Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Top 5 Most Likely NBA Teams to Trade for Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers will either have to endure one of the most dismal seasons for any club in NBA history or he will agree to being traded.

So, the question begs, which teams would be in the running for Kobe?

Would he only agree to go to a contender or would he consider a team on the verge of being a contender?

Right away, two teams who are nowhere near contending come to mind.

5) New York Knicks-This transition would renew his ties to Phil Jackson's basketball philosophies and allow the Knicks to build faster to their goals of becoming a contender.  The Knicks are probably looking to get rid of J.R. Smith by now, but they would have to give up something else significant, as well. Possibly, Andrea Bargnani and Iman Shumpert would be in the offing.

4) Philadelphia 76ers-This allows Kobe to go back to his roots.  He went to high school in the Philadelphia area.  The Sixers would have to part ways with one of their two big men recently drafted in the first rounds, either Joel Embiid or Nerlens Noel.  The Sixers would get better quickly if they gave up Embiid who is not scheduled to start playing until next season due to foot surgery.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kansas City Royals, Dallas Cowboys Demonstrate Same Method in Losing

The Kansas City Royals lost the World Series yesterday because they went away from who they were.  During the Series with the San Francisco Giants, the Royals staff and team did not force the Giants to make plays.

They weren't bunting, stealing or taking the extra bag enough.  They went away from the 'Small Ball' that got them through the Wildcard, Division Series and American League Championship Series.

The Royals played a certain way during the regular season and the style worked for them through the playoffs, but in crunchtime in the World Series, they lost their nerve.

Alex Gordon's hit to the wall in the ninth inning off of Madison Bumgarner was a prime example of their lack of courage in the toughest of moments.  I blame the Third Base Coach, Mike Jirschele, who could have waved Gordon around third and pressed the Giants into earning the win with a defensive play.

The pundits who say Gordon would have been out by a long way are badly mistaken.  If you look and analyze the play correctly, things would have been very different if Jirschele was paying closer attention to how the play was unraveling.

If Jirschele was doing his job the right way, he would have been waving Gordon in towards home plate and left the option of holding on at third to the last moment (he stopped waving a split second after Gordon rounded second base).  This was the type of Royals agenda that was dictated for almost the entire season.

The bottom line is that the Royals did not stick to their gameplan and ultimately it came back to bite them bigtime.  It is exactly what happened to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night in their loss to the Washington Redskins.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Video: 80's Movie Describes Soccer's Awe

There may never be a more touching description of Soccer's power to affect the masses.  In the 1985 movie, Vision Quest, the late actor J.C. Quinn, playing Elmo, a blue-collar guy with friendly advice, gets the honor of handling some beautiful writing.

Vision Quest is a movie about a high-school wrestler, Louden Swain, who pursues a match with the state's best wrestler.  In it, Quinn tells Mathew Modine's character, Louden Swain, about one of Pelé's fantastic goals.

The movie develops many characters while telling a story of persistence and eccentricity.  Elmo's descriptions of the goal and how the crowd reacted are a reminder of why Soccer is referenced so often as the world's 'beautiful game.'

This part of the movie is Louden's wake-up call for that night's wrestling match against state champion, Brian Shute.

Louden was moping around, feeling sorry for himself after losing his girlfriend, when he stops by to visit with his co-worker, Elmo.  They know each other from a big hotel, where Louden works part-time doing room service and Elmo is full-time as a cook.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manu Ginobili Featured in New ESPN SportsCenter Commercial

Ever wonder why the ESPN Deportes 'Sportscenter' isn't named 'SportsCentro'?

Neither have I.

Manu Ginobili makes his presence and his trademark left-hand shot in a new ESPN Deportes Sportscenter commercial.

He is a transcendent player.  Note the popular term, 'transcendent'.  It's the 'in' word for describing greatness in athletes.  But, Ginobili, really is.  His Olympic title probably cemented his popularity around the world.

Before viewing, prepare for goofy with no real point at all, but then watch it a second time to look again at Manu's reaction.  It's not bad and kind of funny.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MLS Benefits from 'Short Attention Span' Caused by the Internet

Study after study indicates that time spent using the internet is making humans less patient and more neurotic.

