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Sports Then and Now


Super Bowl XLIX: Can Brady and the Patriots Deflate the Seahawks?

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are hoping or a repeat f Super Bowl XLVIII when they were the dominant team.

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are hoping or a repeat f Super Bowl XLVIII when they were the dominant team.

After a week in which we have learned more than we ever wanted to know about the air pressure of a football or Marshawn Lynch’s personality (or lack thereof), we are now closing in on the important topic of just which team will win Super Bowl XLIX.

If live betting trends are any indication, it will be a close game. The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were the early favorites, but as the game has drawn closer, the Patriots seem to be attractive to many folks who are laying down money on the game.

One reason the Patriots have become a hot pick is because they dominated the AFC Championship Game while the Seahawks needed a late comeback to earn their back-to-back Super Bowl appearance.

Regardless of whether you think the Patriots gained an advantage in the AFC Championship Game because of the pressure of the footballs, there is no disputing that the Patriots dominated the Colts to reach the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era.

The question now is whether they can claim their fourth victory or if they will fall for the third straight time in the biggest game of the year.

Pete Carroll and the Seahawks didn’t look like they would have a chance to repeat early in the season, or with 10 minutes left in the NFC Championship Game for that matter, but they fought their way back to the top and now have a chance to win back-to-back titles for only the ninth time in Super Bowl history and first time since the Patriots did it a decade ago.

As was the case a year ago when the Seahawks whipped the high-scoring Broncos as well as in each of the two Super Bowl losses the Patriots suffered at the hands of the Giants, the game will hinge on whether a talented offense can overcome a dominant defense. Read the rest of this entry →

Will Rob Manfred Make Baseball Better?

Posted on January 25, 2015 by Dean Hybl
On his first day as commissioner, Rob Manfred sent a letter to baseball fans outlining his immediate areas of focus.

On his first day as commissioner, Rob Manfred sent a letter to baseball fans outlining his immediate areas of focus.

Today is the beginning of a new era in Major League Baseball. After more than 20 years, Bud Selig has finally relinquished control of “America’s Pastime.” His replacement, Rob Manfred, will have a hard time being as bad for the game as Selig, so hopefully he will be a refreshing change for the sport and help return it to previous glory as one of America’s treasures.

Manfred’s first action was to write a letter to baseball fans telling them of his desire to grow the game among youth and within urban areas.

It is a nice thought, but based just on the language of his letter, I have a feeling he has a different strategy for how to achieve that growth than I do.

As a life-long baseball lover and the father of a nine-year-old son who enjoys baseball, but has many other sports, activities and technology tugging at his time and interest, here are three things that I think would help achieve his goal to strengthen the sport for generations to come.

1.Make Watching and Enjoying Baseball Affordable – I understand that baseball is a business and one of the goals is to make money, but as the middle class continues to struggle in a country where the gap between income levels is continuing to widen, all entertainment options must recognize that continuing to increase prices will ultimately reduce the number of people interested in their product. Last year my family spent a day in Baltimore that culminated with attending an Orioles game. The combined cost for tickets (we sat in the lower deck along the first baseline), parking, food and merchandise was quite hefty. For a one-time thing, it was something we could budget for and afford. However, going to a game would not be something we could afford on a regular basis. When the Orioles were contending in the early 1990s, tickets to games at Camden Yards were tough to find and the Birds often led the league in attendance. Though they have been successful again over the last three seasons, there seems to still be a lot of empty seats even for big games. I can’t help but believe that the fact that it is just really expensive to go to a game is one reason. I know even the new Yankee Stadium is rarely completely full and with tickets for their games higher than anywhere else you can understand why.

If Manfred wants the next generation of fans to continue attending games, then he better make sure that the game experience doesn’t become so expensive that their parents can’t afford to take them to games in person or to buy a hat, jersey and other merchandise without taking out a loan. I know that like the NFL, MLB is looking to continue increasing their revenue, but if going to major league games ever gets to the point that the only people attending are the wealthy and the inner-city poor who receive tickets through charity organizations supported by the team, it will not help grow the overall love for the game. Read the rest of this entry →

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Remembering “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks

Posted on January 24, 2015 by Dean Hybl
"Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks has passed away at the age of 83.

“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks has passed away at the age of 83.

The baseball world lost a legend with the passing Friday of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks at the age of 83.

Though “Mr. Cub” was most associated with the team for which he played his entire 19 year career, for fans outside of Chicago he is likely best remembered for his famous line “Let’s play two”, which epitomized his love for the game and acceptance as one of the superstars of the first full decade in which African-Americans played in the major leagues.

Since it has been 44 years since his retirement and 56 years since he was the dominant player, and back-to-back MVP winner, in baseball, it is easy to forget just how great a player Banks was.

