OLD FRIENDS, TABLE FOR 4, MY NEW FAVORITE PLAYER, ARCHIE MANNING, & DUCK DYNASTY??!

September 26, 2013

We all have one of those friends. Ok its not just one, its a number of people we have talked about getting together with but because of life, we put it off for weeks, months and sometimes years?!

Recently, I have made it a mission to put a stop to procrastinating when it comes to catching up with those I haven’t caught up with in some time. Trust me –you won’t regret it.

This past week, my Dad and I reunited with another Father and Son I grew up with for the first time in nearly 30 years and it was a great night at the ballpark. My friend’s Dad put it all in perspective saying when we first met that the last time we got together— both of our Dad’s were the same age my friend and I are NOW—pretty crazy.

I’d like to think those great relationships we have in our lives, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed. If its a good buddy or relative— you can pick things up right where you left off. True friendship the headliner in this week’s check around the Naborhood–as always thanks for stopping by…

TABLE FOR FOUR?: Catching up with family and friends is one thing but aside from those close to us–what if given the chance you could pick three living people to have a few beverages  and a dinner with–who would you choose?

For me, it would have to be somebody I would first and foremost enjoy spending time with, someone with lots of interesting stories. Someone I could learn something from and would make me laugh too. We all have our favorites—I would love to hear who you would pick?? As for me –after some thought, here are my three dinner guests—maybe someday we’ll make this happen.

RON HOWARD: What other man in American has better staying power. I could hear stories from Andy Griffth, Happy Days and the countless experiences he’s had in film and TV. By all accounts, he’s a good guy and would make this dinner a pleasant experience, so Opie, I mean Richie, sorry Ron—you are invited!

JIMMY BUFFETT: I respect people who sustain success for years and like Howard, Buffett sure has the track record. Who doesn’t like his music? I want to hear all the stories and maybe he’ll bring a guitar and play Margaritaville when we get our appetizers.

WILL FERRELL: Let’s keep this dinner well rounded with America’s favorite funny guy. Ron Burgandy stories, SNL stories, I can’t leave him off our reservation. Maybe after a few drinks, I could talk him into giving me a cameo down the road??

Honorable Mentions: John Grisham, Bill Clinton, Mick Jagger, Sammy Hagar, Steve Spurrier Warren Buffett and Bill Murray (I know I’m leaving out someone….)

MY NEW FAVORITE ATHLETE: OK those are some of my favorites, but my new favorite athlete is a guy who has flown under the NFL radar for years until this week. Covering the Saints vs Cardinals game last week, we in the press box never noticed it but the hero of the game wasn’t Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham—how about Arizona safety Rashad Johnson.

Johnson lost his middle finger tip in a collision with Darren Sproles on a punt return. After the play, his hand felt numb and when he returned to the sidelines, the trainers took off his glove to see his middle finger severed just above the knuckle–I know pretty gross?  The first question Johnson asked the trainers when they removed the glove, “Could I return to the game?” How do you not love this guy! After surgery this week, he may actually play on Sunday! Johnson received a note this week from Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott who infamously had his pinky finger removed at halftime of an 1985 game against the Cowboys–so they are now kindred spirits.

To make you a bigger part of the Rashad Johnson fan club–he hails from Sulligent, Alabama, population around 3000 where after not receiving many big time offers out of high school–he walked on at Alabama and wound up being an All SEC performer and now arguably the toughest guy in the NFL. To top it off, Nick Saban says he’s the kind of guy, he would want even his own daughter to marry.  I’ve never bought a jersey with another man’s name on the back but I’m going out to buy by Rashad Johnson jersey right now!

BOOK OF MANNING: ESPN has its critics but once again this week they showed what they do best—sports documentaries. The Book of Manning is a must see even if you don’t like sports where I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Archie Manning–save the San Diego Chargers. The film illustrates something we may never see again–two quarterbacks drafted 1st overall coming from the same household. But its muchmore than that, it focuses in on how the Manning family grew from Archie’s Dad committing suicide which motivated him to be the best Dad he could.

Archie’s family movies are some of the best part for me where all three Manning boys talk about what Dad has meant to them–Manning also appreciates how different all of his son’s are and you can see how he never pushed the sport on any of them.

I had a chance to work with Archie for a few Saints preseason games and he is as adverstised. Its great to meet a famous athlete and who doesn’t possess an ego. When you meet Archie, he doesn’t talk about himself and comes across as just a regular man—the Book of Manning proves that’s hardly the case.

DUCK DYNASTY??: Its the most watched show on cable. This year’s season premiere was the most watched non fiction series telecast in the HISTORY of cable television. Sorry folks, I don’t get it.

No offense to Willie, Jep, Phil and Si—but I have tried and I don’t understand why its so popular. I know their names because my wife and two girls watch it religiously and when you live in a house with three other ladies—that means you watch it religiously. I just haven’t found it funny, and see it as an extremely staged show with often forced humor. Every episode is the same tired plot to me?

The only good news is the Ducksters have bested the all time ratings of  TV classics Jersey Shore and Jon and Kate which I can proudly say I never watched.

Trust me folks, I have a sense of humor—love Cheers, Curb Your Enthusiasm and have a wide variety of favorite comedians but I don’t get this show—I’m obviously in the minority.

BASEBALL CODE: When it comes to baseball, I am old school. Can’t stand the DH, Interleague play or for crying out giving home field advantage to the winner of the All-Star game?! But when it comes to Baseball Code—I am old school as well where I agree you have to defend your teammates—to a point.

Sure I think some pitchers get a bit sensitive at home run celebrations but I also believe there is a time to defend yourself and your teammates. I was always a big fan of Nolan Ryan taking on Robin Ventura–one of the few baseball fights were somebody actually landed a punch.

Recently I take the side of the Braves Brian McCann against the Brewers Carlos Gomez. If you didn’t see it –Gomez hit a homer against the Braves ,took his time watching it and was more than mouthy running around the bases. McCann then gave new meaning to blocking the plate where he wouldn’t let Gomez score before he gave him an earful. As a result the benches cleared. You love McCann if he’s on your team sticking up for his guys and you think he’s a bully if you’re on the other side. I had no dog in the fight and I loved what the Braves catcher did—that brings a team closer together and in that situation it was called for. But  you know those hockey players watching from afar laugh everytime they see a Basebrawl without any punches thrown.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: I am an unabashed Rays fan and the news that this team finished once again with the worst home attendance in baseball is like a punch to the gut. The story on why this is happening is tired but I’m tired of seeing the locals miss out on such a great product. The ownership, straddled by next to Oakland, the worst stadium in baseball– can’t do anymore with what they have to make this an appealing product. I understand the economy is bad, but even when I was laid off when both of my daughters were born–I had time to make a few games. Either you like baseball or you don’t Tampa Bay?? I really hope they never lose this team but every year it seems like more and more of a possibility, which would be a tragedy for all of us here who love the game so much.

EXTRA POINT: Sticking with baseball, sure he is crotchety, chain smoking, stubborn old baseball manager but I love Jim Leyland. I love him because he cares. After the Tigers clinched the other night, you could see his players love him too. He got choked up talking about his team–once again proving this man is genuine. Baseball is his life and passion. I would love to see every coach care as much as the Tigers skipper, who wears his emotions on both of his sleeves and there’s nothing wrong with that.

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike

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