Posted on: September 5, 2012 8:38 pm
 

A Heartfelt Thank You to CBS Sports and Users

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away the powers behind the curtain of CBSSports.com decided to implement the user blogs as another feature for the sports boards.  Being active on the NFL forums at the time of the user blogs inception, of course, I took off and ran with it, giving the following warning:

One day they'll learn, never give me a forum to post my thoughts to. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

From that day I had fun posting antedotes, recipes, jokes and discussing the NFL.  If anyone has read me, they would find that no subject was taboo with me and it was all in fun.  The users who took the time to read my blogs have been gracious, and the staff that let me run with it for as long as I wanted.  And when I called out writers like Gregg Doyel and Will Brinson, they were wonderful in their responses (whether I agreed with them or not).  Some of my blogs had been featured and the one blog that I'm proudest of, a short little blurb about the Steelers acquiring Najeh Davenport when their running backs were dropping like flies, manage to scoop even the writers here on the board (I'll also note that at the time neither NFL.com nor ESPN had posted the story either). 

Then I took a hiatus.  And when I returned there were changes, which is inevitable. And in those changes I learned that the user blogs would soon be going away.  Hearing this made me a little sad, kind of like returning home and finding they're going to demolish your teenage hangout and replace it with an elegant, five star hotel.  And for a moment, the tears welled up.  Silly, I know, but bear with me and you'll understand why in a moment. 

Not long before my hiatus I had jokingly put on my blog about writing a book about a psychotic former NFL punter who was kicked off the team and became a pastry chef.  The title was going to be called "Death by Chocolate on the 50-yard Line".  From there the wheels started turning. 

While I might have mentioned that I wanted to be a journalist when I was younger (that or a child psychologist), it has always been a dream of mine to write.  And that's what I had been doing during my time off of the sports boards.  Since then, I've published a poetry compilation and a novel, a story of mine will be included in a crime anthology that will be coming out in the fall/winter and that a small press publisher is interested in reading the completed manuscript after submitting the obligatory query letter and three chapters.  Another poetry compilation is set to be released at the beginning of December.  And while Death by Chocolate on the 50-yard line has yet to be completed, I know that it will one day.

While I always had the dream, it was blogging here that gave me the courage to put myself out there, to risk the rejection.  The acceptance of my blogs by staff like "Shuless Joe" and Eric Kay and their willingness to promote them, as well as the warmth from those who read me and responded and even a few who encouraged me to take that next step (they know who they are)...allowed me to use CBSSports as a springboard in achieving a life long dream that I thought would never happen. 

I've always believed that it's important to say thank you and give credit where it's due. And I wanted to say this before the blogs disappear and this becomes just a memory.  To CBS Sports and the wonderful users that have come and gone, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  You have inspired me and for that, I will be eternally grateful. 

From the kindness of strangers, a seed of hope and inspiration is planted....me.
Posted on: September 5, 2012 6:08 am
 

And So It Begins - the 2012 NFL Season

For fans of the NFL, the offseason can be particularly brutal.  Once the stadium lights are shut off and the cameras have gone, we mourn the end of a season, feeling the first symptoms of withdrawal.  We commence the countdown of months, days and hours until the first kickoff of the next season. In the process, we satiate our need by watching replays of the games from the past, build our warboards for the draft and above all, realize we no longer have an excuse not the clean out the garage.  We might follow players on Twitter and Facebook just to keep that connection.  Read and re-read reports from the Combine, the draft and training camp. 

In less than twenty-four hours, the party in Arlington, Texas will begin. Opening day of the 2012 NFL season will be ushered in with the trumpets from heaven and a chorus of angels in the splendor that is known as Cowboy Stadium. With the first kickoff, flashes of light will erupt, as if the very stars from the galaxy came down to bear witness.  And fans, in jubilant proclamation will shout out, "it's here, it's finally here."

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit, but you have to admit, Mariah Carey has one heck of a voice. 

NFL 2012 will be a bittersweet season for me.  As a Steelers fan, I will miss the smile of Hines Ward as he gets up from a play.  And to no longer hear James Farrior name be mentioned and missing Aaron Smith on the line. Time marches on though and with that positives advance.  Which diamond in the rough will shine this year?  What play will leave me pondering? Of course, my ponderings aren't limited to just the Steelers.

