Monday, April 24, 2006

Fantasy Baseball Update

by ShagOnSports

I am not a Fantasy Football guy because I am not a fan of Pro Football… But when it comes to baseball I got hooked three years ago when a friend of mine asked me to help him with his team… When I stepped in he was in the middle of the pack and he ended up winning the league… From that point on I was hooked…

After the baseball strike I only kept up with St Louis but now I am back to keeping up with both leagues and players again thanks to Fantasy Baseball… I am still a National League guy though and I am not a fan of the DH although I like that the leagues are different… Today’s Blog is a rundown of where my team is in the standings after three weeks of play…

I really had high expectations coming out of the gate for this years Scuffletown squad but they have yet to put it all together… It is still early but the injury bug and one bad player change cost the team some ground this week… Through Saturday they are in ninth place but only twenty points behind the team in first, which can still be made up quick since it is early in the year…

The MudCats have yet to turn the corner on offense… They are fourth in the league in runs scored, sixth in home runs, fourth in RBI’s and second in Stolen Bases… The team batting average is .281, which puts them in tenth place… If the batting average can remain .281 for the year then that will get them near the top in that category…

Albert Puljos continues to pack the offense and injuries to Griffey Jr. (he is on the DL), Edgar Renteria and Jim Edmonds (batting .180) means the bench is thin and I have been forced to play Jason Lane (batting .190), Casey Blake (11 runs, 2 HR, 14 RBI’s, .397 Avg) and Adrian Beltre (batting.167) almost every day… I need to get Junior back from the DL, Renteria healthy (10 runs, 2 HR, 11 RBI’s, .365 Avg) and I need Edmonds to step up…

Last week I dropped Craig Biggio (let me have it for that one Bruce) and brought in Mariners second basemen Jose Lopez and Biggio for the week goes 12/22 6 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI’s and bat .545… Bad move to say the least and I picked Biggio back up today… Before last week Biggio was hitting .250 with no home runs and had only scored eight runs… You should never make a move of this type this early…

The pitching staff is having some issues… MudCats are last in Wins, Seventh in Saves, eighth is K’s with a 4.95 ERA (tenth in the league) and a 1.30 WHIP which is seventh in the league… AJ Burnett went back on the DL this week and he could be done for the year based on reports (and I was upset that St Louis did not make a better effort to sign him up) and I was depending on him heavy for wins and the strikeout total… Jake Peavey, Jose Contreras and Chris Young each had a solid outing this week but Young was roughed up pretty good on Saturday…

Since I was unable to trade for another closer I picked up relief pitchers Juan Rincon and Duaner Sanchez for the bullpen… Neither player is a closer but they both pitch allot of innings, do not give up allot of runs and rack up some good numbers on strikeouts which is a key stat… I have Aaron Small getting ready to come off of the DL so he will move into Burnett’s spot and I am looking hard at Mike Maroth (he will not be available long) from the Tigers if Burnett is done for the year… Dan Haren has yet to pick up a win but his ERA has come down and he is racking up some strikeouts… Isranhausen and Borowski are my closers but Borowski is not getting allot of save chances with the Marlins…

There are some trades happening in the league but I do not have any trade bait at this time due to injuries so I will just to stick to what I have for now and see how the week shakes out…

Kentucky Football

The report I got from the Blue White game on Saturday differed from what was reported in the papers… I was told the offense did not look very good and the best Quarterback on the field was Rocco Maragas who is slotted as the fourth stringer (The Louisville Paper did report that tidbit also)… Kentucky will need Keenan Burton and Dickey Lyons to recover from their injuries and they need Lonnie Dewalt to get his grades in line so he can reenroll at UK in the fall if UK is going to have any chance this year of going bowling…

From what I was told and what I am reading it looks like Brooksy and the Joker are going to try to run the ball down peoples throat since he is three deep at running back and Pulley is a runner… You cannot win at Kentucky against Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn or South Carolina playing that style… I sure envy what my neighbors just down the road here are doing offensively… Remember U of L took that page from Kentucky when they saw what Mumme was doing and trying to build at UK… Sure Mumme was in over his head but that style is what it will take to consistently win at Kentucky…

I want nothing more then for Kentucky Football to be a winner and I will support the team until the end… I think the only bowling this team is going to do is at the local Kingpin Lanes…

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- A twelve-year-old gelding won a race at Santa Anita on Saturday… Proven Cure has won eight of its last twelve starts sine reaching the age of eleven… Pretty amazing horse if you ask me…

- My early Derby picks Brother Derek, Point Determined, AP Warrior, Bob and John and Lawyer Ron… With a twenty horse field it is really hard to handicap and the best horse does not always win or run in the money due to the crowded field but I believe that Brother Derek and Point Determined are the class of the race…


- Sidney Ponson has been a good pick up for St Louis so far… Ponson had allot of off the field issues they last two years and it is always good to see someone who has those types of problems turn things around… If you have not walked in his shoes then you have no idea how tough his situation is…

- 1964 Cardinals Topps Card collection is complete… I even was able to get the eight action cards that Topps put out in 1965 recapping the 1964 Series… I am going to continue to collect items from this Series… Two tickets to Game Seven sold on EBAY the other day for over $200… To rich for me but I would like to have a stub from each game… I have added some beer glasses with that were put out to honor the team in 1965 and also found a vintage board game that is made up of the 1964 team also… The next purchase is going to be a pennant from 1964 and then a 1964 Mini Mustang honoring that year’s team…

- ShagOnGolf has moved up to 93rd place out of 228 teams in the famed Bonnycastle Club Fantasy Golf League.. The team is made up of Els, Atwalt, Cink, Clark (Darren), Daly, Dimarco, Duval (he only cost five points), Olazabel, Parnevik and Weir…

Little Known Shag Facts

- Horse racing fans should know this one… The great horse Man of War won twenty-one straight races before being beaten in number twenty-two by horse named??? You got it, Upset!!! Hence the term “They pulled and Upset!!!”

