Orioles Braille

I’m going to preface this blog by saying that I would never ridicule or make fun of anyone with a handicap of any kind, be it physical, mental, or whatever. But, um, have you seen these Orioles uniforms with the braille on it? Good Lord, this may be the dumbest gimmick/promotion I have ever seen. Not just in sports, mind you, but ever. In anything. Period.

The Baltimore Orioles have said they are doing it to raise awareness. Are you serious?!? All of us, each and every single one of us, are completely aware that blind people exist. I get it if you want to promote awareness for more obscure diseases and illnesses. Blindness is something we were all made aware of in grade school. Hello Helen Keller, I remember you. Hello Louis Braille, we’ve all heard your story too. Thanks for the dots.

The blind do not watch baseball, they listen to it. This is the equivalent of putting on lipstick before talking on the radio. It’s senseless; it makes the Orioles look dumb. And remember, they signed Chris Davis long term. Apply ‘hold my beer’ memes as needed. To make this all even worse, the uniforms are extremely ugly. What I’d give to hear an announcer say “2 dots 3 dots diagonal dots right angle dots with a great catch there”. This is seriously just a bad idea.

It’s always a great feel good moment when teams and athletes give to charity, start a charity, or raise awareness in many other ways. I personally contribute to an organization here in Cincinnati each season that takes kids to baseball games, soccer games, football games, among many other activities. These kids would otherwise not be able to attend games. It’s a great cause that I’m proud to be connected with. My donation each season is based on a Reds player’s RBI total. I donate $1 for each RBI with a minimum donation of $100. This year, Yasiel Puig is my guy. I have gotten others to join in as well. They pick their player and make similar donations.

But come on Baltimore, this is just weird and uncomfortable. I’m happy that this gimmick will more than likely raise a lot of money, I really am. It’s just so ridiculous. I can’t wait until we raise awareness for deafness. No announcers, just the sounds of the game. I bet a lot of you would actually love that. Promo nights at the ballpark could possibly go off the hook. I guess I’ll head on down to Great American Ballpark for Canker Sore Night. I hear they’re giving away a bobblehead.

God Bless America……Until We All Got Butthurt

by Gary Sterling

Kate Smith’s rendition of God Bless America was played by the New York Yankees for nearly 2 decades before they recently decided to pull the plug. This was done after a fan, a FAN, alerted the organization about racist lyrics that were in songs she recorded. Cool, I’m ok with the pulling of the song for several reasons which I will get to. But first, how come in 2019, in a time of social media, with everyone and their brother searching through everyone’s tweets, retweets, and likes, did multiple professional sports organizations not vet this? How?!? Whose ass is/was on the line where this could happen?

Years ago, when Chuck Finley took the mound to pitch against the Chicago White Sox, the PA person played Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’. Finley was going through a divorce with Tawny Kitaen at the time, who starred in the video for that song. It was a bad, nasty divorce. No harm no foul, right? Nope! The White Sox fired the PA person. Did they deserve this firing? Not for me to say. I find these actions silly and outrageous, but not a fireable offense. What I’m getting at is that they were fired immediately. The Yankees have been playing this rendition for almost 2 damned decades! No one knew anything about Kate Smith until a fan told them? Hell, I know nothing about her either, but after a quick Google search, I could write a term paper about her.

Now on to my feelings about the song in the first place…….

  • MLB didn’t start playing this song until after 9/11.
  • Most, if not all, teams only play this on Sundays, Opening Day, National Holidays, and Nationally televised games. See the hypocrisy here?
  • Most fans don’t know the etiquette in regards to the song. No need to stand, no need to take off a hat, no need to put a hand over your heart. Most do it because they’re instructed to do so by the PA guy.

God Bless America served its purpose 2 decades ago when this country needed to come together and heal. Now the song is used for some talented person on a random Sunday/Holiday to show off his/her pipes. All the while, confused fans fumble with hand motions over their hearts or sheepishly wonder if they should remove their hats. In the past few days, in some places and across some platforms, it is dividing the very nation that it brought together.

