1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Friday. “Don Cherry-Hockey Night in Canada–Went Out On His Shield”

Posted by on November 15th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

“Don Cherry–His Way or the Highway”

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Don Cherry was to Canadian broadcasting and the NHL what Howard Cosell was to all things NFL….a legend….an icon…a trendsetter.

And like Cosell’s ‘tell it like it is lifestyle’, Cherry’s own ‘brash-beliggerant-bully style’ set him aside from everyone.

And like Cosell, who went down in flames of self-glory at the end of his Monday Night Football career, Cherry destroyed his career much the same, with his insensitive, off topic rants, who offended many, in our modern era of political correctness.

Cosell ended his self destructive career with rants about owners, players, drugs and NFL greed.  Cherry hit the finish line with some spillage about immigrants in Canada, not appreciating Canadian heritage of soldiers who gave their lives in the wars.

Cherry, the career minor league player, and former coach of the Boston Bruins, became a legend as a TV analyst with his loudmouth lunch bucket opinions about anything-everything related to hockey.  It began in 1981 on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada between period shows.

He grew in popularity with his old school theories, about fighting, women in the lockeroom, free agency, rule changes.

But it was his irreverence that struck a chord with everyone, and it was the rationale of the CBC and then Sportsnet to let him get away with things that always seemed to cross the line.

It was a Saturday Night Live version of the NHL on TV.  You never knew what was coming out of his mouth next, like a John Belushi appearance, or like a Dave Schultz cross-check in the head, from back in the day.

He didn’t care about the criticism.  The CBC didn’t care about the outrage, morally, socially, because they were raking in ratings and profits.  I’ll never forget covering the Kings-Maple Leafs playoff series just before the Stanley Cup finals, when the whole Press Box went silent between the first and second period, to see what “Grapes” had to say on Coaches Corner.

The critics were everywhere, that he was appealing to the worst element of Canadian society, the beer drinking, truck driving, blue collar-hardhat workers who followed the NHL.

But Cherry’s power and popularity grew, and so did the controversy.  He attacked the government, the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, social-racial issues, all well beyond the scope of his hockey expertise, and broadcasting leadership did nothing.

I’ll never forget the night he read the poem about Fields of Flanders, written by a dying soldier in World War I.  It was moving, it was honest, it was sincere.  Remembrance Day in Canada is so meaningful, equivalent to our Memorial Day-Veterans Day…maybe even more so, because he wrapped the Canadian flag around the NHL.

He was proud Canadian, and a proud historian, talking about the Eddie Shore days of the NHL and the AHL, the Hockey Hall of Fame, his beloved Bruins and Maple Leafs, the hated Canadiens and all things Oilers-and-Gretzky.

He may have invented ‘branding’, his loud sports jackets, the flowers, the shirts, the ties, and the non-stop noise.  He was is own social media brand.

But for all the spectacular things Don Cherry did, he was reviled for his tirades.  Included in the list were stunning statements that kept coming.

..Called LA Kings winger Tomas Sandstrom a ‘Chicken Bleep-Back Stabbing Swede’.

..Commenting on the arrival of Russian players who changed the NHL…’Should have killed their parents at the Russian front.’

..Called those who wanted to ban fighting because of head injuries ‘Pukes-Turncoats-Bleeding Hearts’.

..Called players from Quebec a ‘Bunch of Whiners and Those Guys’

..Said he was ‘Embarrassed women were allowed in the locker room’

..Called his critics ‘left wing pinkos’.

..Called players who wanted to wear visors ‘Euro-French Guys-Sissies-Wimps’

 

He was beside himself when 2-American teams got to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time.  He could not believe a hockey team named after a movie “Mighty Ducks” won the Cup.  He hated Francophones, loved Anglophones and was relentless spraying opinions into every corner of the arena, every bar in Canada, and in your living room.

It went on unstopped for years, till this past weekend’s attack on immigrants in Ontario for not buying poppies on Veterans Day.

He never apologized.  Thru his prism, what he was doing on TV was delivering a message.  But he became more polarizing than popular.  His last comment this week, about not becoming some ‘Network Tin Soldier’.  He said if he was leaving, he was going out on his shield.

Hockey has been the unifying element of Canadian society, stretching from Newfoundland to the Yukon Territory….Toronto to White Rock, British Columbia, Ottawa to Saskatchewan.  But Don Cherry had become the divisive part of NHL broadcasting because of his style.