From the moment people are waking up till the moment they go to sleep, time spent with the internet changes how people react and behave.  Its effects are impossible to ignore. 

The speed of the information from the internet is making it harder for people to concentrate on other things in life that are slower to develop and take more personal time, like reading a book or watching a baseball game.

The same was said when television came along so many years ago.  But, the internet has one big difference than its TV counterpart.  The internet pushes people to multi-task as part of their daily routine.

Now, people are getting used to an overload of information.  There's not time for the mundane.

Major League Soccer can thrive among sports fans.  It provides a more condensed version of drama than the other 'big four' spectator sports, including college basket and football.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Alzheimer's Patients: Pat Bowlen of The Denver Broncos and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers

It is pretty surprising that owners of professional sports teams have made issues such as Native American rights and Alzheimer's disease such hot button issues.

But, maybe it shouldn't feel so surprising considering the history of sport and its omnipotent presence in everyday life.

Sports consistently brings political and social issues to the forefront of the world and American life.  It feel like this is what sports does and has been accomplishing since Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics or Jack Johnson as heavyweight champion in 1908.
Alzheimer's disease is getting more press from the sports world due to the latest soap opera of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise team. And, now there is more news regarding Alzheimer's as the owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen, has announced his retirement due to the disease and will step down as chairman of the board.
As the most commonly known form of dementia, Alzheimer's debilitates a person's ability to be themselves. Mostly, the disease confuses a person.  People with Alzheimer's have problems with memory and language.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

WNBA All-Star MVP Shoni Schimmel Replaces Washington Redskins Chatter

Finally, there is something else to talk about regarding Native Americans in sports, other than the NFL Washington, D.C. football nickname.

Shoni Schimmel of the Atlanta Dream, surprised the WNBA sports world, by standing out most among all the All-Stars of Saturday's WNBA All-Star game.  She was named MVP in what was probably the greatest game in WNBA history.

It was the first WNBA all-star game to go to overtime, but it was more than just a close game.  This game saw the some of the most popular lady athletes in the world, playing for the East and West, push each other hard from the get-go through every whistle until the buzzer sounded on every quarter.  Each team wanted to win badly.

In some respects, it was a who's who for women's basketball of all-time.  And, the one who walked away with the trophy for Most Valuable Player was a player raised on a Reservation in the state of Oregon.

Shoni Schimmel wouldn't have been the pick to be the difference maker in this game just as Patty Mills wouldn't have been thought of as the catalyst for an NBA championship.

Patty Mills is the first Aboriginal player to play in the NBA Finals-for the San Antonio Spurs this year (the second Aboriginal player to ever play in the NBA).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love: It's a Black/White Issue

Make no mistake about it; There's no grey matter.

Whatever the pundits are saying, they only seem to be talking around the issue.  The proposed trade involving Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love has made for interesting opinions.  Mostly, there is just a side to choose for fans of the NBA.

Fans can side with keeping rookie Andrew Wiggins and seeing whether he will truly blossom into his role alongside LeBron as he learns the NBA ropes to superstardom or determine the roadtrip is better served with Kevin Love, a three-time proven All-Star-who is both a leading league scorer and rebounder.

For many, the proposed trade is a toss-up.  There are many factors to consider and it is impossible to predict which scenario of the two will turn out to be the better one.

On one hand, Love has many winning attributes that would compliment LeBron's game.  Love has a soft touch from the outside.  He has drive, determination and will in his game as a player who fights tooth and nail for what he achieves.  He's unselfish and laid back as a persona on and off the floor.

Wiggins, though, brings athleticism to the Nth degree with flash and unbelievable potential.  He could end up being the best player in the League five years from now.  His personality is reserved and not uptight (like a Russell Westbrook).  He's willing to learn and do the hard work.

It's kind of like Larry Bird for Doctor J.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

NFL Re-alignment Could Look Like This...

Is it necessary to have 70,000 seat stadiums?  Can 50-55,000 do the trick? 

