June 18, 2019
Surprise surprise…Yesterday in Toronto that city celebrated their first ever NBA championship with thousands of people packing the streets. Like many parades in other cities in the past, it just couldn’t end well.
Toronto police had to respond at the parade yesterday to a shooting once the parade reached Nathan Phillips Square and four people were shot. According to police two of the four victims had serious injuries but those were not life threatening. Three people were arrested. Being from Pittsburgh, my home city has had many parades for the 16 titles the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins have won and I don’t recall there ever being a shooting.
But across America in other sports parades, there have been such stupid incidents. In fact, take a visit to this link below and you can read about five such incidents following losses or defeats by a pro team in a championship. Below the link is a short summary of the five incidents they are referring to.
Here are Five American Cities which Rioted after Sporting Success and Defeat
This city has been guilty twice of bad behavior. The Detroit Tigers won the World Series in 1984 and following their victory people supposedly coming out to “celebrate” instead ended up rioting which resulted in one death, nine women reporting that they were raped and 80 people injured in some other fashion. There was millions of dollars of property damage, citizens attacked police cars and overturned them. Nice.
If that wasn’t bad enough, six years later the city’s basketball team, the Pistons were crowned NBA champions and the good folks of Detroit obviously didn’t learn from the Tigers fiasco. That’s because this time eight people lost their lives in the riots that ensued amongst guns going off, people getting stabbed and just fights in general. There were 35 arrests and plenty of looting and again overturned police vehicles. Among the deceased were a four year old boy, a 21 year old who fell off a roof, and a 19 year old man who was the victim of someone trying to play vigilante against those who were rioting.
The home of the infamous Boston Marathon bombing saw Boston fans going crazy in 2004 when the Red Sox finally broke the “Babe Ruth” jinx and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. There were riots and then the BoSox were champions again in 2007 and it was a repeat performance complete with fans throwing rocks at riot police, shops having their windows broken and fires being started. 37 people found themselves arrested. If that wasn’t bad enough, Boston won the World Series a third time in 2013 and the third time was a charm with more riots seeing turned over police cars, and fans fighting with the cops.
A city similar to that of Detroit is Chicago and led by Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls dominated the NBA for three years from 1991 to 1993 and each time the city celebrated the league titles, there was trouble. From taxis being busted up to the worst of the worst in 1993 when after their third straight NBA title, people in Chicago went out to celebrate but instead acted like animals. In 1993 during the post-series “celebrations” two people died from the rioting. One woman was simply standing on her balcony when a stray bullet hit her killing her. Another man was pulled from his car and shot to death. In this incident 700 people found themselves arrested.
To the contrary, when the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series for the first time since 1908, over one million fans showed up to congratulate and celebrate the Cubbies. There was not a single reported incident so that makes you wonder is there a difference between basketball and baseball fans?
Western cities are not immune to sports rioting. When the Denver Broncos finally got over the hump and won the Super Bowl in 1998, it took just 10,000 fans to get out and go crazy in celebrating. Alcohol played a factor and cars were overturned, businesses suffered vandalism causing millions of dollars in damage. As the Broncs won the Lombardi again the next season, it was a repeat performance although not as intense. The city’s hockey team, the Avalanche also won a championship in 1996 and brought home the Stanley Cup again in 2001 which saw 63 fans arrested for celebrating a bit too much.
This incident has nothing to do with winning or losing but goes down as the most idiotic promotion probably in the history of sports say next to the honorable mention below. The year was 1974 and the Cleveland Indians were playing at home against the Texas Rangers and stadium and team officials decided it would be a good idea to hold a “10 cent beer night.” Ahhh…can you say groundwork for a serious problem?
Sure enough, at 10 cents a beer, there were enough drunk fans that before long firecrackers were going off in the stands, bottles became projectiles, and then to no one’s surprise, fans took to the field. These morons began tearing up the field of play and understandably players from both teams ran for their lives into the locker rooms. The manager of the Rangers at that time was the late Billy Martin who said:
“That was the closest you’re ever going to be to seeing someone get killed in this game of baseball.”
As an honorable mention, Chicago’s Steve Dahl, a self proclaimed shock jock who hated disco music proposed to the White Sox a “disco demolition night” at one of their games where they would blow up disco records. The White Sox wanted to draw more fans during this 1979 season that was seeing an underachievement by their team so they went along with it.
