Friday, February 25, 2011

Spring 'Training' Fever!!!

Opening Day is a pinch over 4 weeks away! Like many perfectionists… professionals…. Artists…. One must practice, practice, practice! Cactus League starts Friday!

I was faithfully listening to my favorite sports show this morning (Murph and Mac on KNBR 680 between 5am and 9am- I try not to miss it! At least until I have to clock in…) as they broadcast live from the booth behind home plate at San Francisco Giants Cactus league home Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona. I was sooooo envious! Of course, Brian Murphy was not shy in describing the ball park coming to life as the Sun rises to greet a fresh day. He teased us with the aroma of cut grass wafting into the booth from the infield… He coyly mentioned (while tweeting the picture, no less!) hitting coaches and prospects scooting around the bleachers and trotting onto the field with their cleats in hand, preparing for bunting drills infield as grounds keepers sprinkle the outfield turf. He urged us to close our eyes and imagine the heartwarming sounds such as the soft pops a ball makes being caught in a broken-in Wilson glove while being tossed in a long ball drill between Zito and Lincecum; and the sweet crack each Louisville Slugger creates when it makes contact on the sweet spot of it's barrel with a 108-stitched leather fast ball from a high-steppin' Rookie of the Year Catcher #28. He took me over the edge pointing out who those coaches were…  JT Snow, Jeff Kent… Like who doesn’t know those guys?!

It’s been a dream of mine during my wage-earning life of taking a week off and venturing down to Arizona to take in a few games at Cactus League… Each year I hope… and so far, unfortunately, other items keep popping up (like knee surgery this year, or unemployment off and on other years…) Of course, getting paid to be there is different from paying your way. One day (hopefully sooner than later)… One day…. I will run in to those guys and be in Heaven! I become nostalgic about a game I view as perfect… I recall Annie Savoy’s opening one of the greatest baseball movies ever with an amazing monologue about belonging to the ‘Church’ of baseball... I really relate to her observations. So many songs… stories… and prose dedicated to our American pastoral pastime. Although football maybe more popular, I will stick to the side of George E. Will, Billy Crystal, the late George Carlin, John Fogarty, Steve Perry, Jimmy Fallon,  Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Ashkon, Brian Murphy, Andy Baggerly, Annie Savoy, and Crash Davis… Baseball is paradise and pure delight!

Get pumped up and enjoy these vintage moments that keep me coming back for more!

Center Field- John Fogarty and tribute to Baseball

George Carlin- Baseball vs. Football

Eve Aronson, Comedian with interpretation of Annie Savoy’s ‘Church of Baseball

Crash Davis- ‘I Believe’

Finally, SF Giants Darren Ford shares his call up into the Big Leagues on September 1, 2010!

If this doesn’t get you hooked… Well, email me! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Put Me in Cold!

Happy Valentine’s everyone! It may be storming around the United States, yet the sun shines bright on MLB Spring Training camps in Florida and Arizona!  Pitchers and catchers reported February 14, thawing out hopes and dreams of baseball fans spanning America... Of course some aspirations may be dashed before Opening Day, and others penciled in as Pennant winners without a pitch being thrown. Bay Area fans continue to roam the streets of San Francisco picking orange and black confetti out of their hair, sharing their picture with anyone who says hello of them with the trophy...  I like San Francisco's chances of heading back to the playoffs... I don't see any gains or moves that any other team in the NL West made to compete with San Francisco's Band of Misfits. Over on the East Coast, Boston has boosted its line up with acquisitions, mainly Adrian Gonzales; and following the echoes of his Papa, Hank Steinbrenner has pretty much made a promise that the Yankees will compete for a Championship annually. Suzie's take - ummm.... if you are spending that much money on players, you better! Here are some early predictions and comments from one of my favorite baseball analysts, enjoy! - 
On the flip side of Spring Fever, there are teams and players that aren't so hot for the upcoming season, or downright aren't ready to play. Bernie Madoff continues to be a headache for the New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers truly aren't sure who will be in control in La-La Land.... And then there's Albert Pujols and the Cardinals... It wouldn't be the first time a player and LaRussa did not see eye to eye... As it stands now, the power house from St. Louis will be a Free Agent at the end of the Season... Okay, Pete Rose, all bets are on! Suzie's take- I would be VERY surprised if Pujols is still in Cardinal Uni at end of the year...Follow some lead stories coming out - 