The New York Giants come into this season defending their crown and are the team to beat this year.  The watch is on to see how long they can go before they are defeated and who will be the team to do it this year. My recommendation is lose a game early, get it over and done with and get rid of that one distraction.  Giants seem to do better when they're the underdog, the team that might not be perfect to garner the attention of the media.  The David against the Goliath in a division where their nemesis have been perceived as trying to by championships.  They quietly got the work done last season.  Can they do it again this season though?

And on the other side of the coin, you have the Dallas Cowboys, who are faced with their own distractions.  There's no doubt that quarterback Tony Romo is frustrated with the questions about the window of opportunity closing.  And of course there will be the attention paid to wide receiver Dez Bryant, unfortunately more for what he's doing off the field than on it.  Have the Cowboys front office done enough to beef up their defense to help the team get over that hurdle? 

Focus has been on the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason, mostly due to the hold out of Maurice Jones-Drew.  It's not likely that the attention will lift anytime soon as we watch to see how last season's top rusher will perform.  If his numbers drop, chances are great that analysts will point to the hold out as the reason.  Still, in a way, I'm pulling for the Jags to have a decent season.  I like coach Mike Mularkey.  I believe, given time, he can acquire the talent to get the team to the playoffs.  But it's easier to pull the trigger than it is to have patience to grow a team. 

One wonders what the direction of the Oakland Raiders will be now that Al Davis is no longer with us.  It was always believed that the late owner was holding the team back with his hands-on approach in ownership.  I'd like to see Terrelle Pryor get his shot and do well.  Pryor made his name as the number one prospect coming out of Jeannette High School.  I like to see kids that graduated from the same school I went to, make good.  Pryor is no exception.  Still, one can't argue that the Raiders have no talent.  It's just a matter of finding the right magic to make it work. 

If there is any team that is facing distractions this season, it will definitely be the Saints.  No one will argue that they, as a team will be under a microscope with both the press and the fans, watching to see how they rebound from the scandal and if "bountygate" was the reason for their past success.  They have two options, shoot everyone the bird and come out with a "we'll show you" attitude or succumb to the pressure.  I'll say it's the former.  Quarterback Drew Brees is nothing but a passionate and consumate leader who has the ability to rally his troops in the face of adversity. 

One thing I do know, that as with each season it will be electrifying and disappointing on the road to the playoffs.  The days of manicured nails and quiet Sunday afternoons are now gone until February.  And if one is disappointed that the window of opportunity to clean out the garage has gone, well, there's always the bye.



   


Posted on: September 1, 2012 4:43 pm
 

And the Cat Almost Won

The Saturday of a three day weekend found me in a struggle for dominance.  What was I attempting to dominate and who else was involved in this struggle?  Well, it was my keyboard and my arch-nemisis turned out to be my male cat, Raiju.  You see, we both had different ideas about what to use the computer keyboard for.  I wanted to use it to type and well, he decided it might make a nice bed to stretch out on.  At first it was a struggle and I thought he was going to win.  Every time I would put him on the floor, he'd jump up again and stretch out on it.  In an act of desperation, I found a box.  
Ever wonder what it is with cats and boxes?  What exactly is the fascination that cats have with them (aside from the litterbox aspect of it).  Of course it's the same question that I have about my blogs and why they get so many hits.  Rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'll just thank you for taking time to read me.  I promise, I will talk more about football and less about hot flashes as the season begins.  No, I'm not discussing hot flashes today, aren't you thankful for that?

With college football starting this weekend and the opening kickoff to the NFL just days away, all seems right with the world...well almost anyway.  There will be alot of focus on the cleanup efforts after Hurricane Isaac.  Our soldiers are still struggling on doing what they believe.  And it seemed fitting that an American legend was laid to rest on the day of a blue moon.  Well maybe all is not as right as we would like it to be, but we go on. 