In the CD Player this Week

- Doors Greatest Hits

Monday, April 17, 2006

Steroids and Baseball

by ShagOnSports

Baseball is facing a several tough dilemmas preserving the integrity of the game and competitive balance but the one getting the most press is the issue of steroids and their impact over the last ten years… Does baseball ignore this issue and just move on??? Can you take away players production over the last decade or adjust for steroids??? How do you decide who is guilty or innocent of partaking in the use of performance enhancing drugs if you cannot get an admission???

Where do you start with the steroid issue??? Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were certainly not the first or the last to take them but because of their over the top seasons of hitting home runs they are the focus of all the Steroid talk… Do I think these players used performance-enhancing drugs??? YES I DO!!!

First of all let me say this and you can quote me, “Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer”… He would get my vote based on what he did through the 1999 season including his play in the field… Through the 1999 Season Bonds had 2000 hits, 423 doubles, 65 triples, 460 stolen bases, 445 home runs, 1299 rbi’s, 1430 walks and career batting average of .288… Those are first ballot Hall of Fame numbers…

The knock on Bonds career before the steroids fiasco was his failure to produce in the post season but a player should not be judged based on post season accomplishments alone… The full body of work needs to be taken into account for any sport… Do players like Ernie Banks, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino and Ted Williams not deserve to be in their respective HOF’s due to non-performance or participation in the post season??? Of course not!!! These people are considered some of the best ever in their respective games…

If you adjust Bonds career numbers since 1999 and retire him after the 2004 season he finishes with 2500 hits, 500 doubles, 60 triples, 470 stolen bases (he literally stopped stealing bases since 1999) 650 home runs, 1500 rbi’s, and 1800 career walks… The most amazing thing about Bonds through the supposed steroid era to me (if indeed he did take them) is that is batting average during this time period is .333, which raises his career average to right at .300…

Would Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron taken steroids if they were available during their playing days??? I believe Babe Ruth would have done anything to play the game longer and been more productive… I am not so sure about Cobb… Cobb was not a fan of the home run… When Ruth started getting all of the notirity with his display of power Cobb went out one day and hit three home runs in a game and then told the media that hitting home runs was easy and that his style of baseball took more skill… Cobb predicted the home run would be the death of the game and maybe in some ways he was right…

I do not think that Hank Aaron or Willie Mays would have taken steroids… Aaron and Mays marks on the game were there levels of consistency and they did not need anything extra to produce… As competitive as Dimaggio, Mantle and Williams were, with no disrespect to them at all, I put them in the maybe category…

So now what does baseball do??? You cannot adjust the stats… If you are going to start adjusting stats for what Bonds, Sosa, Palmero, McGuire and others have done through the steroid era then you have to go back and adjust Ruth’s and Mays career home run totals… Ruth hit 137 career triples which is only four less then Hall of Famer Lou Brock hit in his entire career and Ruth had 2000 less career at bats… Brock was known for his speed where Ruth certainly was not a speed guy (only 123 career steals) and triples take speed… Ruth and Willie Mays were penalized for playing many games in the Polo Grounds where the center field fence was better then 455 feet… Many of the ballparks of that era had large dimensions so how many of Ruth’s, Mays, Ted Williams and others would have to have home runs added to their totals… Do you adjust Williams’s home run totals for his service to his country during WW2 and the Korean War, which caused him to miss three seasons??? You cannot start adjusting stats…

Baseball now has a steroid policy and there is nothing in my opinion they can or should do about what happened in the past… Baseballs lack of a performance enhancing drug policy is as much to blame as the players who took them during this period… What if Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and Palmero all come out and admit they took performance-enhancing drugs??? How would they be viewed and what effect would this have on their careers??? Each has the opportunity to step forward and tell the truth about what they did and change their legacies but I doubt this will happen… Much like Pete Rose I do not think their egos will allow them to make such admissions… Should these players be banned from the Hall of Fame??? The Hall of Fame voters will make that decision in a few years when these names start to surface on the ballots…

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose are both banned from the Hall of Fame for gambling indiscretions that to me are justified… Shoeless Joe was exonerated in a court of law but admitted he was guilty of taking money to throw the 1919 World Series (Joe took money to throw the Series but claimed he did nothing on the field to help the White Sox loose the 1919 series and his and the other White Sox players signed confessions were lost before their trial started)… Pete denied for years that he gambled on baseball only to come out and admit this two years ago when he obviously thought it would work in his favor… Baseball has a gambling policy and this policy has been in place for many years but the steroid policy is only two seasons old so I am not sure how you can punish players who took them before the policy was in place… Pirates’ pitcher Doc Ellis claims he pitched a no hitter while under the influence of LSD… Do you now scratch that from the record books??? Baseball and the media should just move on…