It's common knowledge that people aren't always in the mood to rush out to the stadium fighting traffic, paying parking and high ticket prices. 

Televisions are bigger than ever.  80-inch is becoming the new norm.  High-def has been the norm. 

People's houses are their castles.

Don't bust on Jacksonville, Buffalo and Cincinnati just yet.

Bigger is not always better for stadiums.  Baseball proves this every year with the paucity of spectators at meaningless games late in the season. 

Demand always outshines supply when it comes to making an event worthy. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Will an MLS Goalkeeper Ever Duplicate the 'Scorpion' Kick?

The legendary Columbian goalkeeper, Rene Higuita, perfected the 'Scorpion Kick.'

As the ball approached the goal in the air, Higuita would get his body ready and perfectly time his action to flex his torso and bring his legs back together in the air to boot the ball out away from the goal.

While he is in the air, the entire play resembles how a scorpion looks, thus, the nickname.

Higuita was the Columbian National Team goalkeeper for several years in the late 80's and 90's and made appearances in the 1990 World Cup. He would have been in the 1994 World Cup, but he got involved with the druglord Pablo Escobar and made bad decisions. His wrongdoing led to time spent in prison. This time coincided with the '94 WC.

At first glance, the 'Scorpion Kick' looks like a novelty shot. And, it was. But, over the years, Higuita honed the art of the kick to reach such a high level, that he would use it in game situations in which the kick would act as a real save.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Would Promotion/Relegation Work for the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB?

Is promotion/relegation more than an American professional soccer issue? Could promotion/relegation be an economic boost to all the popular American professional sports, the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB?

My feeling is yes it can.  But, will it be instituted anytime soon for any of them?  No, probably not.

But, it is an interesting question to ask, if it indeed would make owners of American professional sports teams more money in the long run.

If a system is built to support all owners of teams from the minor leagues on up to the top league (numerical divisions typically are used for soccer), each sport could have a better foundation to grow and thrive.

The promotion/relegation system has many capitalistic and evolutionary characteristics that are similar to the U.S. way of life.

Geographically and economically speaking, if metro areas increase or decrease by population, teams could end up promoting or relegating depending on how the economy is for that metro area.  For example, the Clevelands and Detroits of the world will have a tougher time and the Omahas and Boises of the world will be trying to move up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NFL Considered Proposal for Competing Pro Soccer League

Seattle Seahawks/Sounders Stadium
According to emails and interviews, can confirm the National Football League (NFL) received a proposal in 2007 to start a pro Soccer league to compete against Major League Soccer (MLS) for the months of March through August/September.  It appears though, the proposed new Soccer league, never made it to the desk of the commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Sources reveal the proposal was rejected by the Communications/PR Director at that time and he had not consulted with Goodell.  At the time, his statement read that their focus was expanding their football base and expanding internationally; Soccer was not in their plans. 

New details have emerged about the proposal and what was being considered.

Matt Hill, a former Public Relations executive with the NFL, was the person who received the proposal.  He has said that there was a lot of positive discussion about the possibility of having a pro Soccer league play in the dormant NFL stadiums during the off-season, but the idea got killed off pretty quickly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

10 Rules Changes to Enhance MLS

Amendments are meant to assist the shortcomings that have followed the game under FIFA's watch.

FIFA has been slow to evolve.  This is not anything new and just about anyone would agree.

American sports fans have high demands for their sports and they insist on common sense and the best possible drama in every match.

Ten (10) Proposed Rule Amendments/Changes for Professional Soccer:

I. Each 45-Minute Half counts down to 0 seconds:
a. Games may result in a tie.
b. Games played in overtime are decided by first goal scored (Golden Goal).
c. Overtime is considered 15-minutes of continuous play after the end of regulation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Would Usain Bolt Ever Wear Braids?

Originally Posted October 2013

I'm watching a batter versus pitcher matchup last night in the MLB NL Wildcard game, Johnny Cueto of the Reds pitching to Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, and I decided to write today's article, asking, 'Would Usain Bolt Ever Wear Braids?'.