The event was scheduled to take place in between games of a doubleheader so on July 12, the event was set and put into action. Expecting a crowd of around 20,000, the number instead ballooned to 50,000 not including fans of the radio show host who snuck in. These mostly rock and rollers brought their own records in and began to throw them like a Frisbee. If you have never tried throwing an LP or 45 record, I used to do that and let me tell you…THEY TRAVEL! FAR! So the promotion went on, the records were blown up by Dahl and the fans went nuts. LITERALLY.
A riot ensued that resulted in riot police having to break up the mess and the second game postponed until a day later when the then American League President Lee MacPhail ordered a forfeit by the ChiSox.
June 17, 2019
Some things that stood out this past weekend:
To begin today, congratulations to the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League as the have become the newest Stanley Cup champions by knocking off the Boston Bruins in seven games that concluded last night giving the city of St. Louis their first ever NHL champions.
For Blues goal Jordan Binnington, he was phenomenal in goal in the 4-1 victory and for the home ice Boston fans, you could see them leaving the building when the score became 3-0. If you weren’t aware, these same league champs were in last place in January and came back to not just make the playoffs but to win the whole thing and that’s impressive. With the hockey season now over, there are already power rankings out for next season.
Way-too-early NHL Power Rankings for 2019-20
Emily Kaplan, espn.com
So the 2018-19 season just ended? We know everyone else is already looking ahead, so we joined in. For this way-to-early edition of the 2019-20 NHL Power Rankings, we also identified what a successful season would look like for each of the 31 teams.
How we rank: The ESPN hockey editorial staff submits polls ranking teams 1-31, and those results are tabulated to the list featured here. For this edition, we're projecting how we think the teams will be rated heading into next season, taking into account recent success and other factors, such as who could be leaving via free agency. The "previous ranking" for each team refers to the club's spot in our final pre-playoff rankings.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Boston Bruins
3. Calgary Flames
4. Washington Capitals
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. St. Louis Blues
7. New York Islanders
8. San Jose Sharks
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous ranking: 7
It appears Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, wants to once again reinvigorate his group by making a few trades. Success next season is contingent on how effective those moves are.
With the Penguins comes some props for captain Sidney Crosby from an unlikely source. During last night’s first period intermission, discussion, broadcasters Mike Millbury and Liam McHugh had “Sir” Charles Barkley from the National Basketball Association as a guest. They asked him:
“If Kawhi Leonard were a hockey player, who would he be?”
So what was Barkley’s response?
“Sidney Crosby. He’s the perfect superstar. He’s quiet, he’s got to win. You never hear any drama about him. I think Kawhi is a great player and a great man, but Sidney Crosby–to me, I probably can’t go home to Philadelphia tomorrow bragging about Sidney Crosby, but he’s the perfect superstar. You never heard anything bad about Sidney Crosby. He’s one of the greatest ever.”
The other day I gave you a portion of an article from the internet ranking the best offensive trios in the National Football League and where the Steelers fall in that listing. Pittsburgh came in at #6 but defensively on the same topic, they are much, much, lower. The three major players in this ranking are certainly much better than 27th.
Ranking each NFL team's defensive 'triplets'
theScore's Mike Alessandrini, Jack Browne, and Dan Wilkins rank all 32 teams' top trio of defensive linemen/pass-rushers, linebackers, and defensive backs.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers
DL T.J. Watt, LB Devin Bush, DB Joe Haden
Pittsburgh finally appears to have solved its long-standing issue at linebacker with Bush, a speedy playmaker who thrived in coverage at Michigan. The 2019 first-rounder has yet to play an NFL snap, however, so the jury is still out regarding his immediate pro impact. Watt is a consistent, productive presence for the Steelers, jumping from seven sacks as a rookie to 13 in Year 2. Haden is likely past his prime but remains an effective zone defender and the most dependable member of Pittsburgh's leaky secondary.
For the record, here’s theScore’s top five:
1. Chicago Bears
DL Khalil Mack, LB Roquan Smith, DB Eddie Jackson
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
DL Calais Campbell, LB Myles Jack, DB Jalen Ramsey
3. Dallas Cowboys
DL DeMarcus Lawrence, LB Leighton Vander Esch, DB Byron Jones
4. Los Angeles Rams
DL Aaron Donald, LB Cory Littleton, DB Aqib Talib
5. Denver Broncos
DL Von Miller, LB Todd Davis, DB Chris Harris Jr.