Here in the state capital of South Carolina, there were a lot of groans and grumblings as the University of South Carolina Gamecocks opened their season.  They say Gamecock fans are pretty loyal to their team.  They also say that losing a game to Vandy is a fate worse than death.  I don't know if that's true and for the sake of first responders everywhere, I was just happy that we wouldn't find out what would have happened. 

Speaking of Carolina, I know that along with Andrew Luck and RG III, that Cam Newton in will be in the spotlight to see if he can surpass what he was able to do last year.  I think that there will be a slight drop off in Newton's performance.  Hopefully Panther fans will be patient and give Ron Rivera a chance to build the team around him. 

And I'm guessing that Newton is going to be a pretty hot commodity in NFL fantasy football drafts this season given his performance last season.  Heck, if I were playing, I'd might even take him.  But after two attempts of trying the leagues version and failing miserably on both attempts, as well as playing survivor and pick-em leagues and not doing well on them at all either, I gave up on that.  Now I'm trying a new twist at Fantasy Football.  Think of Shades of Grey, the New York Times Bestsellers List, NFL powerrankings and the NFLs sexiest athletes.  But that's for another time.

Teams are down to 53 and while I'm glad to see that the Steelers added wide receivers Toney Clemons and David Gilreath to the practice squad.  I wouldn't be too surprised if tight end Heath Miller becomes more involved in the passing game than he has been. 

As far as the Steelers chances against the Denver Broncos next Sunday, history doesn't bode well in favor of the Steelers with their "lifetime" series of 17-10-1.  But it's the first game and I won't judge how well a team is projected to do in it's first game of the season. 

Nor will I do any prognastications.  I've noticed sports analysts declaring the Ravens defense becoming old and slow this year.  The funny thing is, every time I've heard these "analysis" made about teams, those old and slow teams somehow manage to make it to the playoffs.  Go figure. 

Enjoy your college football weekend ... and here's to the opening kickoff.

And Happy Labor Day.



Posted on: August 26, 2012 7:35 am
 

More Menopausal Musings

Early Sunday end-of-summer mornings are meant for sitting on the lanai with a cup of Kona, listening to the birds singing as one watches the sun rise on the horizon. Especially when the morning temps are in the mid sixties, something that's not the norm in late August in the South.  Crazy summer that we've been having.  It was as if May and August got together over drinks and decided to trade places, ala Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd.  I'm not complaining though.  My lawn is still green, something that's not normal this time of year. 

As I said, mornings like this is meant to be spent watching Mother Nature in all her glory come to life. Sad to say, I'm not doing that.  Too much to be done today that will keep me chained to the computer.  In the upcoming election, I'd really like to see discussions about lifting the ban on cloning.  I really need a mini-me, an exact replica who can help me get the things done that need to be done with little to no instructions.  It would be my luck that my mini-me would be reliving my twenty-something years. 

I'm really not going to say much about the elections.  Of course, we're seeing the normal absurdities in statements coming from both sides of the aisles.  If anything positive has come out of the debates and the pleas to "vote for me", it's that we've identified who fell asleep during those boring black and white films that were shown in health classes. 

With everyone else talking about Andrew Luck, RG III, Tim Tebow, Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson, I'll pass on discussing them.  Instead, I'd like to talk about the Sunday Ticket commercials for DirecTv.  I have to admit, I love them.  It really takes a man secure in his own image to be portrayed as the NFL fairies bringing all the games to your home, iphone, etc.  And have to give Eli Manning credit for not taking himself so seriously to be portrayed as the goof.  "You're mom's calling."

Ten days till kick-off and one more week of pre-season games.  I'm beginning to wonder if the Steelers are going to make it with their starters intact.  Another game, another member down with a major injury as the auditions continue.  The thing that I'm really concerned about are the procedural penalties that the Steelers are having.  Two twelve-men on the field during the Indy game and the illegal-substitution penalty in the Buffalo game.  Idiotic penalties that was caused by players not being aware of what's going on, on the field.  It's bad enough that the substitute refs are making bad calls in every game being played through out the league, why shoot yourself in the foot with avoidable penalties?

