This is supposed to be the beginning of the dog days??! Oh well, the advent of summer usually spells slow news days, long naps and even longer vacations. Teachers are off, kids are in camp and NFL beat writers usually get a chance to put down the pad and paper for a few weeks. So much for the latter….
You would only hope summer would take the heat off the city of Boston but Beantown just can’t get a break. First you had the bombings at the Boston Marathon, now you have the bombshell story of Aaron Hernandez. Its hard to stay Boston Strong with so many Boston Wrongs—you throw in the Sandy Hook Shootings and the fallout from Hurricane Sandy and its been an unprecedented run the past eight months in the Northeast portion of our country. The latest hit one of many topics in this week’s trip down in the Naborhood….
AARON HERNANDEZ: Lots of reactions to Aaron Hernandez’s arrest and subsequent first degree murder charge (or possible multiple murder charges) this week. Many snarky on social media, several angered and upset but for me its a feeling of sadness and shock. First and foremost, you feel for the family of the victim Odin Lloyd who at the age of 27 suffers a senseless death.If guilty, Hernandez throws away the kind of life many dream of which is inexplicable and ignorant.. Unusual athletic ability and a million dollar bank account aside, Hernandez’s “alleged” actions will leave behind a 7 month old daughter who may never get to know her father—you certainly can’t put a price on that.
I covered Hernandez for his entire football career. Interviewed him while at Florida, at the NFL Combine, even as a Patriot a few times. Further proof that you can work with these athletes but never really know them–a scary notion. You would hear stories of his problems in Gainesville but never saw anything leading to the crimes he’s accused of. For those that are saying they did, aren’t being honest. Aaron lost his Dad when he was 16 years old and on the cusp of an unbelievable football career—his family will tell you that’s when his problems started but its certainly no excuse—lots of 16 year olds lose their parents.
I’m tired of people blaming others besides Hernandez. He chose to hang around a rough crowd and hasn’t had the smarts or the independence to learn to run away from his past. Some say Urban Meyer and Jeremy Foley could have done more when he was at Florida? That’s like saying John McKay is to blame for OJ Simpson or former Colorado Head Coach Bill McCartney is to blame for Rae Carruth? These men run football teams and athletic programs but aren’t their parents or guardians and can’t babysit them around the clock? You can discipline these players and attempt to help them all you want in college but they’re moral compass was set long before they checked into college. I think LSU did Tyrann Mathieu a huge favor by kicking him off the team but as much he did at LSU, he’s not cut out of the same cloth as Hernandez appears to be. Here’s hoping the Honey Badger and several other young athletes learn from the former Gator/Patriot’s apparent mistakes–a guy who seemingly has thrown it all away at the tender age of 23—what an absolute waste on so many levels.
HIGH WIRED: OK I’ve seen some great athletic accomplishments over the years. Michael Phelps in the pool, Carl Lewis on the track, Jordan, Barry Bonds (sorta?) you get the idea but the most impressive feat was turned in recently by none other than Nik Wallenda. I admit I never heard of Wallenda until the Twitter world let me know I could turn on the Discovery Channel of all places where he would attempt the seemingly impossible —walk on a 2 inch steel cable tight rope for a quarter mile, 1500 feet above the snake river inside the Grand Canyon!!! It was the most impressive yet least enjoyable sporting event I’ve ever seen?!
Wallenda is crazy, no other way to describe it. At first, I’m thinking this has to be some kind of David Copperfield illusion filled fixed reality TV show but quickly learned it wasn’t. The guy did it wearing jeans and shoes his wife made?? It may have been the longest 22 minutes and 54 seconds of television I’ve watched since I had to endure the Wiggles when my kids were toddlers. At the end, the plot thickened. I realized Wallenda has three kids and a wife who were watching this as well???!! His Dad was there providing inspiration, although at one point I thought Nik was gonna say “Dad would you please shut up??” He did it though, something nobody has ever done and I’d be surprised would ever attempt again.
SUMMER MOVIES: Why is it that summer movies always end up being the worst movies? More and more I’m disappointed with them—this summer may be the worst in recent memory. I admit, I go to the movies much less than I used to. Its crazy how much they charge for drinks, popcorn and candy when you can get all of the above at home for a third of the price. Throw in better Netflix and pay per view options than we’ve ever had and staying at home is a much better option for the bank account. With that said—I love going to the movies and tried to give it more of a try recently but with terrible results.
What does it say when the best movie I’ve seen this summer is Monsters U with my 8 year old daughter Ally? No offense to my friends Mike and Sulley but they shouldn’t be better than the alternative but so far they certainly have. First up— I love Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson so I thought “The Internship,” would be a great pick—it was horrible! I waited at least an hour until maybe I laughed a little—it was a terrible script and left me wondering how you could screen this film and actually feel good about it.
Then I tried a film “This is the End,” which on the surface looked terrible but received great reviews. I fell in the trap and fell hard. This reunion of Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, James Franco and Danny McBride just didn’t work. Ok, I laughed a lot more for this one than the Internship but overall was a huge disappointment too?! I found myself bored and thinking I should have waited till it came out on pay per view where my popcorn would have cost $50 cents instead of 7 bucks. I will say this—the ending of this movie was the best part and very funny! So this summer I’m 1 for three at the movie theater, a tremendous batting average but a terrible run for summer movies—here’s hoping it gets better.
