With Regrets…

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

On Saturday, August 4, in Canton, Ohio, the newest inductees will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. This year, eight new members will be added, the maximum allowed in any given year.  Seven will show up.  One will not.

There will be 318 members following this year’s induction. The selection committee is made up of 48 individuals, mostly media members and each NFL city is represented by a media person.

Eligibility for a player or coach begins five years after retirement. Fans actually can nominate a player, coach, or contributor to the Hall.  The committee narrows the list to 25 semifinalists and then down again to 15.  The Selection Committee meets again and, if a nominee receives 80% of the votes, they will be inducted.  There must be at least four and no more than eight new inductees.

This year, Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, and Terrell Owens will make up the Class of 2018.

All but Terrell Owens will attend. Although he has not publicly stated his reasons, most believe it is a response to not making the Hall in his first or second year of eligibility.  His statistics certainly merited induction and many felt it was his on- and off-the-field exploits that kept him from garnering the necessary votes the first two years.

Owens is in the top ten in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He was a part of three Super Bowl teams with the Dallas Cowboys.  He also was a thorn in the side of almost every team he played for and there were many.  Suffice it to say when he left a team, tears were not shed.

So despite being invited and calling the moment “one of the most memorable days of my life”, he will instead give his acceptance speech at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga on August 4, the same day as the ceremony in Canton.

So, how has the Hall responded to the snub? They will not acknowledge Terrell Owens at all during the ceremony.  Hall of Fame wide receiver, Michael Irvin, said it best, “We can’t spend this moment for all these other guys talking about the guy that is not here.  You cannot do that and take that away. He’s doing his own thing wherever he’s doing his own thing, and God bless him. And when they mention the class they’ll mention him, but why should you steal those other guys’ moment because of the decision of this one?”

“I think it’s the right move. They’re not saying he’s not going to have a bust in the room. They’re not saying he’s not getting his jacket. They’re saying, ‘We’re honoring his wish. He doesn’t want to be here with us, we’re going to mention him as little as possible.’ I think it’s the right move.”

Terrell Owens has a right to not attend a party he was invited to and the Hall has the right to pay as little attention to the no-show as they want.

Both can respond to the invitation as many often do, “With regrets”. Only this time, I think both parties will eventually truly believe it.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

    1. Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, retired quarterback Tony Romo won the American Century Championship this past weekend. This was part of a celebrity golf tour that now exists for sports personalities. Romo won $125,000, but plays as an amateur, so he donated his winning check to charity.
    2. Back in April when I made my baseball predictions, I could not fathom a stronger team than the Yankees in the American League. But the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros have been amazing. Going into the All-Star break only the Red Sox (68 wins), the Astros (64 wins) and the Yankees (62 wins) have more than 60 wins. The best record in the National League belongs to the Cubs, but they would be 13 games behind the Red Sox in the standings if they were in the same division.
    3. Speaking of the Cubs, they have quietly moved past the Milwaukee Brewers in the standings and the media in Chicago and the players give most of the credit to the locker room culture created by former Lafayette student Joe Maddon. If you are a Maddon or Cub fan, Lafayette is auctioning off two “Joe Maddon Baseball Tours” to the highest bidder. For details, go to:https://goleopards.cbsi-auctions.com/
    4. The Phillies are in first place at the All-Star break. They have done it by winning at home where they are 30-16. Only the San Francisco Giants have won more home games (31) than the Phils. Nothing is better than keeping the Philadelphia fans happy at home.
  • Our final Blue Mountain League Game of the Week will be on July 24 when the Martins Creek Creekers travel to Egypt to play the Northern Yankees. Watch at 9:30pm.

 

 

Summer Hoops ’18 (Part 2)

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

There are a number of intriguing storylines developing in local high school basketball this summer following last weekend’s tournament at Cedar Beach in Allentown. Among the highlights:

  • Emmaus’ Mark Swedberg did not disappoint. In addition to reaching the final round of Saturday’s Slam Dunk competition, he and his teammates provided a balanced attack throughout the tournament, enroute to the Hornets’ second straight summer tourney championship. Following this past season, Emmaus figured to be one of the top teams this winter based on the returning talent. Don’t forget, the team gets an added lift from Whitehall football/basketball transfer Ethan Parvel…so don’t hand the upcoming winter’s EPC trophy to Bethlehem Catholic just yet.
  • Emmaus’ rival to the north—Parkland—also looked very impressive and features some very talented rising underclassmen. At the end of the scholastic basketball season, we talked on “SportsTalk” about players like Nick Rappa, Jared Kucharczuk, Jake Melany and other young players who really started to gel as the winter went on…and that continued improvement is evident even more in their summer play.
  • Nazareth also looked strong last weekend, with some new players in the mix joining an already tall and lanky frontcourt.