On an up note, it's good to see the Steelers defense focusing early on getting the takeaways.  While I'd like to see them come away with twenty take away per games, its looks more promising then it did last season.  The one kid I'm anxious to see on how he continues to develop is rookie safety Robert Golden

Another person I'm looking forward to seeing develop is quarterback Jerrod Johnson.  I know that he's the Steelers project quarterback, the fourth string that will probably never see play time during the regular season, barring an injury to the three quarterbacks in front of him.  However, having seen the Steelers having to go down to their fourth string quarterback two years ago, there is that possibility.  And I know in the Indy game, it was against the backup defense, but you could see the fundamentals and maturity are there.  That he managed to keep the winning drive alive while eating up the clock to keep the Colts from getting the ball back with enough time to score shows a lot of promise. 

I would see if there's one thing "fun" about preseason is seeing the rookies and backups potential.  Seeing those diamonds in the rough who might not have an impact immediately but end up being solid players as their careers go on.

This weekend, wide receiver Mike Wallace is suppose to return and sign his tender.  I've heard a lot of grumbling about his hold out and how the Steelers should sit him since he did.  Yeah, I wasn't happy about him holding out either, but since he's back, I say play him until he shows he's not willing to go out and make the plays. 

I'll let you in on a little secret.  The story that I'm currently working on involves a curse and one woman's (yes woman) battle against an evil curse laid upon her family.  Not that I'm pimping my story since it's not even in the edit stage yet.  Just that I find it out that curses seem to prove relevant in the MLB.  After all, to have gone twenty some years without a winning season would have had the superstitious thinking that someone laid a curse on the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But if their overcoming the 19 inning game to win it is any indication, then I feel good in saying that if nothing else, it's at least been exciting.  When was the last time Pirates fans could say that about them? 

And as the boys of summer make that last thirty some odd game stretch to the playoffs and we gear up for the start of NCAA and NFL football, I have one small piece of advice.  Slow down in the school zones.  The wide eye faces of our future have started heading back to school and it's up to those of us who drive to be law abiding citizens and be aware of our speed as we're passing through those school zones. 

Posted on: August 17, 2012 1:24 pm
 

Mom's Menopausal Musings

If you’ve seen the movie “Independence Day” with Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldberg and Randy Quaid, you might remember the last scene that Quaid was in.  Sitting here, trying to write this blog up, I keep picturing that movie and in particular, Randy Quaid’s character, Russell Casse said.  No, it wasn’t “I picked a hell of a day to quit drinking”.  No, returning to my blog on CBS Sports for some reason has me picturing the close up of Quaid as he’s shown taking the plane up the underbelly of the alien ship, the camera zooming in on his face saying, “Hello boys, I’m back.”

It’s good to see some things haven’t changed here on CBS Sports.  What would this place be if people quit calling for any of the writers/columnists to be fired on any given day because they write something that someone doesn’t like.  And I was glad to see that neither Doyel nor Freeman have mellowed with age. 

Seriously though, I have missed this place.  It was nice to stop in and amid the news of the scandals and unrest, to see a positive piece on community involvement.  Kudos to Will Brinson for posting the LaMarr Woodley piece.  With so much cynicism and vitriol and dirty laundry being broadcast in almost every sector of the news, it’s good to see something positive being highlighted.  Can’t wait to see what he does with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. 

Preseason is in full swing now and while I don’t give too much credence to wins and losses, I can’t help to be a little concerned about the number of injuries that is being reported out of Steelers training camp.  I can understand the passion, but the idea is to win a slot for the season, not get placed on injured reserve.  But the one bright spot coming out Latrobe isn’t the way the team is jelling, or that Wallace may be back, but that Steelers running back coach, Kirby Wilson is at camp. 

Not sure what to think about the replacement refs.  I haven’t really watched too many pre-season games.  The ones I did watch however, I hope the refs are using these games to brush up and get up to speed before the regular season starts otherwise we’re going to be complaining about the refs a lot more.  And yes, I’m tickled pink that a female is among them. I know, it might sound like I have some female bias, but I don’t agree that a referee should be someone who has suited up and suffered jock itch. As long as one can understand the rules and identify the plays at the level that’s required, and they can keep up with the speed of the game, then gender should be irrelevant.  Does anyone believe that if Archie Manning had one daughter among all his sons, that she would know less about the game, plays and dynamics of football than someone who rode the bench during varsity football?

