Peter Frampton: A Life in Music

As you may well know, Peter Frampton is currently on his final tour. This tour will bring a close to one of the greatest rock artist careers that we have seen. From his humble (pun fully intended) beginnings to a solo career that has garnered a massive following, Peter Frampton defined a generation, and then some. This past Friday, I got to see him once again in Cincinnati. And this one was one for the ages.

He opened with Something’s Happening. I have loved this song since I first heard it back in the 70s. I don’t think he has a song that would be a better opening tune than this one. The crowd was electric from the opening chord. Signed, Sealed, Delivered was up next; a stellar cover of a Stevie Wonder song. The I’m In You album is such a great piece of Frampton’s legacy. There isn’t a bad song on there. If you haven’t heard the entire album, make that positive change in your life today.

Then, at least for me, the highlight of any Peter Frampton concert; Lines On My Face. This has long been my favorite song of his. It is easily one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded, at least in my eyes. He prefaced the song by talking about former band mates from the Frampton Comes Alive era, John Siomos and Bob Mayo, both who passed in 2004. He dedicated the song to them and even gave us “Bob Mayo on the keyboards, Bob Mayo” one more time. Goosebumps. He played this song with more passion and emotion than I believe I’ve ever heard anyone play. Truly one of the best live music moments of my life.

Song after song, throughout the entire evening, Peter Frampton was at his peak. This is no surprise to anyone who has seen him. This was my third time, and he has always put on a perfect show. Show Me the Way, Breaking All the Rules, Black Hole Sun, complete with a tribute to Chris Cornell. All night long, musical Utopia. The extended I’ll Give You Money, with dueling guitar solos was mind blowing. Closing out his regular set with Baby I Love Your Way and Do You Feel Like We Do would have sent my teenaged self over the edge. Hell, who am I kidding? I’m 55 now and was as ecstatic as one of those girls when the Beatles came to America. This was a magical night; the kind of concert that we all wish all of our favorite artists would perform.  You could see the emotion on his face, hear it in his voice, as he said goodbye one last time to the city he called home for 14 years. He said he didn’t want to leave. Well, Peter, we didn’t want you to leave.

I got the Frampton Comes Alive album for my birthday in 7th grade. Frampton, along with Fleetwood Mac and Kansas, provided a soundtrack for my teenage years. These guys gave us the music that forces the nostalgia to kick in for people my age. The songs that really mattered were gifted to us by these extremely talented musicians. When I hear these songs, I’m transported back to those days, whether it was hanging with friends or those awkward Sock Hop moments. I don’t know if Peter Frampton will read this, but if he does, thank you, sir. Thank you for a lifetime of music, and thank you for sharing your gift with us.

Kawhi, ASG, A Mermaid, and More….

The last couple weeks have given us stories and drama, both on and off the field/court. As the US Women keep looking to win, free agency in the NBA and NHL have seen some big signings and trades. Baseball is about to hit its’ official halfway point after today, although not the mathematical halfway point. You can blame my OCD for that one. And a mermaid caused a stir in the very obviously intellectually challenged faction of America.

Kawhi shocked a lot of people, including LeBron, by signing with the Clippers this week. He brought along PG with him, making the Clippers a viable threat to the rest of the league. 4 years, $141M (if I remember correctly) is a little more than I make. I should have practiced my layups a little more, in retrospect. I did, however, offer my services to the Knicks. They landed almost no one and became the laughing stock of the NBA. Apparently they weren’t interested in a 5’9 shooting guard past his prime. Who knew?

The MLB All-Star Game is set to go this Tuesday evening. As I’ve mentioned in the past, these games provide exactly zero interest for me, regardless of the sport. The last one I watched was the 1994 MLB ASG. My boys were born that morning, what else was I going to do at the hospital with 2 kids that were a mere 12 hours old? For the record, Moises Alou had the game winning RBI. The HR Derby generates more interest than the game itself, at least from what I have seen. I do like the format change in recent years, so that’s something. I’ll pay attention this year because I entered the contest to win $250K. Or, as Kawhi calls it, pocket change.

A boatload of butthurt, shallow minded humans took offense to a mermaid whose ethnicity has been changed for an upcoming show/movie, or whatever. I’m not really sure which one it is. Regardless, I need everyone to really think about this. They are offended. Over a mythical being. The ethnicity of a mythical being. Go ahead and laugh; I’ll respect you if you do. We have collectively scraped the bottom of the dumbass barrel and then kept digging to see how dumb we can actually get. It’s a mermaid. And can we, for the love of all that is holy, stop worrying about what color anyone is? The makers of this show/movie should make her a lesbian too, just to get these folks really fired up. And then have them adopt. And protect their shell hut with guns. I should be a screenwriter.

