Category Archives: Sports news

Tell the whole story, Sen. Cotton

There you go. This well might be the most compelling rebuke of Republican opposition to the teaching an element of our national history that I have seen so far.

It comes to me from a good friend who share it on social media. The “Tom Cotton” referenced in the top passage is the GOP senator from Arkansas. Cotton has been opposing what he and other congressional Rs refer to as “critical race theory.”

Of course, Sen. Cotton is quite correct to salute the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He smashed through that barrier 75 years ago this season. “Today we honor him and his lasting legacy,” Cotton wrote via Twitter.

Yes! We do!

But hold on! What about the 50 years of MLB’s existence prior to Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947? Dare we also discuss in our public school classrooms the reasons why Robinson and other African Americans were denied the opportunity to play big league ball with white players? Do we ignore the inherent racism in MLB’s policy banning black players? Do we also ignore the epithets that fans hurled at him as he sought to play baseball in big league ballparks?

There’s a wonderful back story that needs a brief telling. One of Robinson’s closest friends on the Dodgers was a shortstop from Kentucky, Peewee Reese. When the Dodgers took the field in Cincinnati in 1947, the fans heckled Robinson mercilessly, calling him every vile name you can imagine. Reese walked over and stood next to his friend, threw his arm around his shoulders and stared down the crowd until the noise stopped. That act cemented their friendship.

Do well tell our children about that event? Of course we should!

Yet the likes of Tom Cotton would have us ignore that element in our great nation’s otherwise storied history.

No nation in the history of our planet has come of age without suffering through painful chapters. The United States of America has a few of ’em. Racism is a story that needs to be told to our children … and no, it won’t make them “hate America.”

So, if we’re going to salute and honor Jackie Robinson, we need to tell the whole story of what this great man was able to accomplish. Some of it is painful. Still, let’s tell it … and teach it to our children.

Play ball … in Amarillo!

Hot diggedy, doggie! They’re going to play hardball in these United States of America. My friends up yonder in Amarillo are a happy bunch of folks, as their beloved Sod Poodles are commencing another season playing Double-A baseball.

The Sod Poodles are affiliated with the National League’s Arizona Diamondbacks. They won the Texas League pennant in their first season since moving to Amarillo in 2019 from San Antonio. The COVID pandemic wiped out the 2020 season; the team resumed play this past year, but finished out of the running for a second-straight pennant.

Now we have begun the 2022 season. Hodgetown, the shiny baseball park in downtown Amarillo, will be bustling once again with fans cheering and chanting their support for the Sod Poodles.

Once again, I will join my friends who will populate the ballpark watching the team play baseball.

Amarillo has proved itself to be a baseball community, given its support for the Soddies. The city response to this franchise has been gratifying to watch.

Play ball, Sod Poodles! I am rooting for you.

Stand tall, Tiger

Whether he slips on The Masters’s green jacket that goes to the winner of the golf tournament is irrelevant to what I want to say about Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.

The man has “won” a major battle already by returning to play competitive golf after suffering a grievous leg injury in a horrific motor vehicle crash. It occurred a little more than a year ago.

Tiger Woods could have lost his right leg. It was shattered in many places. Surgeons fitted Woods with metal pins and rods to keep his leg. A year later, Woods has completed two rounds of The Masters; he made the cut and will play for the green jacket over the weekend.

I am not going to predict he will win. Indeed, Tiger Woods likely won’t walk away wearing that coveted jacket … although I am not going to bet my retirement account on it.

My point is that even a fierce competitor such as Tiger Woods must feel a good bit of satisfaction that he is able to compete at a high level, given what he has endured for the past year.

I have noted already that Tiger Woods does not consider himself to be “bigger than the game” of golf. I can challenge that just a bit. His mere presence in The Masters field has generated fan interest that has been lacking because of his absence from the game he has dominated for the past quarter century.

Yep. Tiger is at least as big as the game. He has proven himself — once again this week — to be a winner.

Sign-stealing: part of the game

Don’t hate me for what I am about to say … but in my ever-so-humble view, stealing of signs in baseball is, shall we say, part of the game and is the most overrated story of Major League Baseball in the past 50 years.

MLB now is going to outfit players with electronic devices designed to prevent sign-stealing. Are you kidding me?

The Houston Astros got caught stealing signs after they won the 2017 World Series. You’da thought they were guilty of grand theft or some such actual crime. They were caught doing what teams have been doing since the invention of the Grand Old Game.

I make no apologies for the old-fashioned outlook I continue to have for baseball. I hate the designated hitter rule, indoor stadiums, fake grass, batters’ body armor, instant replay.

Now they want to eliminate the practice of stealing signs.

Does anyone out there realize that when a hitter steps into the batter’s box, peers down at the third base coach and receives all those hand signals that 99% percent of them are meaningless? They disguise the signs to prevent the other team from interpreting what they mean.

Sign-stealing has been called “cheating.” Good grief! Teams have been cheating, therefore, since the turn of the 20th century.

I know I will get some blowback for this brief blog post. I don’t mind. Someone will have to persuade me that this is an actual scandal. It isn’t. It’s part of the game.

Tiger to tee it up!

The wait for a lot of golf fans — such as me — is about to end when Tiger Woods tees it up at the 2022 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

I am glad to see the 15-time major championship winner back in the game. His presence brings a level of excitement that, frankly, has been missing from golf since that horrifying accident more than a year ago that reportedly could have cost him one of his legs.

