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Mickey Mantle Made Baseball Magical

September 7th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

mickeypic

This morning on NPR, I had the great pleasure of hearing the aging but still incredibly clever and tasteful comedian, Billy Crystal talk a little bit about his boyhood idol and dear friend – Mickey Mantle.  I was born in 1963 and unfortunately, I never had the chance to actually see ‘The Mick” play, but believe me the Mickey Mantle allure along with the magical decade of the 1950’s were seemingly always the talk of the town for me as a youngster. I’ve since later learned that the ‘50’s, were not as innocent in terms of good old America, apple pie, civility, respect, etc. but Mickey Mantle was or at least still symbolizes what once was.

The Last time I looked, Mickey Mantle’s rookie card still sold for more than any other ballplayer’s (anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the condition of the card) second only to Honus Wagner which can demand a ridiculous price of  $250,000 and up because of very different reasons e.g. not only is the card ancient (1909), there are only a handful of them out there because of Wagner’s insistence that the card not be inserted into tobacco packages (Wagner was anti – tobacco – even back then !) However, back to Mickey …. Mickey Mantle’s card is worth so much because, well, Mickey Mantle was an icon not only of the sport of baseball but because he also epitomized everything that was good and righteous about baseball and the decade of the 1950’s whether mythical or true.

Mickey Mantle never took steroids (he drank beer – too much) but the truth be told, no man has ever hit the ball harder (536 home runs in his short career) nor as high & far (643 feet) than the great Mantle. Word of note, the folks who witnessed the 6 hundred and forty – three – footer thought the ball would never descend and keep rising and rising perhaps into the earth’s atmosphere(when you’re a kid, baseball can really seem otherworldly). The 6’3″ blonde – haired, blue – eyed, naturally – strong man was a real – live – super – hero to all who saw him play and to everybody afterwards who can only imagine and marvel upon who he was. His legacy speaks volumes about baseball and our perceived notion of the prosperity and greatness of the 1950’s in this country.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Hey, does anyone out there have a Mickey Mantle card you want to sell?

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A – Rod Accuses the New York Yankees and MLB

August 19th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

Instead of gracefully accepting the 211 game suspension for using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, Alex Rodriguez is making matters worse by accusing the Yankees organization and Major League Baseball of something you might see right out of a mob movie.  A – Rod and his sleazy lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, are actually claiming that the Yankees were trying to sabotage and permanently end his career by inserting him in the line – up even though they knew that he was seriously injured.  What this means in a nutshell, is that the New York Yankees – in cahoots with MLB, were more interested in getting rid of A – Rod and his bloated 270 million contract rather than win perhaps another championship.  What an outrageous allegation!!! As the New York Times stated, this scandal would be worse than the Chicago White Sox throwing the World Series in 1919.

I know Alex Rodriguez is hurting and believe it or not, despite all the money, I can imagine what he’s going through. He’s without a doubt a super talented guy and we all know that EVERY player juices (even Jeter –  he just hasn’t been caught yet).  However, this is beyond the pale; a prodigiously desperate attempt by Rodriguez to salvage his dignity and reputation. Every ballplayer wants to be loved by the fans (he’s the most hated player in the league right now) and that’s only human, but now he’s making a fool out of himself.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ?  Do you have any sympathy at all for Alex Rodriguez ?   arod

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Anderson Silva Throws In The Towel

July 9th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
silva fix

The greatest mixed martial artist of all time decided to throw a fight this past Sat. night, 7/6/2013 and willingly and obviously gladly gave up his title to one of the WORST MMA fighters to ever  step into the octagon in Chris Weidman. Shame on Anderson Silva, shame on Dana White (although I think he’s fuming over the fix), and shame on everybody involved with what’s been going on since time immemorial – the fixing of fights. (I was just a toddler in 1964 & 1965 when the unstoppable and ferocious Sonny Liston threw 2 fights to the same man, Cassius Clay in ’64 and in 1965 with the “Phantom Punch” to the then  Muhammad Ali).

I personally think this particular fix was so monumentally huge that I’m not sure the sport of MMA can ever recover. I know that I will never, ever watch another MMA fight again – sadly, for as long as I live. Just to note that I’ve been there since the beginning in 1993 and have probably seen almost every single UFC fight (not to mention Pride, Strikeforce and other venues) and until this travesty, I have never seen a staged fight.

There are a plethora of reasons why this fix is a nail in the coffin for the UFC:

The ratings and the interest in the sport in general are at an all – time low. I don’t know what the box #’s are/were, but I know that there was virtually zero interest in this particular fight.

Chris Weidman, (the beneficiary of the fix), is a God – awful fighter and really had no business in even fighting Anderson Silva.

Even if Chris Weidman had the goods to be a professional fighter, he’s so boring to watch e.g. he’s slow, only a purple belt in Jiu – jitsu, and has nothing special to offer spectators to even bother staying awake to watch him fight. His only skill is that he’s a solid wrestler and well, how exciting is watching single and double – leg takedowns. The Olympics are considering even eliminating wrestling completely from their list of events because quite honestly, free – style and Roman – Greco wrestling is as exciting as fleas mating or watching your lawn grow.