Of course, I'm talking about the hairstyle that is all the rage and has been for a while.  Braids are way past being a fad.  They've been popular with high-school athletes, college athletes and the pros for many years.

I've wanted to write the article for a long time because I think it is an interesting topic, but I kind of always thought it wasn't for a non-wearing braids person to write.

Braids are obviously a very personal and cultural expression and one which I like quite a bit.  But, I've always been inquisitive as to why athletes would want to add so much unnecessary weight to tug from their head, if they are expected to be so quick and agile to the 1/100th of a second.

The hair is so long, it even blocks the name on the back of their jersey sometimes.  Aren't they losing a possible endorsement here or there?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

10 Action-Packed, Fun, Vintage Heavyweight Fights on Youtube

Thank you YouTube.  Since there are no great heavyweight boxing matches anymore, it is a real treat to go back and look at some which provide awesome drama.  They tend to get forgotten and deserve a second look.  The video quality is quite good for each of them.

Ali vs. Spinks I, 1978.  Spinks had only six fights under his belt.  Ali owned the belts. Great action throughout climaxing with an unbelievable 15th round.

Vitali Klitschko vs. Lennox Lewis, 2003.  Interesting that one of the best fights ever would last six rounds. During his call of the fight, Larry Merchant said these were the two most talented, biggest fighters to ever meet in the heavyweight division.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Top 5 Most Relevant Designated Players MLS Should Pursue part II

'Relevant' meaning possible and significant.  In other words, Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo are not on their way to MLS anytime soon because there are other soccer leagues in the world paying more money for world-class star players in the prime of their careers.

Clint Dempsey made the first list in 2012.  Who will be next from it to play for MLS?

Many soccer experts would agree that Dempsey is world-class and in his prime, but he made it to MLS. Why and how?  Well, 32 million will attract many of the world's best and it's his home country's club league in which he played in years ago.

Which brings the conversation to the number one player MLS teams should pursue and the four other main attractions.  MLS pay what you have to in order to get these guys to sign.

1) Jozy Altidore is younger than Clint, but needs and deserves all the American accolades.  Coming off a hat-trick Friendly and scoring more often in general, with the National team and his club team, Altidore would bring the same fire to MLS as Dempsey.  Especially, if he could get paired up with another hotshot, like Dempsey is with Eddie Johnson.  Would he possibly fit well with Kei Kamara  or Graham Zusi of Sporting KC?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Richard Sherman, Jonathan Martin: Dispelling Stereotypes in One NFL Season

Richard Sherman and Jonathan Martin both went to Stanford and played together there in 2009, 2010. This part of their backgrounds is a shared trait, but for the most part they grew up very differently. Sherman overcame the more traditional inner-city challenges to develop his skill-sets. Martin was born into a family of middle-class and more upward-mobile wealth.

What is mostly similar of Sherman and Martin is how they are dispelling the stereotypes of black athletes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Will the NASL Look after MLS Expansion?

Not too many months back, I wrote that I thought the NASL had found firmer footing and a niche in the sports spectator marketplace.  I stand by those thoughts.

But, because of the next round of MLS expansion, growing to 24 teams by 2020-according to Garber logic, the NASL will once again have to struggle to find solid ground.  It will be tough as MLS cherry picks some of the NASL franchises or pushes some of them off the already precarious pro soccer cliff.

I predict it will eventually stabilize, though.  Unfortunately, the NASL will take years to finally settle in on its present business model and really reap rewards for the majority of its club owners.

The current business model for NASL club owners fits very well for a pro Soccer second division in the U.S.:

The name and branding of the NASL for the second division fits perfectly (US Soccer owes those who got the second coming of NASL off the ground a bit of a debt of gratitude).  And, building stadiums to seat roughly 8,000 people in medium-sized metro areas to accommodate 15 home games yearly, including friendlies and U.S. Open Cup dates should bring in dividends and be a positive community rousing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is it Time for a New Nickname for Toronto FC?: Top 3 Suggestions

Toronto FC has made it known that it wants to be a contender in MLS. The signings of Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe give notice to their fans and teams in the League that Toronto FC wants to change its image.