We’ve had our share of sad news this week as well. The sports world lost Jared Lorenzen and Tyler Skaggs. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that athletes are just like us. They’re human; they’re mortal. It becomes a reality check when we lose them. On the personal side, away from the tv cameras, 2 of my best friends lost a parent this week. Hug your loved ones, guys. Spend time with the people that matter to you. Always. That’s a gift that will continue to give long after they’re gone.

So, back to more cheerful topics; let’s enjoy the baseball today before our little mid-season (not technically) break. The trade deadline looms ahead. Who sells? Who buys? Stay tuned. Now, go call your mom/dad.

Peace.

‘Governor’ Just Sounds Silly

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has stated that NBA team owners are now to be called team governors. Why the change? Because like everything else in 2019, the term ‘owner’ has been deemed racially insensitive. I’m not making this up. According to some NBA players, it brings up thoughts of slavery. Again, I’m not making this up. As if this league and its declining viewership needed any more middle school girl drama.

So what would happen if someone slipped up and called them owners going forward? Would they be blacklisted? Oh wait, can we still use that word? This is one of the most ridiculous attempts at placation that I’ve ever seen. They are owners; that’s all. They own the team, hence the term owner. I own a 2018 Toyota RAV4. I’m a RAV4 owner. Do you see how that works? The depths to which this country has collectively sunk is astounding. We’re a country who, in the 18th century, fought to free ourselves from British control. And now, here we are in the early 21st century, being hurt by words. It’s embarrassing.

What does this accomplish? The NBA is already full of drama queens who get into spats with other players on social media. So now the powers that be bow down every time one of them gets their butthole in a knot? It has to stop at some point. As ratings continue to decline, the NBA needs to develop a plan to gain some viewers back. This isn’t it. All this does is assure the ones who left aren’t coming back. I have yet to meet anyone in real life, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, that finds the word owner to be offensive. I also happen to think I have some fairly intelligent friends. This whole issue makes it seem like we’re being Punk’d.

The softening of America has been slowly getting worse over the last few years. I’m not going to be the old guy who says ‘these kids today couldn’t handle growing up in my time’, primarily because I don’t feel I have to. If you don’t see that, well, that’s on you. I’ll continue being who I am. That’s a win every time in my book.

This entire owner/governor fiasco makes the anti-Redskins posse look strong. That, my friends, speaks volumes. How we became a country that gets so offended by words will forever be beyond me. There is nothing you could could say to me that could offend me. Nothing at all. I know who I am; what I am. No one’s words will ever change that. If we allow this pettiness to go on, it will only get worse. So buckle up, toughen up, and take a stand for intelligence. And, dare I say it, OWN it.

The Lakers, Edwin, My Hapless Reds, and the Other Sports Stories

A lot has been going on this week in the world of sports. Some stories making major splashes, others being relegated to back pages and after thoughts. This is why we love the games; it’s why we’re glued to sports tickers and iPhones.

Anthony Davis is finally headed west to Los Angeles, just like we all knew he would eventually. The Pelicans sent him to the Lakers in exchange for a handful of players and picks, among them, Lonzo Ball. The best tweet I saw last night was from Sports Pickle stating how exciting it will be to watch Zion slam home some Lonzo bricks. As expected, pompous ass daddy Lavar Ball had to run his mouth. He issued a statement saying that the Lakers were guaranteed to never win another championship without prodigal son Lonzo on the roster. Yeah, because he brought true glory to that franchise. As someone who followed the Lakers since Wilt was playing, the Ball family’s departure from the city of angels is a true blessing. I feel I can root for them again. Once this news broke, the Lakers went from 25/1 to 7/2 in Vegas, becoming the odds on favorite to win the championship next season.

The Yankees made news yesterday as well. They got Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners to add to their already volatile lineup. Encarnacion currently leads MLB with 21 homers. Once the Yankees get Judge and Stanton back, this team could put up double digits on any given night. And yes, I’m talking about both runs and strikeouts. Throw in Didi Gregorius who just came back and this team is suddenly scarier than they were before.

Soccer made news this week. I’ll be up front and say I never watch it, nor do I know much about it. I am, however, aware that our men’s team embarrassed themselves. We need to be better in that aspect. Meanwhile, the women’s team trounced Thailand 13-0. As one of my followers, @OhNoCoop said; “I haven’t seen Thai girls scored on this easily since Robert Kraft”. Yes, you should follow him. Unless you’re easily offended, of course.