The 7th inning already has the 7th inning stretch. At least everyone knows that they’re supposed to do during that!

Bat Flips: Good or Bad?

The bat flip has taken center stage in the early part of the season for Major League Baseball. It has become the topic of many sports talk radio and TV shows. A couple of on-field incidents have created this, much to the amusement of the average, everyday fan. First off, we had the Cincinnati Reds’ Derek Dietrich pause at home plate to admire the absolute bomb he hit off of Chris Archer. Later in the game, Archer purposely threw behind Dietrich which resulted in a bench clearing brawl. This brawl also gave us an epic photo starring Yasiel Puig. Now we have added the Tim Anderson bat throw after going yard against the Kansas City Royals.

I posted a tweet yesterday asking for opinions on the bat flip. The varied responses were exactly what I expected, and wanted. Before we get into them, I’ll give my views on the bat flip. I love it; absolutely love it. You’re playing at the highest level and you just dropped a dong on the opposing team. You have every reason to admire it, flip the bat, or otherwise celebrate. Pitchers who retaliate just make themselves look bad. Grow up. If you don’t want someone to bat flip you, get them out. Very simple. Having said that, this carries a situational stipulation as well. If you’re down 8-0 in the 9th inning and you bat flip or pimp a solo shot, you’re a dick. You deserve a heater in the ribs the next time you face this pitcher and/or team.

My buddy Steve chimed in with a simple solution. “If the pitchers don’t like it, then strike them out.” I love it! Don’t take your anger out on someone else if you aren’t doing your job. That’s on you. My pal Lenny was along the same lines of thinking, but with a stipulation similar to mine. “You hit a HR to tie the game, take the lead, or hit a grand slam, then bat flip the shit out of it. The solo HR up 5 runs in the 9th inning and you bat flip, you’re getting hit. Otherwise, pimp it!” For the record, Lenny played minor league ball. He knows a thing or two about the so-called unwritten rules.

My Twitter bud Tiffany had thoughts as well. She compares the bat flip to an entertainer’s mic drop. You put on a good show, you get to put the exclamation point on it. She went on to question if they are necessary. Of course not. She then added that it’s no different than a touchdown dance. She went on to state that she thinks the HR itself should do the talking. If you pimp it, prepared to be hit.

And then there’s my good friend Calli. She is a treasure.

  • “I fuckin’ love bat flips; flip it to the motherfucking moon. Flip that shit into outer space and watch it the entire way. Never move. Just admire what you’ve done.”

I know what a lot of you are thinking. Don’t go there. She knows more about baseball than most of you.

There you have it, 5 people with different thoughts as well as some similar ones, albeit to different degrees. I know this has been a topic on ESPN, I saw that when I had lunch at Bdubs today. Fortunately, the sound was off though and I didn’t have to listen to them. It is sure to become a more serious topic if the bat flips continue. I loved Amir Garrett’s tweet. He said something to the effect of go ahead and pimp it. Just know that if I strike you out, I’m celebrating too. I wish everyone had that view. I’m looking at you, Chris Archer.

Golf Announcers and the True Meaning of Comebacks

by Gary Sterling

Yesterday I watched, like millions of others, as Tiger Woods tapped in that final putt and let out a roar for the ages, hugged his family, and yes, it brought a tear to my eye. However, now I’m going to rant my ass off about televised golf and a few other things.

Why in the Sam hell do Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo whisper? I understand that golf is a gentleman’s game and that you’re not supposed to talk during someone’s backswing. But Jesus Christ, Jim, you aren’t standing anywhere close to the golfers! Stop with the damned whispering! This is a sporting event, not a freaking ASMR event. And don’t tell me about the respect factor. If he’s respecting the game, he would NEVER speak during someone’s backswing or while they are putting. Speak up, Jim! It’s a sporting event and we like it when you show a little effort and emotion!

