1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Friday “Dear Boxing–Good To Have You Back”

Posted by on February 21st, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Dear Boxing–Where Have You Been”

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It should be as big a night as boxing has seen in a long time, but then again, it has been a long time since boxing meant anything to anyone.

The names in neon lights…Tyson Fury-vs-Deontay Wilder.
The headlines..heavyweight championship of the world.

It’s a rematch many wanted to see, at least those who paid attention before, when Fury got off the canvas twice to earn a split decision draw against Wilder in a title fight in Los Angeles.

That fight was not on anyone’s radar, this one is.  Wilder is (40-0) with 39-knockouts.  Fury is (27-0) with 19-ko’s.  One is (6’9), the other (6’7).

Boxing has been down for so long.

I remember Howard Cosell, Don Dunphy, boxing on radio, and the Gillette Calvacade of Fights was along time ago.

I recall watching the grainy black and white videos of Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Max Schmeling.

The superstars, the sluggers, the personalities made the sport special.

Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.

It was the era of the sluggers and brawlers, Sonny Liston, Earnie Shavers, George Foreman, Joe Fraizer. Ken Norton, Ron Lyles, Larry Holmes, Lenox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.

Oh there were bad heavyweight winners too, Gerry Cooney, Chuck Wepner, Pinklon Thomas, Buster Douglas.

Boxing’s seemingly heavyweight division went the way of your Dad’s Packard, Hudson and DeSoto.  It’s as if when Mike Tyson went to prison, that division went away.

Somehow it lost its way and its belts and crowns wound up in Russia with the Klitschko Brothers.  They fought no-bodys and no one paid attention any longer.

Maybe it was the demise of the Golden Gloves tourneys in New York. Maybe it was the clubs closing down.  Maybe it was the lack of interest in the Olympics.

Yes as the heavyweight division went away, we did have the birth of the great lower weights.  Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray Mancini, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Oscar DeLaHoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Manny Pacquiao and so many more.

But something was missing.  The ‘Thriller in Manila’.  The fight in Zaire.   The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.  The ‘Rope-a-Dope’.  A screaming Ali ‘I am the Greatest’.  Cosell yelling ‘Down Goes Frazier’.

Saturday night, a re-birth of the heavyweight division possibly.  Won’t be on radio, not on your TV, not in a movie theatre, unless you want to pay 79-99 PPV.

But for the first time in what seems like decades, some people are talking about the heavyweight division now.  Somebody is going down.  Someone will go to sleep.  It’s what the Sweet Science should be all about.

Heavyweight Boxing as we once knew it-we welcome you back.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Thursday “Padres–Tell Me What the Blue Print Is Again”

Posted by on February 20th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Padres Blue Print-Remind Me Again”

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So here we are in spring training, and so are the all the rumors that GM-AJ Preller is still trying to make trades, anytime, anyplace for anyone.

The guy who signed Eric Hosmer one day before spring training two years ago.

The guy who signed Manny Machado just after spring training started.

The guy who trade for reliever Craig Kimbrel just before opening day.

And now, after all this wheeling and dealing, he is trying to move another name player, the streaky Will Myers.

Preller has spent all winter trying to find a buyer for the 60M-mistake he made, the contract extension given to Myers right after his All Star season, the one where he did so well the first half of that year, and faltered after that, and hasn’t done much since.

The guy who hasn’t really been a star since, but rather a shining Comet for a short period of time, who always falls to earth and flames out.

Now the reports that the Padres-Red Sox-Reds have reopened trade talks about a Myers deal to Boston.  But Preller would have to pay 30M of the remaining 60M to get the Red Sox to do the deal.

Myers might become a terror at Fenway Park, rather than a failure at Petco Park. This deep into his career, you would have hoped for more from him.

But for the Padres, it begs the real question, aside from getting rid of the contract, this team dealing for another centerfielder?

The rumor that Cincinnati is the third part of this trade, means the Padres want to move on young outfielder Nick Senzel, coming off injuries with the Reds.

Lots of upside they say, but how many centerfielders, unproven as they are, are you going to drag in here.

The Padres dealt away Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe, Manny Margot, and now they want to exit Myers.

If they get Senzel from Cincy, you add him to the list of of flychasers San Diego have brought in.

Oft-injured Juan Lagares from the Mets.  Young flychaser Taylor Trammel from Cincinnati at the deadline last July.  Trent Grisham, who came from Milwaukee in the Luis Urias trade.  Journeyman outfielder Abraham Almonte.  How many do you need.

Last I checked, Trammell hit (.223) in Double A over a whole season.  Grisham hit (.224) with Milwaukee late in the season.  Lagares was let go by the last place Mets.  Almonte has been on and off how many rosters recently?