If Bonds breaks Aaron record does Major League Baseball recognize this feat??? I would not want to be Bud Selig if that day ever comes…

Kentucky Football

I am not going to be able to make the Spring Game next week but my man in Lexington, Mark Sheets, will give us a full report next Blog… I am just ready to get next season started and over with so we can move on to the next era… I hope Coach Brooks can turn it around but my confidence level in this coach, which was zero when he started, is now at about negative ten…

Reports are that Curtis Pulley will be the guy when the season starts and his quote in the local paper today was, “I do not even like to throw the ball…”

Derby Classic Basketball

I was unable to attend last night games but the reports are good on Kentucky signees Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper… Jasper likes to play defense and the local papers duly noted his effort… Meeks did not shoot the ball well but finished with 17 points and knocked down two free throws to tie the game and send it to Overtime, which is a good sign… Perry Stevenson, the UK signee out of Louisiana, looks like Starvin Marvin of South Park fame… He is skinnier then one T Prince was the day he arrived at UK…

Fantasy Golf

ShagOnGolf moved up to 100th place out of 250 listed in the Bonnycastle League after the Masters… The team had a poor showing in this weekends tournament so they will more then likely drop like a rock again… I am looking forward to the second half of the season on Yahoo Fantasy Golf...

Fantasy Baseball

The MudCats are off to a slow start… The starting pitching is inconstant and the bullpen is a mess… I am however sticking to my guns… Puljos had a big day on Sunday with three homers and five RBI’s and Rolen also homered… Griffey Jr and Jim Edmonds are both hurt so Mike Lamb and Casey Blake (a new pick up this week) are in the line up right now… Blake was picked up after I dropped Jacque Jones of the Cubs… I had three strong pitching performances this weekend from Jake Peavey, AJ Burnett and Dan Haren although none of the three recorded a win… Burnett came off of the DL last week for his first start and both Chris Young and Jose Contreras recorded wins and solid performances early in the week last week… Let’s see where we stand at the end of the month…

Bats Baseball

This is our fifth year of having Club Level seats for the Bats (we split them up with four other people/groups)… Mara Beth and I attended Friday’s home opener and they had a record crowd of 14,123… Dollar beers will bring out and interesting crowd and we did see one arrest as we were leaving the park (first one ever)… The Bats lost on Friday, swept a double header on Saturday and then one today to improve their record to 5 and 6… Mara Beth’s favorite Red, catcher Jason Larue, played for the Bats today on a Rehab assignment and had a couple of hits… Ottawa has former Major League Player and Cardinal, Fernando Tatis playing third base… The seats have a nameplate with Mara’s name and mine and the funny thing is they left the Y off of Barry so it reads Mara and Barr… When I was a kid I had a shirt with my name on the back that the Y had fallen off of and my friend Sam Gibbs still calls me Barr to this day for that reason…

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- How about Albert Puljos… Three homers on Sunday with a walk off two run homer to win the game… It there a better hitter in baseball??? He gets my vote Redbird or not… Mike Shannon’s Radio call of the home run was fantastic… “Swing and a home run, if it’s fair, if it’s fair and it isssssssss fair… http://cardinals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/index.jsp?c_id=stl

- Played my first round of golf this spring on Saturday and posted an 84… Nothing spectacular but pretty consistent… After this week coming up I will start my weekly practice routine and I am looking to be rolling by the middle of May… I am miles ahead of my usual start so this is going to be a good year…

- Sinister Minister rolled through the Bluegrass Stakes yesterday… Lawyer Ron won the Arkansas Derby… One more prep to go and the field for the Derby should be set… Right now I like Point Determined to be somewhere in the money… I will be consulting the experts in the next couple of weeks and will do a special Derby Blog the Thursday before the race with their picks and then a Friday night Post with who will be in my Trifecta pool…

- Kobe and Lebron need to get out of the tights… The NBA is not The Ballet… People actually care about The Ballet… Speaking of the NBA the playoffs will start soon and maybe, just maybe I may watch some games…
- So far I have The Sopranos a six on a scale of one to ten… Before this season started I would rate the series an eleven on that same scale so like Tubby Smith, they have earned a few bad games… I believe that the series is really getting ready to cut loose after the boring start even with Tony getting shot by Uncle Junior…

What is in the CD Player this week?

Radiohead – Kid A






Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Baseball is a Radio Game

By ShagOnSports

Baseball is a great game!!! There is nothing like being at the ballpark on a summer night or day during the season…

I remember my first live professional game… My dad and a friend of mines dad (Sam Gibbs Dad Johnny) took Sam and I on a charter bus when we were about ten years old to St Louis… That was the first of many games and many charter bus trips and each of those trips has a good story behind it…. As I remember it was the middle of summer and St Louis was playing the Pirates… We showed up to board the bus early in the morning in Evansville at Colonial Bread where Johnny worked… I remember the bus had three essential items, potato chips, beer and a custom built dice table that fit perfectly over the back four pairs of seats in the bus (I believe they had done this before)…