The team known as the 'Reds' for their primary team color wants to turn the page on some lengthy losing and ordinary chapters. Toronto wants to become an exciting and dominant team.

With this exciting time for the franchise and so much change in the air, would it be a good time for some re-branding by trying a new nickname to replace FC?  Could it be something that would galvanize the public's attention and also help them to forget the bad start the franchise got off to since its inception in 2007?

FC as a soccer nickname has its challenges as I've opined on in the past. MLS Nicknames Confuse Joe Sixpack Sports Fan.

'Reds' is a nickname of sorts for the team, the unofficial one.  But, is there a better one out there?

If MLS Toronto has to keep the FC at the end, it can still place it after an original nickname.

For me, Toronto Reds FC doesn't work well enough and I would take out the FC completely.

Here are my top 3 suggestions:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Performance Pressures Mount for Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley

2014 is the year for Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to make their biggest marks on the U.S. soccer world.  It is hard to argue against this point.  The two soccer stars have their chance to enhance the profile of MLS and lead the U.S. National Team to success at the World Cup.

It is hard to imagine two other U.S. soccer players under more pressure.  The reason for this is because their return to club soccer with MLS coincides with the lead-up to World Cup.

There are enormous pressures placed onto the shoulders of both of them like no other American players have probably ever felt before.

It would be completely unfair to place any more U.S. soccer expectations on Landon Donovan.  What he has accomplished in his career is the singular best efforts of any club player or National Team player.  Anything more to come from Landon now is just gravy.

As for Jozy Altidore and other players, yes, there is pressure to perform well at World Cup.  However, due to playing club soccer outside the U.S., it is a different type of pressure he and the others will feel throughout this year.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Comparing Seattle Seahawks Fans to Seattle Sounders Fans

As great as the attendance is for Seattle Sounders matches at CenturyLink Field, it pales in comparison to how the Seattle Seahawks are represented in games at the 'Link' (as it is referred to by the Seahawks' coach, Pete Carroll).

This is a tough pill to swallow for American pro soccer fans. The club with the best U.S. support live at matches, the Seattle Sounders, is not the biggest sports draw in their city/area.

In fact, it feels like the number '12' that depicts the home crowd's number as a participant during the game has been completely hijacked by the Seahawks. I don't remember '12' being used so dramatically by Sounders fans. The number works for either team, as 11 athletes are playing for one side in American football or soccer.

So, how does the huge soccer fan base, including all of those involved in administering professional soccer, in the U.S., evaluate this Seattle enigma?

What's it all mean if the best club soccer crowd in the U.S. belongs to the same place that can turn out an even bigger, better and more boisterous American football crowd?

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Star Is Born: Andre Blake

In case you hadn't heard, Andre Blake was drafted number one by the Philadelphia Union in MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.

Who is Andre Blake?  He is a Jamaican-born goalkeeper with three years of college soccer experience at the University of Connecticut.  While at UCONN, he played in 36 shutouts (clean sheets) and received all-american honors.

Blake became the first goalkeeper selected as the number one pick in the MLS SuperDraft.  He is following in the footsteps of Donovan Ricketts, another MLS star goalkeeper with Jamaican roots.

The 36 year-old Ricketts is captain of the Jamaican National Team.  He has experience with a few MLS teams (LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact and currently with the Portland Timbers) over the last several years and also with teams in England early in his career (the Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City).

There was a time when Ricketts was on the verge of super stardom when he was defending goal for the Galaxy in the David Beckham years.  Landon Donovan, along with Beckham, raised the profile of Ricketts at that time in his career (from 2009-2011) as the Galaxy were the closest thing to traveling all-stars MLS had ever known.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Much Does a Soccer Nickname Matter in Atlanta, Minnesota and New York?

Branding is the name of the game in capitalist America.

How much is a good nickname worth?

It could be the difference between failure and success for a professional soccer franchise in the U.S.

I know it seems a little curious or impertinent to say a franchise's fortunes rise or fall on a nickname, but the nickname is typically representative of a bigger ideal.