And you still have Josh Naylor a defensive liability, and the prospect-suspect Franchy Cordero, who hasn’t shown much when he’s been healthy, and he’s been hurt alot.

That’s an awful lot of ‘ifs’ for a team that thinks it might be. a wildcard playoff team.

Also alarming is the fact the team might have to include Cal Quantrill in the next deal, just like they had to include Eric Lauer in a winter deal along with Urias.  So how many young arms are you giving up, and for what, question marks?

Don’t know about all this.  I might like Tommy Pham in my outfield, but he can’t play all 3-positions can he?  Maybe Renfroe-Margot-Myers-Reyes in a batting order with Hosmer-Machado-Tatis-Mejia might have been pretty good, coupled with all the additional pitching they have stockpiled.

Seems to me Preller is having to make more deals to make up for some of the bad deals of the past.

Remind me again….’What’s the Blue Print?’.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Chargers–Is It About to Get Worse?”

Posted by on February 19th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Chargers Worst Fears–About to Happen?”

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The future of the Chargers could be decided in the next couple of weeks, and it may not be a very good future.

The Bolts decision to cut loose QB-Philip Rivers could lead to a series of dominoes that fall that could leave this team looking like an expansion team.

Connect the dots.

Rivers could be headed to the Indianapolis Colts, and just last week I asked the question would other impending Bolt free agents want to stay on a team that no longer has Rivers as the triggerman?

Now come reports that the New England Patriots, who always wheel and deal around the draft, and make trades, are targeting Chargers tight end Hunter Henry.  Asking the question who would you rather catch passes from, Tyrod Taylor or Tom Brady?

And running back Melvin Gordon, whose holdout hurt the team, could be targeted by another team that runs the ball and throws to its running backs, the Steelers.  Do you think   Gordon is better served to run and each passes from Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, or Derek Carr in Las Vegas, compared to stay in a Rivers-less team in Los Angeles?

Just think of the collateral damage from the early decision Tom Telesco, John Spanos and Anthony Lynn made on Rivers. Dominoes about to fall here?

Think about what this team would be like next season without its QB-RB-TE?

And if that is not enough of a negative vibe, remember Joey Bosa become a free agent next March and indications are he’d like to team with his broker, Nick, as a member of the 49ers.

I don’t think the rumor Tom Brady exiting New England to play for the Charges has any legs to it.  I don’t think drafting a Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert guarantees you an instant winning season.  And I don’t think putting all your Tyrod Taylor chips on the table puts you in a race for the AFC-wildcard spot in a division owned by the Chiefs.

This has the potential to be a horrible off season, possibly followed by a horrible next season.  Maybe the front office didn’t think about this when they made decision one on the quarterback.  Now it might be out of their control.

Chargers fans, connect the dots.  This could be a messy ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ picture in a couple of weeks.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “Daytona-Great American Race-Great American Tragedy”

Posted by on February 18th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NASCAR–America’s Great Race-Ghastly Finish”

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It was over in a split second…the race and a possible life.

In a split second, the likely winner-nearly lost his life.

It was over in split second, the Daytona 500, but memory will linger for a long time..

NASCAR’s marquee event has become a demolition derby, and a threat to everyone, drivers, fans, pit crews.  All in the chase for the 1M top prize of the top race, the opening race on the Cup schedule.

Denny Hamlin won the race, it was feared Ryan Newman lost his life.

It was a horrific last lap crash, bringing flashbacks of what happened to Dale Earnhardt Senior years ago, at the same track, at the same finish line..

I saw Earnhardt crash, a head on hit into a retaining wall oh the final lap on his way to a likely win.  What I saw happen to Newman was even worse.

And you could tell immediately how bad it was.  Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon stopped talking on the Fox telecast, as their silence told the seriousness of the story..  Moments after he crossed the finish line, you could see Hamlin clapping and pounding his steering wheel, in excitement, getting his 3rd win in the historic 500..  Within minutes at Victory Lane there was no celebrating.

NASCAR rescue crews arrived within 3-minutes of Newman’s head on crash-airborne flip-and then collision with another driver.  But it took them 20-minutes to get his car flipped back onto its wheels.  They put up black screens around the car so no one could see what was going on with the rescue attempt.

Then the media throng was ordered out of the pits, no post race interviews, and a news blackout was unveiled as Newman was rushed to a hospital.

It was all equal to what we saw in the last NASCAR fatality, Earnhardt’s crash that resulted in a broken neck.

In a sport that sells speed (200mph) on straightaways, a sport that urges to wait for the ‘Big One’ a final lap crash, a sport that has upgraded  its safety requirements, this still happens, especially on super speedways, like Daytona-and-Talladega.

There were 5-crashes in the final 16-laps of the race.  10-frontrunners were knocked out when there was a crash at the front of the pack.  There were only 18-of-40 cars left running on the lead lap when the Newman crash happened.

