feelings of self-importance forces them to pull out their camera phone to capture the moment.

Maybe the animal rights advocates are to be joined in their battle against this event.  Though its the male Homo sapiens usually on the abused end, the beautifully gallant bulls should not be forced to lower their pedigree for a day by chasing fools through what always looks like dead end streets. Why not just feed the fools to the lions?  Now that's something I'll travel abroad and pay to see.

4 games, 2 teams, 1 Bay - Giants vs A's

Well Bay Area, here we are set to enter baseball's all-star break with two of the top teams in major league baseball.  Before the Giants were hit by the injury bug, this four game series looked to be epic.  Now, especially with the A's recent power pitching acquisitions (one an all-star), I see a huge green and gold advantage as tonight kicks off game 1 in Oakland.

We Giants fans are easily reminded of the 1989 bay bridge world series that saw the A's sweep the Giants after the Loma Prieta quake took a bite out of candlestick park.  Though it seems like earthquake weather of late, the only thing looking shaky is Giants pitching and hitting.  They struggled to beat a San Diego Padres team that's ten games below .500.  

The last month has seen the #1 power ranked Giants come crashing back to earth and the question in everybody's mind is have they righted the ship.  Brandon Belt returns and Pablo Sandoval is now out with an elbow bone bruise. Honestly, I think without lead-off hitter Angel Pagan in the lineup, the Giants are dead in the water with a breached hull.  The A's represent a baseball typhoon coming straight toward the Giants full force, ready to batter the weakened Giants vessel for four successive nights. They just swept through the Toronto Blue Jays, leaving them clinging to a second place AL East life raft.

Can the Giants withstand this anticipated summer storm, fighting it off to avoid further sinking?  Can they weather what will be a sure test of their patchwork lineup?  The all-star game coastline is in sight, but for the Giants to make it to shore safely they'll need to batten down the hatches with all men on deck, playing like there's no tomorrow.  Because the Oakland A's now carry MLB's #1 Power Ranking, have seven players voted to the AL All-Star team, and are salivating to lay claim to the crown of Bay Area's best baseball team of 2014. 

The A's are my third favorite team, behind the Giants and Mets.  But I'm not ready to cash in on my Giants just yet.  They're still a bunch of scrappy, never-say-die ball players who can easily turn non-believers into just-you-watch pennant predictors.  Somehow, someway, manager Bruce Bochy will figure out a way to weather the storm and come out of it intact.

The A's & Giants; Just-You-Watch!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Between The Bars

Who knew that a sappy family movie could lay down some nice strings and vocals.  The movie, "Stuck In Love."  The song, "Between The Bars" by Elliott Smith.  It seems to be a song about alcoholism and its addictive control over an individual, beckoning him/her to:

In other words, come have another drink and I'll make you forget all your worries. The movie starring Greg Kinnear actually wasn't half bad, but if you ask me its this song that stole the show. And though alcoholism was not the main focus of the movie, it does make its ugly presence known by co-starring in a small role.

Guess I'm in one of those sappy moods waiting for football season to start.  That's real, good'ol rough and tough American football folks, not the one where a kick in the shins and elbow to the midsection is considered unsportsmanlike. Let's face it, World Cup futbol needs pads and pain tolerance. If you ain't cheating then you ain't trying.  Cause come this season the Raiders will be the ones with the nasty, bullying defense and explosive offense. And they're gonna kick, club and clobber their way toward NFL respectability. Can't Wait!