People are calling Tiger’s victory the greatest comeback in sports history. Really? Are you kidding me?!? I’m sorry, has Tiger Woods not been golfing for the past decade? I know his back is/was screwed up and he is/was playing in pain, but he didn’t ‘Willis Reed’ his ass onto the golf course this weekend. He’s been playing for over a decade! If the comeback wasn’t going to be complete until he won another major, we’re changing the rules of what a comeback really is. I mean hell, Michael Jordan’s comeback is still ongoing, as is every boxer’s that has ever thrown a punch.

Tiger Woods’ victory was special. It was awesome. It was inspiring. It was a come from behind victory, his first ever in a major. It was not a comeback unless we have all been in cryostasis  for the past 11 years.

In closing, enjoy the day; enjoy the victory. Just talk and announce in a normal voice. Like LL said, “Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years”.

Just a Few Sports Thoughts

A lot of things going on in sports right now, absolutely nothing going on at work. So here I am. As baseball is taking off on their 2019 season, the NHL and NBA are heading into the playoffs. This is easily the best hockey you’ll see. Playoff hockey is the best postseason of any sport, in my opinion. The NBA playoffs will be fun too, as this is the only time you’ll really see any defense being played.

Let’s start with an oddity today. The Cincinnati Reds became the first team in history to win 2 or less games in their first 10 games and still have a positive run differential. This was obviously assisted by their 14-0 drubbing of the Fish last night. Back-to-back-to-back HRs were part of a huge inning to make this happen. Cincinnati fans finally got something to be excited about.

In other MLB news, Chris Sale is off to an 0-3 start. Something isn’t right in Boston and it needs to be fixed soon. Mike Trout is day to day with a groin strain. I wish I were athletic enough to actually be able to have this injury. But alas, here I am, at my desk just typing about it. The Lenny Dykstra/Ron Darling soap opera picked up a bit. Darling spoke truths (per him) in his book and Dykstra got mad online. Now he’s getting mad in court. What I’d give to just have these two guys meet at the flagpole at 3:00. Marcell Ozuna climbed the wall last night to rob someone of a HR only to see the ball hit the warning track as he did his best spider monkey impression atop the wall. Even Cal Daniels is laughing at that one. Younger readers may want to google him. Worst defensive OF I’ve ever seen.

And now we get to Magic Johnson. Magic just abruptly walked away from his duties with the Los Angeles Lakers. He said he just wanted to be Magic Johnson. Apparently his role kept him from doing this. I get it, he represents the league just being him. I actually think this is good for the NBA to have him as a more accessible former player and Hall of Fame member. The Lakers will be fine; they’re the Lakers. What I didn’t know, and I haven’t seen or looked for verification of, is that apparently Luke Walton is dating Jeanie Buss. That would be reason for me to leave. Your boss is dating someone who reports to you? No thanks. If my manager was dating my lead here at work, I’m not sure how I would be expected to honestly do my job. Too many conflicts. And again, I have no proof that this is happening as I only heard about it in the wee hours this morning. So take it with a proverbial grain of salt.

Other than that, just another day in the sports world. The NHL playoffs start tonight, so be ready for that. I’ll miss the first 2 nights as I have concerts to attend both tonight and tomorrow. Throw in an afternoon Reds game tomorrow and I’ve got a busy 48 hours. I’m sure that Tropidelic and RDGLDGRN will put on a great show tonight, as will SOJA, Iya Terra, and Passafire tomorrow. Haven’t heard them? Look them up. Good vibes, good times. Enjoy your day.

Mick Cronin Is Gone!!!

Mick Cronin is no longer the head coach of the University of Cincinnati Men’s basketball team. I have waited years to see that, say that, type that, send out smoke signals signifying that. Good Lord, today is a beautiful day. Thank you, UCLA, for embracing the mediocrity that is Mick Cronin. Take his 10-17 tournament record, his .370 tournament winning percentage, and roll on through the middle of the PAC-12 for the next decade before you realize what you have done.