Sam and I made a mint that day running beers from the front to the back of the bus while the men shot dice, drank and smoked… I really do not remember allot about the game… I do remember we had good seats and when a Cardinal Player hit a home run how the scoreboard went nuts… This would be my first of many trips to what is now known as Old Busch Stadium…
If I cannot be at the stadium then my preference is to listen to games on the radio… I grew up listening to St Louis games and Evansville Triplett games on my old transistor radio… The play-by-play voice for the Triplets, Jim Celenia, even used to do a live broadcast recreation of the Triplett away games (now a lost art)… With the Cards you had the legendary Jack Buck and before Jack, Harry Carey…

In the Navy I really learned to appreciate the radio call of a baseball game even more... On Armed Forces radio broadcast we used to get allot of Dodger Games with Vin Scully (Vin would do the games by himself most of the time) and Brent Musburger doing games for CBS Radio… Brent did an excellent job on baseball … After my discharge from the Navy I moved back to my hometown of Henderson where part of my regular summer routine was to listen to the Cardinal games on the radio… To me Baseball Radio Announcers have the ability to paint a great picture of the game and no matter what the score always seem to make the games interesting… TV to me slows the game down and that is why allot of people do not like to watch baseball!!!

With Satellite Radio and the Internet a person can now listen to any baseball game for any team… I have not taken the plunge yet on Satellite Radio so when I am in my car now I listen to Reds games with Marty Brennamen or Louisville Bats games with Jim Couch… Brennamen and Couch both do a nice job calling the games…

For me baseball is truly a radio game and radio is part of the history and tradition of the game…
Baseball Preview

It is time to preview the upcoming baseball season with the help of my nephew Matt… I will also preview my Fantasy Team the Scuffletown MudCats…

Matt’s picks for the upcoming baseball season are listed below… Matt is eleven years old and loves the game… Like is Uncle Shag used to do when he was a kid Matt gets up every morning and reads all the box scores and transactions in baseball from the day before… He knows all the players in both leagues by team and position and can usually give you a little background on where they came from… Matt, Your Up!!!

Hello Matt's my name and baseball's my game… Here are my 2006 division winners…

AL East
The winner will be the Yankees… I believe this will be their 9th year in a row of getting in the playoffs if they win the division or take the wild card… All I have to say about them is Steinbrenner's has too much money…

Shags Pick – Yankees… I agree with Matt… Steinbrenner just continues to outspend… Yankees have a solid pitching staff and lots of $$$ to fill in the holes…

AL Central
I see the Chi-Sox taking it because of a deep starting rotation along with a potent line-up… I believe they will win another World Series… The loss of 'El Duque' makes it tougher and Jim Thome does not seem to go good with winners but seems to fit here… I must give props to closer Bobby Jenks, as he looked like a veteran in last years post season…

Shags Pick - Indians… I just have a feeling about this team and the way the finished last year… Sorry Tom I just cannot pick the Tigers…

AL West
I'm predicting that the Halos' win… Usually when you have about the (next to) best (Yankees) 25 players in baseball you are a contender… Even without one of the best catchers in the league (Bengie Molina) they will do it. The bullpen is a force and K-Rod is on a hot streak and pitches his best in the playoffs…

Shag’s Pick – I like the A’s… They have a solid young pitching staff and some good young talent on offense…

NL East
The winner once again will be the Braves…. The reason why is because of the mix of rookies and veterans… There's no completion… I see no faults here…

Shags Pick - Until someone beats the Braves I am not picking against them… This streak is incredible but is hardly recognized due to the post season disappointments… Can they overcome the loss of Leo Mazzone??? We will see how much of an impact his departure is on the team…

NL Central
I see another Cardinal victory… I also like the addition of Ponson to the rotation… He is the TO (Terrell Owens) of baseball… I would also like to thank Mr. Walt Jockety for getting all of these players in this off-season…

Shags Pick - Cardinals… The offense is solid and if Rolen can stay healthy look out… Edmonds is in the final year of his contract so he should produce… St Louis has a number one starter, two number three starters, a number four and a mystery man in Ponson… Mulder must step up… Middle relief is shaky and with Izzy it is always an adventure…

NL West
The Dodgers may have a win in their future but they also need more starting pitching… They were wise to pick-up Furcal… I also think it would be interesting to see Nomar play first… Sure it will be tough but they have talent… They have a new manager Grady Little…

Shags Pick - Dodgers… They have a solid lineup and their starting pitching is good but not great… The bullpen looks solid if Gagne is healthy… Padres are waiting in the wings…

AL Wildcard
Matt says Bluejays… Why? They have talent. Like Troy Glaus, Bengie Molina, and B.J. Ryan. They spent the money…

Shags Pick - Bluejays… They improved during the off-season picking up Burnett and Ryan… The offense is balanced…

NL Wildcard
Matt says the Mets… They have spent money on players that are top notch like Billy Wagner not to mention Pedro along with Paul Lo Duca, and Xavier Nady…
Shags Pick - The Mets… The wildcard in the National League is pretty solid in the Post Season so it is not a bad spot to finish…

Fantasy Baseball

Last year was my first year of managing a fantasy team in an open league and I finished 7 out of 12… Last season I had too much emphasis on pitching and not enough on offense… Offense should not be a problem for the MudCats and the starting pitching looks solid but my team missing a dominant closer…

I made several offers to trade for another closer but cannot find any takers… I was able to pick up Joe Borowski who will be the closer for the Marlins but he will get only a limited amount of opportunities with that rookie-laden team… Neal Cotts was also added to the roster and would be the closer for the ChiSox if Jenks fails…

The starting pitching is solid and I will probably waiver one of them this week if I cannot work out a trade and pick up some more offense or maybe a second catcher… Here is the roster… Can you tell who my favorite team is from the list below???