No predictions for this season from our house.  I know that we’re still speculating that December 2012 will be our last month on earth.  Personally I think those extra stone tablets they found hidden was someone’s grocery list and not an extension to the calendar. 

Looking forward to the opening kickoff for the season and on an MLB note, keeping my fingers crossed that the Pirates see the post-season.  And really excited about the upcoming autumn with its cooler months, at least then I know I’m experiencing hot flashes and it’s not the air conditioner on the fritz.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:04 pm
 

From My Family to Yours

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season.  Whether you're observing Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, participating in Kwanzaa, or observing the Yule.  May your days be bright, your nights peaceful.  May you have the love of friends and family surround you.

Happy Hanukkah
Merry Yule
Merry Christmas
a Prosperous Kwanzaa

From my family to yours...with luv ... Happy Holidays ...



Category: General
Posted on: February 4, 2011 6:20 am
 

Will...Seriously?

Recently on this site, Will Brinson decided to devote some time to chastising Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for an evening out earlier in the week at a Dallas dueling piano bar with some of his linemen.  Now Will has given equal ... ummm... opportunity to say...to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.  Yes, Will actually did a bed check on the young quarterback.  Like many others, I just shook my head and said "this is reporting?". 

However, Will uses these "incidents" to site whether or not there would be distractions.  Well, it's possible, but...

Bear with me while I recount somethings... 

After the loss to Cleveland in 2009, then Steelers wide receive Santonio Holmes had tweeted how he was heading to Florida for the weekend. Steelers Wide Receiver Hines Ward posted how he had to get away and was planning on spending time that weekend with his child.  In both instances Steelers fans were quick to lash out at the two saying they should be practicing.  My thought process was, let them decompress, let them come back fresh.  That next Sunday was probably one of the most exciting games that we witnessed from the Steelers that season.  It was..ahem...against the Green Bay Packers.  Remember that game Will?  800 plus yds combined and over 70 points put up on the board?  Despite the fans believing that the weekend down time would provide a distraction, it didn't. 

Fast forward a year and several weeks later, pictures surface of Ben Roethlisberger and some linemen in a piano bar singing Karaoke with stories about how he bought the bar a round.  Not the patrons in a roped off VIP section, but the bar.  It must have really sucked to have to report that he was singing Karaoke in a dueling piano bar and not "making it rain" at some strip club.  It must have sucked even more to have to report that nothing occurred.  What sucked for me was seeing the media spin the "what could have happened" angle despite already knowing that the "what could have" didn't occur.  (Ah yellow journalism at it's finest).

Still despite the stories, Will seems to like to hold on that this night out could create a distraction for the Steelers the day of the Superbowl.  And had they literally had to carry Ben out of the bar where he'd have a hangover that lasted oh...from Wednesday morning to Sunday...then yeah, you may say it could.  Had we had pictures of Ben out on the town on Wednesday night and Thursday night, then yeah it could be a distraction.  However, I can point to why Will is rather off base with this one. 

- It's not unknown for Ben to go out with his linemen on a night during the week.  This has been reported in the Pittsburgh papers, so it's common knowledge (and not an excuse that Ben's making up).  It didn't seem to be a distraction for them during the regular season.  Remember they are in the Superbowl and not sitting at home. 

- There were no reports of any of the players seeming to be a little "off" in practice the next day.  If one night out was going to have an effect it would have been noticable the next day...and would have been reported on, yet where were the reports. 

- The argument of "well it's the big game and they need to do things differently" doesn't hold water.  We've seen what happens to teams that change up the way they do something because "it's" the big game.  Often times, it's not pretty. 

- Apparently, for as much as people seem interested in following Ben from bar to bar to...oh wait, it was only one bar...they seemed to have forgotten that the Steelers as a team was playing the season not to get to the Superbowl but to win the Superbowl.  LaMarr Woodley even stated that it was more important then his negotiations for a new contract. 

- Did I mention that there have been no reports of the team looking a bit "off" in practice (unlike all the reports coming out of Camp Cupcake in 09?). 