    • In Colonial League action, Palmerton continues to be a standout team this summer. They have a number of returning top tier players and look like they are definitely going to be major players in the winter season’s playoffs.

  • Saucon Valley is another team that has lots of players returning—including a pair of players approximately 6’5”. Height like that in the Colonial League is hard to beat and should make the Panthers more of a force for the 2018-19 campaign.


Coming up on this Thursday’s edition of “SportsTalk,” we’re going to have even more videos featuring interviews of coaches and players participating in summer basketball action.

In addition, we’re going to have a live report from the Washington, DC area as the DMV region gets ready to take on the national spotlight as hosts of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game next Tuesday.

Also, keep checking back here at “The Shop” over the upcoming weeks as we bring you additional news, rumors and images from different venues featuring athletes from the RCN-TV viewing area.

 

R & R

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Let me say it up front – I like to gamble in moderation, my wife likes the slot machines and my daughter genetically, also, has the “bug”.  So last week, when my daughter called to see if we wanted to go to Atlantic City for the weekend with her and her husband, the answer was an easy “Yes”.

We both had free rooms for two nights, some complimentary food vouchers, and free tickets to a show. After the heat wave of the previous week, it seemed like the perfect time to get away for some R & R.  And… sports for the RCN-TV team takes a slight respite in July.

The plan was a good one – we would arrive on Friday night, have dinner, and do a little bit of gambling. Saturday would be taken up with a hearty breakfast, time at the pool in the afternoon (or the beach), a good dinner at an expensive restaurant (it was complimentary), and a hypnotist/comedy show at night.  This left a modicum of time for gambling and that is usually a very good thing.  Well, the best laid plans…

Due to heavy traffic, the 2 ½ hour ride took four hours, but we arrived without incident. After checking in to Resorts International (the rooms were very nice by the way), we decided to explore the hotel, get our show tickets, and seek out a spot for dinner.

Our first stop was to check out the pool. It was an indoor-outdoor setup so that sounded nice and the pool was heated which sounded even better.  When the four of us saw the pool, I knew there would be trouble.  It was packed with kids of all ages.  Some were in diapers and some probably should have been.  I noticed that my wife and daughter were not thrilled with the idea of swimming in what they perceived would be polluted water.

That left the beach and the ocean as our back-up the next day. We had a nice dinner, did a little gambling (everyone won, but me), and headed to bed.

The next morning we met and decided to eat breakfast and explore the two brand new casinos that had just been open for one week – The Hard Rock and Ocean. Breakfast was first, however.

We chose the Hard Rock Café. We possibly had the worst service ever!  We ordered, eventually got our beverages, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  No coffee refills, no tea refills, no juice refills, and NO FOOD!  After one half hour, we asked to see the manager (something I never do).  He apologized and said he would put our order right in.  I thought our order would have ALREADY been in!

Forty-five minutes later, breakfast arrived, with the manager saying it was on the house. It was beginning to look like no one wanted our money, except the casinos.

We then opted to look at the new casinos and walk the boardwalk before going to the beach. Remember the extremely hot weather from the week before.  It was gone.  The temperature was in the low 70’s and the water temperature, we were told, was 61 degrees.  The girls had the same look on their face that they had when we saw the pool.  It was a beautiful day, but not a day to lie on the beach or go in the ocean.

So all the activities designed to keep us out of the casino were eliminated. That led to an afternoon of gambling (we all lost).  Thank goodness, the evening was full.  When I returned to the room – my key would not work.  I had to go back down to the lobby to get a new key.

Everything took an upswing at dinner. It was wonderful.  It took a couple of hours and led right into the show.  We had been told by others not to miss it.  Some people we asked saw the show the night before and said it was hilarious.

The concept was a combination hypnotist/comedy act. The theater was small and, it turned out, the audience was even smaller. In fact, and this is the truth, they had to count the people to make sure there were enough for a show.  The minimum I was told was 34 – there were 39!  Suffice it to say, the entertainer had very little to work with and it showed.  Getting laughs was difficult and hypnotizing anyone became even more difficult.