This brings us to my Reds. The 2019 Cincinnati Reds are suddenly looking like the 2018 Reds. And the 2017 Reds. And the……..ok, you get it. David Bell is in over his head. As I mentioned in a blog the day he was hired, I’m not sure handing the reins over to a guy that never saw success in the minors is exactly a stellar decision at this level. Scooter Gennett is not going to be the savior that a lot of Reds fans are anticipating. He’s going to be a solid 2B, that’s it. Rasiel Iglesias, their closer, has 6 losses. That hurts. Move him for prospects and give the closer role to Amir Garrett. He has an ERA of 1.50 and should be headed to the All-Star Game. The team needs fixed. Now.

Back to soccer for just a second, albeit in a somewhat off the field kind of way; Megan Rapinoe should be kicked off the team for her ‘look at me’ stunt. You don’t take a knee during the National Anthem when you’re representing the country for which the song is written. Anyone with balls, from coaches to corporate America, won’t even look her way in the future. She’s dead to me; she should be dead to you as well.

I think that wraps it up. NBA draft coming up, should be fun to watch drama unfold there. The coming months will be interesting to see how the Lakers add pieces to their team. Hello Jimmy Butler? Until next time, bet wisely.

Legal Sports Betting Revisited

Since I last wrote about this topic, a few more states have taken steps towards legalized sports betting. Just last week, Pennsylvania, who already had sportsbooks up and running, did a soft launch on mobile betting. This is perfect timing for my trip to Gettysburg tomorrow. I already have the app downloaded, so I’m ready to go.

Tennessee has already voted to allow mobile gambling. They will become the first state to have mobile only, as there are no sportsbooks to place your bets. I find this intriguing and I am definitely looking forward to see how this goes. Again, good timing on my part, as I’ll be in Tennessee for my annual week long hiking trip in August. While researching all of the new options last week, I read that New Jersey (I believe) brings in 80% of their bets via mobile apps. This may be the way to go for other states that are in the process of legalizing sports betting.

Illinois has been in the news the last couple of weeks with their back and forth decisions on sports betting. It did finally pass, and from what I’ve read, it should be ready to go by the end of the year. Indiana seems to be a step ahead, as they passed it in house a month or so ago. Everything I’ve read states that it will be good to go by football season. Iowa has passed this law as well, with them launching later this year. Meanwhile, Kentucky and Ohio have taken steps backwards. Both of these states are going to see dollars leaving their respective states and crossing state lines into Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee. This can’t possibly sit well for those in charge. For me and my buddies, Lawrenceburg, Indiana and their plethora of casinos is a short 15 minute drive away. Hellooooooo Hoosier state.

Like I’ve said in previous posts, Las Vegas will continue to be king. They aren’t getting dethroned anytime soon. What I think they’ll start to see though, is a slight decline in visitors. We passed on March Madness this season due to flight costs and the escalating cost of hotel stays in the desert. We had a good time in West Virginia for a fraction of the cost. The plan is for us to head to Las Vegas this October but, as it stands, the prices may drive us to Indiana. Either way, the country wide legalization is good for the business and, in my opinion, good for the sports themselves. Gambling garners more interest in the games, just as fantasy sports does. The average fan won’t bother watching the Arizona Cardinals play the Tennessee Titans. Throw in some vested interest and we’re tuning in. This bumps up advertising and viewership. Like the 90s alternative band Belly said…..”Feed the tree”.

I’m looking forward to see how all of this pans out over the summer. I’m especially interested to see how my state, and the states around me, move forward. Until then, always remember to bet wisely and responsibly.

5 Things I Would Change About Football

Well, I have already fixed baseball (apply sarcasm), so let’s look at football now. The NFL has been dragged through the mud on a few issues over the last few seasons. That said, most football fans have rules and other things they wish the NFL would change. I am one of those fans.

Let them play. That’s all, let the guys play the game the way they were taught. The league has become way too soft for my liking. Football is a game where I want to see people get hit hard; jar the ball loose, make them think twice next time. I get the safety aspects of this, but you can’t fully remove the dangers of the game and still have an exciting game to watch. Every single player that steps on that field understands the consequences. So let them play.

The NFL needs to fix overtime. They have made changes in recent years that are definitely improvements, but I think we still have a ways to go. Both teams should get a shot at scoring a touchdown, in my opinion. The change I would make here would be to make these teams go for the 2-pt conversion from the outset. NCAAF makes you do it on the third time around, the NFL should mandate it at the beginning of overtime. Overtime should be 15 minutes, if needed, as well.

What is a catch? Apparently no one knows. For the love of all that is holy, can we once and for all define what a catch is? For most of my life, I was pretty sure I knew. And then Calvin Johnson happened. That play prompted a clusterfuck of opinions from everyone. This includes fans, announcers, players, and even league officials. I am still, to this day, on Team Dez Caught it. I mean, he caught it. This is an area that needs to be clearly defined, and soon.

