Monday, June 27, 2011


I have always loved sports and music. I was either playing sports, watching sports, listening to music or playing music. If you ever watch those NFL films, it is the music that makes the highlights so fun. When a batter comes to the  plate, there is a thing called walk-up music and when a reliever comes in to close out the game, there is a signature piece of music for that reliever. Music and sports goes hand in hand.

What's really cool is to look at the styles and theory of music and how they compare to the game of baseball.

No matter what instrument you play and no matter what you do in baseball, you have to have rhythm.  When you play the guitar, you might be able to play all the notes but if you have no rhythm, it sounds like hell. A pitcher gets into a groove during the course of a baseball game and he gets into a rhythm. This is the same rhythm that a jazz ensemble has during an improvisational portion of a piece of music. Once both of these artists get into a rhythm, it's a thing of beauty to watch and listen to.

Playing the outfield has a lot in common with music. When you are in the outfield, you are playing off the rhythm of the pitcher and the rhythm of the batter's swing. You move in a certain direction according to these rhythms. The sound of the bat hitting the ball is also a note in this symphony because it is a musical cue for which way you are going to go. Just like any music, there is a time signature, (1 and 2 and 3 and 4), catching and throwing from the outfield has its own time signature, with the body taking a certain amount of steps in unison with the arm coming forward and the ball zipping back to the infield. Without a sense of rhythm, these throws wouldn't  make it anywhere near the infield.

Base stealing is the ultimate musical score. A great base stealer will always get on the same page of music with the pitcher. The base stealer needs to understand the pitcher's rhythm and then make it his own. With a runner on base and the pitcher holding the runner on, is comparable to the silence between the notes. The tension for the next note to sound is just like the tension on whether the runner is going or staying.

Baseball and music both have no set clock. The baseball game goes on until someone wins. A piece of music has it's parameters but once the band starts to jam, it isn't over until the band is done.  Baseball might appear to be a slow moving game but there is a lot going on in that musical score.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The Los Angeles Kings traded Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a second pick in the 2012 NHL reentry draft for Mike Richards.  This is huge for the Kings. They now have a young center (26) to pair with Anze Kopitar. Richards, who has reached the 30 goal a year plateau twice, brings a great two-way brand of hockey to Los Angeles. With good goaltending and in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the game,  Drew Doughty, the Kings already look to be one of the best teams in the West.

I have mixed results on this trade for purely selfish reasons. One, I was hoping that the Rangers could make a deal with the Flyers for Richards and two, I am glad he is gone from the Rangers division.  

Hats off to the Kings for bringing in a proven commodity and taking a chance that by giving up Brayden Schenn was worth the risk. Wayne Simmonds, who is a fan favorite, took a few steps backwards last year and he was expected to want a  few more dollars by July 1.

I have a pet peeve about expansion cities. I am all for cities wanting to have a professional ______ team. (You put the name of the sport in the space) But when a city, such as Atlanta, has had two hockey teams in my life, and has been unable to maintain either, then that is it. Atlanta is banned from getting another hockey franchise. They had the Atlanta Flames and eventually that team left for Calgary.  In 1999, Atlanta received an expansion team in the form of the Atlanta Thrashers and now, they were sold to a group from Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Jets were originally a WHA team and during the 1979 merger of the NHL with the WHA, Winnipeg was one of the teams that moved to the NHL. The three other teams that merged with the NHL were the New England Whalers (Hartford Whalers once they entered the NHL). They became the Carolina Hurricanes in 97.  The Quebec Nordiques who became the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers, who still remain in Edmonton and have won the Stanley Cup. In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes and now Winnipeg has a second chance. Remember Winnipeg, if this don't work.........

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Saturday morning, June 18, 2011 started as an overcast and cool day. This weather would be perfect for the upcoming football game, pitting the Santa Ana Police Department Hogs against the Long Beach Police Department Sirens. As early morning turned into mid-morning, the sun came out and the temperature started rising. A few posts were placed on Facebook by some of the players and fans and there was the usual exchange between Head Coach Tony Lopez and myself, going over last minute game plans and ideas. This is almost a tradition with us before every game we have coached in the last four years.

We were all meeting at Darlene Wigmore's house at 1030, so we could caravan as a team to the field. I got to her house at 1030 and some of the players were already there. They were in the backyard, standing in a loose circle. There was some talk between the players but it all was in subdued tones. I looked around and I could tell that each and everyone of them was a time bomb ready to go off. They were itching to go. I spoke with Jacqui Parkhill and she said "I am so nervous I have butterflies." I told her, "that's good, that means you're ready." And in perfect Jacqui fashion, she says, "I need to shoot a beer to take the edge off." You gotta love her.

We had about nine vehicles in this caravan, so we were quite a site when we pulled up to the player's parking at Eddie West Field. The Santa Ana cadets tried their best to corral this caravan but we basically said, "We're coming in and we don't need your help." Liz Griffith jumped out of her vehicle and started doing her best Dodger Stadium parking lot attendant impression. She was lining vehicles up in spots and doing a great job of directing traffic. She just needed a straw hat and one of those flashlights with the orange cone attached.

After we took care of our parking problem, we headed to the field. We got ourselves situated in our locker room, the coaches met with Santa Ana's coaches and we brought the team out onto the field for warm-ups. As we got to our sideline, Tony Lopez gave his one rule for warm-ups, "Don't look at them, they look at us." I got them lined up for warm-ups and I could tell they were all nervous. I took a quick look at the Santa Ana team warming up and they were warming up in a library. I decided, it's a beautiful quiet Saturday morning, we need to take out Mr. Whistle and make some noise. The whistle blew for the first exercise and it was on. The team started talking, getting pumped and basically causing a commotion. We were letting Santa Ana know that Long Beach was in the house.