Scuffletown MudCats

C – AJ Pierzynski
1B – Albert Puljos
2B – Craig Biggio
SS – Felpe Lopez
3B – Scott Rolen
OF – Ken Griffey Jr
OF – Jim Edmonds
OF – Garret Anderson
Utility – Andre Beltre
Bench – Jacque Jones
Bench – Mike Lamb
Bench – Edgar Renteria
SP – Jake Peavey
SP – AJ Burnett
SP – Chris Young
SP – Jose Contreras
SP – Jorge Sosa
SP – Dan Haren
SP – Aaron Small
RP – Jason Isranhausen
RP – Joe Borowski
RP - Neil Cotts


Masters

The course changes certainly got allot of press before the tournament started… I agree that the changes at Augusta are really taking allot of people out of contention before the tournament tees off… To me they were necessary because of the new talent coming onto the tour as well as the improvement to equipment and balls…

The breakthroughs in technology for both clubs and balls are changing Golf to a power game… My game is a prime example of what technology can do… I have worked hard for the last twelve years with allot of hours at the range and that accounts for 60% of my improvement… I believe the other 40% can be attributed to clubs and balls…

What can you say about two drivers Phil??? His play was stellar!!! He stayed away from trouble, got a few lucky bounces (when he hit the stake on 10) and was fortunate that Freddie could not make a putt and that Tim Clark played the last six holes of the third round five over par… If Clark shoots even during the stretch then he very well could have run away with the tournament… What was short hitting Tim Clark doing up at the top anyway???

Tiger could not make the putts when he needed them… He had really solid eagle opportunities on 13 and 15 and he missed a couple of others on the front that made a big difference… Tiger hit another great shot on 16 almost throwing in an ace… Ernie, Vijay and host of others faded away down the stretch… I really thought the tournament was headed for one of the greatest back nine shootouts in Master’s history but it was really anticlimactic in the end…


Freddie’s ball striking on Sunday was fantastic!!! Most golfers will tell you though that solid ball striking does not always lead to great scoring no matter what level you are with you game… The best score I ever posted was not about ball striking but putting… I shot a 71, hit the ball OK but only had 24 putts... I recently had a great ball striking round in Florida where I hit 12 fairways and 14 greens but could not get the ball in the hole… You could really see it in Freddie’s face on #18 that he knew that was probably his last shot to win their again…

If there is one Fraternity I would like to be a member of it for sure would be Master Champion… What an exclusive group with privileges second to none… Do you think Greg Norman just cringes when he thinks about this??? I bet he spends Masters Week on his boat in the middle of the water with a fishing pole in one hand and drink in the other… If there was ever a guy who should have a green jacket it is Greg!!!

UK Spring Practice

Mark Sheets, got off the couch Saturday to take in a little football practice... He thinks that based on what he saw the coaching staff is doing whatever it can to make Curtis Pulley the starter… Sounds like they were running allot of the old Shane Boyd schemes… Sheets reported that Woodson had a couple of nice pass plays…

Looks like to me that outside of Keenan Burton UK does not have any receivers and that is the skill position that they most need some talent… You have to be able to throw the ball at UK if you want to consistently be competitive and win in the SEC but Brooks does not seem to get this fact… Pulley is a nice talent but if the staff reverts to the Shane Boyd play book with Pulley at Quarterback then this will be a long last season for Rich Brooks…

NCAA Championship Game

Florida showed up!!! Brewer and Noah were both fantastic on defense and were difference makers in the game… Florida was able to pass the ball in and out of the post with ease and I lost track of how many dunks they had… Billy Donavan has really matured into a great coach and allot of the credit goes to Tubby Smith… Before last years SEC Championship game UK had beaten Florida seven times in a row… Billy D decided to take a page out of the Tubby play book two years ago (he stated this fact on several occasions) and brought in an assistant coach to teach the team to play defense… That change paid huge dividends for Florida this year…
Go SEC (except Tennessee)!!!


ShagOnSports Random Comments

- Brother Derek looked impressive winning the Santa Anita Derby but against a five-horse field I am not impressed… With twenty starting in the Derby (it should be cut down to fifteen) the Santa Anita win really does not mean much… Bob and John won the Wood Memorial and the California based horse was shipped to New York instead of running in the Santa Anita to stay away from the speed (Brother Derek, Point Determined and AP Warrior)… Sweetnorthensaint won the Illinois Derby staying away from the Wood Memorial so your guess is as good as mine…

- My wife has picked the last three Derby winners and she is saying nothing at this point…

- Is it me or does anyone else finds Jim Nantz annoying??? Great play-by-play announcers stay away from the drama and call the action at hand… Nantz is always going for some inside human interest stuff that someone is feeding him from the truck for this to me takes away for the games…

- For golf I like Bobby Clampett over Lannie Wadkins, Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo or Paul Azinger…