It's in the Hole!
Anyone between the age 40-70 (and maybe some Gen Y folks with parents who share) knows Bill Murray... Anyone in that age range has busted a gut over the most iconic 'golf' movie ever made, "Caddyshack"!  Bill's boyhood imagination and dream of winning it all on the final hole has come full circle! After playing at Pebble Beach Pro/Am National Tournament for over 20 years, he finally made the cut AND Won! Well, Pro D.A. Points may have had a hand in Murray's success (who credits Murray for keeping him relaxed for his first PGA win on Tour!)  My favorite moment was when Bill Murray teed off on Saturday morning... He pulled out an Elmer Fudd hat from his back pocket (jeans, no less), stopped, facing the crowd and said, "It's official, we are in the Hunt!" The crowd roared with approval... Check out Murray's press conference on his reaction of winning it all -
Boogity - Boogity- Boogity!
It's official! I've become a fantasy sports addict! Well, not that either one of my buddies had to do any real arm-twisting in asking me to join NASCAR Fantasy... Then again, other than NBA, it's one of the professional sports that I am a casual fan, so needless to say, this will be a learning year. As I was reviewing drivers to choose from, Earnhardt Jr popped out, considering he has the pole.... errrr HAD the pole! After crashing in practice yesterday, he now moves to the back of the pack. I was observing how poignant it would be for Dale to get back on track with a win at Daytona 500 (he's hit a dry spell driving in 100 races without a checkered flag). Nascar Nation has perennially held a candle in reverence for his Father, Dale Sr. who tragically met his death at Daytona 500 10 years ago... Dale had something to say about that, along with a desire to get back to his winning ways during the days when #3 was around -

Payback is a Bitch... in a Cavaliers Uniform

There is no doubt That Black Mamba guy, what's his number now? 8? Oh.... well anyways back to the point.... I am sure somewhere between the All-Star break and April the Lakers will find their Mo Jo to defend their Championship. BUT Until that time.... I and many other Laker Haters are enjoying their current losing streak.... The Icing on the cake... The chocolate cake AND milk was the sweet surprise (as I was listening to ESPN score updates last night settling down to greet the Sandman, at first I thought it was a spoof) of Cleveland Cavaliers snapping their losing streak at the Lakers expense! Was it payback? Was it redemption? I mean, Lakers did hand them a trouncing in Los Angeles (Cleveland lost by 55 points)... Well, thank goodness for All-Star Games! Ha! My favorite  story leading into the NBA break came from TMZ! If I ever find the video spoof "How to Land a Player"... I will post!  

Bullying is NOT Okay! 

Finally- I share a heart wrenching and warming (those mixed emotions tugging at our heart strings) story Rick Reilly brought us recently. How would you like to be the mother to escape turmoil and violence for a better life, only to find out your child is being tortured in the Country giving you refuge? No bueno... Bullying is NOT okay! Please share! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top 10 Sports Stories

Hello Sports Fans-
I apologize being tardy in my Top 10, yet hope you enjoy the sassy perspective of stories that made the cut!
10. Who knew a player would be the difference between playing in the NBA Championship and breaking records for LAST place in the league... Or, maybe karma could be returning to Cleveland as they set a NBA record for now 26 losses in a row and counting.  Admittedly, King James did not handle his 'Decision' to leave in the best manner, but public name calling outbursts in response aren't very fashionable either. Even worse, not to dig the wound any deeper, Lebron went 'off' last week, being the first player this season scoring 51 points...
9. As frigid temperatures, ice, and snow continue to pound destinations up and down in the East, a week of paradise has blessed the Central Coast and Bay Area. It was a majestic day on February 5 for any San Francisco Giants fan venturing out for Fan Fest at AT&T Park! Actually, the weather and day were so nice, fans were turned away! An estimated 65,000 enjoyed the generosity of the SF Giants Organization, and our favorite players were gracious with autographs and interviews. Visit  for player interviews (Brian Wilson was awesome!) and photos of your World Series Champions San Francisco Giants!  Valentine's Day bonus: Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring training!