We went through our basic pre-game run throughs and now it was time to return to the locker room for some reflection. The coaching staff let the team be by themselves and over the past few weeks the coaches were telling them, NO HORSEPLAY!!!!  Like all police officers, we think that these statements are for someone else.....Names will be not mentioned but horseplay ensued and I will leave it at that. We were 15 minutes away from gametime and the coaches entered the locker room for the pre-game pep talk. You could tell that each and every one of these players were like caged tigers and they needed to let loose. I decided to wing an inspirational speech and by the time it was over, the whole team was in the middle of the locker room, jumping and screaming and acting like a football team that was ready to go. We hit the field and it was just about game time.

Our four captains. Ana Gill, Darlene Wigmore, Chanel Kirk and Liz Griffith met the Santa Ana captains at mid-field. Santa Ana won the toss and they deferred. The ball was ours. After four months of practices and scrimmages, we are now onto the real thing.

The offense took the field, we had scripted the first five plays, with no huddle, just so we could get into a rhythm and not allow their defense to adjust. Their defense placed two players in three point stances and they were on top of our quarterback, Ana Gill in no time. During some of the earlier coaches meetings, we were told that there were no three point stances. We never taught our team the three point stance, just the two point stance. We tried to get the attention of the refs to remind them of this rule. The refs tuned our coaching staff out and Santa Ana continued to rush using the three point stance. Needless to say, we went three plays with no gain. Our punt team came on. Jacqui Parkhill is our punter and she can boot it. She booted an end over end punt just short of the other teams' punt returner. The Santa Ana player could not control the punt and we recovered the fumble. Our coaching staff wanted all fumbles to be live and we fought for that rule because we knew our team was tougher and the fumbled punt proved it. We now had the ball back and our offense took the field. We still did not have our rhythm but we were not worried.

We watched Ana Gill in practice and we knew that she had what it takes to lead an offense. She sees the whole field and knows where everyone is supposed to be. She runs the offense like an orchestra conductor. With her ability, her leadership skills and her overall athleticsm, she was the perfect candidate for quarterback. On any other team Rachel Frausto would be starting as quarterback. She has a rocket for an arm and gets the ball downfield like it's nobodies business. Rachel did a bang up job lining up as a running back, protecting Ana from the Santa Ana rush.

Santa Ana struck first but our defense was showing signs that they were going to have a big day. When Santa Ana scored, our defense denied the extra point. Santa Ana went up 6-0. Our offense now started to click. We adjusted to what they were showing on defense and we spread the ball out over our exceptionally talented receivers.

Over the next two quarters, we exchanged touchdowns with Santa Ana. Our team was able to score two extra points, while our defense denied Santa Ana of their conversions. During a few of our first half drives, some highlight catches were made. Chanel Kirk did a magic act by grabbing a pass that was behind her and behind the back of the defender. She did this all with one hand. Maria Clay did her imitation of Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X. Her and the defender were falling to the ground and Maria tipped it once, tipped it twice and hauled it in. Our center Liz Griffith was completely uncovered on most plays and our quarterback Ana Gill used Liz as an outlet to keep drives alive and punch some conversions in. DQ made a number of big catches and gains. DQ was a bit hobbled but she is a trooper and still played well. Darlene Wigmore was doing everything, catching, defending, tackling and running. The only thing she wasn't doing was selling peanuts in the stands.

At the end of the half we were up 14-12.

The second half was a defensive struggle. Santa Ana changed their rushing scheme, which made us adjust and lose a receiver. We went back and forth but Long Beach's defense was putting on a show for the crowd.
Lori Peck made a beautiful diving interception, which stalled a Santa Ana drive. Darlene Wigmore came up with big sacks at the right time.

Late in the fourth quarter, Santa Ana drove the ball to the five yard line. Our defense became very aggressive and after five downs (we took a real smart penalty to not allow a TD) we denied Santa Ana. Our team went nuts. We took over on downs with 1:46 left in the game. And because this was an exciting game that the crowd was loving, both teams were going to give then their money's worth. Santa Ana intercepted and eventually punched the ball in. Long Beach lost 18-14.

Long Beach played their hearts out and they walked off the field with their heads held high. It was a great game and the sad part was that someone had to lose, too bad it was us. All the players want a rematch and all the players just want to keep playing. This team is on the verge of being the team that sets the standard for female flag football.

I will speak for the whole coaching staff on this. We are all extremely proud of the Long Beach Sirens and it was an honor to have coached such a great group of athletes. There will be more football games to be played and it will be the Long Beach Sirens that everyone will have in their sites. Good work.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


On Saturday night at 7 PM EST, Clarence Clemons past away from complications of a stroke that he had suffered last week.

I quote Bruce Springsteen, "We are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly 40 years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply containes in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band."

RIP Big Man.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Congratulations go to the Boston Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup last night. The Bruins have not lifted the Cup since 1972. The reason that I remember that is not because I am a Bruin fan but because they lifted it against my New York Rangers.

The Vancouver Canucks are still waiting for their first hoist. In their forty years of existence they have been to the Finals three times. The first was against the Islanders in 1982 and that was a complete blowout, 4 games to none. The second was in 1994 and that series went to seven games. That was against the New York Rangers and that was a hell of a series. Now in 2011, after the Canucks won the President's Trophy, the Bruins became the better team over the seven game series.