How bad was it? It was so bad that, according to the performer, for the first time in his 20-year career, he stopped the show, said no one was a good subject, and he apologetically would not go on.  He offered everyone their money back (we did not pay anyway) and called it a night.  Our ninety-minute respite from gambling was reduced to one half-hour.  I went to the room only to find my new key, also, would not work.  It was back to the lobby for a new key and back to (where else) the casino.

My daughter lost some more: my wife lost some more. Luckily I won a little back, but I was still a loser for the weekend.

We came home Sunday morning with a little less money, no beach time, three keys that didn’t work, and plenty of laughs about the “rest and relaxation” weekend.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Did you realize there are 121 NFL officials? And of that group, seven will be rookies this year, including the sons of current NFL officials, Ed Hochuli and Stan Kemp. That’s a lot of people to scream at.
  2. I guess if you have a bad knee and you are asked to pinch hit, the best thing to do is hit a home run. That’s what Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani did on Sunday against the Dodgers. He hit a foul ball off his knee the night before and received treatment right before Sunday’s game. He hit the game-winning home run to center field in the seventh inning. He said, “I was glad I was able to hit a home run so I didn’t have to run much.”
  3. On April 2, the Phillies and the Mets were snowed out. At that time, the Phils looked awful (1-4) and the Mets looked great (11-1 to start). Things are different for this second go-round being played this week. The Phils are in first place and the Mets are playing some of the worst baseball in their history.
  4. Would you watch Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson play each other with a winner-take-all $10 million? Do you remember in the 1960’s “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf”? I do. That show paired two well-known players against one another – Palmer against Nicklaus, Hogan vs Snead, Player vs Trevino. It was good TV then and it would be good TV today. It will happen when the entities come up with the money!

 

Our next Blue Mountain League Game of the Week will be on July 17 when the Northampton Giants host the Limeport Dodgers. Northampton has been hovering around first place all year. You are invited.

 

More HS All-Stars 2018

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Thanks again to Mother Nature for the high school calendar year getting stretched due to all the snow days (some schools in the Poconos didn’t officially finish until last week!), but we finally completed the 2017-18 school year in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The honors and accolades are in for high school sports, and we would like to mention these student-athletes’ special accomplishments.

First, here is a look the spring Eastern Pennsyvlania Conference All-Stars for local softball players….

Next, the EPC Scholar Athlete Award Winners for each sport…

Wrestling – Greg Bensley (Pocono Mountain West)

Girls Basketball – Leanna Deegan (Easton)

Boys Basketball – Jake Lisicky (Whitehall)

Cheerleading – Amanda Wagner (Nazareth)

Boys Swimming/Diving – Matthew Ceh (Parkland)

Girls Swimming/Diving – Zoe Sheridan (Parkland)

Rifle – Amber Zegler (Emmaus)

Boys Tennis – Seungkwon Son (Parkland)

Softball – Krista Colussi (Nazareth)

Baseball – Collin Duff (Parkland)

Girls Lacrosse – Leanna Deegan (Easton)

Boys Lacrosse – Ryan Miller (Nazareth)

Boys Volleyball – Robert Corba III (Parkland)

Girls Track & Field – Emily Deschler (Allentown Central Catholic)

Boys Track & Field – Habeeb Salau (Parkland)

And, here are your “EPC18″ All-Stars for local wrestling….

Last but not least, you can find the latest results for local track-and-field results for the Colonial League Championship, here:

Thanks to the administrators, coaches and athletic directors for passing these lists along to us to promote these student-athletes to all of you. And, special congratulations to all the recipients!

The Love of the Game

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I know it’s not big-time baseball. I know it’s not even minor league baseball.  Heck, it’s actually just a bunch of guys who get together two, three, sometimes four times a week to play the game of baseball.

The Blue Mountain League has been around now for 73 years (finally, something older than I am). And it has lasted this long because of the love of the game.  No one has loved it more than O. R. Pacchioli as a player, a president of the league and the primary sponsor of the Martins Creek franchise.  He has been part of the league since its beginning.

The rosters are made up of teenagers and forty-year olds. Most players normally put in a full days’ work either before or after the game.  Some work to 5:00 and then rush to the various fields to play a 6:00 game.  Some run home and shower and then work the third shift.  Most have families and children and they are able somehow to balance their vocational life, their love for the family and the love of baseball.