Nicknames inspire and galvanize attention. Communities can become more involved depending on a nickname.  A great nickname can make it seem like there's a greater cause to be made.

There are times when the ideals behind a new team/club trump any average nickname.  If there is an awesome stadium, great players or passionate support groups, an average or bad nickname can be overcome.

Overall, what attracts fans to watch their local pro soccer team live or on Tv is determined by an array of factors.  It's a long conversation.

But, to disregard the influence of a nickname is a mistake.

If the right nickname is branded well and the area accepts it as their own, then, it becomes harder for any new investors to come in and steal a franchise away.

I think the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers are perfect examples.  Why reinvent the wheel and brand a new team if the nickname matches perfectly to the area's identity.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Manchester United Remains Undefeated at Old Trafford when Antonio Valencia Scores

Manchester United's midfielder from Ecuador, Antonio Valencia, showed his professionalism and skills off Saturday at Old Trafford by scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win over Swansea City.

After a scoreless first half while playing without stars Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and their team stuck in the middle of the pack in the EPL standings, there were lingering doubts for fans of the Red Devils.

The goal broke the tension for more than 75,000 people watching live and many more fans watching on Tv.

According to Arlo White and his broadcast, when Valencia scores in games at home for Man U., they have never lost or tied.

As I've mentioned before, my wife is from Ecuador and I have residency there.  I lived there for a while in 2004-05.  While there during that time I remember watching a young 19 year-old Valencia play live at Estadio Atahualpa in Quito on a few occasions.

With Premier League matches so much easier to find on Tv now and because Man U. is featured most often of all the clubs, I have begun to watch Valencia more closely.

He's been playing for Man U. since 2009 and has recorded 19 goals and 38 assists for them in all combined competitions.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Betting Advice: AFC, NFC Conference Championship Games

It's hard to imagine two more scrumptious games for the NFL appetite.  All four teams playing Sunday seem perfectly suited to become champs.

These are hard games to predict, but there are tremendous options to choose from when betting them.

When I bet, I always check odds at

Both the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games are so tight, my instincts tell me to take the dogs/points for both games.

I think the New England Patriots running game will keep the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning's offense off the field for a good amount of the time.  And, I trust Tom Brady to make the right passes at the right time.

I think the Denver Broncos defense is just weak enough that the game will have to be close at the end no matter what. If the Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger stats tells me anything, the Pats are going to the Super Bowl.

Friday, January 10, 2014

How Much is Super Bowl Quarterbacking Experience Worth?

Each of this weekend's four NFL Divisional Round playoff games pits one team which has a quarterback with Super Bowl experience versus a team without a quarterback who has Super Bowl experience.

The afternoon game on Saturday features Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, versus Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.  Later on Saturday night, the Indianapolis Colts, led by Andrew Luck, play the New England Patriots with Tom Brady in charge, a three-time Super Bowl winner.

The early game on Sunday has virgin playoff quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers up against Collin Kaepernick, last season's losing Super Bowl starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.  The late game Sunday brings together journeyman quarterback Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers up against veteran Super Bowl winning and losing quarterback, Peyton Manning, representing the Denver Broncos.

So, what's it all mean?  In many ways, it's a combination of young studs versus elder statesmen.  But, there is the exception of Kaepernick, who has the Super Bowl experience as a young stud.

Can all the games go one way or the other?  Could Super Bowl experience prevail in all the games or could it end up backfiring?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Is There One More Game Left for Candlestick Park?

Hopefully, they didn't start taking out seats or ripping up anything.

Candlestick Park already had its grand celebration and tributes for its retirement during the San Francisco 49ers last regular season game versus the Atlanta Falcons a few weeks ago.  It was a high profile game on national television for Sunday Night Football.

A bunch of past 49er greats attended and even Willie Mays made it to the game to highlight the many winning moments that Candlestick had for San Francisco Giants fans, too.

For all intents and purposes, Candlestick Park had been put out to pasture.  Ah, but, wait.  There is a possibility for an 'unplanned game'-the NFC Championship.