I was pulling for the Canucks (see an earlier blog) but you can tell that after Aaron Rome put that hit on Horton, the make-up of the series changed. It seemed that the hit woke up Boston from their stupor and it also shook Luongo's evil twin brother out of hiding. Luongo basically became a basket case after that incident. In the games at Boston, he looked like he was lost. Last night he gave up two weak goals and that was on his home ice. Luongo gave up 2 goals in the past previous three home games and 15 goals in Boston.

In the other crease, Tim Thomas, the Conn Smyth Trophy winner, and oldest goalie to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, played steady in net, no matter what Luongo thought of his style. There was a save that Thomas made in the second period last night that proved that the stars were aligned for the Bruins. Thomas was caught outside of his net and the puck was to his left with a Canuck bearing down on net. Thomas, dove to his left, extending his glove hand and as luck would have it, the puck was shot into his glove. Here is where the stars aligned, Thomas could not control the puck and it deflected up and back, tumbling towards the net. A Bruins defensemen was slidiing throgh the crease and the puck hit him in the knee and deflected wide, no goal. That is when you know, it is the Bruins' night.

The Vancouver offense, which lead the league in everything this year was shut down by good defense and superior goaltending. Daniel Sedin who lead the league in scoring this year and his brother Henrik, who was the league's MVP last year, were non-existent in the Finals. They were held to five points.

Here is another thing that some of the Canucks needed to do during this series. It was a simple adjustment called, "Shut the F*&# up."  Hey, Luongo, Mr. Schizophrenic, what in the world are you thinking in trying to tell Tim Thomas that his style of goaltending is the reason that the Canucks scored. This was after game 5, not game 7, game 5. And Daniel Sedin or should I say Joe Namath Messier, do you really need to tell the media that you are guaranteeing a win. Someone probably told him that he is being a "Stooge" (thanks Sandman) and then you go back to the media and say that if Vancouver plays well, you will win. Good grief, now you're backpedaling. This is all the behind the scenes stuff that loses series and vaults other teams to the top.

And here is what surprised me the most. Vancouver played an awful game 7 and all Canadians would recognize it. They did not deserve to win. But somehow, the Vancouver fans turned ugly and poor sports and started to riot in the streets. Fans clashed with police officers, set vehicles a blaze, smashed windows and set several fires in the downtown area. After I said how nice the people in Vancouver are, I am very disappointed.

The Canucks fans need to just use this instead of rioting.....

Congratulations Boston Bruins, 2011 Stanley Cup Champions

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


No one wants to see the greats of the game slow down or retire. No one wanted to stop watching Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson doing their thing on the hardwood. We all wanted to see Cal Ripken keep his streak going and we all wanted to watch Gretzky set up in his office behind the opposing net a few more times. The problem is this, time and technology wait for no man.

An athlete has a few choices when he gets to the twilight of his career. He can keep playing because that is what the fans want to see even if he is a shadow of himself such as Willie Mays when he came to the Mets or Joe Namath with the Rams or he can retire before everything goes south.

I am sort of wondering about what path Jeter might take. This is the first year that I can actually say that Jeter is struggling. You can tell it on his face and in his actions.

Last week, Jeter grounded into a double play and   as he walked back to the dugout, you can read his lips on how frustrated he was. This outburst was usually saved for Paul O'Neill. When he pulled his calf muscle yesterday, reports came in that he threw his helmet in the tunnel. These outbursts are definitely brought on by frustration.

With the retirement of Andy Pettite and the slow decline of Jorge Posada, we are slowly seeing the end of an era. Mariano is a machine and he'll probably keep pitching until he is 90. Now the question is, how much longer for Jeter.

Since Jeter is now on the 15 day disable list, we will get a glimpse of Life Without Jeter. Brett Gardner will take over the lead-off spot and Eduardo Nunez will take over at shortstop. Right now Gardner has a better batting average than Jeter, .272 to .260.  On base percentage is higher .351 to .324 and more extra base hits, 17 to 11. Nunez is a younger and faster version of Jeter.

No one wants to lose a Derek Jeter but we must all be realistic, eventually he will be introduced only at Old Timers Day. We should all be happy to be able to say that we got the chance to see such a great person play the game the way it was supposed to be played and watch a young man conduct himself as a professional in the most pressure packed media location. He never brought embarassment on himself, his family or the New York Yankees. Derek Jeter should be commended for all that he has done for baseball as well as the City Of New York.

Hopefully in 15 days, Jeter will take his spot on the field and by watching the Yankees of  the Future, we will all have something to look forward to.

Monday, June 13, 2011


When we got to the track on Saturday morning, it was overcast and there was a strange feeling about the day ahead. We went and grabbed our spots, we put taken cards down for Sandman, Stu the swimming coach and Mush. We even saved a seat for these three guys that Sandman likes to refer to as the Three Stooges.

The Three Stooges are these three guys that come and sit together and make believe that they are the ultimate handicappers. They listen to the radio talk shows and whatever is given out over the air is what they bet. As Sandman says, "A Stooge bet." The Stooges also have no money management skills. One Stooge threw a wad of cash at a longshot and lost and then threw four bucks at a 3-5 favorite and made 50 cents. As Sandman says, "What a Stooge!" Here is the funny part, two of the Stooges are retired teachers from the LA Unified School District. And we wonder about the future of our children. One Stooge has been a schoolteacher and a peanut vendor at Dodger Stadium. There was one Stooge that didn't show up on Saturday. This Stooge is the Moe of these guys. He is always banging something, screaming and going at it with the other Stooges, hence the reason he is Moe. Sandman confided in us on Saturday in that he thinks that Stu the swim coach is on the cusp of being a Stooge.