- Billy Packer was wrong!!! He stated that Noah’s Dad had only seen him play three times… Against Georgia and the two final four games… He was at Rupp to see Florida play Kentucky on senior Day… Small thing but I like it that he was wrong and I knew it…

- My Fantasy Golf team is not doing very well… I had Mike Weir, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke all in position on Saturday and they failed to deliver… This is my first year in this league and I really do not like the format… Two weeks ago I entered a free league on Yahoo that is much more interactive… This league allows you to change players each week and a weekly team consists of Two A Players, Four B Players and Two C Players… You can change players after each round if you like which keeps it more interesting… I got in to late on the first part of the season but they have two seasons in one so lets see how I do when the second half starts…

Little Know Shag Facts

There are only three horses to complete the Derby in less than two minutes… One is Secretariat, one is Monarchos and the other is??? Sham who finished second to Secretariat…

What is in the CD Player this Week?

Gorrilaz – Demon Days

If you have an open mind about music then go buy this one… I can’t get enough…

Monday, April 03, 2006

Brought to you by EBAY

by ShagOnSports

Back before Christmas I started poking around on EBAY looking for some old vintage sports board games… In my quest I was able to find and purchase such vintage games as ABC Talking Monday Night Football, Aurora Monday Night Baseball, Aurora Monday Night Football and Sports Illustrated Bowl Bound College and Pro Football Board Games… I grew up playing these games and wanted to add them to my bookcase collection…

Several years ago I had thought about wanting to collect all of the 1964 Topps St Louis Cardinal Baseball Cards so I though I would also give that a shot on EBAY… This was the year I was born and the Cards won the World Series over the Yankees that fall… Being a Cards fan these would be a nice addition hanging my basement once I had them all collected… I found a listing of all the Topps St Louis cards and started searching the EBAY site… Over the last month I have slowly started purchasing all of the cards and should have the complete collection within a couple of weeks (55 Brooklyn Dodgers will be next)…

Two weeks ago I was killing time just doing random searches looking for different unique sports related items and I decided to search for the Kentucky Colonels… The Colonels were in the old ABA Pro Basketball League that folded in the 70’s and they won the ABA Championship in 1975…

As a kid I kept up with the Colonels and remember starting to watch the ABA when we first got cable TV around 1974… I mainly watched the Indiana Pacers since we now received a TV channel out of Indianapolis and they carried all of the Pacer games… I was truly a fan of the Colonels but did not get to see them play often on TV and we did not get them locally on the radio…

The Colonels had a solid team each year and in 1975 they won the ABA Championship over the Pacers… They were led that year by Coach Hubie Brown and players Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel and Louie Dampier (The ABA’s all time leading scorer)… They even beat the 1975 NBA Champions in an exhibition game later that year… At a reunion luncheon I attended last year Coach Brown gave his opinion that this was truly one of the greatest professional team ever assembled in any Pro League but does not get mentioned due to the ABA affiliation…

My search for Colonels items yielded a few interesting items including some team apparel items, patches with the Colonels logo, some reproductions of ABA material, some RC Cola Bottles honoring the 1975 ABA Champs and also some souvenir cups honoring the 1975 team that were in plastic and had never been opened… I ended up buying the cups and the RC bottle… As I went to pay for the cups on EBAY I noticed the seller was in Louisville so I emailed him and asked him if I could pick them up Vs him having to ship the items to me… He emailed me back and said that was no problem so on Thursday of last week we met at his house…

By Thursday I had figured out through his description of the items he was selling on EBAY (with each item on EBAY listed he gave a very descriptive narrative of the item and some team history) that as advertised this was Lloyd Gardner who was the trainer and traveling secretary for the team when the ABA folded after the 1976 season and he stated this with each item for sale… Lloyd also is a very successful high school basketball coach in Kentucky and led Fairdale to the 1994 State Title and is still active in putting on the King of the Bluegrass High School Basketball Tournament each year at Fairdale High School…

When I arrived at Lloyd house on Thursday I had no idea that I was walking into probably the single greatest collection of ABA items in the country… As Lloyd led me down to his basement the first two items I saw were signed and framed game action posters of some of the players… As we got to the basement he had the original Jerseys on the wall that were worn by the players on display from several different years including Gilmore, Issel and Dampier’s…

The collection of ABA items and other sport related items is unbelievable… The ABA item includes game worn shoes and socks signed by the players, mountains of game programs, sweatbands and headbands ordered for the team, scorebooks from the games kept on the sidelines, Hubie Brown’s diagram board for plays, Artis Gilmore’s playbook, game shorts, warm ups, sweat pants, sweat shirts, practice jerseys, unused game tickets and many pictures of the teams and coaches… There is even one picture that he has on his wall that is the original of Sport Illustrated Photo taken from behind the glass above the rim that has Artis ripping down a rebound with both Dan Issel and Rick Barry standing right below Artis… The photo is a classic and Lloyd said the SI made him sign a release that he would never allow the picture to be duplicated… The photo was on a two-page spread in the Magazine back in the 70’s… There was even one magazine from 1969 I looked at and on the cover was a picture of Alcinder with a heading asking the question, “Can Alcinder do it alone?” I believe he did…

Lloyd came to the Colonels after working as a trainer at Western Kentucky University… He followed the then Western Coach to Louisville who was set to become the Colonels coach… That deal fell through but he ended up “taping ankles” for the Colonels anyway...