How about those super-hyped Cleveland Browns? Try 11th:
11. Cleveland Browns
DL Myles Garrett, LB Joe Schobert, DB Denzel Ward
The Browns are another unit on the rise, with two burgeoning superstars in Garrett and Ward. The pass-rusher had 13.5 sacks in his sophomore year and did so despite being - by his own admission - held back by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Many an eyebrow was raised when Cleveland took Ward over Bradley Chubb at fourth overall last year, but it's hard to find a doubter after the cornerback erased receiver after receiver as a rookie. Schobert is the best of an underwhelming linebacking corps, but he's a liability in run defense.
The big MMA event this weekend takes place tomorrow night and its in Bellator, their event 222. The main event is a semi-final in Bellator’s welterweight “World Grand Prix” and it pits Rory Macdonald vs. Neiman Gracie. Grace coming out of the infamous Gracie family tree is a typical Gracie-style fighter. That means HE IS GOOD. In fact, with a 9-0 record and how Macdonald looked in his last bout to reach this point, I’m predicting a decision win for Gracie if not by submission first.
Also on the card is an entertaining bout between long time veterans Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen who just refuses to stop fighting. For Machida, he had seen enough of the UFC and moved over to Bellator as did Sonnen. But Chael’s only claim to fame is nearly beating Anderson Silva. Machida is a classic martial artist and it will show in this fight as he submits Chael Sonnen.
Remember the Connor McGregor/Khabib Nurmagamedov incident following their bout? Khabib went after one Dillon Danis who was in attendance? Danis is on the card tomorrow night fighting Max Humphrey. Danis has just one bout to his credit and Humphrey comes in at 3-2.
There is another undefeated fighter on the card and that is Patrick Mix who is risking his 10-0 mark against a tough Ricky Bandejas who is 11-2 in the bantamweight division. In the preliminaries, another Gracie will enter the Octagon and be in just his second bout, this one named Robson Gracie. He is the younger brother of Renzo Gracie. On a final note for Bellator 222, a fight is scheduled between Haim Gozali and Gustavo Wurlitzer. By definition a Wurlitzer is “a large pipe organ or electric organ, especially one used in the movie theaters of the 1930s.” This fighting version of Wurlitzer named Gustavo may have the worst record in the history of MMA.
I thought it was a typo but for sure Wurlitzer’s record heading into tomorrow is 22-22. That’s not a joke. That’s not a typo. Wurlitzer has won his last two in a row but on numerous occasions lost three in a row and from December 3, 2005 to April 12, 2008, he lost five in a row. His career began on a high note as he won his first seven, but then came that five loss streak. After two consecutive victories, he lost three more in a row and it’s been up and down since.
As for his opponent, Haim Gozali, he’s not much better with far fewer fights, sporting a record of 10-6. Gozali also currently has two straight wins. While on the topic of MMA, newly crowned champ-champ in the UFC Henry Cejudo if you didn’t hear him after his title winning fight last week, wants to be paid big money. This guy is a joke folks. What he said:
“I need to meet with Dana White, too. I need a meeting with him because I need heavyweight money. I feel like I’m the face of the UFC now and I want to get paid like one.”
Face of the UFC? Good gracious. Get real man. Cejudo also thinks he is the king of the pound-for-pound fighters but over on CBS Sports, their MMA guy is not yet ready to put him at the top:
Men's pound-for-pound rankings
Brian Campbell, CBSSports
UFC Power Rankings
For me, I think the top two up there are probably right on, but I’m not sold on Daniel Cormier and Cejudo definitely does not belong at #4. I think Ferguson is a much better and more skilled fighter and Robert Whittaker also belongs above Cejudo. Max Holloway is also an outstanding fighter and Poirier is a tough cookie with tons of heart. Not enough has been seen of Usman yet to make a determination IMO.
Moving to baseball, three suspects have been arrested in the shooting of David Ortiz and authorities even have the weapon used to injure the former Boston Red Sox super star. It turns out now that there was a plan to shoot Ortiz for a payoff amount of $7,800. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, it appears it’s the beginning of the end for the 2019 Buccos season.
Losing again last night to Atlanta, that’s six in a row for Pittsburgh and eight of their last 10 which puts them in the basement of the National League Central Division ½ game from fifth place Cincinnati. The Pirates are now 8 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Brewers who hold first place and forget the wild card for now as the Bucs are 7 ½ out in that category. Another game with the Braves is tonight.
To make matters worse, Pittsburgh has a run differential of -87 worst in the National League and only better than Baltimore (-124) and Detroit (-111). The Pirates have scored 291 runs this season but surrendered 378. They are 13-18 at home and 17-19 on the road to bring their overall record to 30-37.