Stu the swimming coach is a very nice guy. He actually is a swimming coach. He is at the track whenever he isn't coaching. Stu is not a big bettor, he places four dollars here and four dollars there. He plays favorites and he is happy when he wins. He wins quite often but he is not going to retire on his winnings. He likes the action and he likes horse racing. As Sandman says, "Stu has one Stooge tendency, he gets to the track when it opens and he is gone in a few hours. It is as though he has to get home and go to bed by five o'clock. What a Stooge." I have to concur, I never see Stu very long at the track.

We get ourselves situated and I opened my racing form to Belmont. I was going to just play Belmont Park because I have always done well there. I notice that Belmont is listed as sloppy and I really don't like playing sloppy tracks but I figured that the rest of the country was being rained on and I was going to take my chances. The second race at Belmont is a Maiden Special Weight and I play an exacta. I win the exacta and it pays $48.00. I am also still alive on the start of my Pick 3. The day is starting out pretty good. After this race, the Stooges show up, Sandman shows up but Mush is nowhere in site.

Hollywood Park is getting a little crowded and seats are at a premium. The peanut vendor Stooge is sitting  two rows ahead of us and he has brought with him a guest Stooge. These two were sitting next to these two yokels who were consistently screaming at the TV screen. Not a problem with screaming but for corns sake get the right horses. This one guy, who I will call Fred Sanford, was screaming during this one race, "I told you, I told you, the 9 is running away with it. You should of listened to me, you dummies." Problem was, the 9 was nowhere in the front. Fred Sanford could not see. This went on all day. I guess peanut Stooge's friend got up and when he came back, Fred Sanford was sitting in his seat. Peanut Stooge's friend decided that he was just going to pick a fight. Fred Sanford got up and both of these yokels were dancing around as though either of them stood a chance. Let me remind you, both of these guys are in their late 60s. They circled each other, both of them shadow boxing and talking all sorts of mush. A few swings were thrown. Who they were swinging at was a good guess. Come on, Fred Sanford couldn't see the TV screen in front of him and Peanut Stooge's friend had prescription binoculars. After a minute, they both got winded and called it a draw. Of course, I am laughing like an idiot and Sandman says, "What Stooges!!!!"

Well, the day goes on and the third race from Belmont goes off and I play another exacta and I win $17.20. Yipee, two for two and I am still alive in the Pick 3. The fourth race starts and I have played an exacta and a trifecta. I hit the exacta, the tri and bingo the Pick 3, giddy-yup. The exacta pays 29.60, the tri paid $190.00 and the Pick 3 paid 113.50. So far so good. I am up a good 300 dollars.

Off in the distance, I see this large man dressed in a yellow shirt, khaki shorts and loafers with no socks. I have seen this ensemble before and it can only be one person. I do not want this person any where near my mojo right now. Yep, it's Mush and he is heading our way. He gets to us with a ticket in his hand and screams, I can't hit a god damn thing. He crumbles the ticket and tosses it in the trash and storms off. I don't think he made eye contact with me so I might be good. But I am nervous because the next race, I really like these two longshots.

I make my way to the window. The window that I was going to all day, superstition plays a big part in this game, had the one and only Mush standing in its path. I can not chance this. I must veer off and find another lucky window. I make my bet and sit down and just hope Mush does not appear. I was not Mushed on this one, I hit the exacta and it paid, $142.00. I am happy with the start of this day, so I am going to sit and watch some races and wait for the Belmont Stakes to start.

As the day progressed, we had one more Mush siting. He came over to Sandman and was so happy. He showed all of us the 43 dollars that he had won. He probably won a lot more than that but after he paid off all the people that he owed money to, 43 dollars was all that was left. He then left because he had a hot tip, you know how that goes. One of the Stooges had a live ticket on a daily double. He had singled the second horse, a 3-5 favorite. He won and made a whopping 10 cents. Sandman screamed over at him, "Now that was a complete Stooge bet!!!!" Just as the prices came up on the board, this Stooges' cell phone rings and someone screams to this Stooge, "Hey, answer your phone, it's the IRS and they want a cut of your 10 cents."

It was now a half hour before the Belmont Stakes and if you recall my earlier blog, I was going to put a superfecta ticket together. This ticket included, Ruler on Ice, Shackleford, Prime Cut, Nehro, Mucho Macho Man and Animal Kingdom. If you remember, I was really big Stay Thirsty fan in the Derby but because I was Mushed on that one, I did not include him. Since, I had the houses cash, I played my longshot play, 10 dollars across the board on Ruler on Ice. When the Belmont goes off, Animal Kingdom almost takes a header and he never recovers from there. Shackleford is the lone speed and Ruler on Ice is sitting second and stalking the pace. When they reach the top of the stretch, I am thinking that Shackleford is going to step it up a notch and Ruler on Ice will be passed by. To my surprise, Shackleford runs out of gas. I was expecting that Shackleford was going to be in the mix, not completely out of it.  Ruler On Ice takes the lead and holds off, Stay Thirsty (Damn that Mush) and Brilliant Speed. Well I had the first and fourth place in my superfecta. Even if I had Stay Thirsty on my ticket, I did not have Brilliant Speed, so my superfecta was a losing ticket. The superfecta paid  $74,052.00. Not a bad price. I didn't win the super but I had an un-Mushed ticket worth $455.00 in my pocket.