After a stint in the U.S. Army and time with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, his contract was sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and he made his major league debut late that season. The lanky 6-foot-1, 180 pound shortstop moved into Wrigley Field for good in 1954. He finished second to Wally Moon (Hank Aaron was fourth) in the Rookie of the Year voting as he hit .275 with 19 home runs and 79 RBI.

Many like to point to Cal Ripken Jr. as the pioneer of the power hitting shortstops, but Banks was blasting long balls while anchoring the Chicago infield three decades before Ripken entered the league. He blasted 44 home runs in 1955 to set a new record for shortstops in a season, but eclipsed that mark in 1958 when he led the league with 47 home runs and 129 RBI to win his first MVP award.

He followed that up with another monster year in 1959 (45 HR, 143 RBI) to win his second straight MVP award. In 1960 he claimed his second home run title as he hit 41 home runs with 117 RBI. He also won the Gold Glove award for his fielding prowess at shortstop.

Though Banks was just 29 and would play for another decade, he would never again reach such illustrious power numbers. Read the rest of this entry →

Rukkus Offers Ticket Deals for Super Bowl XLIX

Posted on January 17, 2015 by Dean Hybl

January is halfway over, which means NFL fans from around the globe are coming together to watch the top NFC and AFC teams fight to take home the beloved Super Bowl ring.

Rukkus has a wide variety of tickets available for Super Bowl XLIX

Rukkus has a wide variety of tickets available for Super Bowl XLIX

Whether you’re a New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, or Indianapolis Colts fan (or your favorite team has long been eliminated), we’d love to get you to this year’s Super Bowl. That’s why we’ve partnered with NFL ticket search engine and marketplace, Rukkus, to get you prices around 25% cheaper than StubHub. Read the rest of this entry →

The History of Skimboarding

Posted on January 15, 2015 by Scott Huntington

When you first think of professional water sports, many activities come to mind, such as surfing, water skiing, swimming, diving or even things like kayaking and jet skiing. Of course, there are a ton of other sports too, some of them more obscure. One such sport that’s not necessarily obscure but small is skimboarding.

skim

It’s similar to surfing, but the boards used are much smaller and devoid of fins. Skimboards are designed to glide across the water’s surface, as boarders usually try to catch incoming or breaking waves to ride back to the shore.

A skimboarding run generally starts on the beach, where the board is dropped into the thin veil of shoreline waves. Most skimboarders then use their momentum to skim the water out to breaking waves they then “catch,” or ride, back to shore.

Yet another form of skimboarding, referred to as “flatland,” involves staying close to the shore in order to perform tricks like ollies or shove-its, without ever catching a breaking wave. If you’d like to try out the sport or learn how to skimboard, naturally there are plenty of resources available today.

Where It All Began

Believe it or not, skimboarding has actually been around since the late 1920s. Laguna Beach lifeguards would used planks, or pieces of wood, to skim across the surface of the water close to shore in an attempt to surf the local shorebreak that was much too fast and powerful to navigate on foot. Since then, Laguna Beach has always been kind of a hotspot for skimboarding. This is because the waves break closer to the beach, making it an ideal spot for the sport. Read the rest of this entry →

Online Sportsbook Picks for NFC/AFC Conference Championships

Posted on January 14, 2015 by Bryan Sheridan
Kam Chancellor and the Seattle Seahawks are just two wins away from repeating as Super Bowl champs.

Kam Chancellor and the Seattle Seahawks are just two wins away from repeating as Super Bowl champs.

We’re mere days from the NFL Conference Championships and you couldn’t ask for two better matchups. In the NFC, the conference’s top seeds face off in a grudge match between two teams that have battled repeatedly, and controversially, in the last few seasons. In the AFC, Tom Brady and Belichick are planning for Andrew Luck and the Colts, who are coming off a victory over Peyton Manning in what was possible his last game…ever.

According to Vegas, the home teams are clear favorites in both games. Odds at online sportsbook TopBet have the Patriots and Seahawks each favored by at least a touchdown, but there is more to these games than meets the eye.

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Aaron Rodgers is hurt, but he’s still the likely regular season MVP, and he just beat the Dallas Cowboys on one leg, throwing some of his most accurate passes of the year. Don’t count this man out.

The issue for the Packers against Seattle remains their run defense. The Seahawks ran all over the Packers in Week 1, putting up 207 yards, and while the Packers have (at times) found the ability to make plays against the run, most recently causing a key DeMarco Murray fumble, they are still unlikely to stop Marshawn Lynch from clearing the century mark. The Packers will need Rodgers to outscore Lynch if they hope to book their ticket to the Super Bowl. Read the rest of this entry →

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