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Preston Pearson: The Ultimate Third-Down Back 0

Posted on November 17, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Preston-Pearson-Cowboys-2The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month played in five Super Bowls with three teams during a 14-year NFL season, but is likely best known for being the ultimate third-down situation back during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

When Preston Pearson was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1967 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois, there was no expectation that he would develop into one of the most versatile backs in the NFL. In fact, given that Pearson was a two-year starter in basketball and never played a snap of college football, he was a long-shot to ever play a down in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

Ideas for the Best Sports Themed Vacations in the USA 0

Posted on November 09, 2018 by John Harris
The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

If you’re a devoted sports fan, there’s a good chance you grab every opportunity to watch your favorites on television, and with very few sports not getting airtime on one of the hundreds of channels available, that’s a lot of sport! Watching on TV is great, but how often do you get to see sports played live? There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a sporting arena, being able to see what goes down as it happens while you’re surrounded by thousands of other passionate devotees of your team or country.

The problem is it’s not a cheap day out in many cases, especially for the more popular sports, and it can be hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on watching a ball game you could have stayed at home and watched for considerably less. One answer to the problem is to combine your love of sports with your annual vacation, or even a weekend away with the family. Everyone gets to enjoy the activities they’re interested in, and you get to breathe in the atmosphere of some of the most exciting and interesting sports grounds and sports-related tourist attractions, all as part of the cost of a vacation you’d have taken anyway.

Why you should take a sports-themed vacation

The chance to see and experience these places and events is something you’ll remember forever, so it’s worth making an effort to organize a few tours and attend a live event.

If you’re managing on a restricted budget, you obviously don’t want to overstretch yourself financially. However, there are still options out, therefore, you, as you can consider looking into personal loans for bad credit that can actually improve your credit ratings if you make sure the repayments are always made on time. It does you good to have memorable experiences, and may well be more rewarding than most other possessions and activities you spend your money on, so don’t let money stand in the way of living life to the full.

Baseball

Cooperstown, New York, is a must visit place for baseball fans, as you can tour The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and see where the game was invented at Doubleday Field. There’s also the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, where you can see eerily lifelike wax models of all your baseball heroes.

The movie Field of Dreams is a baseball-themed legend, and you can see what it feels like to play on the Iowa baseball diamond; a real treat for a family day out. Wrigley Park is a few hours to the east, where there are guided tours of one of the country’s most famous ballparks.

Louisville, Kentucky, may be best known for its horse racing and as being the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, but there are plenty of other sporting attractions, and baseball fans can watch a fascinating demonstration of bat-making as part of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

Further north in Boston, is another legendary stadium. Take a tour around Fenway Park and get to the heart of what it feels like to play on this iconic ballpark.

Babe Ruth has to be one of the best-known names in baseball, and you can visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. If you’re more of a Ty Cobb fan, then his museum is a bit further south, in Royston, Atlanta. Read the rest of this entry →

Babers Has Syracuse Football on the Rise 0

Posted on October 04, 2018 by Chris Kent

Syracuse is climbing its’ way back to prominence in college football.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Known more for its’ notoriety as a college basketball power over most of the last two decades during which the Orange went to three Final Fours and won one national championship, Syracuse is re-emerging on the gridiron. In his third year as head coach of the Orange, Dino Babers is resurrecting Syracuse while positioning the program to return to its’ glorious past. That has not been seen since names like Donovan McNabb, Keith Bullock, Dwight Freeney, Rob Konrad, Marvin Harrison, and Donovin Darius dotted the roster from the mid and late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.

The chief evidence for the rise of the Orange came last Saturday, Sept. 29, when Syracuse took No. 3 ranked and undefeated Clemson (5-0, 2-0) to the brink of defeat on its’ home field. Only a timely and late rally by the Tigers held off a very game Orange team as Syracuse came up just short in a 27-23 loss. The Orange lead 16-7 at the half and had a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied with two unanswered touchdowns to pull out the win and drop Syracuse (4-1, 1-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. That is news in itself as this season’s 4-0 start marked just the fifth time that Orange football opened 4-0 and the first time since 1991. It was a marked improvement for Syracuse which had been outscored by the Tigers 70-6 in its’ last two trips to Clemson Memorial Stadium, including a 54-0 blowout there in 2016, Babers’ first season. This year’s showing against the Tigers proved that the Orange can play with a perennial power that has made the last three college football playoffs and is trending there again this year.

Lofty accomplishments like that were mirrored earlier this season on Sept. 15 when Syracuse defeated Florida State 30-7 for the first time as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in this there sixth season as an affiliate. The gigantic victory ended the Orange’s 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles and marked Syracuse’s first win over Florida State since 1966 when pro football hall of fame running back Floyd Little played for the Orange.