It was a great day and fun was had by all. My wife's birthday is this week and as I left the track, I decided that I am going to buy her the iPad that she wanted.

As I was walking into the Apple store, I could hear Sandman saying, "Now this, is not a Stooge move!!"


I woke up today to find out that Clarence Clemons suffered a stroke over the weekend. Clemons is 69 years old and has been with Springsteen since the beginning. The Big Man made the saxaphone cool.

"When the change was made uptown
And the big man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raised their hands
I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When scooter and the big man bust this city in half......"
                                                                      Tenth Avenue Freezout

Big Man, get well real soon.....

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It was sometime in February that the Santa Ana P.D. challenged the females in our department to a game of flag football. Our females, who will never back down from a challenge said yes. They only had one minor problem, they didn't have a football team. Being the resourceful group that they are they started to send out e-mails to ask for players. One of the females suggested that the team ask my boss at the time and myself to help them get this off the ground.

We coach a Pop Warner football team and I guess word got around that we could whip this group into a football team. Never backing down from a challenge ourselves, we decided that we would. We didn't know what to expect because this was flag football and there is minimal hitting. We recruited 3 other fellow workers to help with this task.

We scheduled a few practices to see what we had and to see who was really interested in actually playing. The coaches all realized that we had a team of very good athletes that have never played football. We needed to turn these athletes into football players. That is kind of easy to do because not one of these females had any bad habits to break. We worked them step by step to the point that they were ready for a scrimmage. Who better than to scrimmage against but our Pop Warner team.

We brought the boys out and after the first few minutes our females realized that they had a lot more to learn. They were being schooled by a bunch of junior high schoolers.  Just a bit of background on our Pop Warner team, last year they went undefeated in league play and missed the Orange Bowl (Super Bowl for Pop Warner) by 1 game. The females were not going up against a bunch of kids, they were going up against a football team.  After the game, our females realized that they had a lot more work to do. Because we have done this before, the coaches figured that if junior high school kids would run slip shod over them, two days later we scheduled to have my nephew bring down a few of his high school teammates. The females were once again worked but you can tell that they made immense strides from the scrimmage before. There is a method to the coaches madness.

We went back to practicing and a few weeks later we scrimmaged the Pop Warner team again. This time, the females made a game of it. The boys from our Pop Warner team told us that they could tell that the females have gotten better. Perfect, now we need to keep tweaking, keep pushing and keep teaching.

Last Wednesday night, we scheduled our final scrimmage before our game against Santa Ana PD. We brought out the Pop Warner team again and lo and behold, the females made a game of it. The females can now call themselves a football team. The all have earned the right to call themselves, the LB Sirens.

On June 18, 2011 at 1 PM at Eddie West Field in Santa Ana, California, the Long Beach Sirens will take on the Santa Ana Police Department. This game is a fund raiser for a Costa Mesa Police Officer who was injured in the line of duty. If you can make it out, please do. This is for a good cause and also you will get to see some real good football being played.

Friday, June 10, 2011


My buddy and I will be watching The Belmont Stakes from our usual seats at Hollywood Park. We have been sitting in the same area for years. There are a lot of colorful people that roam around and then there are some colorful people that actually sit near us. Over the years they have gotten to know us and we have gotten to know them. The usuals that sit near us are Sandman, Mush, Stu the swimming coach and there is our good friend John.

Sandman is basically an independent wealthy person who just likes coming to the track. He is a real nice guy with a huge heart. His buddy Mush, is worth the price of admission. This guy is just so hapless. He doesn't work and it seems he is always out of money. During the Kentucky Derby, Mush and Sandman had a live pick 5 ticket with the Derby as the last leg. I really liked Stay Thirsty in the Derby. We knew that they had singled the last leg and me being the dope I am, asked Mush, who do you guys have in the last leg and Mush said, "Stay Thirsty, he can't lose....."  I looked at my buddy and said, "I'm screwed." Stay Thirsty finished 12th.  I got Mushed.

Mush got nowhere near the ticket Sandman, my buddy and me put together for the Preakness, not that it mattered. We played a superfecta and had the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place horse. Our 4th place horse was beat by a nose. We can't blame Mush for that but he was near us, so......

Anyway before I get Mushed, here is my tickets for the Belmont.

You can play a 10 cent superfecta so I am going to box 3 Ruler On Ice, 8 Prime Cut 12 Shackleford, 9 Animal Kingdom, 6 Nehro and 10 Mucho Macho Man. I had to include Animal Kingdom and Shackleford because of their recent performances and Shackleford has a number of tips that I like.  I like Nehro because he is always near the top and he has a monster workout on May 30 over 6 furlongs. My knock on him is that he seems that he doesn't know how to win but you can't leave him out of your exotics. Mucho Macho Man had a good fast workout on June 5 at Belmont, which I like to see and they are switching to the beast of the east in jockeys, Ramon Dominguez. The Derby and the Preakness weren't exactly stellar performances but with the breezing workout over the Belmont track, I would hate him to beat me for the fourth spot in the superfecta.  Prime Cut and Ruler on Ice are the two longshots that I am hoping beat the chalk. I have a few tips that I like to use for longshots and I think these are my two for this ticket.

This years Triple Crown did not have the talent that other Triple Crowns have had. Handicapping these races is quite difficult. I learned that in order to make some money just on this race, you need to play an exotic and hope that one of your longshots can beat the chalk.