He was brilliant, he was bombastic.  He was from a different era and now out of touch.  He gave the word ‘filibuster’ a Canadian definition.  You knew it would end this way….a race-baiting rant, either on ice or off ice, would lead to his end.

And it’s odd, Don Cherry’s broadcasting life ended on the day that meant so much to him, Remembrance Day, and his love for all the veterans over all the wars, who died with the Maple Leaf flag branded on their soul.

I watched him, I interviewed him, I enjoyed him.  I was sad to see it end the way it did, but that was Grapes, and you lived on his terms, and he died on his terms too.

Don Cherry-Howard Cosell….one and the same…started the same-ended the same….and now likely never to be forgotten.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Thursday. “NFL-vs-Colin Kaepernick–Too Little–Too Late”

Posted by on November 14th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NFL-Kaepernick-Too Little-Too Late”

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So what do we make of all this?  The latest development in the Colin Kaepernick story?

I was so enraged when the 2016-flag incident occurred.  Him using the flag to express his dissatisfaction about what our country had become.

Coming from a military family, I was furious, someone making over 12M a year to play in the NFL, was condemning the country that was allowing him to make that style of living.

What started as a kneel down, with him and teammate Eric Reid then grew.  Then it was other teammates.

Then it was other teams.  Some kneeled.  Some stood.  Some raised black fists.

The fury was everywhere as it spread.  By the next week, teams together were kneeling.  Then Cowboys owner Jerry Jones elected to kneel with his entire team in a show of support.

The controversy would not abide, would not go away.  It took on all types of dimensions.

Steelers players refused to come out of the tunnel till the anthem was over.  Marshawn Lynch, showing disdain, sat on a cooler, his back turned to the flag, in a show of his disrespect.

The longer it went, the more informed we became.  Players protesting white-vs-black shootings, police brutality and more.

The NFL, overwhelmed by the issue, met with player’s coalitions, trying to find a common ground for respect of the flag and a solution of issues.

The off season brought us the decision the league would fund ‘social programs’ in each NFL cities to help spread the message of respect for one and all.

Kaepernick was viewed as a villain.  He opted out of his 49ers contract the next year, turning away from his 12.6M contract.  But coming off 2-surgeries, coming off a bad season on a bad team, he got no offers.

The theorist reviled NFL club owners for not giving the star quarterback a chance to play for a new club.  Because of his social protest?  Or because he couldn’t play anymore?

All the while there was rage of him being blackballed by the holier than thou owners.  You know the same ones who were still signing domestic abusers, druggies, DUI guys and every unemployed fringe QB on any street corner.

But not Colin Kaepernick.

He filed a grievance over his own brand of discrimination, inequality.  An embarrassed NFL settled out of court, to the tune of 3-to-5M to make the case go away.

But Kaepernick got no invites to workouts, tryouts, or free agent offers.  Now suddenly, the NFL announces he will take part in a free-agent workout in Atlanta.

Some believe this may be part of the grievance settlement.  Others wonder why a workout now in November with just 6-weeks left in the season.  Why not in June before all training camps were open and rosters were set?

It’s been 2-and a half years, since he last played.  In that time, he has ventured off into different areas of society.

Yes there still is rage, but as I read-researched-talked to NFL people, a different Colin Kaepernick surfaced.

Not the quarterback, but rather the person, with the revelation of all he has done in charitable programs, while off the NFL field.

He gave 1M and went to Ghana to open a children’s hospital.
He gave 1M to aftercare school programs in Oakland-San Francisco
He gave 1M to the Somalian Famine relief program
He funded 10,000 grants to 10-different national charities
He set up a 100-suits-100 men for parolees released from prison.

Kaepernick walked the walk after talking the talk.  My views changed about he the person, not so much the quarterback.

So now we find out the football side of the story.  Does he have anything left?  Being out for nearly 3-years, will the rust take away from his game?  Is he willing to come be someone’s insurance policy quarterback?  Does he have to be in a special offense to have success?  Is he willing to play for a veterans minimum salary to get back on the field?

In an NFL that has allowed the likes of Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Greg Fields, Adrian Peterson and others to return to the game, after arrests, wrongdoings and lawsuits, it seems appropriate the quarterback gets an opportunity.  What was worse, his social protest stance, or guys beating women, pulling guns, injuring players, doing PEDs and drugs?