When I was playing Legion baseball and then college baseball, I wondered where I should go to improve my pitching in the summer. My college coaches never hesitated when they suggested the Blue Mountain League.  They said you will face players who are on their way up in the game and players who are on their way down from professional baseball.  They were right.  There was no better training ground.

Sure enough, many of the batters I faced had been to the major leagues and because of a veteran catcher, I was taught how to pitch to them. You didn’t just throw the ball, you learned how to work the plate, work the count, and mix your pitches. It was like a post-grad class on pitching.

I will never forget facing pitcher Craig Anderson, who had just been released from the Mets. I was undefeated; he was undefeated and I was somehow able to outduel him for the win in a 2-1 matchup.  This Moravian College pitcher had just gotten a win against a former New York Met.  As far as sports competition was concerned, it couldn’t get much better than that.

The league was a little over 20 years old when I played. Not much had changed from its inception back then and not much has changed since.  The rosters still consist of the top high school prospects and plenty of wily veterans.  You not only play against the best in the area; you learn by playing with the best.  I found out early that veterans have no qualms about telling you HOW to play the game.  And when they say it, you know it has history, knowledge, and tradition behind it.  So, you listened and you learned.

My connection with the League is now on the TV side. RCN TV has now been doing Blue Mountain League baseball for over 10 years. The games are highly competitive; the managers and players are extremely cooperative.  There are 11 teams and over 200 players, coaches, and managers involved this season.  They will play 30 games and crown their 73rd champion in August.

Check out their outstanding website :

http://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/default.asp?u=Thebluemountainleague&s=baseball&t=c

Better yet, check out the Blue Mountain League Game of the Week on RCN TV Tuesday nights at 9:30.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Are the Phillies for real? It appears they might be, sitting in second place behind the Atlanta Braves and fresh off a 3-1 series against the Nationals. However, the ESPN pundits don’t think so. They rank the Phils as the 14th best team in the majors right now. They do not have much respect for the NL East either. The Braves are ranked #10 and the Nationals are #12.
  2. Analytics has taken over baseball. Technology now determines line-ups, pitching changes, defensive alignments, etc. As an old-school former player, I do find it interesting how some of the baseball truisms are now changing dramatically. I find the game a little more interesting now by comparison. You just don’t know what a manager will do these days.
  3. Will you watch the new edition of the XFL?. The WWE’s Vince McMahon is going to bet $500 million that you will. The XFL is scheduled to return in 2020.
  4. Saquon Barkley bought a home for his family in Whitehall. He used his endorsement money from Nike, Pepsi, and Panini America. It has been reported that he wants to set aside his football earnings for his future and live off his endorsements. Smart!!

Enjoy a safe and happy 4th! Our next Blue Mountain League Game of the Week will be on July 10 when the Orioles host the Bulls. Both teams are hovering around first place with the Giants.

Summer Hoops ’18 (Part 1)

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

The summer high school basketball season is underway and our “SportsTalk” cameras have been out and about covering the action on the macadam (and hardwood, when the weather forced games inside) over the last month.

On this Thursday’s program, our in-studio guests will include local coaches and media members talking about the spring/early summer hoops action so far, giving their thoughts on teams and players to watch for the rest of the summer basketball schedule, and giving their early predictions on this winter’s scholastic basketball campaign.

In the meantime, here’s a gallery of some of the teams, coaches and players that we have seen in our travels over the last several weeks at different stops in Eastern Pennsylvania.

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Also, we’ll be talking NBA basketball as well on this Thursday’s show. NBA Writer Ben Mehic on via Skype will recap last week’s NBA Draft as well as give insights on offseason news and free agency predictions for the 76ers, Wizards and other teams of interest in the RCN viewing area.

If you can’t see the show live and would like to pose a question or comment, email us at rcnsportstalk@rcn.com and we’ll try to read and respond to your email on the show (check out the program through RCN On-Demand or hear the podcast at rcn.com/rcntv/sports-talk )

Check back to the “Shop” in a few weeks as we have more news, observations and videos of this summer’s hot basketball action!

The World Cup (Yawn)

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

By now you know I am a sports person.  Give me a sport with a ball (basketball, football, baseball, golf, volleyball, bocce [okay, maybe not bocce] and I can enjoy the competition.  And then there is soccer.  I just do not like soccer.