Good luck to everyone that is wagering tomorrow and please don't tell Mush what I'm betting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


With the Belmont Stakes coming up in a few days, it is always cool to look back at the 1973 Belmont Stakes. This is the race with Secreteriat just leaving the rest of the field in the dust. If you havn't seen it, watch it.  No need for explanation. The below picture is a classic, with Ron Turcotte onboard Secreteriat and looking back at the rest of the field. Classic!

The post positions were picked on Wednesday for Saturday's Belmont Stakes. This is how it looks for Saturday.

1    Master of Hounds        
2    Stay Thirsty                  
3    Ruler on Ice                                                   
4    Santiva                                                                      
5    Brilliant Speed                                                                        
6    Nehro                                                                                
7    Monzon                                                                           
8   Prime Cut                                                                               
9   Animal Kingdom                                                               
10 Mucho Macho Man                                                   
11 Isn't He Perfect                                                            
12 Shackleford                                                                   

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This is exactly the type of hit that the NHL is concerned about. Nathan Horton was carrying the puck through center ice and before he got to the blueline he passed it. Aaron Rome is to Nathan's right, his blind side, and Rome takes a few strides and levels Horton. I don't care who you are rooting for, this was a dirty, uncalled for hit. Horton laid on the ice for awhile and it was concerning how hurt he was. Watch for yourself and correct me if I am wrong.

And now that the Yankees are at home, can Jeter reach 3,000. He is at 2986 hits. He has 10 games during this homestand and all he needs is 14 hits. It sure would be nice for him to reach 3,000 hits at the Stadium.

And a side note to Jeter's quest for 3, 000, is the fact that the Yankees open a 3 game home stand against the Red Sox. This series is going to be a little different now that the Red Sox boat has righted itself and they are playing baseball the way everyone expected them to. The Yankees and Red Sox playing for first place?! Say it ain't so.

Congratulations to Mark Jackson for being named coach of the Golden State Warriors. Wish you were being announced as the next Knicks coach, but hey, you are getting a shot. The person that saw his ability is none other than Jerry West, consulting for the Warriors. James Dolan would probably second guess and then fire West because Isiah said so.

And if you are afraid that there will be no football, the Canadian Football League opened training camp yesterday. I have become a big fan of the CFL, especially the BC Lions. It sure is entertaining, 3 downs, you can motion to the line, no fair catches and the field is huge. If you like football, sit and watch a CFL game, it is exciting as well as entertaining.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Where is Dwayne Bixby?

After a few weeks of not playing in the usual Thursday afternoon golf game, I was able to get out there last Thursday. I needed to get out to Bixby Golf Course because I am in search of the Dwayne. My friends ended up in the twilight zone the last time they came across Dwayne and I feel it is my fault. I guess he is like Bigfoot, I have heard a lot about him but never got a glimpse.

I pulled into the parking lot and I have a few minutes to spare. Two from our group are standing in the middle of the parking lot. It appears they are waiting for someone or looking for something, I am thinking they are looking for me but I know better, they have their sites on finding the elusive Dwayne Bixby. I pull into a spot and as I get out of the car, I hear Cliffy say, "No one said he's coming!"  Wow, I guess Cliffy was a little sore from my observations in the previous blog (What Would Dwayne Do).  I wrote, "we love our Cliff.", but I guess that was not enough. I was told the last time they played, they were trying to goat Cliff into seeing if he was keeping their score.  As time wore on, I think Cliff knew it was all in good fun.

Some of my group was kind of disappointed that I didn't give them a nickname. I think the nicknames will just happen, as we will see in a bit, someone got another nickname.

We started our tour of the Bixby Golf Course and I could tell a few guys in our group were looking for Dwayne. I was looking but I had no idea what I was looking for. By the time we got to the fourth hole, the search for Dwayne was over but the Dwaynisms started. If you have to leave the golf course because your playing partners are driving you nuts, that is called, "You've been Dwayned." When you are not sure on how to play the hole you ask, "WWDD?"  We even thought of printing tee-shirts with the Bixby Golf Course on the back and overlaid on the map are the shortest distances back to the clubhouse and the caption will read, "In case of Dwayne...."

This all started on the fourth hole. We all teed off and we were laughing all the way down the fairway to our respective balls. As I was walking towards my ball, I had to tell two people, "Get away from my ball."  I guess one of those people just paid me the never-mind. I stood about ten yards from my ball and I answered a text message in regards to the Oklahoma State/Baylor women's softball game. (We all had an interest in that game, one of our fellow worker's daughter plays and starts for the Cowgirls...way to go Ari). Anyway, I was explaining how the Cowgirls lost in the bottom of the seventh with a Baylor walk off homer. When I was done, I looked up and low and behold my ball was gone. "Hey, where's my ball?" One of our group played my ball. We have had a running joke that he played one of my balls a few rounds back but today there was no denying it. Once this was found out, the person who witnessed the first wrong ball playing came up with this nickname, "Wrong Ball Paul".

We made it all the way through the course and there was no Dwayne siting. I think that a few Thursdays ago, the group  did not see that sign post up ahead.......

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Let me start by saying this, the Angels have pretty much owned the Yankees over the last decade or so. There is no other team that has had such success against the Yankees. Hats off to your club. And that is where it ends.

I have been watching baseball games for a good number of years. I grew up with the Yankees and their announcers of Phil Rizzuto, Bill White and Frank Messer. They were entertaining, sure they were homers but never to the point that they were completely derogatory to the opposing team and or the city they were from. I sat through games of the ultimate rivalry, Yankees-Red Sox.

