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Baseball Playoffs Have Feel of the 1980s 1

Posted on September 28, 2014 by Dean Hybl
With their first playoff appearance in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are partying like it is 1985.

With their first playoff appearance in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are partying like it is 1985.

If you followed baseball in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then haven’t paid attention for the last 30 years, the teams appearing in the 2014 baseball post season probably don’t seem that strange to you.

Included amongst the squads that will be battling for the World Series Trophy are the World Series Champions from 1979 (Pittsburgh Pirates), 1981 & 1988 (Los Angeles Dodgers), 1982 (St. Louis Cardinals), 1983 (Baltimore Orioles), 1984 (Detroit Tigers), 1985 (Kansas City Royals) and 1989 (Oakland A’s).

Of course, what those of us who have been following baseball for the last 30 years know, is that of these teams only the Cardinals have won another World Series since the 1980s (2006 and 2011) with the 2006 victory coming over the Tigers, who also appeared in the World Series in 2012.

With the exception of the Dodgers, who have made the playoffs seven times since winning the 1988 World Series, and the A’s, who have made eight playoff appearances since losing the 1990 World Series, the other teams in that group have seen some pretty lean times since the 1980s.

No team has waited longer to get back to the post season than the Kansas City Royals.

After making the playoffs seven times and finishing no worse than second during a 10-year stretch from 1976-1985 that culminated with their World Series Championship, the Royals went into a nearly three decade tailspin.

After winning the World Series, the Royals were still generally competitive for the next decade as they had a winning record six times and finished second in their division three times between 1986 and 1995.

However, their second place finish in 1995 came despite a losing record and from that season through 2012 the Royals had only one winning season and five times had a season winning percentage below .400. Despite going from a seven team division to a five team division with realignment in 1995, Kansas City finished as high as third place only three times in 17 seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

Famous Athletes Afraid of Flying 0

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Professional athletes spend roughly half of their time on the road during the season, so flying between destinations is part of the job. Therefore, athletes who suffer from aviophobia, or a fear of flying, may find it very difficult to handle the constant air travel. Sports teams tend to travel in style, taking chartered planes to their road games, but this doesn’t make the trip any easier for these athletes who get just as nervous for the plane rides as they do for their athletic events.

Wayne Gretzky

wayne

You wouldn’t know it by the records he broke on the ice, but the Great One was actually terrified to fly early in his career. His roommate at the time, Ace Bailey, eventually learned how to calm him down before flights and made flying much easier for Gretzky. Tragically, Bailey was on one of the planes involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Gretzky also used a hypnotist to help him get over this fear.

Cortland Finnegan

Despite his fearless attitude on the football field, Cortland Finnegan does have one fear: flying. When he was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2008, Finnegan thought about taking a cruise ship to the game because the thought of flying over the Pacific Ocean terrified him.

James Harrison Read the rest of this entry →

The Annies Are Getting Their Guns: Women Sports Shooters on the Rise 4

Posted on September 05, 2014 by Scott Huntington

This is part two of my previous post on the history of shooting sports.

girlsshooting-e1378485289504

Annie Oakley rose to fame in the 19th century, renowned around the world for her incredible marksmanship. It was said that Oakley was so skilled a markswoman, she could shoot the end of a cigarette between her husband’s lips or put holes in playing cards launched into the air before they hit the ground.

Part of Oakley’s novelty wasn’t just her skill; it was once considered extremely rare for women to be able to handle a gun, let alone shoot one with that kind of skill. But things are changing, and fast. Let’s take a look at in what ways.

More Women Gun Owners Than Ever

Women gun ownership is growing at a remarkable pace. Last year it was reported that gun ownership among women had risen by 77 percent since 2005.

Opinions are divided as to why more women than ever are learning to shoot. Some believe that guns have been highly glamorized by a pro-gun American society. Others point to the vulnerability that many women experience in terms of violent crimes. An armed women may feel safer when by themselves than their unarmed counterparts. Read the rest of this entry →

American Horse Racing Through the Years 0

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Eva Thompson
The horse racing industry in the United States brings in over $26 billion each year.