That’s it for now, so WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? BTW, MMA is so lame now that the following day I couldn’t even find a single article in ANY of the major papers in New York nor were there any stories on the internet, except for a little blurb on Yahoo. Good riddance to the UFC and MMA because it didn’t have to go down this way. SHAME, SHAME, and SHAME.

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Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson: The Best In the Business

June 12th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
Short and sweet – Roy Jones Jr. and Iron Mike were far and away the most exciting and quite frankly the greatest 2 boxers ever to step in the ring. Here’s a great clip I pulled from YouTube:



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The Amazin’ Dwight “Doc” Gooden

June 5th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a greater, more exciting black pitcher with a brighter future than the 19 year old Doc. Gooden in 1985 (I was a little too young for Bob Gibson but the comparison is made). How fun !!! How exciting !!!

Look at Doc’s incredible statistics:
1985 – NL Cy Young Award at the tender age of 19.

1986 – How can we forget the 1986 Mets ???

Wikipedia proclaims that in that Cy Young  year, 1985, Dwight Gooden had one of the most statistically dominating single seasons in baseball history:  24 wins, 268 strikeouts and a dizzyingly low ERA of 1.53 (again the comparison with Bob Gibson who had an ERA of 1.12 in 1968; but times were different e.g. a higher mound and baseball didn’t favor offense, sadly like they do today).

2x NL Strikeout champion – 1984 & 1985.

Made the All Star team 4x: 1984, 1985 , 1986, and 1988.

1984 – Rookie of the Year

Pitched a no – hitter in 1996 (ironically for the wrong team. Doc was a Yankee then and if anyone thinks of a N.Y. Met, I suppose one would think of Tom Seaver, Tommie Agee [part of the 1969 Amazin’ Mets organization] and of course “Doc”).


Yes Dwight Gooden was an amazin’ and a rare athlete, the likes of whom we certainly will never see again. I’m not going to talk about the drug and alcohol stuff we all know the story, I just wanted to write a little something about this incredibly, special pitcher who would have been a shoe – in all of famer and made a ton of $$$.

Btw, Dwight is now sober, has written a new book (biography) and I, personally had the good fortune of having heard him on the Leonard Lopate show (WNYC). What struck me was what a nice man he seems to be. Secondly, I learned so much, listening to the show, about the art of throwing a baseball; pitching is a prodigiously difficult science and yes one needs the physical talent and skill set but part of the tool – kit of being a great pitcher is the mechanics of throwing a baseball – just mind – numbing. If you didn’t hear the interview, Dwight talked at length about how his father (a master) taught him about form and the release point which will make or break a pitcher.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? What an unspeakably interesting team those 1986 Mets were …. So many characters. I’m now reading a book on Lenny Dykstra “Nails” who is sadly now in prison…you know I’ll be writing about Lenny when I’m done.


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Get Rid Of Major League Baseball

May 11th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

The Cleveland Indians have won 9 out of their last 10 games, they have an incredibly talented, exciting (I’m speaking in terms of relativity, for nothing visually is exciting about baseball; mentally – yes, but that’s not what we’re talking about here) and yet they can’t draw a crowd. Why? Why NOT ?
 
Let me begin by saying that I love[d] baseball and I still maintain that there is nothing better than seeing a child field his first ground ball, catch that seemingly scary skyscraper – high fly ball, and ultimately put wood into fair play; Little League Baseball is ideal for kids. But, let’s face it, baseball for adults on a professional level is DEAD !! The last time I went to a major league baseball game I had to drown myself in beer (when I drank – lol) just to get through the tedious spitting and ball (testicle) – scratching 9 innings.
 
Baseball was never an action – packed sport, in fact I think it’s only 20% of the time that the players are actually playing the sport, the remaining time like I said is spent scratching and spitting. A decade ago I would have been appalled at such commentary and probably would have said something akin to “You don’t understand the chess match !!!” The problem is, I’m not going to drive to a ballpark, pay exorbitant parking fees, and even with free tickets (yes the Cleveland Indians are doling out free tickets) watch over – paid, spoiled athletes play a game that no longer means anything anymore. Baseball used to be all about tradition and records (the steroid generation sadly ruined it for us baseball geeks) and we wouldn’t mind waiting for the hitter taking his time to step into the batter’s box, after all we were trying to figure out what Mickey Rivers’ batting average would be if he sliced a single into left field.
 
Baseball is a boring sport and not unlike golf, I’d rather watch it on TV; but if the stadiums need to be filled in order for the sport to survive, then screw it, let the sport die. The days of Howard Cosell and Monday Night Baseball, baseball cards, never – to – be broken records are over.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I think the three hot sports today are Football, College basketball, and finally the greatest sport of all – MMA – Mixed Martial Arts.

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Marathon Runner Dies at the Age of 47

March 18th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

26 miles and 385 yards – that’s insanity!!! People point their finger at me and say that I’m a fan of a brutal sport (MMA –Mixed Martial Arts) but not a single person has ever died in the UFC octagon; and though I don’t have the exact statistics, invariably every year or so, one hears that a person has died of a heart attack running the outrageously long race.