At the time of that last regular season game against the Falcons, it seemed a remote possibility for San Francisco to host one more game.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kicking Around: The Denver Broncos, Dennis Rodman and Baseball's Hall Of Fame

I haven't typically participated in any quick news and notes of the sports world, but for time's sake, I am giving my piece of mind to a few topics today.

First off, I want to tackle the Dennis Rodman situation.  Some of you may know that Dennis Rodman and Manu Ginobili are my favorite basketball players of all time.  And, frankly speaking, I love their personalities.  Dennis can't do much wrong in my eyes.

I support Rodman's crusade to 'loosen up' the tension between North Korea and much of the rest of the world.  He is right in many ways.  Kim Jung Un is very young at 31 years old and may be able to learn more diplomatic manners by allowing Rodman in for basketball exhibitions.

Also, Rodman is correct in defining his place in his journeys to North Korea.  I applaud him for now speaking out to say that when the time is right he will talk to the DPRK leader/ruler about matters relating to the perception of North Korea from outside the country.  He is developing a friendship and wants it to be genuine.

Regarding Rodman's North Korean efforts, I believe the pundits and critics are mostly speaking from an entrenched white man's media world and can't seem to see 'the forest for the trees'.

Moving on to Baseball's Hall Of Fame, I believe this year will definitely bring on some new inductees. Last year still leaves a bitter taste for sports fans.  I expect there to be a few guys going in because of the dryness and staleness of last year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

25 Championship Records of Superstar Athletes

A player really establishes himself as an all-timer when he is competing for a championship and the public recognizes him as someone who belongs there.

As sports are dominated by a handful of teams, the players associated with those teams begin to ascend the rankings among their peers and standout in the sports world.

There are a limited amount of superstar athletes (aka-future Hall Of Famers) currently playing in each of our most popular pro sports.  This list looks at the great ones and their records in championship finals.  The following players listed have more than one championship appearance.

In honor of Kobe Bryant's return to the NBA regular season after rehab from a torn achilles, he gets to start the list.  He is tied with Derek Jeter for most appearaces in championship finals by a current player.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

10 Players Rodman Should Take with Him to North Korea

Almost a year ago, before it was announced that Dennis Rodman would be training the North Korean basketball team and bringing American players over with him to play in an exhibition game, I wrote an article asking whether Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen would be invited to join Rodman in North Korea on his next trip out there.

With the basketball diplomacy between Rodman and North Korea set for sure, who should fill out the roster?

It will be an experience to remember for all the players involved because of the uniqueness of the situation and the media following that will go along with it.

Retired professional players are probably high on the list to go because current pro players, minor leagues or not, are under contract.  So, let the speculating begin.

These would be my preferences for Rodman to select.  I think he should try to recruit some former friends and foes from his best days on the court.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

San Antonio Spurs End 2013 with 73-29 Record

The San Antonio Spurs continue to amaze.  There's no other way to look at them in today's modern sports world. They played 102 games in 2013 and won 72% of them.  Included is a 15-6 record in the playoffs.

(On a 162 game baseball season, the Spurs would have 116 victories.)

I've talked quite a bit about the 'Big 3' and their amazing run together of 12 years. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have surpassed the superlatives at this point.

Last year at this time, I did a similar analysis of the 2012 season which saw a surplus of games not normally intended for one year due to the strike/lockout in late 2011.  The 2012 Spurs ended with an 82-37 record.

It was a marvelous year in 2013 that saw the Spurs almost take the title versus the Miami Heat.  With only seconds away from victory in Game 6 and another NBA championship, the Spurs fell into some bad luck on the bounce of the ball, a bad coaching decision to not have Duncan in the game and some miraculous shooting from the Heat.  The Heat rallied to steal the game and go on to victory in Game 7 to win it all.

You would think that the Spurs wouldn't be able to rebound so quickly from the disaster of Game 6, but here they are again with one of the best records in this new NBA season.

I did correctly predict the NBA Finals last season.  I was very proud of my favorite team.  So, what is my prediction for them this season?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Should the NFL Eliminate Playoff Byes?