Fearful it is 2-years too late, but at least he will workout, then sit and talk to teams.

I didn’t like what he did, but the more I researched what he’s done since the day with the flag, I have become a supporter.

Somebody in the NFL now has the chance to do the same, even if it is too little…too late.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Aztecs Football-Winning-Coach Upset at Community”

Posted by on November 13th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Lee Hamilton <hacksaw5555@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 12:35 PM
Subject: 1-Man’s Opinion on Sports- “Aztecs-Fresno State-A Rivalry”
To: hacksaw5555 <hacksaw5555@gmail.com>

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“Aztecs-Fresno State–A Rivalry”

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They call it the “Battle for the Old Oil Can”, a rivalry that goes back lots of years, but has more important meaning these days, with teams fighting for a New Year’s Day Bowl berth from the Group of Five.

It’s the 59th meeting of the schools, with SDSU holding a (2925-4) edge.

Back in the old PCAA days, Jim Sweeney had some great teams. Modern day Bulldogs football with Pat Hill as coach, had great battles with SDSU, the most notable being shootouts with QB-Trent Dilfer…RB-Ron Rivers and Lorenzo Neal and a host of NFL receivers.

The Aztecs are (7-2), trying to find some consistency to their offense.  The Bulldogs, coming off a strong season last year, are struggling with transition on defense, are (4-5) in an up and down season.

Rocky Long is trying to find some quality to his offense, to match the excellence of his defense.  Bowl bound, but not a complete football team yet. No one will take away the 7-wins, but no one within the football offices is very happy right now either.

And the Aztecs coach went off on a tangent, criticizing the fans, students on campus and social media in general, with a tirade accusing the public of making his players feel like losers, not a team that is (7-2).

Long, for the first time in his tenure, went after the media…the students on campus and the fans for their negativity.  Maybe it was the small crowds at games; maybe it’s social media; maybe a columnist inference he is running a “Neanderthal Offense” that no one wants to see.

Coach Rocky Long

..Frustrated-disappointed way we have played the last two games.
..Fresno is very talented
..Talent level in league is equal.
..Play the best on a day-and you win
..Boise State had to go to Wyoming to win in overtime.

..No idea why offense is up and down..we don’t score enough points to win
..Not scoring.
..80% of teams in country be happy if they were (7-2)
..We play on Friday night because TV tells us to
..Old school in me says Friday night is for high school football…Saturday-college
..Saturday afternoons is best time for college football

..Tradition is go to game but not here
..Real fans stay at home watch 15-games
..Where we are, it’s not a tradition to go to games…
..Fans here just as soon sit home and watch games on TV

..Death on campus-we don’t approach it with players
..If it involves a football player we deal with the player to help him
..Position coaches on teams know the players they coach if there are issues
..If problems exist, we send them to experts on campus
..We do an unbelievable job educating our players-they have to attend a class
..Our players know right from wrong
..Our players-great young people in the program

..We have had 10-years of great success here and now this.
..Players don’t feel appreciated in our town-social media ridicule team
..I feel for our players…everyone is treating them like they are losers
..Unbelievable this is happening
..I’d like to take their phones away from them ..but it’s their culture-their life
..Players need to learn to handle it
..It’s not students only…it’s fans criticizing a (7-2) tam
..It’s ridiculous.

..I would bet this game will be like out last couple of games
..Turnvoer ratio-penalties might decide game

..Fresno used to winning-that is good team
..Jeff Tedord same philosophy as me..control the ball..play defense..
..He was a good coach at Cal, and they let them go.
..In this day and age of big money-coaches being given 20-games to coach and win

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “Padres-Shopping-Listening-Deciding”

Posted by on November 12th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Padres-Shopping List–Need List”

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The Padres, wearing new Brown and Gold uniforms, are now searching for new players to put in those uniforms.

The GM’s meetings started Monday night in Scottsdale, as baseball execs lay the groundwork for possible trades they might make at the Winter Meetings coming up the first week in December.

For the first time in a long time, the Padres walked thru Omni Hotel at Camelback Mountain… lobbies with a pocketful of names other teams might be interested in, some veteran players, some rookie prospects.

The Padres are dealing from strength in their organization for the first time ever, but they are dealing with their backs to the wall too, and dealing to fill needs.