Pack racing is exciting.  but cars tapping each others at those speeds close to 200mph put severyone in jeopardy.

On the final restart in the 500, Newman, Hamlin and Ryan Blaney darted back and forth, top to bottom of the track  Newman sling-shotted past Hamlin on the final lap, then as Hamlin made a move to retake the lead, Newman blocked him on the outside, then drifted down to the inside lane to block Blaney-who tapped his rear bumper.

And like that, Newman went sideways, nose first into the retaining wall.  At that speed, air got under the car and lifted it into the air as it flipped twice.  As it came down upside down it was hit by another car, who had nowhere to go with the car infront of him.

The front end of the car was crushed when it hit the wall.  The roof of the car was crushed when it was hit as it was coming down.  Newman skidded hundreds of yards upside down, and then caught fire.

When I saw it at first, I feared Newman’s lower extremities were crushed when the front end-the nose end, hit the wall head on.  I worried the force of the head on crash could snap his neck, as it did Earnhardt.  Then as it cartwheeled down the track, rolling, I feared for the drivers safety trapped in the car.  And then the roof was hit by the trailing car, with all that pressure forcing into the driver cockpit.

What should have been a celebration became a somber post-race event.  No one can celebrate what Hamlin had just done.  All we could think of Newman.

Racing is about speed and thrills, but sadly it is about spills.

Bobby Allison’s career ended in a terrible barrel roll accident.  So did Neil Bonnet’s.

Indy car lost icon Dan Wheldon and Greg Moore in horrific modern day crashes.

Formula 1-which nearly ceased operations in the 1950s after a car went into the stands at LeMans, also saw its legend Artyn Senna perish in a crash that scarred the sport.

As night fell for auto racing fans across America, the thrill of victory was replaced by the agony of defeat, or possibly death.

NASCAR will have to figure now how to deal with the speed they sanction, the risks those drivers take, and the outcome of races like this.  An accident, a catastrophe, waiting to happen.

Denny Hamlin won.  Ryan Newman’s life was in the balance.

The Great American Race is a borderline Great American Tragedy.  The sport should not be that way.

Over in a split second on the final lap, a race, and possibly a life.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday. “Daytona 500-America’s Great Race–Will a Great Guy Win It?”

Posted by on February 17th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

NASCAR–Season Opens–End of Career”

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The dateline was Daytona, the opening of the NASCAR season, with the Daytona 500.

It was like some sort of coronation.

NASCAR, the fans, and Fox TV spent enormous amount of time leading into the race, saluting San Diego’s and El Cajon’s Jimmie Johnson.

It was the beginning of JJ’s farewell tour, this being his final season on the Cup circuit, heading to retirement.

Johnson is a 7X-points champion.  He has won every big race possible in the series, but of late, it has been a drought of 88-races.  Unknown to many what Johnson has done with his foundation work, back in his adopted homes in North Carolina and in San Diego’s East County schools.  A superstar who truly gives back to education programs, schools, and kids he wants to help out.

It happens to all the great ones in modern day racing, from Dale Earnhardt-Junior to back in the day Bill Elliott.

It is truly a changing of the guard in NASCAR with so many great names having left the sport.  Much has been written about what the leadership is going to do to stop the eroding TV ratings and to fill the empty seats at a lot of the race tracks.

But for one Sunday, there was excitement, pomp and circumstance.

President Trump made an appearance and announced ‘Gentemen start your engines.

Jeff Gordon moved into the #1-analyst seat on the Fox broadcasts.

Legendary driver Tony Stewart is no longer in a car but running his entire team.

Earnhardt Junior was in the starter’s gate dropping the green flag.

Outspoken driver turned TV personality Darrell Waltrip has gone into retirement, so we no longer have his favorite phrase ‘boogity-boogity let’s go racing’.

They remembered the legacy of Junior Johnson, one of the last of the ‘Goold Ole Boys’ from the moonshiners era.

Ricky Stenhouse started on the pole with another relative young-un Alex Bowman alongside…

There was the impressive ‘Lap of Honor’ as a salute with Johnson driving the lead lap before green flag flew.

Oh it was strange, just as they prepared to go green, it rained, and a delay.

Then another 20-laps later, another rain shower, and then darkness moved in.

They will race on Monday, and the sellout crowd will return.

But for 1-day and the 6-hours there, it was quite a day, a throwback to great days at Daytona, and the great seasons that NASCAR has enjoyed.

It would be electric if Jimmie Johnson, who is running upfront with the leaders, can cap off this weekend with a victory come Monday.

He’s meant so much to the sport.  It would be great so see him get a victory in return.

 

A season opens as a career is about to end.

Hoping Dateline Daytona becomes Dateline Winner’s Circle for JJ.

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