8. Speaking of Winter Paradise in San Francisco... Our pleasant warm spell has splashed our Central Coast with perfect timing of two feature events taking place this week! For NorCal die hard tennis fans, the World's top men are playing in SAP Open in San Jose, CA. Or, if you happen to be a weekend hacker out on the golf course, the Annual  AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro/Am is taking place a short scenic drive down the Monterrey Peninsula.  Favorites such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, David Duvall, Bill Murray, George Lopez, Tony Romo, and Matt Cain will be teeing it up at Pebble Beach, Spy Glass and Poppy Hills! Catch the action live or go to for highlights and TV listings. Who needs Dubai (Tiger!) when you have Spy Glass?!
7. I mentioned at the end of number 10 on Valentine's Day, Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training! This is an exciting time for baseball fans spanned across the nation. This day marks a 'new beginning'... a 'fresh start' in the quest for a Pennant! And then it's the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants who return vying for repeat greatness. We've heard all about Philadelphia and their R2C2 lineup... we've watched the press conference of two BoSox joining once again to bring some veteran power to Tampa Bay... and quietly San Francisco has maintained (for the most part) their team, signing Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, and Aubry Huff for another year, as well as acquiring Miguel Tejada to replace Renteria at Short Stop. Yet... there is one team, the Black and Orange foe to the South, Los Angeles Dodgers, who continues to sit in limbo while their fate of ownership lies in divorce court. Soon-to-be ex-Mrs. McCourt continues to unrelinquish her vested interest as part-owner of the team.... NorCal is smiling and doesn't mind the Dodgers' continued distraction in the clubhouse! Ha! Keep up to date on the latest news of the Dodgers 'Blues' -
6. Everyone in Nascar Nation have February 20 circled. Fox Network began their Daytona 500 Blitz campaign on Super Bowl Sunday taking advantage of the 111 million+ pairs of eyes glued to the bube tube. I have an All Points Bulletin Alert to all teams (well, except Hendricks Motor Sports) - Can somebody PLEASE beat Jimmy Johnson?!  I don't care who... I don't care how...  I mean, Really.... We are talking 'stock' cars here!  As a matter of fact, I would like to see that fresh-faced kid on Joe Gibbs racing team, Denny Hamlin actually pull through this time and BEAT him!
5. Super Bowl XLV produced so many stories, I don't know where to begin! Well, I think I will pick the MVP, Aaron Rodgers. The Golden Boy's stellar performance did wonders for Cal Bears recruiting and fundraising efforts towards Memorial Stadium Upgrade. Aaron may have raised eyebrows of every NCAA Div I recruiting staff efforts to peer a little closer at Junior/Community college players through out the US (or at least California). NFL is in the running for  CHUMP of the year blundering customer care of 400 ticket holders. NFL officials knew a shortly after arriving at Over-the-Top Cowboys Stadium, they oversold seats not present... NFL has missed the boat regarding 'handling' the mishap... Not only do they have a looming lockout, but a class-action lawsuit landing in their laps. The most interesting and actually poignant sound bite is when soon-to-be former Chad OchoCinco (going back to good ol' Chad Johnson) ended up in the press asking Roger Goodell about the Owner's expectations and hopes to avoid a lockout regarding a CBA between players and owners. Here is a glance -

4. First... A coach with a foot fetish... Now? A quarterback following the path of infamous cradle robbers such as Rob Lowe, James Woods, Kobe Bryant and Seinfeld... Reports swirling around Mark Sanchez dating 17 year-old high schooler, Eliza Kruger. Discuss amongst yourselves.... Read the latest-

3. UFC 126 did NOT disappoint! Although I was dreaming of a 5 round blood bath between two Brazilians (Silver vs. Belfort), no one (including Belfort!) saw the Jean-Claude VanDam foot-to-jaw dropper kick ala Silva-Style! The main event was OVER! Silva took less than a 'Minute to Win it'.... Next fight February 26 Penn vs. Fitch! 