They have a significant roster issue.  The 40-man roster has to be adjusted in the next couple of weeks before the Rule 5-draft.  The Friars have 9-hot minor leaguers they must account for in addition to the 40-they already have on the major league roster.  If they cannot protect some of them, they likely lose them in the Rule 5-draft, so this week promises to be busy, and the first days of December will definitely be busy.

Not on the 40-roster yet, but draft eligible are OF-Taylor Trammell, who hit in the (.229) in AA after coming over from the Reds in that 3-way trade with the Indians…..young infielder Hudson Potts (.227)…outfielder Buddy Reed (.228)…pitcher Luis Patino (2.69)..power pitcher Reggie Lawson and infielder Gabe Arias (.302). All have shown promise at times.

A look at the names in play.

WIL MYERS…Has never turned out to be the All Star player the Padres hoped for.  An erratic bat and a player without a position.  A likely trade chip to someone in the American League, but the burning question, who wants his 20M a year contract that kicks in this season.  Too streaky, and too hot and cold defensively.  Evidently the Padres now know what the Royals and Tampa Bay knew, no idea where to play him, and no idea of what kind of players he can be at bat.  The scary part, Preller would have to eat part of the contract, but if you get the right frontline pitcher, maybe it is worth it.

AUSTIN HEDGES…Great value on defense, but not much on offense.  How do you define his true value.  He is being pushed for the starting job by developing catcher Francisco Mejia, who hit well last year in rotation.  Remember the Friars traded Brad Hand and another pitcher to get him, so you assume he has to be the starting catcher going forward.  Hedges has great value, but great risk moving him.

HUNTER RENFRO…It looked like he arrived by midseason, with his hitting, his power, his cannon arm, and his ability to play both corner outfield spots.  But then he got hurt and he fell off the map with a horrible final couple of months.  Might be too early to give up on him, considering the team dealt away the other young power hitting outfielder Franmil Reyes at the deadline.

ADRIAN MOREJON…They’ve waited three years, and they paid a lot of money to sign him, but he’s had five different arm issues in the three years.  A hot prospect on a pitching staff of more established prospects.  It would be a costly deal to move him considering he cost the team 11M in bonuses and 11M in tax money when they signed him out of Cuba.  Somebody young likely has to go, he might be it.

ERIC LAUER….A proven young talent who has pitched well over a year and a half, but of pitchers on the major league staff, he might bring the most value in a swap for a quality centerfielder.  But then, are you hurting your rotation to fill another spot on the roster.

CAL QUANTRILL…People will call, but will they consider moving him or keeping him with Lauer as part of the future staff.  Pitched very competitively thru most of his starts from mid season on.  Again, there is the numbers game here, you cannot keep them all.

LUIS TORRENS…They have had him for 3-years but cannot hide him in the system with this catcher logjam.

AUSTIN ALLEN…In cameo appearances looked good, and does hit minor league pitching, but where does he fit with the catchers ahead of him in the dugout?

IAN KINSLER…Would have to be a salary dump for a prospect at best, since Ty France-Greg Garcia-Luis Urias all play the same position.

FRANCHY CORDERO….Can’t stay on the field, nor stay healthy, but is taking up a valuable roster spot.  Exposed, he probably gets drafted by someone.

JOSH NAYLOR…No place for him to play, even so he can hit occasional homers.  Like Cordero, if not protected, somebody looking for a DH might take him in the draft.

NICK MARTINI…Can hit, played a bunch at end of season, but is a career journeyman who could be exposed.  Would you choose him over Naylor or Cordero to retain?

ANDERSON ESPINOSA…Came from Red Sox three years ago and promptly had 2-elbow surgeries.  Potential yes, but potential risk too considering he’s not pitched in a long time.  A gamble to expose him, but he takes up roster space.

LUIS PERDOMO…On year of promise, the next two a disappointment.  Just a guy now as a long reliever, but there is still upside.  If you deal him, or lose him, you better make sure the young 100mph pitchers you have can actually replace him in the role.

This is a complex rubic cube AJ Preller has to play with going forward.  Lots of moving parts.  The burning question, too early to give up on some of them, or have to deal them to guarantee the team can win next season with some additional veteran players.

Interesting weeks ahead….better be.