Woods tells us constantly that “no one is bigger than the game.” Actually, though, this fellow is the closest thing we have at the moment to someone who actually is bigger than golf. They don’t come around very often.

He has had his personal difficulties, his injuries. He has been forced to cope with unimaginable pressure.

Tiger Woods is a competitor through and through. I am glad he will be part of the Masters.

I just hope his legs hold up. Tee it up, Tiger.

March Madness? Oh, yes!

Whoever on Earth was able to predict that St. Peter’s College men’s basketball team would defeat the University of Kentucky men in that shocker of an NCAA men’s tournament game deserves some kind of special mention … wherever they are, or if anyone like that actually exists.

That’s why they call it “March Madness,” correct?

It also goes to show why I never enter any sort of bracket contest. One cannot avoid having the bracket busted into smithereens with an upset such as that.

However, I am not going to shed a tear for those who did fil out their bracket only to tear it up into little pieces. Instead, I am going to cheer the young men of St. Peter’s for their amazing victory over the mighty Kentucky Wildcats.

Let us also remind ourselves of this tried-and-true cliche: This is why they play these games.

The GOAT is coming back

There really is no way for me to explain my disappointment to learn that Tom Brady is coming back for at least one more season playing professional football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But I’ll try anyway … to explain myself.

Brady completed his 22nd year in the National Football League, losing a playoff game to the Los Angeles Rams. Then he decided to retire. I hailed it at the time. Why? Because he had just finished a stellar season. He led the league in passing yards and a whole host of other quarterback categories.

Not only that, he did it at the age of 44!

The Greatest Of All Time was going out at the top of his game. He would stay home with his gorgeous wife and gorgeous kids and do whatever it is that retired sports superstars do.

But wait! Today he said he is coming back for another season in Tampa. It’ll be No. 23!

I am reminded at this very moment of something my wife — hardly a football fan — said when he announced his retirement. She said Brady’s retirement announcement reminded her of Bret Favre, the former Green Bay Packers QB who came back twice more, to play for the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings.

Sigh …

I just wish the GOAT would have stayed retired. That he would have decided that a league-leading passing performance would result in a sparkling conclusion to a career that is beyond any equal.

Today I am left to hope for the best for Tom Brady and pray he hasn’t reached beyond his grasp.

MLB needs to settle … now!

Major League Baseball, with its standing as America’s Pastime already in jeopardy, is about to possibly do irreparable damage to a game that many of us still love to watch.

I say that understanding that I have stated already that my love affair with the Grand Old Game isn’t what it used to be.

MLB has canceled opening day. The first series of games set for the end of March has been canceled. The players and the league owners are locked in negotiations. The team owners have locked the players out. The players are demanding more money — even though they say it’s “not about the money.” Spoiler alert: When they say it’s not about the money … it’s about the money!

Remember when a player strike canceled the 1994 World Series? I thought at the time that MLB had inflicted a moral wound on itself. I was wrong, which is no surprise, given that I am wrong far more often than I am right.

Still, I don’t feel good about the future of Major League Baseball if the two sides don’t reach an agreement quickly and get this preparation period for the upcoming season under way.

While we’re at it, we baseball fans need a long-term solution that lasts, say … forever!


Lefty tells truth, then walks it back

Phil Mickelson has me officially puzzled. The Hall of Fame golfer known as Lefty to his fans and fellow golf pros, wants to do business with a nation he described in an interview as “crazy motherfu**ers” who kill people who disagree with their politics and scorn those who are gay.

Now he says his context were “taken out of context” and published without his consent. He apologized to Saudi Arabia, which has launched a pro golf tour that is going to compete with the PGA; Mickelson wants to join the Saudis, even though he said those astonishing things about them.

Which is it, Lefty? Are you in with those folks?

I guess I am left to wonder two things. Why would Mickelson, a six-time major golf tournament winner and one of the best ever to play the game, do business with those he scorns in the manner that he did? Moreover, in this social media age, doesn’t Mickelson realize that virtually nothing is “off the record” and that anything he says now is considered fair game?

This is not Mickelson’s finest hour. He has drawn harsh criticism from fellow golf pros, the PGA … not to mention the Saudi government.

Here’s the thing, though. Mickelson told the truth about the Saudis. As the saying goes, however, many times the “truth hurts.” In this case, it has hurt the guy who spoke it.

Double standard? Looks like it

Sha’Carri Richardson asks a fascinating question about the standards being used by the International Olympic Committee regarding athletes’ use of certain drugs.

Richardson is a world-class sprinter from the Dallas area who prior to the Tokyo Summer Olympics this past year tested positive for marijuana; the IOC banned her from the Games. Richardson was heavily favored to win a medal in Tokyo but was denied the chance.

Kamila Valieva is a Russian skater who the other day tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug that — like THC — is a banned substance. Trimetazidine helps improve heart function and, thus, is considered a “performance enhancing drug.”

Valieva’s punishment? She’ll get to compete for a gold medal at the Beijing Winter Games. The IOC said it will delay a ceremony if Valieva captures a medal until after the matter is examined and investigated thoroughly.

Still, Richardson asked, according to National Public Radio:

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference” between their situations? Richardson asked on Twitter, after mediators ruled that Valieva should be allowed to skate in the women’s individual competition in Beijing.

“The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” Richardson said.

“It’s all in the skin,” she added.

Sha’Carri Richardson sees double standard in allowing Kamila Valieva to compete : NPR

Well. It kind of looks that way to me, as well.