However, here is my biggest issue with this type of reporting...taking information and pictures from a site that looks to get beaver shots of Paris Hilton and Lyndsey Lohan and trying to create a story from it.

In the days after the alleged rape in GA, the media stormed that small college town.  Everything had been reported from the shirt that Roethlisberger wore, to the tag the victim wore.  The media had looked at every angle.  In the end, in a press conference with the DA, the DA sited that the victim sent a letter asking for the charges to be dropped and stated the attention that it would draw in the press as one of the reasons she didn't want to press charges.  Given all the attention in the press all season long and the reminders of what happened, you know I don't blame her. 

Yet while some in the media would like to use this as a platform to "get justice" for the victim.  Remember, the media is just as responsible for the victim not wanting to go forward and seeking justice, as was any "suggested influence" from law enforcement officials in GA.  In other words, quit feeling like justice wasn't served when they're part of the reason it wasn't.   And if they want to argue that's not what they're doing, then why do they keep bringing the incident up?

And to Will, seriously, what's next, which linebacker isn't eating their vegetables? 







Posted on: September 17, 2010 9:51 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 9:53 pm
 

Okay, so this is lame

AP Dateline:  September 17th, 2010, New York City, NY

New York City riot squad was called to the front of the offices of the National Football League, when it was reported that a bunch of angry women were circling the sidewalk, yelling and making cat calls.  After a few moments, police left the scene without incident and it was reported that a female officer was seen running into the liquor store and returning to the scene with a bottle of champagne. 

When asked why the women were protesting, the organizer Mary Jones stated “protesting hell, we’re celebrating that Clinton Portis opted to become a professional football player and not a gynecologist.” 




Podunk Iowa, September 17th, 2010

Edna Brown was one of twenty women from the St,. Agnes Retirement Home who arrived at the Podunk Chronicle looking to apply for the position of sports reporter.  When asked what her qualifications were and why she wanted the position, a 75 year old Edna Brown told the editor “oh, I have no qualifications.  You see, since Herb had his bypass surgery, he can no longer take Viagra and well, I understand that in those locker rooms there are 53 men for the picking”.  Of the other 19 applicants, none were under the age of 70 with the oldest being 90. 




It seems the controversy over the NFL and women in the locker rooms had a positive effect for the WNBA.  While attendance at the games remained low, press coverage was at a record high tonight.  When asked why all the sudden interest in the team, a spokesperson said “oh I don’t think there’s an increased interest.  With all the fuss over in the NFL, it finally dawned on them that they can enter a woman’s locker room too.  Only took them 30 years to figure that one out”.




Having reported on the local sports scene for a month now, Jonathon was disappointed that he had yet to see a woman athlete in the state of undressed during the locker room interview.  All that would change the night he covered the St. Agnes’s game.  The next day it was reported that they found him huddled in a corner staring at the ceiling in horror, mumbling “be careful what you wish for”.  While it wasn’t the sight of a naked 75 year old Edna that had done it, the scene of her standing in front of him, shaking all she had asking him if he wanted some of this pushed him over the edge.




Celia’s appeal to her audience was neither her brains nor her reporting ability.  When her station told her she would be covering a charity game between the Bears and the Rams, she was excited because here was her chance to make it to national television.  After arriving at the site, she was disappointed that the two teams weren’t the famed NFL teams but from an off-shoot regional league.  Prepared to make the best of it, she decided to do it up with the charm and appeal on camera.  Unfortunately, the man she was interviewing didn’t respond the way she had hoped.  By the third interview, and her frustration growing because she wasn’t invoking the response, she angrily asked the player in front of her…“what’s wrong with you all, are you all gay?”  The player responded “why yes honey, we are, good to see you finally figured that out”.

-


The young rookie linebacker from USC thought he was going to be so cool and cute while being interviewed in the buff by the seasoned female reporter in front of him.  When he asked what she thought of his package, without blinking an eye she told him “unless it is able to sack a quarterback, deflect a ball from a wide receiver, I doubt my readers would be interested in it”. 

Note:  To my knowledge none of this is true...but you know, the celebration in front of NFL headquarters might be fun.




Category: General
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com