When I arrived out west, before the advent of 1 million channels, I learned that there was this announcer from the LA Dodgers, Vin Scully, who was just incredible. He is the epitome of class. He is a baseball announcer's announcer. There was never a cross word mentioned from Vin about the other team or the other team's city.

With the discovery of the satellite dish, I was able to watch Yankees broadcasts again and listen to their announcers. Never, even during a Red Sox game, did I hear the announcers spew such antagonistic words.

Because of MLB blackouts, I have to sit through Angels broadcasts when they play the Yankees. First it was Physioc and Hudler and now Gubicza and Rojas.

I watched the game on Friday and I guess because Gubicza and Rojas are so pathetic, they don't realize that everyone is listening to them, not just Angels fans. Yes, the Angels won on Friday and Weaver pitched very well and the Yankees couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat, but that is not what this is about. Gubicza and Rojas first decided to tell everyone that this is a great rivalry. What rivalry? You need to play more that three series against each other and you need to be in the same division for it to be a rivalry. If it is a rivalry, it is one sided. I'll give those two dopes credit if they can find a Yankee fan in New York that can name their line-up and any other pitcher besides Weaver. It is a rivalry when the opposing fans know who you are. The only reason New York fans know about Anaheim is because that is where Disneyland is.

Second point for the two dopes....act like you have won before. If I hear Angels announcer say one more time, this is a play-off atmosphere, I will vomit. Hey Angel announcer, you have one one World Series, repeat, one World Series and that was eight years ago. Stop acting like it is still 2003 and you are champs. Once again, Angel voices, act like you have been in a tight game before.

And here comes the classlessness. The Angels, like every team, has an inning where they give a trivia question. I know that the Angels trivia question usually has the answer, Rod Carew or Nolan Ryan in it, but Friday's trivia question was over the top. The trivia question was, "Why do you hate the Yankee?"  And here are the answers, "The City". Really?!!!  You are going to compare, Anaheim to New York City. Arte Moreno is so worried about the name Anaheim, he had to attach Los Angeles to it just so people will realize that Anaheim is near a metropolitan area. Questions like this, that come from the team, are the reasons going to a ballgame in southern California can be hazardous to your health. Shame on Moreno for allowing this type of crap to come out of the mouths of the announcers. The announcers all think that Yankee Stadium is filled with animals but at least no one has lost their life going to a Yankee game. Anaheim Stadium is ahead of the Yankees on fan deaths.  Answer number 2, "The brashness." Hey zips, you can be brash when you have won 27 titles. The Angels try to be brash but it is a bit hard with 1 title. Answer 3, "The money they spend." Yea, the Yankees spend money, no one is denying it, but Arte ain't exactly a miser. He brought in Vladimir, Bartolo Colon, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreau, every team spends money, the Yankees just spend it on more marquee players. The Yankees are doing what baseball is allowing them to do. If you want them to stop, then put a cap on it. Moreno would never go for that because he loves when the Yankees come to town. There are asses in seats and Moreno gets paid, so don't give me the money issue. The last answer was, "The Titles."  OK, I can see people not liking the fact that they have so many titles. The Angels have been around for 50 years, they have 1 title. I don't even want to say how many titles the Yankees had in their first 50 years.

That trivia question was a classless move by a classless organization. The answer, "The City", was an afront to any New Yorker. For the Angels organization to allow this to be placed on the air was completely irresponsible. Grow up Angels organization and get rid of the holier than thou attitude. You need to win a few more titles before you can start strutting your stuff. Yea, the Angels have a winning record against the Yankees but the Yankees have a number that any team would want....27.


A few years back, I was sent to Vancouver, British Columbia for a conference. When I arrived, I was very impressed that a city as large as Vancouver could be so beautiful. The city itself is clean, the people are extremely nice and the view that surrounds the city is just breathtaking. There are so many outdoor activities that you don't realize that you are in a metropolitan city. Vancouver became one of my favorite cities.

I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver during the Stanley Cup play-offs. I have always loved hockey, growing up in NYC and following the Rangers, I knew something about rabid fans, but I wanted to see what fans are like in the land of hockey. I attended a Canucks play-off game and once again, Vancouver surprised me. The fans were so knowledgeable about the game, their excitement was contagious and they were extremely vocal about the game (all in a Canadian way). The game that we watched was a series clinching game and the fans celebrated. They celebrated in the streets in a very orderly fashion, no one turned over police cars, looted stores or beat people up (am I talking about Lakers fans?), the Canucks fans acted like they have won before. My hats off to Canucks fans and I was sold on this whole Vancouver B.C. experience.

Which brings us to this years Stanley Cup final.  I can't help but root for the Canucks. They were such gracious hosts to me that I have to hope for good things for their team and city. Last night was another great Stanley Cup final game, with the vegetarian Alexandre Burrows netting the game winning goal in overtime. It wasn't the most artistic goal but it was a goal that Stanley Cup memories are made of. Burrows broke into the Bruins end and drew Tim Thomas out of his net.Burrows proceeded behind the net and wrapped around the other side and slid the puck in. Here is the argument, should Burrows been allowed to play in this game after his biting incident in game 1? As much as I am rooting for the Canucks, he definitely should of been suspended for his actions.

What is going to make the argument continue is the fact that Burrows scored the first Canucks goal and assisted on Daniel Sedin's goal that tied the game at 2-2. So, if there is no Burrows in the line-up, do the Bruins go home with the series tied 1-1. This is what makes sports so great, the what-ifs, the could-ofs and all of the arguments that go with any sporting event.