NBA DRAFT: The only thing weaker than the crop of summer movies was the crop of players in this year’s NBA Draft. I love the NFL Draft and used to love this draft until the one and done rule turned things upside down. Remember the days when you knew everybody that went in the lottery–well how many of you have heard of Anthony Bennett??? He was your number one overall pick after only a single year at UNLV and now becomes the first Canadian to be taken with the top pick.
Its bad enough not to know any of these guys but what makes it worse is that it seems no teams want these guys either?? All told on this draft night 14 different deals and 5 guys were traded TWICE?!
Its time for the NBA and NCAA to lock themselves in a room until they can figure this out. They need to give kids the option to go pro out of high school. If not— go to college for at least TWO years but I would prefer three. It would not only make the NBA Draft better, it would make the NBA better and in the process make college basketball better. Everybody wins—let’s make it happen!
POWER OUTAGE: Another College World Series is in the books and I for one miss the good ole days. I have covered both the old (Rosenblatt Stadium) and the new (TD Ameritrade Park) and while the new is of course state of the art—I long for the imperfections of the old. Sure Rosenblatt needed to be renovated but I wish they would still play there. Fenway and Wrigley need work but I don’t hear talk of replacing either one.
The biggest difference between Rosenblatt and TD Park are the power numbers. Breaking it down, I give you numbers from a great article from the Omaha Post Herald’s Dirk Chatelain who shows the contrasts: In its final three years, Rosenblatt yielded 2.45 homers per CWS game. In 2011 and ’12 at TD Ameritrade, the average dropped to 0.64 and 0.67. This year, three balls have cleared the wall — 0.25 per game.
The NCAA dialed back the aluminum bats the same year the CWS moved to TD Ameritrade. So home run reductions aren’t as simple as changing venues. But in the three seasons prior to 2011, the CWS produced 34 percent more home runs per game than the regular season. Since then, the CWS has produced 43 percent fewer homers than the regular season.
Too late to bring back Rosenblatt but I long for the good ole days.
GOODBYE MIAMI?! Interesting and very troubling article in the recent issue of Rolling Stone about the possibility of Miami heading completely underwater by the year 2030? The article entitled, “Goodbye Miami,” was an interesting read by Jeff Goodell who points out that due to our “200 year fossil fuel binge” our sea level could rise by six feet by the turn of the century. Goodell gave several examples of how if that’s the case Miami would be in serious trouble in the near future.. His article points out that cities like London, Boston, New York and Shanghai are vulnerable, yet Miami is the most at risk because 75 percent of the population live along the coast, where the most valuable real estate is of course on the water.
The article states half the area that surrounds Miami is less than five feet above sea level. WIth just three feet of sea level rise, more than a third of south florida will vanish, at six feet –more than half will be gone. You may wonder about a city like New Orleans which is below sea level? Engineers from the Netherlands have created massive levees to protect the Big Easy and flush the water out as both regions are similar, but the same system wouldn’t work in South Florida. According to Piet Dircke program director for ARCADIS in the Netherlands, “Miami is different, its a low lying city but far more complicated because of issues about water quality,the porousness of the limestone the city sits on, as well as water coming in the west, through the Everglades.” For more on this check out: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2013/06/rolling_stone_predicts_miami_w.php …
WILL I AM: Its often hard for young athletes to live up to the hype but Rays rookie Will Meyers certainly has and could be the kind of spark this team needs that will push them back into the playoffs. The guy not only protects Evan Longoria in the lineup—he is a lot like Evan Almighty. Meyers seems mature beyond his years, unaffected by the pressure of all the expectations and like Longo—has the sense of the moment. His first home run was a grand slam in Yankee Stadium and his first at bat in the Trop was a solo SHOT to straight away center accompanied with a curtain call. Expect more of those as its scary as you would think he will only get better.
80’s HIT OF THE WEEK: As promised your weekly tribute to the best decade of music and the home of the most one hit wonders—The year was 1983,how about TOO SHY by one of the best names in 80’s lore Kajagoogoo. The 80’s classic peaked at number five on the charts on July 9th, 1983.
NOBODY ASKED ME BUT….: Sad to see the Lightning say goodbye to Vinny Lecavalier. Maybe the best name of any athlete in Tampa Bay history, certainly one of the best guys to put a uniform on in any sport. I worked with the team during the 2002-03 season and found out first hand what a great guy Vinny is on and off the ice. He like many hockey players, was always down to earth even though he was one of the best players in the league. I’ll always remember how great his family was as his Dad, who was a fireman in Quebec was always approachable and you could see why Vinny was so grounded because his family was. I understand its a smart move for the Bolts as they create lots of cap space and rid themselves of a ridiculous salary the previous ridiculous owners gave Lecavalier but Vinny will be missed by many where its hard to believe Marty St Louis is the only player left from the 2004 Stanley Cup Champions.
EXTRA POINT: Amazing since the Ravens beat the Niners in the Super Bowl, the NFL has had 29 arrests. Let’s hope that number holds steady for awhile.
UNTIL NEXT BLOG,