Need better season too in 2020.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday. “Chargers-Padres-Aztecs-USD-Gulls–What Needs To Be Said”

Posted by on November 11th, 2019  •  0 Comments  • 

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“What I Think–What I Saw”

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CHARGERS….Brutal battering QB-Philip Rivers took, the 5-sack-10 hit pounding in loss to lowly Raiders defense….Only way the kid Its get better will be to play them…There is no alternative.

CHARGERS…GM-Tom Telesco interesting reaction….”Don’t let Raiders loss beat you twice…”…Get ready for game in Mexico City against Chiefs.  Telesco, who never goes into the locker-room, had to go in the night before the Raiders game to address the London rumors.

CHARGERS….Bad decisions, bad luck, bad mojo.  Name it, it has happened to a (4-6) football team.  Melvin Gordon’s ill advised selfish holdout.  The wrath of injuries that just does not go okay.  And the bad karma that seems to follow owner Dean Spanos in the aftermath of the decision to take the money and run to Los Angels.

AZTECS…A (7-2) record is very good this time of the year, so the public grumbling about boring football is a surprise.  What is not so good is the continued erratic play of SDSU’s offensive unit, this deep late into the season.  Yards and TDs tough to come by right now.  If Rocky Long is truthful about incorporating the passing game more-he better recruit better big play wide receivers.  Just asking, when was last time SDSU had an all conference wide receiver?  They are all over the parking lot, everyone else, even at the Mountain West level, can recruit size wideouts and some with terrorist speed, why not here?  Go get some better receivers to compliment all the other good things on the field.

AZTECS…Sure would like to know how SDSU accounted for over 27,000 fans at Saturday loss to Nevada.  What they should truly release is paid attendance and free tickets.  What they should do is hire better marketing people to sell a pretty good product on the field. This coach is (76-36) on the Mesa, and no one supports the program, not even the 120,000 so called graduate alums that live here?  How come?
USD…No one pays attention, but they should.  Toreros QB-Reid Sinnett, could be the Walter Payton Award winner this year.  That’s the 1-AA version of the Heisman Trophy.  USD is headed to post season playoffs again.  Would be nice if they could host a home game.  Like to see AD Bill McGillis do some creative selling to lure a playoff game, and have the community get behind the team.  USD is not on anyone’ radar.

PADRES…They know how to throw a party, nice “Bring Back the Brown” celebration on Saturday night at Petco Park for some 3,000 or so fans.  Like the pinstripe look, wish they had a new ‘font’ design for Padres instead of the block letters.  Welcome back ‘Swinging Friar’ on the shoulder patch.  Next up,  get some more players for this moribund batting order.

PADRES….GM’s meetings starting Monday over in Scottsdale…AJ Preller should shop Will Myers to an American League team for a pitcher….I’d hate to part with C-Austin Hedges, but you have to “give-to-get” in the trade market.

PADRES… Tough decisions coming with overload of young pitchers they have to account for on the 40-man roster leading into the Rule 5-Draft.  Also tough decisions if people offer you a bat, which arm are you going to part with, Eric Later, Cal Quantrill or younger prospects.  Cannot protect all of them.

PADRES…New manager, new coaches, so Darren Balsey gets reassigned for final year of his contract.  Will work and will have impact tutoring minor league pitchers in the system.  If I were Bud Black in Colorado, I’d be calling Balsley about the Rockies pitching coach consultant position.  Same thing when and if the Giants hire a manager.

AZTECS…Gritty impressive win for SDSU hoops in Provo against BYU.  Jordan Schakel hits 4-three point shots in a row to trigger rally against Cougars.  The 3-guards and Schakel give State some real firepower.  Just have to keep the big men on defense healthy.  They have every component to be pretty good.

USD…This will be a tough season for Sam Scholl led basketball team on Alcala Way….Bad break losing 6’10-C-Yau Massalski with bone spur surgery on a foot….Disappointing in that USD had two years to get ready via recruiting to replace firepower that graduated last year, and it does not look like they got enough in recruiting aside from a couple of late transfers into the program.

GULLS…So many news faces on the roster, I knew it would take time, and the (0-6) start was hard, but it is starting to come together.  They picked up a group of AHL veterans who will score goals.  Now they need to keep the parent Anaheim Ducks from calling to take players back up to the NHL.  The latest to leave, 2nd year D-Simon Benoit.

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