Although Syracuse has been 4-8 in each of Babers’ first two seasons, there has been progress. Babers’ has lead the Orange to landmark victories against teams nationally ranked and at the top of the ACC during each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback 0

Posted on September 02, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Kilmer

Billy Kilmer

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers. Read the rest of this entry →

Terrell Who? Today is Jerry Kramer’s Day 0

Posted on August 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Jerry Kramer was a key part of the famous Packer power sweep.

Jerry Kramer was a key part of the famous Packer power sweep.

When we started Sports Then and Now nine years ago, one of the first things we did was create a list of former NFL players who we felt were deserving of being included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but up until that time had been snubbed for induction.

Number one on that list was former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer. Today, Kramer’s name can finally be removed from that list.

While one member of the Hall of Fame class of 2018 is trying to steal the attention by focusing on what he believes was a personal snub not to be a first-year inductee, in reality, his perceived snub and hardship is nothing compared to what Jerry Kramer has endured over the last half century.

When the NFL announced the 50th Anniversary All-NFL Team in 1969, Jerry Kramer was one of the two offensive guards named to the team. Yet, it took until just one year before the 100th Anniversary All-NFL Team will be announced before Kramer was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Green Bay Packers of the 1960s were one of the great dynasty teams in NFL history. Kramer will join 12 other members of the 1960s Packers (plus Coach Vince Lombardi) in the Hall of Fame.

Kramer retired after the 1968 season and was first listed as a Hall of Fame finalist in 1974. Initially, it seemed likely that Kramer would be inducted pretty quickly. He was a finalist seven times in an eight year stretch between 1974 and 1981 while seven of his teammates were inducted.

At that time, Kramer wasn’t the only 1960s Packer having to wait his turn for induction. In 1981, two of his former teammates, Willie Davis and Jim Ringo, were inducted in their sixth and seventh years as a finalist, respectively. Later in the decade, Paul Hornung was selected in his 12th year as a finalist in 1986 and Willie Wood in 1989 in his 10th time as a finalist.

Kramer was again a finalist in 1984 and 1987, but still had not yet received the call. Read the rest of this entry →

Wake Up Baseball Fans – WAR is Fake and Meaningless 2

Posted on July 28, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Mike Trout is a great player, but sabermetrics thinks he is one of the greatest of all-time.

Mike Trout is a great player, but sabermetrics thinks he is one of the greatest of all-time.

As a baseball fan who has been paying attention to baseball stats since the early 1970s when my primary motivation to learn to read was so I could read the statistics on the back of baseball cards, I have reached my limit with those baseball “stat geeks” who have taken the game I love and turned it into a mathematical equation that seems more designed to show how smart they are rather than really identifying who the best baseball players are.

I started reaching my limit over the last several years when the sabermetrics craze has minimized some baseball greats while pushing others to a higher level, regardless of what their real statistics say.

The greatest example of this is Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout. If you judge baseball based simply on sabermetrics, you will likely try to argue that he is the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth, heck, maybe even better.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Mike Trout is a great player, but I am not yet ready to consider him in the same conversation as some of the all-time greats.

Earlier this year, there was an article claiming that Trout was on his way to having the greatest single season in baseball since Ruth. That sounds amazing, but at the time he was hitting .below .300 and was not ranked among the league leaders in home runs or runs batted in.

What the sabermetrics folks have done is change the definition of what is considered important in judging the success and greatness of a baseball player.

For generations, batting average, home runs, extra base hits and runs batted in were the primary stats used to judge greatness. Heck, those were most of the stats listed on baseball cards when I was growing up. Secondary to those would be things like runs scored, on base percentage and slugging percentage.

Beginning in the mid-1980s with the publication of Bill James Baseball Abstract and continuing at a greater pace as fantasy baseball (originally known as rotisserie baseball) started building in popularity, there has been a growing desire among some baseball fans to look at the value of players in different ways.

Bill James originally devised the idea of “win shares” and that concept has been taken to a greater extent through sabermetrics with what is now considered by some baseball fans as “THE” measurement statistic of a player’s value known as WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

While I am not going to pretend to know enough about WAR to explain how it is computed, it is very clear that at some level WAR is designed to reward players who do more than just get base hits, drive in runs and hit home runs. Players who score well in WAR tend to get on base a lot, score runs and are quality defensive players.

In 2012 there was quite an uproar when the old school baseball definition of greatness clashed head-on with the new school definition of value for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

At first glance, the 2012 AL MVP voting should have been a “no brainer”. Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera had an amazing season in becoming the first American Leaguer since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the triple crown (lead the league in home runs, batting average and RBIs). Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Preston Pearson: The Ultimate Third-Down Back
      November 17, 2018 | 8:12 pm

      Preston-Pearson-Cowboys-2The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month played in five Super Bowls with three teams during a 14-year NFL season, but is likely best known for being the ultimate third-down situation back during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

      When Preston Pearson was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1967 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois, there was no expectation that he would develop into one of the most versatile backs in the NFL. In fact, given that Pearson was a two-year starter in basketball and never played a snap of college football, he was a long-shot to ever play a down in the NFL.

      Read more »

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