There is a certain rule in football that continues to baffle me as to how this ever became a rule. I am stunned that it still exists. If an offensive player fumbles a ball forward and it goes through the endzone or out of bounds in the endzone, then it’s a turnover. What?!? That’s ridiculous. If the defense doesn’t recover, the ball should be placed where the fumble happened. I seriously have no idea how this isn’t the actual rule. If a player fumbles on, let’s say, the 43 yard line and it goes out of bounds, the team on offense keeps the ball. How has no one simply grasped the inconsistency here?

The Super Bowl is watched by millions each year. The 2 best teams face each other for NFL dominance and bragging rights. Here’s the issue I have though; it never feels like a real football game. Halftime is extended, it is over-commercialized, and true football fans want none of it. Even the commercials suck now because humor left when the softies came in and decided to be offended by everything. So let’s do away with it. Let’s play a real football game going forward. I don’t need to see the new bimbo of the week with her boobs out lip-syncing her latest hit that will be forgotten by Valentine’s Day. I don’t need a 250 piece Dusseldorf choir coming in to sing 38 seconds of a song with her either. It’s horrible, get rid of it. Play football.

I’m sure Roger Goodell will be calling me soon to scrub the details with me, right? So what would you change? I’m sure we all have aspects of the game we want changed. Regardless, we’ll all be tuning in on Week 1 when our teams take the field. I believe we’re at about 100 days away. But who’s counting?

5 Things I Would Change About Baseball

We all have ideas as far as what we would change to make sports better. I’m going to cover each of the major 4 sports over the next few days and throw my proverbial hat into the ring. You can agree, you can disagree; and that’s fine. Neither of us is on the committee to change them anyway, but it’s interesting to get takes from other sports fans as far as rules that they feel need changed. So let’s start with baseball.

The first thing I would change in Major League Baseball would be to get rid of the Designated Hitter. I know this is a hotly contested issue. Younger fans tend to lean towards keeping it while the older fans want to get rid of it. Baseball is meant for 9 people to play the game, not 10. Even as a 9 year old, in 1973, I thought this new rule was ridiculous. My thought was that if they couldn’t play the field, then get out of baseball. I didn’t like the the fact that MLB was tampering with the purity of the game. I still stand by this belief, Ron Blomberg be damned.

We need to take the All-Star Game vote out of the hands of the fans. This popularity contest has made the Grammys look like a swell choice on a Monday night. I’ve seen players having horrible seasons starting ahead of players that deserve it much more. I believe several years ago that Jimmy Rollins started the ASG sporting a .217 average, or somewhere thereabouts. I’m not here to bash Rollins; he had a stellar career. Just making a point to one incident that stands out to me. Let the players and coaches vote on this. They are the ones that compete against them and obviously have a much better feel for the game than we do.

Let catchers block home plate again. This was one of the most sissified rules I had ever seen implemented. Just because MLB darling Buster Posey got hurt doesn’t mean that the rest of the league, and their fans, should have to suffer. I grew up watching Johnny Bench, Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk, and several other great catchers play the game as it should be played. Their job is to keep the other team from scoring in the event of a play at the plate. Today’s soft world wants them to roll out a red carpet. Nope, not in my world.

Encourage on-field celebrations. Yeah, I’m talking about bat flips. I’m also talking about pitchers celebrating a key strikeout. Remember Brad Leslie? Nicknamed ‘The Animal’, he was very demonstrative and animated on the mound. How did fans take it? He was a fan favorite, and for good reason. Flip the bat, pump your fist, let out a primal roar if need be. Just make sure you’re showing passion on the field. This is what the fans want; it’s what they deserve. For the players that talk about unwritten rules, how about you write them down, cupcake? See if you realize how ridiculous they are. Can I cc: Chris Archer on this?

And finally, in closing…………..Pete Rose belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Period. I won’t listen to any argument that says he doesn’t. One of the greatest hitters ever, all-time hit king, and he hustled more than anyone ever has; before, since, and going forward. The man deserves to be inducted. He broke the rules as a manager, not a player. Put the player in where he belongs. Besides, he bet on his team to win, he didn’t fix games. That would be like me betting that we’ll meet all client SLAs this week. I’d be betting that I was doing my job.

So what would you change? What do you think would make the game we love a little better? I would love to hear other ideas from fans of the game. There is no right or wrong here, just opinions. The game is changing as the years pass by. I hope it doesn’t eventually morph into an unrecognizable form of the game I grew up playing and watching.