This is a very good Canucks team and unless the Bruins snap out of their anemic goal scoring on the power play, this series might be over before it even starts to get going. The last two games have been great and  I would love this series to go the full distance.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seaside Courts in Coney Island

On any given day, these courts are the home to the greatest handball players in the world. I was lucky enough to grow up on these courts. I learned to play handball against some really good players. Usually when I played doubles, I was on the court for about one game. I really liked handball but the game that my buddies and me really liked to play was paddleball. Same rules as handball but with a small black ball and a wooden paddle. You used the same court as handball and the same rules, except for the hand part.

We would have our favorite courts to play on. We used to use the courts at Coney Island Hospital because it was enclosed and you didn't have to chase the ball too far. The only draw back was it was right outside the methadone clinic at Coney Island Hospital. We might take our game to the paddleball courts in the schoolyard at P.S. 209, but the wall was really rough and when the ball got away from you, it was quite a hike. And the fences around these courts had opening that were way too big. If a ball got away and headed to the fence, you knew it was going through and onto Coney Island Avenue. There were a lot of screams of "Chips on the ball!!!".

Every once in awhile you could get a game of paddleball going at Seaside Courts but that usually didn't last once the guys playing handball would show up. I would love to sit on the boardwalk that over looked these courts and just watch the games. You had the Atlantic Ocean to your back and Seaside Courts right below you. The action and the showmanship from these courts was amazing. I am so glad that I found the above video and still can see that this is one of the things of my Brooklyn that has not changed.

If the above video will not open go to this link:


After two years, Donnie Walsh is stepping down as GM for the New York Knicks.  He never had a chance. He was brought in and basically cleaned house. He got rid of the extra baggage in salary cap and paved the way for the LeBron James sweepstakes. The Knicks did not get LeBron but they ended up with Stoudemire and some pretty good pieces to a winning puzzle. The whole New York City area clamored for Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks ended up making a trade for Carmelo and everything was good, or was it?

I believe that Walsh is leaving the Knicks because the owner of the Knicks, the ever clueless, James Dolan, wants it that way. I will guarantee you that Dolan undermined Walsh's strategy in obtaining Carmelo. I bet Walsh had a plan and Dolan wanted to just pull the trigger on the move. In Dolan's infinite wisdom last year, he signed Isaiah Thomas to a contract as a consultant. Are you joking me? Thomas was the biggest moron ever to be on the Knicks payroll. He single handily made the Knicks into the biggest laughing stock. Good thing David Stern stepped in and said that Thomas had a conflict of interest because he is the coach of FIU. Walsh wanted to run the Knicks without any interference from the owner and Dolan was never going to sign off on that. I don't blame Walsh for leaving. It is hard working for an inept and meddling boss.

But this dark cloud has a silver lining. That silver lining is that maybe we can be rid of D'Antoni.  D'Antoni refuses to teach his team to play defense. His system will not cut it with this team. It is already apparent that his players don't respect him and that he does not get along with Billups. Maybe they will keep him around for another year and wait for Phil Jackson. I think that

they need to get rid of D'Antoni and forget about Phil Jackson and go after another Jackson. Mark. He should of got the job over D'Antoni and I bet he could teach this team to play some defense.

Donnie Walsh brought back a professional atmosphere to the circus that was called the New York Knicks. His ability to move them in the right direction in two years was great. It is too bad we lose so many basketball minds, Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkins but Dolan loves that Thomas guy. Why not let Allan Houston just take over as the GM. Hire Mark Jackson and tell James Dolan, "Go wait in the car."

Friday, June 3, 2011


June brings a numerous plethora of sports. The Stanley Cup Finals is underway and Game 1 was great.  The NBA Finals are in full swing and who would of thought that the Mavericks were going to come back from 15 down to take Game 2 and tie the series. The Belmont Stakes is next week and the French Open is coming into its final matches.

Today, Roger Federer took on the incredible Novak Djokovic and ended his 43 match winning streak. Going into this match Federer was ranked third and Djokovic was ranked second. A Djokovic win would have ranked him as number in the world. Federer showed that he still got what it takes.

Djokovic had a difficult time in the first two sets with his timing and his footwork. This was probably because he had not played since last Sunday. To have a long break and come out flat against Federer is a sure sign for disaster. He lost the first set in a tiebreaker and then dropped the second set, 6-3. The second set was a cakewalk for Federer. He fought back in the third set but fell in a tiebreaker allowing Federer to advance to the finals against the number 1 player, Rafael Nadal.

A bit of trivia.....Djokovic was 41-0 in 2011 and has has been unbeaten since November. The last time he lost was to Federer. We definitely will be seeing Djokovic in this mix for a long time. He is an amazing tennis player.

Sunday in France, Federer will take on his nemesis, Nadal. This is their fifth meeting and fourth final at the French Open. Nadal is 4-0 in the final meetings which is part of his 16-8 lifetime record against Federer.

Nadal is going for his sixth French Open title. If he gets it, he will be tied with Bjorn Borg for most French Open titles. Pretty impressive for someone who just turned 25. Nadal is a monster on clay but he still has to play Federer. These Federer-Nadal matches are always exciting and they produce great tennis.

Before I sign off, I just want to say that I was able to join my group for our Thursday golf outing. There was no sign of Dwayne but we looked real hard to see if we were able to spot him. Even without Dwayne, a fun time was had by all.