Archive for Sports

Great Day Today and A New Sport(VIDEOS)

By · March 28, 2012 · Filed in Personal, Sports · No Comments »

This’ll be a short one. First off, here’s the greatest encounter I could have in Spring Training:

Yes, that’s 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who was also on his way to another MVP in 2011 until he got hurt. Granted, Verlander probably still would’ve won it, it would’ve been a much closer race. Here’s to him winning another in 2012 and the Rangers finally winning the World Series!(unless of course it means beating the White Sox in the playoffs).

In addition, I “invented” a new sport today, should I call it BOLF or Baseball Driving Range?

Protected: Pitching Practice 03.16.12

By · March 16, 2012 · Filed in Personal, Sports · Enter your password to view comments.

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Derrick Rose = Chicago’s Hope!(Video)

By · March 15, 2012 · Filed in Entertainment, Sports · No Comments »

The videos included are from last year, but after yesterday’s triumph over the Heat without him and mostly led by 3rd string PG John Lucas III, there’s a ray of hope that this is the year for the Bulls!

In order to continue the success through the playoffs they will NEED a healthy D-Rose and probably the rest of the starting 5: Noah, Deng, Boozer and Rip. Thankfully they have the deepest bench in the instance that anyone does go down. Personally, I would not be able to stomach a repeat of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals where the Bulls were cruising through the first quarter of Game 2 only to fall apart and hand the series to the Heat. Granted, I gotta give credit to Lebron for actually stepping up his game when it counts, however, Lebron’s triumph was aided by the Bulls collapsing.

Anyways, without further ado, I give you “Chicago’s Hope”, Derrick Rose. Both of these videos are property of the NBA, their respective editors and YouTube, however, I love the background tracks. First is “I’m Coming Home” by Diddy Dirty Money and the second is “Remember The Name” by Fort Minor:

Today’s Assignment – Study the Mechanics of the Top LH Pitchers In The World!

By · March 7, 2012 · Filed in Sports · No Comments »

GOOD = Aroldis Chapman(the owner of the “fastest” pitch of all-time):

BETTER: Randy Johnson(the most intimidating LH pitcher of all-time):

BEST: Sandy Koufax(the GREATEST LH pitcher of all-time):

Oh and did I mention that ALL 3 have ties to the Phoenix Area: Chapman currently plays Spring Training ball less than 5 minutes from my home at Goodyear Ballpark, Johnson lives in the Phoenix Area and Koufax has already been spotted at Dodgers ST in Glendale(about 15mins from my house). In fact, the Koufax sighting was reported to me by a buddy who has been spending a lot of time there as he also has aspirations of making an MLB roster(and actually attended the White Sox open tryout last weekend). The reason for Koufax’s presence? To give some advice to current Dodgers ace(and fellow Lefty) Clayton Kershaw.

The goal is to hopefully meet them and get some first-hand pointers. Otherwise, it’ll be about studying and emulating until I can get from my pathetic 75mph top-speed with erratic control to a consistent 85-90mph with pinpoint control and good off-speed/movement pitches.

So far I have already worked on two major flaws… one is not fully extending and “pulling in” my front arm. The other is starting my left arm down low before coming over the top. I also reached out to a local LHP from the Cincinnati Reds who I found on Craigslist and offers lessons on the side.

Stay tuned, I’ll have videos of myself in action up soon so you can see the progression from “don’t quit your day job” to “Remember The Name”!

Proof That There Is A “Before”

By · March 5, 2012 · Filed in Business Education, Fitness, Personal, Sports · 1 Comment »

“Goals are nothing more than dreams with a deadline.” – Anthony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within

Oftentimes you hear stories of great success and they usually try to make them sound more impressive by saying “well this is where they started”. Many of these “before” stories are exaggerations and I’m here to prove that this is the “BEFORE” that will be followed with an amazing AFTER.

It’s been too long since I posted here and for good reason: I’ve been busy!

I just want to make it known that in addition to being a better husband, son, brother and friend I have THREE big goals that I am setting TODAY. I will be doing a video journal on here(and YouTube as well) to keep up with my progress for at least one and possibly even ALL three of these goals.

As of today, March 5th 2012 I am 28yrs old. By January 6th 2017(I will be 33yrs old) I intend to accomplish the following:

1) Build a net-worth of at least $1m

Today: I’m far from it with student loan and credit card debts and only a little amount of money in savings. However, our business is growing day by day and I have a full-time job in addition to the business to help take care of paying down the debt.