I am giggling while writing this. I can’t remember being this happy in anything sports related. And I just won $500 last night on the championship game. Most sensible UC fans have wanted this over the last 2 years. There are still some delusional fans that think he can coach. Pray for them. I had grown so tired of hearing about his 25-30 wins each season, only to see them get bounced in the first or second round of the tournament. Any halfway decent team can win 25 games in the American Athletic Conference. Oooohh, it’s so impressive how you manhandled Tulane last week. Think you can do the same against Tulsa? Huge eyeroll emoji here.

Luckily for Mick, the PAC-12 isn’t much better. He’ll get a few key wins to keep the fan base happy, but will never win when it counts. Good luck, Bruins fans. UCLA is the drunk guy at a bar right now who takes home a 10. Only when he wakes up next to a 2 will he realize the error of his ways. Cincinnati has been sleeping with that 2 for way too long. It’s time to hire a good coach. Bring pride back to the Queen City. We need to get back on the map; we need to be relevant again.

So who do they hire? I have no idea who they are looking at, or who they would like. I’ve heard names tossed around; Pitino being the biggest of them. I wouldn’t mind a former player, one who played when UC was good, maybe a Nick Van Exel. I’m just brainstorming though. They could hire my Uncle Ernie and it would be an improvement. Other former UC players would be a good choice, in my opinion. Terry Nelson has been a vital part of this team in years past. I think he would be great when it comes to representing the Bearcats. I’ll leave that to the AD and the people at the top. I’m just rejoicing in the departure of Mick Cronin today.

Whatever direction they choose to go, a new chapter awaits Bearcats fans. It’s always exciting when change occurs after rough times. Only time will tell if the decision they make proves to be the right one or not. I’m excited and, according to Twitter, so are a lot of other UC fans. Let’s hope they get their guy, whoever it may be, and we can hopefully stick around for the second weekend of the tournament one day soon. Until then, we have the 1-8 Reds to cheer for. Breathe. Relax. Change is coming.

The NCAA Hoops National Championship Game

The University of Virginia will be facing Texas Tech University on Monday night for the National Championship. Both of these teams have had exciting games on the road to this final. They have played tough, they have played a couple close games. These teams are battle tested and we should see and outstanding game on Monday night.

The 2 games last night were a great set-up for the matchup. A lot of people are questioning referee decisions at the end of the UVA/Auburn game. Here’s the bottom line on the foul call; it was a foul. It was a foul in every sense of the word. It was the right call and people really need to move on. Stop trying to compare it to the Saints vs Rams game. It was nowhere near that.

Now, the missed double dribble, that was something else. No game is going to be perfectly called. Sure, it’s not optimal for Auburn fans that it wasn’t called, but look at it this way. No one on the court for Auburn, nor anyone on their bench, raised a stink about it. It happened so fast that almost everyone missed it. It wasn’t until after the game that it was raised as an issue. I get it, this doesn’t make it right, but it is what it is. Bad calls happen in every single game played in every sport. One that adversely affects your team doesn’t make it a greater error. It just makes you more miserable because your teams lost. Stop taking a simple game so seriously. Having said that, I feel for the folks who bet the Auburn money line. That had to hurt.

So we have a great game ahead of us for tomorrow. It’s definitely not the game that the NCAA or CBS wanted. There is no star power, no historical matchup. Only 2 teams who earned the right to be here. The true sports fan will appreciate that and tune in. I know I will. Well, at least as long as I can stay awake. These late games when you live on the east coast don’t play well with a work schedule that has you waking up at 4:15 am. But I’m going to try.

Enjoy it, guys. It’s the last college basketball game of the year. As baseball starts up and the NHL and NBA are headed into their respective playoffs, we are losing one of our beautiful vices. Order a pizza, ice down the beer, and gamble wisely.