April 13, 2013 by
I once rubbed elbows with Hercules.
It was at the 1976 Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. My wife and I were crossing a grass practice field during a break in the action. From a distance, our attention was drawn to a tall, dominant figure striding in our direction.
With each approaching step, the figure took on the glowing countenance of someone special—almost beyond human. Tanned, handsome and muscular, he was clothed only in the thin garments of competition—obviously an elite athlete in peak condition.
As an athlete myself, I had been around a few hard bodies, but I had never seen such a physical specimen as this. He whisked right by us, his long hair and mustache accentuating the aura of a Greek god. We were speechless, mouths agape.
When we caught our breath, the dawning of reality hit us both at once: That was Mac Wilkins!
That simple brush with greatness gave us a focal point for the summer. Wilkins became our hero (and my wife’s not-so-secret crush). Via television and newspapers, we followed his exploits right through his Olympic record and gold medal in the discus at the ’76 Montreal Games.
And though that Olympic masterpiece will no doubt be considered the high point of Wilkins’ incredible 23-year career, it may have been eclipsed (in terms of sheer accomplishment) at a relatively insignificant track meet in the Bay Area of California in early May of that year. Read the rest of this entry →
April 09, 2013 by
Officials in any sport can turn into an enemy of the state with one blown call.
Umpire Mike Everitt will not be able to step into Tampa, Florida after this HORRIFIC strike three call to end the Rays-Rangers game.
The call was so mind boggling that the Rangers pitcher, Joe Nathan even said “WOW”.
Time to check those bi-focals ump!
Oh he did say he was sorry….
Tip Of The Cap To GameDayR!
March 16, 2013 by
The Baltimore Ravens broke the bank to keep quarterback Joe Flacco.
The Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens sure haven’t done a very good job basking in the glow of their remarkable Super Bowl run. They have made some very questionable decisions that have impacted the team both on and off the field.
The Ravens certainly have been busy in the six weeks since defeating the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII.
In a move that many felt they had to make, but some question as being excessive, they made quarterback Joe Flacco the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. By signing him to a six-year, $120.6 million contract, they have now given a player who in five seasons has spent more time being average than being great a contract higher than that of the quarterbacks generally thought to be the best in the game in Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
They say timing in sports is everything and Flacco’s timing was perfect. With his contract expiring, Flacco was marvelous in the playoffs with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games as the Ravens rolled to the Super Bowl Championship.
If Flacco can perform like that every week for the next six seasons, then the Ravens have certainly made a good investment. However, Flacco’s own history suggests otherwise. During the 2012 regular season Flacco threw 22 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. He had only five games in the 2012 regular season where he threw a touchdown pass without also throwing an interception. And while Flacco threw three touchdowns with no picks in three straight playoff wins, he had previously accomplished that feat only three times in 80 regular season games.
With his new contract in hand, Flacco in 2013 will be judged in a very different manner than in previous years. In the past, the fact that he has never made a Pro Bowl and that his statistics were very good, but not great, really didn’t matter because the team has always been a winner. Flacco is the only quarterback to win a playoff game in his first five seasons and has a 9-4 career playoff record. Read the rest of this entry →
March 13, 2013 by
We have seen the last of Wes Welker in a Patriots uniform.
As the 2013 edition of NFL free agency is barely a day old, the Patriots don’t appear any closer in being able to reach an agreement with Pro Bowl wide receiver, Wes Welker. What’s even worse is that the Denver Broncos do.
It has been reported throughout the day that the receiver has been “in serious talks” with Broncos management. Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news regarding the situation earlier in the day after hearing it from league sources.
6:40 p.m.: Now, it appears that Brady is being described as “enraged” at the situation. Who exactly he is enraged at is not perfectly clear.
5:50 p.m.: Faulk Again: “NO…RT
@luko65: @feezy_k do you think there is a reasonable replacment for wes out there?”
5:25 p.m.: Chandler Jones tweeted the following: “Hey
@WesWelker it was a pleasure being your teammate, learned alot from ya even tho we didn’t talk much! I’m a fan and always will be..” His next tweet, just a minute later, read “#Respect.”