Maybe it’s because I have had bad luck when it came to doing soccer broadcasts.  I have had to do a LIVE 75-minute pregame because an all-star game was delayed by a preliminary game.   I have had to do a 15-overtime match for a state title only to have the event called for darkness with two champions being named state titlists.  It “only” took six hours to NOT determine a winner.   I have suffered through a District XI championship where someone thought putting gold numbers on a green and white striped shirt was a good idea. (It was not – I could not read the numbers at all from the press box).   I have broadcast professional soccer in the Lehigh Valley where expectations for financial success were very high and almost no one showed up to watch.   I have prepared to cover soccer by memorizing positions and responsibilities before realizing, upon arrival, that the positional names in professional soccer had changed.  Talk about tap-dancing through a broadcast.  Wouldn’t one think that a game that has continuous action, unlike football and baseball, would be a more exciting game?  One would think that, but one would be wrong.  Dare I say it – to me, soccer is boring.

It is boring (to me), because there is so little scoring and there is so much insignificant action. I watch the World Cup only while going around the dial and I see crazed fans from other countries revved up for the entire ninety minutes of “action” or, for me, inaction.  Most World Cup games end with one goal scored or no score at all after regulation time has expired.  Nil-nil is just NOT enjoyable.  How can anyone possibly maintain a sense of rabid devotion for that long when almost nothing of significance is happening?

I have two easy solutions that no one will take seriously, but I am used to that.

  1. Make the field smaller.  All of that insignificant action occurs because the field is so big.  Reduce the size and every player is now closer to his objective – putting a ball in the net.
  2. Eliminate off-sides.  One of the most exciting plays in any sport is a great pass and a one-on-one opportunity (a fast break in basketball; a wide receiver versus a defensive back in football).  What is wrong with a great pass to a streaking teammate who has gotten behind the defense?  It is now one-on-one with the goalie.  This would create the most exciting play in soccer and, I bet, nil-nil would not be the result.

I know Europeans think they have the perfect game of sport in soccer.  And a true soccer fan would suggest I don’t like the sport because America struggles with being successful in the world matches.  But, to me, instead of capturing my interest, I lose all interest when I can watch all the scores in a soccer match in less than one minute on ESPN SportsCenter.

 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Around here, where most of the baseball interest falls to the Phillies, Yankees, or Red Sox, the Houston Astros are probably the best incognito team in baseball.  They are winning 66% of their games, the same as the Yankees, and look ready to repeat as World Series Champions.
  2. Did you pay attention to the five-game home run streak by Odubel Herrera of the Phillies?  Not only did he hit five home runs, but he batted .591, had eight RBI’s, and two doubles.  Frank Howard and Barry Bonds both did it twice in their careers.  The Major League record is eight consecutive games shared by Don Mattingly and Dale Long.
  3. Emmaus, Central, Beca, and Freedom all had a good showing at the Bash at the Beach summer tournament in Allentown.  Berks Catholic won the championship for the second year in a row, but the EPC, once again, had a strong showing.  The winter season could be very exciting.
  4. Carson Landis of Emmaus will try out this summer with hopes of becoming the Penn State place-kicker.  Local high school graduate, Emmaus coach, and former Penn State quarterback Matt Senneca, contacted Penn State and, after watching film and live kicking, they offered Carson preferred walk-on status. On Sunday, Bethlehem Catholic senior place-kicker Anthony DaSilva also committed to Penn State as a preferred walk-on the following year.  It’s always great to have local players on the Penn State roster.
  5. The Blue Mountain League takes a brief respite during the 4th of July week.  We will, too.  Our next Game of the Week will be on July 10 when the Orioles host the Bulls.  Have a safe and happy 4th!

“Wild Shows 2018” (Part 2)

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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It’s time once again for our “SportsTalk Gets Wild” shows, broadcasting live on location from the Buffalo Wild Wings patio on Grape Street in Whitehall.

We had a great show in May featuring the senior football players and Lehigh Valley All-Star participants.

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This month we are going to follow it up by featuring Lafayette Head Football Coach John Garrett, his assistant coaching staff and a number of his players.

There will be plenty to talk about! Garrett–a former player at Villanova and brother to the Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett — is coming off a very active spring sports season. (Lafayette’s Spring Football Scrimmage is available to watch on RCN On-Demand).  He got great performances from a number of skilled position players and there’s a ton of optimism on College Hill that something special is on the horizon for the Leopards football program.