2. A follow up to a tragic story that has come full circle! A Marin County High School player pitching for Marin Catholic was hit by a line drive clinging to life last year. When this happened the team immediately switched from aluminum bats to wooden bats to improve safety. The player has fully recovered AND the league has decided to adopt a new regulation only allowing players to use wooden bats.    I hope Marin County League is just the beginning in changing the trend -

1. We have heard stories about coaches ranging from Bob Knight throwing chairs to Pete Carrell helping mentor kids less fortunate growing up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods surrounding USC. Yet, there is a coach who recently earned the 'Medal of Honor' in selflessness and giving. When a Wake Forest baseball player ended up needing a kidney and no family member being a match, the Wake Forest baseball coach tested as a match! He didn't even hesitate in giving his kidney to his player. I look forward to reading more stories making my heart glow as bright as this one!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Nights…. Alright for Fighting!

If you could be anywhere on Super Bowl weekend…. Anywhere on the planet, where would you want to be? Me??? Las Vegas! Nah…. I’m not much of a gambler. I’m not interested in seeing any of the flashy shows or Cher. Although I’ve enjoyed playing ‘spot the hooker’ in the Baccarat Lounge at Bellagio, there is another mouthwatering, jaw dropping guilty pleasure taking Center Stage at Mandalay Bay… UFC! 

Dana White has amassed one of the most anticipated and heavily packed fight cards since its inception. Many around Brazil as well as US feel Anderson Silva vs.  Vitor Belfort may be the fight of the decade. Yet, there are other fights listed that my steal the thunder from the two Brazilians. Two former champions working their way back as being contenders is Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin. Two other fights hitting the card to watch out for is Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader, and the heavily promoted tiny and mighty up-n-comers Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson (fight will be live for everyone to see on Facebook!) It’s a must see spectacle of Y2K Gladiators!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or away on a peacekeeping mission in the middle of Zimbabwe for the last decade, UFC  (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a Mixed Martial Arts face off  between warriors that makes Rumble in the Jungle look like a play date in the sandbox. As boxing  has been losing fans and declining in talent, UFC has been taking off faster than the space shuttle in popularity and interest; so much so, the founder of 24 hour fitness, Mark Mastrov, is cashing in on it’s fan base opening up a franchise of  UFC gyms around the US giving every Jack and Jill an opportunity to get into GSP shape!

UFC has its fair share of critics and protesters naming it violent along with other tasty adjectives (numb nuts, knuckle heads, archaic nonsense.) I admittedly was one of those critics, until I kept getting caught at my beloved watering hole watching other sporting events while the beefed up fans slowly trickled in packing the pub to watch perfectly chiseled warriors display balance, agility, stamina, and sheer punching power vying to dominate their opponent into submission. I definitely didn’t mind the eye candy in the octagon as well as around me! Although I winced and closed my eyes at some brutal scenes playing out on the mat, I began to ask questions and find out firsthand the fascination of MMA.  

I discovered the competition of ultimate fighting is disciplined, respectful, and a perfect melting of power, duration, and mental awareness. It would not surprise me if many fighters know Sun Tzu’s philosophy of ‘The Art of War’ (which sits on every shelf of anyone holding an MBA degree.) MMA is not for slackers or drinkers. Just Google George St. Pierre and ask me if you think he even touches Johnny Walker or would walk into a Five Guys franchise.  Gangs are violent… crack heads are violent…. Terrorists are violent…. Heck, WWE promotes violence… Contrary to many beliefs, UFC is one of the greatest raw competitions of mano contra mano on earth! 

I challenge you to set aside prejudices… set aside any misnomers or assumptions you may have and just experience UFC… I would not be surprised if you become as addicted as my girliest friends. Come join me for Saturday Night Fights! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mama, Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Soccer Stars!

As Americans entrench themselves in tweets and texts surrounding Super Bowl XLV, a record breaking trade broke the wires across the pond on the first day of February, when Liverpool sold Fernando Torres to rival Chelsea for 79 million pounds in the English Premier League. That works out to be $128.7 million dollars here in the USA. Exactly when do our children (or maybe parents) trade in their soccer ambition for concussions?