Lloyd ended up being the trainer and traveling secretary for the team until the ABA folded after the 1976 season… People better know Lloyd by his nickname of “Pinky” which was given to him by Artis Gilmore… Artis started calling him Pink Lloyd, after the band Pink Floyd, and the name stuck and so he became Pinky…

The collection that Lloyd has of ABA and sports related items is truly amazing… Whether you want to purchase any items or not it is worth going on EBAY just to see the items and read the stories that go along with each… He is not going to put everything out at one time so keep checking back on EBAY each week for new items… Also check out the Website for the ABA at the address enclosed
http://www.remembertheaba.com/ for some history of the league…

Before I got ready to leave Lloyd brought me my soviner cups and also gave me an original Kentucky Colonels Pennant, two pictures of the 1975 Championship Team and one picture of the 1976 Team… It was a truly great experience to see this museum of items that Lloyd has accumulated and I am glad he had the foresight to not let all these items he has just be thrown away into oblivion after the ABA and Colonels folded… I cannot thank him enough for the experience of getting to see all of these items and for the extra items he gave me…

ShagOnSports at the Final Four

On Saturday my buddies Brad, Wayne and I ventured to Indianapolis for the Final Four games on Saturday… The only other Final Four I had attended was in 1997 in Indy when Kentucky beat Minnesota in the semifinal and then lost in overtime to Arizona in the Championship Game… Games I was able to be present at thanks to the generosity of one Jerry Tarkanian who was kind of enough to sell us two books of tickets that day on the lower level at face value…

Indy is a great place to have the Final Four (it should be considered as a somewhat permanent site) and the city is laid out to host this great event… You can park in the downtown area and then walk pretty much anywhere you want to go… Indy has a great downtown area with many hotels, shopping areas and restaurants…

Final Four weekend is filled with the who’s who of the college basketball world and the atmosphere is fantastic… The Hyatt Regency complex downtown is the place to be if you want to mingle with the coaches so that was our first stop on Saturday… We arrived early so there was not allot of activity but we did run into former Michigan and Arizona State coach Bill Frider, Florida State and former Kentucky assistant Leonard Hamilton and former Ole Miss and Arizona State coach Rob Evans…

After hanging out in the Hyatt for about an hour we decided to venture back out onto the street, check out scalper ticket prices and make our way to a free concert with the BoDeans who is one Brad’s favorite bands… Most of the tickets were upper level, the prices were reasonable but we wanted to find lowers and it was still six hours before the first tip off…

The concert was really good and well attended… There were fans from each school their dancing, drinking, mingling and having a good time… The green and gold of George Mason and the Purple and Gold of LSU stuck out the most in the crowd though… LSU fans had brought Mardi Gras to Indy and most were decked out with the traditional Mardi Gras beads…

After the concert was over we roamed the street some more checking ticket prices and just observing the crowd… An event like the Final Four brings out a wide mixture of people in some interesting attire… Tickets prices were getting a little more reasonable and there were hardly any lower arena tickets around…

When we got back to the Hyatt we walked into Gator Nation… This was where the Florida fans were headquartered and they were getting ready to stage a large pep rally in the lobby… The Hyatt had become much more active and you could start to feel the intensity building in the place… As we walked through the crowd we saw Dennis Felton of Georgia, Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, Sean Sutton of Okalahoma State, New Missouri coach Mike Anderson my favorite The Tark (he did not have any extras this time)…

We staked out a table in the bar upstairs and decided that would be our base of operations until we departed for the arena for the final ticket search and hopefully into the game… Shortly after sitting down we bumped into two more members of the Henderson Mafia (that is what people in Louisville I know have nicknamed me and the people form my hometown) Billy Haynes and Ken “Big Guy” Lawson… Billy attends the Final Four every year (many years in a row) and Ken has started joining him each year…

Billy is a basketball referee for both High School and College… He does both D1 and D2 games during the season… Billy has been refereeing for many years and during this tenure he has gotten to know allot of coaches who have come up through the ranks which makes him an A+ guy to hang around with at this event… He has great stories about the coaches and games he has called through the years so you get allot of good inside information… One of the things we asked Billy this year was what it takes for him to call a technical foul on a coach… Billy said he would put up with anything as long as they always called him Mister first… If a coach is arguing a call and says, “Hey Mister Mother#$%er you got that one wrong” then he is good…

We sat in the bar for the next couple of hours getting inside information on different coaches and happenings, debating who was going to win the games that day and trying to figure out how what was going to happen with our beloved Kentucky Wildcats next year and what the malfunction was this year… The place was really getting lively at this point and the intensity was growing for the games… It was about an hour and a half before tip so we decided it was time to head for the arena and find some tickets…

As we got out on the street we began to haggle… I used to hate doing this but now I like the whole process of bargaining and trying to find that good seat or luck into some kind of good deal… There were still not many lowers around but we had plenty of time so we made our way up the street… The closer we got to the stadium the cheaper the tickets were getting and by all appearances there were more people selling then people buying which is a good thing but still no good lowers…