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Several of Coach Garrett’s assistant coaches will also be in attendance, as well as current players, including Julian Spigner (a Bethlehem Catholic HS graduate), Kevin Zataveski, Eric Mitchell and Jerry Powe.

We’ll learn more about these players, get updates on how some of the former high school players from around the RCN viewing area are now doing with Lafayette and get thoughts on the upcoming Patriot League football season on this show.

You can pose a question to our guests and make a comment if you come out to see the show in person and be part of the fun.

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Those of you attending will have a chance to win a “SportsTalk” koozie, but also, you will be helping a local charity. Proceeds raised in our “patio section” of Buffalo Wild Wings (10% of your total food bill) during the show will benefit Lehigh Valley’s Dream Come True organization.

You can find more information on this Thursday’s event here on the RCN-TV website.

 

The US(D) Open

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I received an e-mail on Saturday morning offering me a ticket to the final round of the US Open. And I do love golf.  But I weighed my options:

  1. Take one of the worst drives I have ever experienced and go to Long Island (I covered a sports story on Long Island at Hofstra University a few years back and thought I would never see my family again) or take a pleasant drive to the Poconos in the morning with no traffic.
  2. Walk the course in what was forecast as sweltering heat and seeing very little of the actual competition or sit at home in air conditioning seeing every minute of the tournament.
  3. Spend the day being pushed around in crowds of people I do not know or see my whole family at my daughter’s house and celebrate Fathers’ Day (I even got in nine holes of golf in the morning with my grandson, daughter, and son-in-law).

As you might have guessed, I chose the latter of all of those choices – I played golf, ate a great meal, opened some Father’s Day gifts, and watched the US Open on a large screen TV.

And I had plenty of time to think about the Open itself:

It is no fun watching the best players in the world at the mercy of an unfair golf course. In this day and age when computers are able tell us everything, the USGA was not able to anticipate what the wind would do to Shinnecock Hills during play on Saturday.  I felt, even on Thursday, that the rough was pretty much unplayable and the greens because of the pin placements took away the pleasure of watching the best perform at the highest level.  A four-foot putt, if missed, became a twelve-foot putt.  Saturday was the epitome of bad decision-making by the USGA when only three players shot under par and none in the afternoon.

Saturday became SOOO painful that one could almost understand when Phil Mickelson “cracked” and did something only your friendly playing partners do at the height of frustration with their game – break a rule! Mickelson shot an 81 that day and has thrown himself into a rule interpretation fiasco among all golfers as a result.

Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Tiger Woods never made it to Saturday, so many of the stars of the game were gone. I am one of those viewers who, when Speith or Woods are in a tournament, devote more time to TV.  Tiger tripled bogeyed his very first hole and, just when it looked like Spieth would make the cut, he bogeyed the last two holes.  Even local golfer Cole Miller of Northwestern High School and Penn State kept my interest on Thursday and Friday, but, he, too, was not around the weekend.

The FOX coverage was much better than the previous two years, but it just does not seem the same without the familiar voices we are used to hearing, particularly Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller, and especially David Feherty (imagine the fun he would have had with the conditions).

But instead, I watched from the comfort of my home for three days and in a mountain setting on the final day. I did not for one millisecond regret saying “No, thanks” to the offer of a free ticket to Sunday’s round.

Maybe one day they will play the US Open at Northampton County Country Club in Bethlehem Township and I will walk the three blocks from my house and watch.


ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Speaking of Father’s Day, Tom Housenick of The Morning Call wrote a really nice article on Saturday, June 17, about current Iron Pig, former Liberty High School and Lehigh standout, Matt McBride and his father, George. Both seem to have the perfect father-son relationship. Give it a read:
    http://www.mcall.com/sports/baseball/ironpigs/mc-spt-fathers-day-matt-mcbride-0616-story.html
  2. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the most interesting congratulatory text he received after sweeping Cleveland for the NBA championship came from Tiger Woods. Like Woods did, Kerr now suffers from excruciating back pain and the two formed a bond over it. Woods congratulated Kerr with a text. Kerr did not send a text to Woods after Tiger shot an opening round 78 at the US Open.
  3. Pre-season college football poll has Big Ten schools Ohio State ranked #3, Wisconsin #7, Michigan State #9, Michigan #10, and Penn State #13. Penn State hosts Ohio State on September 29. This is the start of the Big Ten conference games. The winner of this game has won the conference title the past two years.
  4. It was a beautiful night for football this past Thursday when the McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic was played. Despite the lopsided score, plenty of fans turned out so plenty of money was raised for the McDonald’s charities. RCN was proud, once again, to sponsor the All-Star banquet the night before. It was the 20th year of RCN’s sponsorship.
  • RCN-TV will travel to Curt Simmons Park in Egypt next Tuesday to bring you the BML match-up with the Steel taking on the Orioles. Watch at 9:30pm.