The most popular sport in the World outside of the United States is ‘F├╣tbol’… in American lingo, soccer.  The average Soccer star playing in the English Premier League, Italia Seria, or UEFA  makes a little over 6.5 million Euros or pounds annually; In US dollars, that would calculate to 8.8 million converting the Euro, or 10.6 million converting the pound.   Cristiano  Ronaldo of Portugal, playing for Real Madrid, makes top Euro at 11.3 million, Englishman John Terry playing for Chelsea makes a cool 9.81 million pounds, speedy Brazilian Kaka makes 8.7 million for Real Madrid, my favorite Italian hottie Luca Toni makes 4.8 million Euro for Roma, and L.A. Galaxy has Beckham on loan to AC Milan collecting a cool 4.3 million Euro. To convert to US dollar value, multiply the amount 1.36 for Euro, and 1.67 for English Pound (currency exchange rate as of this article, subject to change.)

One of the most popular activities for children between 5 and 12 is Soccer! Somewhere in the development of dreams and ambition of a budding soccer tween, the desire to bend the ball like Beckham diminishes for hopes of being the next NFL prodigy,  baseball phenom, or hockey jock.  Risks of permanent brain damage, decreased life expectancy, and strokes plague retired NFL athletes, as well as similar ailments for many hockey players.  Needless to say, world footballers display a rosier outcome (unless you’re a Colombian soccer player Escobar that scored a goal for the opposing team to lose at the World Cup – he was gunned down at the airport.)

I know… I know…. I’ve heard all the arguments before, “It’s boring! Nothing happens! It’s just guys running back and forth passing a ball! No one ever scores! They flop and fake too much!” Many of us enjoy baseball (I’ve heard the same words spewed about my favorite past time); flops happen on a nightly basis in the NBA; Golf is extremely popular, although all we view are men with metal clubs seeing how accurate they can swing and hit a pint-size dimpled ball into a hole yards away;  and then (yes, I am going there) there is Hockey, which is actually a smaller version of soccer placed on ice and players are given sticks to whack a puck (and at times each other) across the ice  into a goal protected by a man in a Jason mask and Michelin padding (I can see the saliva spewing now about my latter comparison.) 

Believe it or not, there is plenty of action, strategy, and drama displayed across the pitch between players in 90 minutes. Soccer players may not literally stop in the middle of the field and end up in a brawl, but there is plenty of bumping, tripping, and elbowing exchanged between rivals and foes.  I urge everyone to spend a Saturday morning at an English pub and learn a little more about the World’s most exciting and lucrative game! (Bonus! Brits are a blast! You will never hear expletives strung together as eloquent as a bloke…. unless he is there with an Italian)

As the battle rages in our government about each side misunderstanding one another, I believe USA may be missing the boat unwilling to embrace and understand a profitable (1 in a million, mind you…) opportunity of grooming a multi-million dollar globetrotting soccer baby…  You’ve wanted to travel, right? Well….  To all the Mommies and Daddies, give your kids a chance to dream of being a Soccer Star! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Super Week!

Ahhhh..... For every NFL beat writer, blogger, and slack jaw reporter that can snag a 'press' pass... there is one special day circled on their Calendar... A day of anticipation... A day more exciting than tiny tots dreaming of a 'toy jackpot' on Christmas morning! Super Bowl Media day IS every sports writer's backyard fantasy to hit the lottery for sound bites, inside angles, and brewing headlines for the horizon.

So far, the Super Bowl Week has been quiet, and I've seen in passing, the media world expressing sentiments and longing for a Rex Ryan press conference right about now (a wet dream for anyone enjoying sensational journalism.) Luckily, Radio Row, Defensive player of the year with locks women pay insane money to have, and a beard Vikings 'dream' of, have kept us in tune and entertained. 

I have to thank Lee Hammer and KNBR 680 radio out of San Francisco, for programming a morning ensemble of witty, quirky, and informative broadcasters... Murph and Mac with their team of producers never disappoint in delivering a story. While everyone who flew to Dallas for Super Week were scurrying through sleet and snow over to the Colossus of a Dome (in the shape of a football no less) for Media Day, our San Francisco station brought two note worthy stories I'd like to share. 