Why does the race have to be that long ? And, who are the morons who elect to participate in such a deleterious sporting event? It’s a medical fact that engaging in any cardiovascular activity for more than an hour provides no further benefits to one’s health and in fact pushing oneself beyond 40 minutes to an hour without pause is simply put – dangerous. I find it quite interesting to note that these professional marathon runners do not look in any way shape or form  – healthy; in fact they look sickly and in need of a good highly – caloric meal.

I do respect the gutsy toughness of the runners, but can’t they cut it down to 13 miles, instead of 26 ??? Wouldn’t that make sense?

So, WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ?

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Stupid Athletes

March 7th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

I am just going to name three: 1. Travis Henry, former running back with the Buffalo bills has 9 children with 9 different wives or mistresses (he also was sent to prison for dealing cocaine but I won’t get into that) 2. Evander Holyfield, champion boxer has fathered 11 children – ELEVEN with 9 different mothers; he pays 100s of thousands of dollars in alimony and child support each and every year. 3. Jason Caffey, former NBA star with the Chicago Bulls (he has 2 championship rings) also has 10 children with 9 different mothers. How can any human being be so utterly reckless, immoral, promiscuous and just plain old stupid !!!

I’ve blogged in the past about professional athletes who make a ton of $$$ and end up bankrupt a year after they retire; however I’ve never specifically written about the # of children these uncontrollable animals (I know terrible thing to say but what else can you call them) have fathered. Where do they get the time ??? I guess all they do once the game is over is fornicate. Even if the aforementioned is the case, why not use a rubber??? Everyone knows that there are groupies and celebrity – stalking whores who don’t give a rat’s ass about the player and purposely try to get pregnant – well guess what ladies ? Get in line, besides these “ballers” are going to be broke in a few years anyway.

The 3 athletes I named are black but I’m sure there are some stupid promiscuous white people out there too. So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Feel free to add to the list.

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Jaw – Dropping Violent Knockout On TUF

February 7th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
Wow !!! Uriah Hall dropped Adam Cella with the most devastating spinning back kick I’ve ever seen in my life. Dana White, the president of UFC, said Cella was out for 4 minutes; an incredibly frightening four minutes for obviously Cella, Hall, other MMA fighters, the loyal fans, Dana white, and the UFC.

I am a fan of the sport and I used to practice it years ago (I’ve blogged about this… I suffered a detached retina and almost lost my sight). Perhaps surprising to many not familiar with MMA, the fighters are anything but violent thugs jacked up on off – the – chart –levels of testosterone; indeed they are respectful, regular guys just doing a job in a sport in which the most athletic, toughest, and talented men (now women too) fight each other in a cage for, when compared to other sports, not a whole lot of  $$ (another blog).

What made this knockout stand out from other violent K.O.s, was the fact that it was a spinning back kick, which is somewhat unorthodox (nobody saw it coming) and essentially Hall’s whole mass was used in addition to the vicious force and velocity of the blow – “whip – like”. Another surprise, is though Cella was out for 4 whole minutes, he suffered no serious injuries and stated that he can’t wait to get back into the octagon.
What scares me is that the fighters in the sport, not unlike football, are just getting bigger, faster, and stronger and unbelievably enough, there have been no fatalities in the UFC, but I think it’s just a matter of time – then what ???

So WhaDaYaThink? What do you think ? Here’s a clip of the knockout…
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Jovan Belcher Story is Incomprehensible

December 4th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Jovan Belcher grew up and was raised in a town, W. Babylon, Long Island, NY, which is about a 40-minute drive from where we live now on the Island. This story just doesn’t make sense – a 25 year old professional football player in the prime of his life kills his long-time girlfriend and mother of his 3 month old daughter, shooting her multiple times in the chest, neck and abdomen.

He afterwards kisses his victim and love of his life on her forehead and audibly apologizes (according to Belcher’s mom) and then drives to the Chief’s football practice facility, meets his coach, thanks him for everything, and then blows his own brains out. The incident is classified as a murder/suicide that we hear so often happening with very troubled and unstable individuals involved in problem – ridden relationships. What in the world would possess a man to do such a thing ? What possibly could Kasandra Perkins have done, his girlfriend, to meet such an end ??? An infidelity ? That would warrant this behavior?– I don’t think so, or maybe so with some people (look at O.J.).


Everyone who knew Jovan, said he was a kind, hard – working, courteous and polite solid citizen. There isn’t a single person who has said a single negative thing about him. And as far as his girlfriend/victim, Jovan’s mother said she was a saint and not unlike her own flesh and blood daughter.

According to Deadspin (a sports story gossipy site), Belcher suffered a concussion and was experiencing short – term memory loss after the Bengals loss on November 18, two weeks before the tragedy. My question is: is this another tragic head trauma incident or just a nice man who just lost it?

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I’m interested to hear what others have to say. I simply don’t know.
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