5:22 p.m.: Tom E. Curran tweets this: “Spoke to someone close to Tom Brady. Beyond enraged at contract details that netted Broncos Wes Welker. “Disgrace” “disservice” were used.”
5:21 p.m.: “Wes Welker to the Broncos” trending worldwide.
5:20 p.m.: Former Patriot, Kevin Faulk, had this to say regarding the situation: “I hear you Justin.RT
@GilbertDustin: @feezy_k why .. Why are we so cheap …why did Brady bother to even take a pay cut .. So crazy and dumb” in response to a tweet from a fan.
5:15 p.m.: Breer reported that the Patriots’ counter-offer was for two years and $10 million plus incentives. Read the rest of this entry →
February 19, 2013 by
The Aintree Racetrack offers challenge for both the jockey and horse.
While the Kentucky Derby is the best known horse racing event in the United States, a month prior to the Derby, Liverpool, England will serve as the host for a very different, yet equally exciting horse racing spectacle. The 2013 John Smith’s Aintree Grand National Hunt race is the world’s most popular steeplechase event.
Originally held at the Aintree Racetrack in 1839, the 2013 event is slated for April 6th and serves as the culmination of the three-day Aintree Festival.
The Grand National provides a unique set of challenges that only the best jockeys and horses can conquer.
The racecourse is triangular in shape and includes 16 fences, all except The Chair and the Water Jump are jumped twice. The course has a reputation as the ultimate test of horse and jockey, and just completing the two circuits is considered a great accomplishment. Some of the fences are famous for their difficulty, most specifically Becher’s Brook, The Chair, and the Canal Turn.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby and American Triple Crown, which includes the best three-year-old horses, the Aintree Grand National is typically won by a horse with far more years and experience.
In 2012 11-year-old Neptune Collonges, ridden by jockey Daryl Jacob for trainer Paul Nicholls and owner John Hales was able to conquer the challenging track and claim victory in the Grand National. He was the oldest winner of the Grand National since 12-year-old Amberleigh House in 2004.
The oldest horse to win the Grand National was 15-year-old Peter Simple in 1853. Since 1994 the youngest horse to win the race was eight-year-old Bindaree in 2002 and the race has been won 12 times in that stretch by a horse with double-digits in the age column.
For many, one of the great allures of this annual event is the many betting opportunities and certainly the recent history of older winners is one thing for those who enjoy betting on this exciting event to consider as they ponder which horse and jockey they will support. Through William Hill Grand National 2013 you can watch all the races of the three-day festivities through livestreaming and also keep track of the latest betting odds and opportunities.
February 16, 2013 by
Happy 50th Birthday Michael Jordan!
It isn’t everyday that you can say that two athletes who arguably were the best ever to compete in their sport are celebrating birthdays. But you can say that about February 17th as that happens to be the birthday of Hall of Fame football star Jim Brown (born in 1936) and Hall of Fame basketball star Michael Jordan (born in 1963).
Though it has been 48 years since he last played in the NFL, just about anyone who was alive to watch him play still will insist that Brown is the best player ever to put on shoulder pads. His combination of power and speed were unlike anything that had previously been seen in the NFL and his domination of the league during his nine year career with the Cleveland Browns has never truly been matched. He won eight rushing titles in nine years and averaged 104 yards rushing per game for his entire career. His 12, 312 career rushing yards was a record that stood for 19 years and still ranks 9th in NFL history.
What is perhaps most extraordinary for Brown is that some have claimed that in addition to being the greatest football player of all-time, he may also have been one of the best lacrosse players ever. He was an All-American lacrosse player at Syracuse, scoring 43 goals in 10 games as a senior. He also was the leading scorer on the Syracuse basketball team as a sophomore and lettered in track.
It is hard to believe that it has been more than 30 years since Michael Jordan emerged on the scene as a basketball star at the University of North Carolina. He hit the shot that propelled UNC to the NCAA Championship during his freshman season of 1981-82 and two years later helped lead what was likely the finest collection of amateur basketball players in history to a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
In the NBA, Jordan eventually evolved into the best player of his generation and ultimately is considered by many as the best to ever play the game. He averaged more than 30 points per game for his entire 15 year career and won the scoring title 10 times. Read the rest of this entry →