Tomorrow: Jefferson Franklin Tax Services(JFTS) is my baby! Thankfully I am blessed to be partners with the two most important people in my life, my father and my wife. Each day is another day closer to making JFTS a household name. The goal has been set now it’s time to “fill in the blanks.” I have plenty of ideas for the direction of JFTS that will get us there, but bottom line is it will be more about what the MARKET tells us to do than what I tell us to do.

2) Run a Boston Qualifying(BQ) Marathon Time

Today: The current requirement for my age group(M18-34) is a 3:05 or less finishing time which equates to about a 7:05/mi pace. Currently I am running around an 8:30-9:00/mi pace for long-runs, however, when I reached my all-time worst of 274lbs I was running 3mi in about a 10:30/mi pace and in less than 3mos I ran a 1:43:16 1/2 marathon which was 13.1mi at approximately 7:52/mi.

Tomorrow: Not saying that I’ll run the BQ in my next marathon(Rock N’ Roll San Diego on 6/3), however, I am realistically shooting for 3:45(~8:35/mi). From there it’ll be a gradual improvement(don’t want to get hurt) until I can meet whatever the BQ requirement is by 2017. Keep in mind for 2011 it was 3:10 and thanks to the popularity of marathon running it has become 3:05 and who knows it might be 2:55 by the time I’m ready to qualify.

3) Tryout For and Make an MLB Roster

Today: File this under the “unfinished business” or “prove the doubters wrong” category. I reached the peak of my baseball career soph yr of HS, however, my decision to pursue acting and modeling as well as not really fitting in with the other “jocks”(I was a social butterfly in HS) led to losing my passion for baseball. Quitting baseball half-way through my soph year is a decision I regret to this day. Another decision is that I never took full advantage of my natural advantage of being left-handed and as such never really worked on pitching. After a 4yr hiatus I got back in and was rustier than the hull of the Titanic. Since then I have played on and off. A bad taste in my mouth that I need to rinse was the sickness of making the University of Illinois Club Baseball team only to “ride the pine” for most of the season. Despite working on my “fundamental flaws” I could still never make the cut and at least the team itself was successful, but if I would’ve played to my potential we could’ve won it all. Instead we got 2nd place at the NCBA World Series. As far as my pitching goes I was clocked last year at 75mph and have a splitter/change-up… bottom line is I need to add about 10mph to my fastball while developing precision control and perfecting

Tomorrow: I will have to keep a laser-focus and realize that declaring this publicly is going to set me up for plenty of scrutiny and ridicule, especially from some of my old teammates who will just laugh at this idea. I even got a vote of no-confidence by a current MLB manager who I asked during last year’s Spring Training, “I’m 27yrs old, what do I need to do to get on THIS field?” and his response was “well that 27yrs old part is gonna hurt and I can’t lie, it’s gonna be a 1/1million chance.” Personally, I like those odds! Like Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd Christmas said in Dumb and Dumber “so you’re saying there’s a chance?”

For those of you who don’t like YouTube, here’s another link to the video Declaration of these goals.

Enjoy! And please leave comments(and keep it cool, any negative comments will be filtered, deleted and ignored).

Congrats To The 2010 Chicago Bears – NFC North Champs!

By · December 21, 2010 · Filed in Sports · 2 Comments »

It’s been a long road and even as a die-hard Bears fan I’m shocked to say today with 2 games remaining that the Bears will go on to the 2010-2011 NFC Playoffs. To top it off, they’re guaranteed at lowest a #3 seed and still have an outside shot at #1 which comes with home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.

As I mentioned in my previous Bears post, their game in Week 13 against the Lions could’ve been a trap game, but they prevailed. The following game I could’ve wrote a post stating that as worried as I was about the Lions trapping the Bears, I was much more worried about facing the hottest team in the NFL in the Patriots. Add to that Tom Brady’s insane record in the snow and it was an easy pick that the Bears were going to lose. Either way, this game against the Vikings had all the warnings of being a trap as well. The Vikes had nothing but pride to play for and with a chance to clinch the division it was extra motivation for them to play spoilers.

The game started off much like the Pats game where the Vikes just marched at-will down the field, despite being without their #1 offensive weapon, Adrian Peterson. In addition, while Brett Favre somehow made the start, he was a shell of his old self to begin the season. Add to this the injury he sustained against the Bills a couple weeks back that ended his legendary 297 straight start streak which by all accounts should’ve ended his career and you wonder how he even took the field.