It was about an hour before tip and we decided we needed to make a move… As we were talking to a guy who had three pretty good uppers together a guy grabbed me and pulled me to the side… He wanted to know if I was looking for tickets and wanted to make sure I was not a scalper… He said that since I was a Kentucky Fan (I was decked out in my Nike shirt displaying the seven championship banners) and worked for the SEC he wanted to sell me two tickets that were not being used for face value as long as I would not resale them… He pulled out two center court tickets, lower arena, and twenty-two rows off of the floor for $85 a piece… Twice in one week now I have died and gone to heaven…

Brad decided he did not want to go in and just wanted Wayne and I to go ahead and use them and he would go back to the bar to watch the game… I felt bad (for a second) and off we went… We did call Brad and try to persuade him to come on in but he was dead set on watching the game from the bar…

We got inside and the seats were just incredible… We were behind the benches so during timeouts we had a birds-eye view into the huddles and we were a couple of rows in front of Jerry Colongelo who is head of USA Basketball, Reggie Miller was a couple of rows down from us and we could see down on the front two rows, Lew Alcinder, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning… We found out the guys sitting to the left of us had paid $1000 bucks a piece for two books (a book includes the session on Saturday and the Championship Game)… The people who were sitting next to us work for the company who runs the Maui Classic each year… That is two times at the Final Four for me and both times my seats have been great...

After the games were over we made our way back to the Hyatt and found Brad who was now about twenty beers ahead of us… We hooked back up with Billy and Ken and continued our sports debates on a wide range of topics and listened to Big Biddy (Billy’s nickname to us is Big Biddy and his son is Iddy Biddy) spin some more stories about his officiating adventures...

The round of coaches we saw and talked to after the game included Tubby Smith, Lefty Drisell, Roy Williams, Travis Ford, Mike Sutton, Tom Crean, Kentucky assistant Scott Rigot and John Calipari… It was a great atmosphere and a great day…

Florida Vs George Mason

Florida is good and may even be better next year if these guys all stick around… Florida did a great job of denying the ball to number 22… Mason got only a handful of offensive rebounds and they missed allot of close in shots… 18% three point shooting is not going to get you very far and credit Florida’s defense for this percentage and the low number of threes that Mason took (only 11)… Lee Humphrey’s three-point barrage to start the second half were the difference makers in this game… Florida plays well together as a team and Billy the Kid has proved he can coach with the best of them… The crowd was for Mason but I was pulling for the SEC… I do not understand why George Mason did not start fouling Florida with about two minutes to go in the game… I would make a team beat me at the line and Mason never fouled in the final stages of the game…

LSU Vs UCLA

LSU did not show up… Credit the UCLA defense for much of the LSU performance… UCLA played as good a defense as I have seen any team play all year… They love the half court trap and when they collapsed on Davis and Thomas they covered them up so well they could not kick the ball out to anyone… LSU never made a three, shot 32% from the field and 46% at the free throw line… As Wayne and I sat there and watched the game unfold we could not understand how LSU beat Duke and how UCLA got down seventeen to Gonzaga… UCLA is better then advertised and Ben Howland can coach…

Championship Preview

I will not pick a winner… Florida can handle the half court traps and Noah can throw over the defenders with interior passes to Horford and he has three solid shooters on the wings with Green, Humphrey and Brewer to pass to also… Brewers defense will be a key for Florida and they must stay out of foul trouble, get offensive rebounds and keep the game moving although they can win at the UCLA pace… Both teams rebound well and shoot free throws well… UCLA needs a big game from Farmar and they need there bench to give some key minutes… Hollins needs to show up also… If UCLA can match Florida inside then that is a key to them getting a victory and twelfth national championship… Referee Billy says UCLA (he picked them on Saturday)… Rebounds may win or loose the game…

ShagOnSports Random Comments

- ESPN only had four people get all four teams right for the Final Four… Yahoo has one!!! I am 757,000 place… I suck!!!

- Brad said according to his conversation with a UK assistant is that quoting Brad, “Rawwjon is gone”…

- While in the bathroom at the game a UCLA fan said of my championship banner shirt… “We could not get all of ours on one shirt!!!” The one guy I cannot talk smack to…

- One referee told us a story at the Final Four of during a blow out game the one team needed to score 100 points and Sonic would give away free hamburgers… A late foul gave them a chance… The first free throw went in and on the second free throw missed… Whistle!!! Lane violation and the shooter made the second chance… See the refs are good guys…

- Sparks in the Pros… Will never happen… Kentucky in the Final Four any of the next three years??? Three years is a long time and allot of recruiting later…

- Rumor is that WKU is looking to upgrade its basketball program to a new conference and move up to Division One in football… MAC sounds good!!!

- Mickelson blew away the field yesterday but I still like Tiger at the Masters… Let’s hope for a Tiger Vs Phil shootout… Look out for Jose Marie next week and I still like David Love…

- Due to the all my activity last week ShagOnSports baseball preview will not be out until next week… My fantasy team has drafted and I am loaded…

- Matty J came back with answer to a local Henderson sports question… What were the nicknames of the elementary school teams when we were growing up and they are as follows: Cairo Owls, Robards Eagles, Hebbardsville Bulldogs, Niagara Wildcats, Smith Mills Tigers, Corydon Pioneers, Spottsville Blue Devils, Jeffereson Jaguars, East Heights Cardinals, Holy Name Cardinals, South Heights Tigers, Seventh Street Red Devils and Central Cougars…

What is in the CD Player this weekGorillaz
- Demon Days (I really like it)