Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
Okay, so this is a day late, but I just came across this video tonight. The Boston Red Sox hosted a Disability Awareness Day and asked this young man to sing the National Anthem. A little bit into it, he starts laughing. Then, the crowd steps up and helps him get through the rest of the song. It just goes to show – no matter how bad you have it, you can always laugh at yourself, and, there’s still a little bit of good in the world. Enjoy!
Happy Birthday, America! Somehow, I’m missing out on the party. Both my girlfriend and brother are in Washington, D.C. today. Jason is with his girlfriend, and Julie is with people from her church. Had I thought about it sooner, I should’ve made plans to be there too. Instead, I’ll do some random blogging.
- I absolutely love my new Flip UltraHD. For the price, I don’t think you can find anything better in the world of video cameras. It’s small (fits in your pocket), takes 720p HD video, records digitally (no tapes), does great in low light and is super easy to use. My only complaints are: the zoom isn’t the greatest, and you can only use battery power (no AC adapter). Julie took it with her to Ireland and got some great videos. Here’s one of my favorites, of a great street band in Dublin (note: video embedded in HD. If it is loading slow, press pause after pressing play and let the rest of the video load before playing.):
- It’s almost the All-Star break and currently, the Reds are only three games back in the central division. They haven’t been playing very well over the last few weeks, but fortunately, neither has the rest of the division. It hasn’t been too out-of-the-norm for the Reds to stay in contention until around August and then fade as the season comes to a close. Here’s to hoping they can get hot after the All-Star break and actually contend this year.
- eMusic just rolled out a huge addition to their catalog. If you’re not a subscriber, it might be time to look into it. They just added a bunch of big name artists, and they’re still cheaper than iTunes.
How about the Reds? We’re almost to the season’s mid-point and they seem to be a decent ballclub. They likely won’t win the division, but they’re a solid team that should finish third or fourth in the division. While that may not sound impressive, it’s better than finishing closer to the bottom of the division like in years past.
I really think the Reds are on the verge of having more consistent winning years. They’re probably a year or two away from contending for the division title. As long as all of the current pieces (front office, manager, pitching, young stars) can stay in tact, and if we can add a little more offense to the lineup, you’re looking at a very good team. At least a playoff caliber team.
But, their first pick in this year’s draft puzzled me. Going into the draft, they knew they needed left-handed pitching. With their first pick, they selected a right-handed pitcher – Arizona State’s Mike Leake. All the while, University of Kentucky lefty James Paxton was on the board. Both the Reds fan in me and the UK fan in me wanted them to pick Paxton. Instead, he went later in the draft to the Blue Jays. The Reds went on to select 23 pitchers in the draft, only two of which are left-handed.
The MLB draft is tricky. Teams go into knowing full well that the majority of the players they’re going to pick will never see the light of day in the Major Leagues. Some players still need development, and you never know how well or poorly that process will go. I don’t want to doubt the Reds decision, since they’ve researched these players like crazy. But, to me, it seems pitchers are 50/50 whether or not they’ll develop to their full potential. It would be a shame to see Leake end up a bust and see Paxton go on to be a solid player for the Blue Jays. I’ll be pulling for both players to end up as solid players.
Two things I’ve wanted to blog about lately has been John Calipari becoming UK’s coach and the Dave Matthews Band’s newest album – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.
I will admit to not being a big Calipari fan before his arrival at UK. There was always something about him that wouldn’t let me fully like the guy. Was it his reputation? Probably. However, in the short time he’s been UK’s coach, I have become a huge fan. Not because of his mad recruiting skills, but because he is a human being.
In his short time in Lexington, he’s proven himself to be far more accessible than the previous coach. Calipari bought a house on one of Lexington’s most traveled streets. He jogs around campus. He eats at local restaurants (and not just the expensive ones). He embraces all parts of the University of Kentucky – highlighting student academic achievements on his Twitter account, as well as visiting former UK athletes and students. He goes to church. He tells us what books he’s reading. All in all, he’s a regular guy that just happens to be on an extremely large stage.
Ok. I guess bringing in one of the best recruiting classes ever doesn’t hurt my respect for the guy.
Opponents of Calipari are still riding on his negative reputation. They say he bends the rules. Some would say he’s broken rules and just hasn’t been caught yet. Maybe so. But, none of us are perfect. I just like that he seems to be a personable, down-to-earth dude, which isn’t common for some of these mega-head coaches in college and professional sports.
On Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
Maybe one of these days, I’ll get around to posting a full, song-by-song review of the album. For today, I’ll stick with a general review. I’ve been really happy with this album. I don’t think it’s their best work, but I’m pleased with the effort.
I’m not one of those fans that hates the Everyday album, but it was different. Not a typical DMB album, but I’ve come to enjoy it over time. Stand Up was an album I never fully enjoyed. Parts of it were good, but it is definitely my least favorite of their albums. On both of these albums, the band found themselves trying to go in new directions and create new sounds.
Big Whiskey finally gets back to the “classic” Dave Matthews Band sound. Dave playing odd riffs on the acoustic (“Spaceman”), Carter going nuts on the drums (…entire album), funky horn lines (“Shake Me Like a Monkey”) and what I think is a key element – Tim Reynolds – beefing up the band’s sound. They’re not trying to sound “different” with this album like they did for the previous two studio efforts. And that’s what I like most about the album. They’ve realized what works for them and have returned to that formula.
Now, if we could only get the studio versions of “Idea of You,” “Shotgun,” “Sugar Will,” and whatever else they recorded for these sessions. That would be nice.
Saturday, I took Julie to her first Reds game. I thought I was taking her to her first Major League Baseball game, but she told me at the game that she had been to a Texas Rangers game while she was in college. Oh well. It was a great day for a baseball game with the sun shining, clear skies and cool temperatures. Here are some random thoughts from the game:
- I’m slowly learning to listen to the girl. When she offered sun screen, I turned her down. Now, my hands are roasted. I wore long sleeves and a hat, so my hands got the worst of it.
- Great American Ballpark is a nice place to watch a game. There’s really not a bad seat in the house.
- The Reds are going to have to figure out a way to generate some offense. It’s a good thing they play in a “hitter’s” park.
- Mike Lincoln couldn’t throw a strike to save his life, and when he did, they hit it out of the park. Going into the 9th down 5-1, Lincoln surrendered a grand slam and a solo homer. Final score: 10-2.
- I had a good time keeping score during the game. I haven’t done that since my high school days.
- Pictures coming sometime this week.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about UK basketball. I don’t think I’ve written a single post about the current season. Better late than never.
What a frustrating season! A season-opening loss to VMI, of all teams. After an expected loss to North Carolina, the Cats sat at 0-2 and I wondered if we’d see a repeat of last season’s struggle to finish with an above .500 record. Gillispie loaded the pre-conference schedule with cupcake teams, aside from Louisville and a decent West Virginia team.
UK started its SEC slate with an 11-4 record, proceeded to win five straight and earned a Top 25 ranking. Then, the frustration commenced. Over the next eleven games, UK would only win three of them. One thing became very apparent during this stretch – Billy Gillispie’s stubborn nature.
Two things frustrate me the most about Gillispie. First, whom he decides to play and when he decides to play them. Certain players have had great games and barely touched the court in the next game. Other players have played poorly and continued to log minutes in bunches. Second, Gillispie refuses to ever consider playing a zone defense. I am far from a basketball expert, but let me say this clearly – few teams, if any, in the NCAA can successfully play man-to-man defense for 40 minutes game after game. It may work against Delaware State, but it does not work against North Carolina, Louisville, or many other teams that are much faster and stronger than UK. I’m not asking for a zone for 40 minutes against these teams, but at the very least, give them a different look from time-to-time. Who knows? Maybe you shut them down for several minutes and you pull out a game or two that you shouldn’t have won because you were smart on the defensive end.
It doesn’t help that Gillispie’s stubbornness has been on full display to the media for the last few weeks. In the fishbowl of Kentucky basketball, we don’t need a coach that is perceived to be a jerk. Especially when he can be nice, fun and likeable when he wants. No reason to be a jerk to people that are just doing their job.
With this said, I still say we give Gillispie one more year to get on the right track. Patrick Patterson has already said he is coming back next year. I would think we’d see Jodie Meeks back as well. Patterson will get more help next year in the post with the additions of Matt Pilgrim and Daniel Orton. Darius Miller will continue to mature and contribute. There is plenty of talent on this team to win 20+ games.
I write this on the day that UK plays LSU in the second round of the SEC Tournament. I am hoping the Cats can pull one out, continue to win and earn an NCAA birth. Hoping.