Joe Gibbs was up early on Media Tuesday and was gracious to share his success and failure when he brought the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl on four occasions. He won 3, and was trounced by Tom Flores and the "Los Angeles" Raiders in Superbowl XVIII 38-9, even though the Redskins were heavily favored.  Murph pointedly asked the Legend of Gridiron (and Nascar) what he felt produced a successful winning outcome versus the loss. Joe was humble and frank in his reply, summing it up as follows: 

During the week riddled with distractions of families and photo ops- 
  • keep your team disciplined, focused, and ENFORCE the curfew! 
  • Have players appoint a person to oversee activities and manage each entourage for less interruption and stress 

On the three successful Superbowl bids, Coach Gibbs separated his team from family, friends, and DISTRACTIONS the day before the game, having them stay in a separate hotel. The one time Gibbs gave his team a little 'freedom' and did not stick to routine, a quarterback named Plunkett (who ever saw that coming!) and MVP running back, Marcus Allen, ran over them!

Speaking of Los Angeles, Sam Farmer, reporting for the L.A. Times, brought high hopes to the forefront of football fans residing in La-La land. AEG has placed an appealing bid for a 700 million dollar 64,000 seat stadium to be built in Downtown Los Angeles, quaintly named 'Farmers Field'. The city planning committee is excited and beaming at the idea! Question remains, if NFL would relocate a team or.... create a new one? Hmmm... good inquiry, indeed! Slack jaw reporters are quick to suggest potential moves, with a team residing just South off  I-5, San Diego Chargers, a franchise originating from L.A.  Here is a couple articles to wet your whistle: and,0,7964050.story

Just down the way from Radio Row, Super Week's chaotic circus frenzy Media Day commenced! Most popular 'Schtick'? The Polomalu Hair piece! Even Green Bay Packers displayed the envious locks!  Yet... I feel a teammate of Polamalu stole the show. We've heard of play-off beards in hockey, 'Rally' beards in baseball (hence Brian Wilson of the World Champion San Francisco Giants and the 'Fear the Beard' campaign), but we haven't appreciated a true fearsome barb (and possibly housing critters of some sort) as the one displayed on the mug of Steelers Defense Lineman Brett Kiesel. He has been an integral part of the Steelers success of shutting down opponents' running game on their rebirth and rise to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLV! Enjoy this article from the Salt Lake Tribune on a potential wager Brett has with his Alma Matter, BYU, in allowing a little (or alot!) 5 O'clock shadow to roam on Campus ( who would've ever guessed NY Yankees and BYU have something in common... no facial hair allowed) : 

Finally, a heartwarming piece about our beloved Californian, Aaron Rodgers. Aaron, quite honestly, a refreshing change from the troublesome or 'loud' personalities we've come to know all too well from breaking news stories throughout the years. He's as unassuming as his hometown. Aaron was born in the simple college community of Chico, CA (made famous as being the number one party school by Playboy Magazine in 1986-ummm... don't ask me why I know that.) Aaron is the son of a chiropractor whose understated office decor would never give you any inkling that his son is about to play in the most watched sporting event in 2011. The Principal at his High School, Pleasant Valley, even contemplated taking down a sign displayed on the front lawn congratulating their football hero on his success, "Not wanting to flaunt, or draw any special attention" to their area. Aaron is excited and proud, Chico is excited and proud, Mr. Rodgers (that would be Aaron's dad, not the friendly neighbor on PBS with a caboose named Charlie) is excited and proud! By example, if more could just walk-the-walk.... versus talk-talk-talk! Aaron has made it quite easy for Green Bay fans to have 'short term' memory regarding that 'Other' quarterback... what's his name again??? Oh yeah... that's right! Favre.

San Francisco will never forget the 2005 NFL Draft where 49ers passed on the Golden Bear for (Gulp!) Alex Smith. Aaron may have faced the same fate as Alex, versus the allotted time spent being groomed by one the greatest (and now "Most Hated") quarterbacks, Brett Favre. We will never know.

Finally... One brief request from one woman to EVERYONE! Can we maybe turn the statistics around regarding domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday??? More cases are reported on this day versus any other time in the year. So... everyone have fun, be safe, and happy!