Finally for today, the NHL season is over and the NBA season could end tonight if the Toronto Raptors already unbeaten on the road can knock off the Golden State Warriors in the final game ever inside Oracle Arena, home of the NBA champions. If the defending champs can defeat the Raptors, game seven in a winner-take-all will happen on Sunday.
Also in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers set a league precedent when they added a coach to their staff, this one a female and hired right from collegiate basketball as Lindsay Gottlieb joins the coaching staff in Cleveland after serving as head coach of the California Golden Bears’ women's basketball squad becoming the first woman in NBA history to be hired right from a collegiate team. There was discussion on the radio the other day as to when will a woman be hired as an NBA head coach. Some believe it will happen while I’m in the camp of it not ever taking place simply because I don’t think any NBA owner will ever have the guts to do so.
June 12, 2019
The sports buzz today is all about the United States women's soccer team thrashing Thailand yesterday 13-0.
Fans are saying the score was excessive and the celebrations extreme especially as the women continued to celebrate after the ninth goal. Many are saying the U.S. should have eased up on the gas pedal and not tried to continue scoring.
The blowout was the worst in women's World Cup history and there were a handful of other records set. But I believe the noise being made in a negative fashion as to what the women of America did is overreacting.
My opinion is this...these countries are in the World Cup and by earning a spot to play in it means you should expect ANYTHING. The only exception to purposely burying a team that I believe is wrong is when a major university is blowing out a much smaller university in any of the collegiate sports. There is a difference there given the major colleges draw better talent.
But when it comes to professional sports or something like the World Cup, if you are afraid your country is going to be blown out, then simply DO NOT ENTER the tournament.
It's unfortunate that Thailand got their asses handed to them in such a lopsided way, but oh well...this can happen in soccer or any other sport. When the Chicago Bears won the 1940 title 73-0 beating the Washington Redskins were there cries of "those poor Redskins." No.
So for those who are giving hell to the American women for excessive celebrations and burying a team that was obviously not on the same talent level as the U.S., they need to just shut up. This is the chance you take when playing in this competition and the American team should in fact trying to run up scores whenever they can.
I for one am all for a team burying another team when they have the chance. Especially in pro sports. These guys are paid to play and every team is in it for the same reason...to win a title. Therefore, if you aint' good enough to keep an opponent of the scoreboard and end up getting whacked by a stupid amount of points...again...oh well.
June 6, 2019
Last night in the NBA finals, the Eastern Conference champion Toronto Raptors put the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in hot water.
With the 123-109 victory that saw the Warriors without Kevin Durant again, the Raptors took a two games to one lead heading back to game four in Toronto tomorrow night. The game was marred however, when Kyle Lowry chased down a ball headed for the courtside an in his effort to keep the ball in play dove into the crowd.
Nearly landing on a woman sitting there and getting close to a male fan, the man Lowry nearly collided with retaliated with a shove. The crazy part is that this idiot whose name is Mark Stevens, is a financier (venture capitalist) and also owns a part of the Warriors. So with his wealth he obviously believed he could shove a pro basketball player without retaliation and look like a bad ass while doing so.
Today however, he now is getting slammed everywhere by everyone and there are calls for his banishment from any future NBA games for life. Rightly so. What’s odd about this series so far is that the Warriors have scored exactly 109 points in the first three games. Two losses as Golden State managed only 109 as a final and their one victory in game two again they scored 109. I wish I had placed a bet in Vegas that the Warriors would finish with that total in each of the first three games. I’d be a rich man today if I did.
With Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell gone from the Pittsburgh Steelers there are already signs of change on the team and in the locker room sort of an impression of civility and quiet amongst the players. Ben Roethlisberger seems to be showing the desire to be more of a leader and lead by example and even though he’s very young, JuJu Smith-Schuster wants to play a bigger role in being a spokesperson. Said JuJu:
“Being a leader is. There are some new guys on the team, and building that chemistry and that connection means a lot. Me just being here, being around other guys, shows I'm ready to play, I'm all about the team, I'm all about us. We're here for one reason. Everyone is there for each other. There's no individual. Everyone's into playing, winning games, the Super Bowl. Everybody's on the same page. Yesterday we dominated, today we dominated. You can see that connection with Ben, with Dobbs, and with Mason."
Speaking of Le’Veon Bell, did you catch this story from yesterday about the former Steelers running back being robbed? Reportedly, Bell has not one but TWO girlfriends in Florida and Bell has gone to the police to say that those two women stole $520,000 in jewelry and that they ravaged his closet where there are now two missing gold chains that having diamonds in them as well as gone missing a black panther pendant that also sports diamonds. In addition, a Rolex belonging to Bell is missing.