It is overdue.  It doesn't make sense, either.  Sure, the argument is that 1 and 2 seeds don't often make appearances together in the AFC, NFC championship games, but this is not the point.

There's nothing wrong with having 1 and 2 seeds play a first round game.  It only means more playoff games for fans.  How to remedy the situation?  Bring in 2 more additional teams to the playoffs from each conference for a total of 16, rather than 12 teams.

This is not so radical.  It will make the NFL more money because so many more teams will have a chance to make the playoffs and the interest level can remain high. 

Teams who may not have any hope 10 or 11 weeks into the season, could still be in the playoff picture. They can rally and still dream of championship success.  These teams hanging around will keep fans watching on tv, paying for tickets and buying product. 

As it is set-up presently, after 10 or 11 weeks, for most cities, all hope is lost.  There is a serious economical impact at stake.

Is this theory that controversial?  Who would benefit the most?  Fans.  Instead of throwing in the towel and starting to prepare for next year, fans can root on and keep their prayers alive.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time for a Review of Super Bowl Odds

When I lived seven years in Reno, Nevada, my favorite type of sports betting were the futures.  With futures, there are odds that payout a lot higher.  The challenge for the bettor is finding the odds most suitable to their situation with a decent chance of winning.

To predict the future is ludicrous to begin with when it comes to sports betting, but, that's the fun of it. Finding a comfortable team among the playoff teams with numbers you may like is the strategy I enjoy most. What I mean by 'comfortable' is a team that has a legitimate chance to win with a number high enough to make the bet worth it.

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You may remember that at the beginning of the season, I suggested the Detroit Lions were a good pick and that last year at the beginning of the season, I suggested Carolina as a good futures pick.  Well, for a while, Detroit did look good at 40 to 1, like for the first eight weeks of the season, and Carolina would have been great this season at 40 to 1 (which reminds me of the times I put heavy money on the BoSox and California Angels to win the World Series in separate years-only to see them both win it the following years).

Now, in reviewing the odds, I'm thinking about the teams who are going into the playoffs with some momentum.  I don't want to bet the favorites because I don't get enough of a return on my bet.  I'm willing to lay down a decent chunk of money, maybe $100-$150.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Top 10 Most Authentic 'Racing' Movies

There is Oscar buzz for Rush.  To honor the brilliance of Ron Howard and his newest flick, it seems like a good time for a top 10 movies list.

Rush is a racing movie, in case you haven't heard.  So, this top 10 list provides some of the most authentic racing movies of all time.

10) Days Of Thunder (1990). It's classic Tom Cruise.  His name in this movie was Cole Trickle.  I enjoy reviewing the names of the characters he portrays.  Good enough popcorn faire of stock car racing, but not good enough to crack the all-time Cruise movie list.

9)  Downhill Racer (1969).  I don't remember the whole movie, but I know that Robert Redford was a good pick for a hotshot playboy U.S. skier in tough competitions.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Can David Beckham Make a Bigger Impact on MLS as an Owner than He Did as a Player?

I made no bones about it when I wrote last year that David Beckham's mission as an L.A. Galaxy MLS player was complete. He retired after having won two consecutive MLS Cups.

But, it was Beckham's overall impact on the sport in America that will be remembered more than those two championships.  He brought relevance to pro Soccer in the U.S. at the same level or even greater than the great Pelé did many years before in the NASL and I wrote about that, as well.

Now, interestingly, Beckham can surpass his playing accomplishments by being a successful MLS franchise owner.  When Beckham gets his Miami franchise up and running, he will bring more attention to the sport and the MLS profile will surely get a boost.

If LeBron James is part of the ownership, than Beckham has succeeded once again in providing more support to pro Soccer in the U.S.  LeBron James is arguably the most notable athlete in the world.  Their partnership gives more credibility to the franchise and will help with its branding.

LeBron and Beckham won't let their franchise fail and they know that they will need lots of talent on the field. With their connections, don't be surprised to see players like Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic quickly installed into the starting eleven.