The horse racing industry in the United States brings in over $26 billion each year.

Horse racing provides a full spectrum of entertainment unlike any other sport. Whether your horse wins or loses, spending a day at the races makes for a great afternoon or evening outdoors watching beautiful animals compete.

The Tradition of Horse Racing
Horse racing has been a long standing tradition among many cultures. The sport dates back all the way to 4500 BC among nomadic tribesmen in Central Asia, who first domesticated horses. Archeological records reveal that the Ancient Greeks, Syrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians also participated in horse racing to entertain the masses and honor outstanding horsemanship required for battles. Later horse racing became popular among British royalty and aristocracy where it received the nickname “Sport of Kings”.

These days, horse racing represents one of the only legal forms of gambling around the world, including Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, the United States, South America, the Middle East, and Australia. Read the rest of this entry →

Serious Dedication: An Ode to Infamous Sports Fans 1

Posted on August 17, 2014 by Brooke Chaplan
For years Rollen Stewart and his rainbow wig were fixtures at major sporting events.

For years Rollen Stewart and his rainbow wig were fixtures at major sporting events.

You know a sports fan is dedicated to the team when they are more famous than the actual athletes they support. Here are 8 famous fans from history, and the events that placed them in the unofficial fan hall of fame.

1. He Wasn’t Supposed to Know!

In 1977, Bobby Murcer took to the plate in an attempt to hit a home run for a young, terminally ill fan—Scott Crull. Not only did Murcer bat an impressive 2 homers, but he dedicated them to young Scott on national television. Unfortunately, Crull hadn’t been told he was dying yet. Oops!

2. John 3:16

Some sports fans are there to support the team, others to support their…religion? Rollen Stewart, commonly called “Rainbow Man” thanks to the rainbow wig he liked to wear around, did just that. Along with his wig he wore a shirt with the words “Believe in Christ.”

He didn’t discriminate between sports, showing up at all major sporting events in the 70s and 80s including the Super Bowl, Olympics, World Series, and the World Cup. Unfortunately, he found himself in jail serving three life sentences for holding a maid hostage in 1992.

3. The Loyal Dictator

Apparently North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il, had his own personal library of videos of every game Michael Jordan played. He was an avid Bull’s fan, and reportedly said he thought the youths and workers in his own country should be made to play more basketball. Read the rest of this entry →

A Brief History of the Dover International Speedway 1

Posted on August 14, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Whether you’re a horseracing fan, a NASCAR fan, or a fan of both, there’s just something special about Dover Downs. Affectionately nicknamed, “The Monster Mile,” the Dover International Speedway has been home to at least two NASCAR races a year since 1969.

Dover Downs

This track isn’t one of those that began just as a horseracing course later retrofitted to accommodate auto racing. From the very beginning, Dover Downs was built for both horse and auto racing. Its NASCAR history began with a bang, as the first race – known as the Mason-Dixon 300 – was won by none other than Richard Petty.

NASCAR Niche

It quickly became clear NASCAR was the biggest auto racing draw to the track, so beginning in 1971, the Dover International Speedway did away with all auto races that were not NASCAR sanctioned. This meant all the attention at Dover was now on the two 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

And though Richard Petty had the first win on the track, Jimmie Johnson is the one who really seems to own the place. He has had 9 wins there. Mark Martin could also make a viable claim of supremacy at the Monster Mile as well, as he has had the most top-five finishes with 23, and the most top-ten finishes as well, with 31. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rod Carew: Hitting Machine
      July 5, 2014 | 3:42 pm
      Rod Carew

      Rod Carew

      With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

      Few have been as good at the craft of hitting a baseball as Rod Carew. During 19 major league seasons, Carew won seven batting titles and hit .330 or better ten times.

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