LeBron, KD, or Steph?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I think it is always fun to dream a bit, especially if you are a sports fan. Every sports fan loves to second guess, loves to complain about decisions made during a game, and loves to be a “Monday morning quarterback”.

It seems like it’s innate in a sports fan to think they know more than the coach or the general manager when it comes to making decisions about trades, the roster, play-calling, substitutions, and strategy. It’s just who we are.

So, if you are so inclined, I invite you to have some fun. Imagine if you are the general manager of the newly formed RCN Roundballers of the NBA and money is no object.  You have the opportunity to take any two of the following NBA players:

  1. LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors
  3. Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors
  4. James Harden – Houston Rockets
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Whom would you select? Let’s go in reverse order.

Antetokounmpo might be the least known to you, but the 23 year-old might just be your best investment. He is 6’11” and averaged 26.9 points during the regular season and 25.7 in the playoffs.  He averages 10 rebounds per game.  He has a huge learning curve and is pretty much a guarantee to be a dominant force for many years to come.

James Harden certainly could have led the Rockets to the NBA championship final if he had some help in games 6 and 7 in the semis against the Warriors. Chris Paul was out with a hamstring injury so he had to carry the team, unlike the support that Curry and Durant get every night.  He averaged 28.6 points in the playoffs.

Is there any fan (unless your team is playing the Warriors) who is not impressed with the play of Stephen Curry? He is the engine that runs the Warriors and his 3-point shooting borders on phenomenal (nine in game two of the Finals was a record), not to mention his ability to take it to the basket against much taller players.  And, if you are looking for someone to run your offense and who is a proven winner (three championships and two MVPs), Curry might be your man.

Kevin Durant WAS the MVP of the 2018 NBA championship. He shot 65%, led his team in scoring (28.8), rebounds, blocks, and was second in assists.  If you watched the playoffs, he made big shot after big shot throughout.  The Warriors were not better when he was on the bench (-26 points), but they were much better when he was on the floor (+86 points).  But remember with the likes of Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, no player had more support.

And then there is LeBron. Individually, in the NBA today, there is no better player.  His team lost, but his supporting cast did not come close to those the Warriors had.  He averaged 32.3 points (51 in one game) after suffering an injured hand after game one.  I’m not sure anyone would argue that he is the most dominant player in the NBA.  Bear in mind, however, that he is 33 years old.

So there you have it – dream a bit. Start your team with two picks.  You will need a large payroll, for sure.  Do it among others so you can defend and argue for your choices.  Who will it be?  And remember – no matter whom you choose, someone will second guess you, anyway.  Welcome to the front office.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Oh, no! Ohtani is on the disabled list for the Angels. Shohei Ohtani, the pitching and batting phenom for the LA Angels, has a grade two sprain of his UCL. He was trying to do what Babe Ruth was able to do – pitch and bat in the majors. He was 4-1 on the mound and was batting .289 with 6 HR and 20 RBI’s.
  2. It was nice to see the Washington Capitals win their first ever NHL Stanley Cup this past week. Alex Ovechkin was the MVP and the franchise won for the first time in 43 years. The Redskins won the last DC title when they won the NFL championship in 1992. The Bullets last won an NBA title in 1978 – 40 years ago. Are the MLB Nationals next?
  3. There is plenty of speculation about where LeBron James will play next year. Some notes on the situation: he can become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of his contract by June 29. By July 1, other teams can bid for his services. He has played for Cleveland, Miami, and Cleveland again. Watch for a feeding frenzy on July 1, if no decision is made by James until then.
  4. The Golden State Warriors will not be invited to the White House following their NBA championship. Unlike the Eagles who were disinvited, President Trump said he will not invite the Warriors.
  5.  RCN-TV will travel to Dimmick Park next Tuesday to bring you the BML match-up with the Yankees taking on the Royals. Watch at 9:30pm.