Hmmm…not sure how to comment on that story.
June 3, 2019
For some sports fans, watching athletes who are arrogant and cocky may very well entice them to root against such players of sports. For me that’s the case with MMA fighter Henry Cejudo.
The current flyweight and bantamweight champion won a surprising championship bout with Demetrius Johnson to take the long running camp’s belt in the flyweight division. Pretty much a modest character prior to the fight, the defeat of “Mighty Mouse” apparently filled Cejudo’s head like a hot air balloon.
These days and leading up to this Saturday’s UFC 238, you will hear Cejudo on television and on social media outlets boasting about how great he is and that when he wins Saturday, he will be the best pound-for-pound fighter anywhere. In watching a UFC Road to the Octagon last night, there was the champ entering a building proclaiming, “the champ is here.” UGH.
Cockiness is a turn off but not always. Many considered Muhammad Ali as cocky, but his boasting was more for fun than he was expecting anyone to take him seriously. I think Cejudo actually believes his own hype. Beware of traveling down that road however.
The President of the UFC, Dana White, built up Ronda Rousey to get her believing she was “the most dangerous woman on the planet” and that no one could beat her. But that was all hype and not talent that made up Rousey’s successes. That proved to be the case when the former women’s bantamweight champion met the challenge of a well rounded and dangerous Holly Holm who kicked Rousey into the first stage of retirement.
In one last effort to remain relevant, Rousey then challenged Amanda Nunes and took even a worst beating and it was game over. This now seems to be the case with Conor McGregor as well. After Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in this last fight, there has been absolutely ZERO talk about who Conor fights next. Personally I believe he is afraid to come back because he knows in his heart he’s actually not that great a fighter.
So with Cejudo, he is touting his own horn and building his own hype. A loss to Marlon Moraes this Saturday would bring all that confidence and arrogance crashing down. UFC 238 should be a great card so I’ll have broken it down on my MMA/Boxing page, and there I give you my winners starting from the bottom of the card and working my way up focusing on just the major names on the card.
May 31, 2019
Before I get to the gist of today’s headline, I must mention while I’m not watching the NBA finals, I am hoping for another Golden State Warriors title.
This because of rapper Drake. What a moron. What an asshole is better put. His antics on the sidelines while he roots for his hometown Toronto Raptors is so annoying and obnoxious it makes you want to see the Raptors lose. Unfortunately, they took game one last night surprising many, but that very well might be the only game they win. Meanwhile, in today’s videos you can see how Drake approached Draymond Green last night following the conclusion of the game.
So as I speak of prima donnas, I’ve discussed Antonio Brown being in that category in the past. But both ex-Steeler Le’Veon Bell and new Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. belong in that group as the two star players will change jerseys for 2019.
For Bell, he’s pulling the same stunt he did in Pittsburgh for years in that he is refusing to show up for early practices and OTAs. This is not going over well in the Big Apple. In fact, another ex-Black and Gold player is also on the Jets’ roster. That is Steve McLendon who had stern words for his former teammate:
“I told him, You understand this place is different than Pittsburgh. You need to get back so you can understand the quarterback and the situation. I told him, The media is gonna get you if you don’t come back. That’s the truth. I did tell him that. You just want to get to know your teammates, especially when we have a young quarterback. He needs to know your rhythm, he needs to know how patient you are. It’s easy to see on the film but it’s so hard to prepare with because Bell is very dynamic in the things that he can do.”
I’ll give it two games before some controversy or distraction occurs not just with the Green and White but also with the Silver and Black out in Oakland with Antonio Brown in that locker room. The Raiders this week signed Richie Incognito who was involved in a racial mess a few years back so that locker room is a bomb waiting to go off.
Then there is Odell Beckham Jr. now with the Cleveland Browns who has also skipped out on nearly every practice or OTA to date. That is not sitting well with new head coach Freddie Kitchens who said:
“Beckham missed a lot ... the offense. I just want to see him in next week’s minicamp.”
Good luck with that…
Happy birthday to two former Pittsburgh athletes celebrating another year of life today. Now age 61, former quarterback Chuck Fusina, a Penn State Nittany Lion and player for The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL, and Green Bay Packers, Fusina hails from McKees Rocks having graduated from Sto-Rox High School. Fusina and his family still live in the 'Burgh. Four years ago, Fusina, Joe Paterno, and Matt Bahr were all elected to the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (PSHF).
Also having a birthday today is former Beaver Falls resident, University of Alabama quarterback and player for the Jets and Rams, "Broadway Joe" Namath who turns 75.