Kige Ramsey shows how (not) to shoot a free throw. I truly love this guy’s videos. Keep ‘em comin’ Kige!
(ht: Kentucky Sports Radio)
Merry Christmas everyone! I’m heading to Maysville this afternoon for Christmas with my mom’s family. I’ll be back home tonight, then Christmas at home with mom, dad and Jason tomorrow. Friday and Saturday, I’ll be in Ashland with Julie’s family. Should be a good few days of rest and enjoying family and friends.
Here’s a few random blogging items:
- I’ve added a new plugin to the blog that lets you share posts on different social networks. Not that my posts are all that important, but just in case you want to share them, now you have the option.
- The New York Yankees are evidence of the problem with professional sports. In the past few weeks, they have dumped $452 million into three players. This is on top of their new $1.6 billion stadium.
- I picked up Rush‘s Snakes and Arrows DVD last night. It’s the first Rush DVD I’ve purchased, and so far, I really like it! Neil Peart is an amazing drummer. I was lucky to see them in Columbus several years ago. I also found Alex Lifeson‘s Barbie doll groupies pretty humorous.
Finally, let’s not forget:
Luke 1:68-79 Listen
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done some random blogging. Too long. Here goes:
- I can’t believe UK lost to South Carolina. Again. Same thing as last year. They just didn’t play well at all. Special teams gave up 14 points. There’s your ballgame right there. Sure, the offense didn’t play well, but how can you win giving up 14 points on special teams?
- The ESV Study Bible will be released on Wednesday. I’m not sure there’s ever been as much hype over a Bible before. I can’t imagine people getting all jacked up when the King James was released way-back-when, although it’s kind of funny to think about. People lining up outside the Lifeway tent in the local village, waiting for them to open. You get the picture.
- I rescanned all of my cable channels last night. A friend told me that if you have an HD compatible TV and do that ever so often, you’ll pick up new channels. The odd thing was that my TV found over 200 digital channels. But, since I don’t have the DTV package, I can’t view them. Oh well. The good news is that I discovered I can get ESPNHD and ESPN2HD. That will come in handy for upcoming UK football & basketball games.
- Admittedly, I grow a little more weary as Election Day gets closer. There’s no chance I’d ever vote for Obama, but I’m not too enthused about McCain either. Palin’s had some slip ups as of late, as well. I will say this – neither candidate will fix all of America’s problems in four years’ time. The question is, which one will fix some of our problems and not create more?
As the Reds very quickly fade from the National League Central race, they’ve decided to start dumping players & salaries. This is a typical move for teams once they give up hope on the rest of the season. In the Reds’ case, they’ve been idiotic about their moves.
First, they traded Ken Griffey, Jr. This was a bit of a surprise to me, but after some thought, I was okay with it. He is getting older, he’s never contributed much to the Reds success (or lack thereof) during his stay in Cincinnati, and his contract runs out at the end of this season. We likely wouldn’t have him back next year anyway. What did we get in return? A relief pitcher by the name of Nick Masset. To his credit, he’s pitched fairly well since coming over from the White Sox. But, really? We traded a future Hall of Famer for a no-name relief pitcher?
Today, the Reds finally made good on the season-long rumors to trade Adam Dunn. The Big Donkey is a typical big-league power-hitter. He either smashes it out of the park, walks or strikes out. Not much in between. In the field, he’s slow and error-prone. Typically, I’d be okay trading a guy like this. But, the Reds offense has been dismal this year and Dunn is the only source of consistent power in the lineup. Dunn’s 32 HR not only leads the Reds, but the Majors. After Dunn, the player with the second-most HR is Edwin Encarnacion with 22. And this is coming from a team that plays in one of the most homer-friendly ballparks in the Bigs. At the outset of the 2008 season, the offense was not a concern. As we’ve entered August, the Reds offense has yet to produce anywhere close to the levels of previous years.
What did we get for Dunn? Three minor leaguers. The only player named in the deal so far is in Single-A right now and doesn’t look all that impressive.
Both of these trades come off the heels of trading offensive-super-power Josh Hamilton in the off-season. Of the three, the Hamilton-for-Volquez trade looks brilliant so far (at least up until the All-Star break). For Griffey and Dunn, the Reds become the trade losers. They received hardly anything in return for both players. Let’s just hope the core of Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Encarnacion, Arroyo, Harang, Volquez, Cueto and Cordero can pick up the slack in 2009. I’m not holding my breath.