As a typical Bears fan I figured “Here we go again!” I mean, Toby Gerhart running like he was Emmitt Smith and Brett Favre looking like, well, Brett Favre, circa 1996. The Bears quickly calmed any fears, despite settling for a field goal on their first Red-Zone trip by picking off Favre on the Vikes next possession and despite two holding penalties they capitalized on 1st and 30 with a 67yd TD. From there they never looked back.

Really the only issues for the rest of the game were settling for field goals in a couple other Red-Zone trips, but that’s just splitting hairs since the final score was a blowout at 40-14. Thankfully Devin Hester making history made this game worth watching until the end. First it was his near TD on the opening kickoff for the 3rd quarter(one of those Red-Zone trips that ended up in a FG by the way). Then it was the record breaker, the following Vikings punt that just looked too easy and he made history- 14 career kick return TD’s with hopefully many more to come!

Devin Hester

So this game was a microcosm of the Bears season which started with a near-loss to the Lions(much like the “loss” in the Vikes opening drive). This was followed by surprise wins against the Cowboys and Packers(like the Favre INT and 67yd TD strike on 1st and 30). Then there was a setback in the loss to the Giants that exposed the O-Line and with Cutler out the next week it was lucky for the Bears that they had the hapless Panthers to beat up on. At 4-1 things looked a-ok until two straight losses to also-rans in the Redskins and Seahawks had us worried that those 6-10 or 7-9 predictions would come true. As was the case with this Bears team though, they calmed our fears by ripping off 5 straight W’s including impressive wins against the Dolphins and Eagles before a further setback against the Patriots.

Now sitting at 10-4 and with the North locked up the Bears have two tough games remaining against the Jets and Packers and still have something to play for! First off, at 12-2 the Falcons have yet to lock up home-field advantage, if they lose to the Saints(possible) and then the Panthers(highly unlikely) and the Bears end up tied with them at 12-4 this would lead to an interesting tie-breaker scenario as they did not play head-to-head and the next scenario would be conference record, which would be tied at 9-3. The other position the Bears have to play for, which is more likely, is the 2nd seed and a bye-week. They are competing against both the Eagles and Giants, if the Eagles win the East and tie with the Bears, the Bears hold the tie-breaker in head-to-head, however, if the Giants win-out and the Bears go 1-1, the tie-breaker would favor the Giants. Needless to say, the Bears MUST win both games to control their own destiny. Thankfully, even if they don’t, their 6-1 road record is better than the 4-3 they are at home.

So let’s see how this Bears team finishes and does in the playoffs- are they the ’05 Bears who clinched early and fizzled in the playoffs, the ’06 team that went all the way to the Super Bowl, but lost or the ’85 team that went all the way and won! Only time will tell…

Bob Feller – An All-Around American – In Memoriam

By · December 17, 2010 · Filed in Sports · No Comments »

Bob Feller 1918-2010

The world just lost another legend in the death of Bob Feller. While I’ve prided myself on being a big time baseball fan, I never really knew much about the man other than the fact that he played for the Indians and was a Hall of Famer. It’s sad that it takes a death to really find out who he was and why he was so important to not only the game of baseball, but American history as well! And oh yea, the Reds/Indians Spring Training Facility is literally in my backyard and I’ve already seen a few Rookie(Low Class A) League Players for the Reds at the local Wal-Mart.

First off, while he wasn’t the first rookie phenom pitcher(Babe Ruth was), Bob Feller was still one of the youngest players to debut in the major leagues and along with Kerry Wood, was the only player to ever strike out his age(he set a then AL record of 17 K’s in a game at the age of 17 in 1936, while K-Wood had his famous 20 K game at the age of 18 in 1998). In addition he also was the first pitcher to win more than 20 games in a season before turning 21, compare that to today’s young phenoms like Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum, neither of whom have won more than 18.

And speaking of such phenoms, how about the disparity in signing bonuses, while all Feller asked for in 1936 when he was originally signed by the Indians was $1 and an autographed baseball, Strasburg, a client of money-shark Scott Boras, got $15.1m before even throwing a pitch! Ironic, since not only was that more than Feller earned in his whole career, I’d be willing to bet even with the inflation index his career salary didn’t equal what Strasburg got before his first pitch and despite showing promise in his first few starts, he went down with a season ending injury and who knows if he’ll ever reach HALF the numbers that Feller put up.

With all the hoopla now about Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies and the “stable” of workhorses they have, not even all of them combined could hold a candle to what Feller did! In fact, in 1946 he threw 36 complete games. This was more than twice as many as the whole Phillies staff in 2010(14 CG) and exactly 4x as many as staff ace, NL Cy Young Winner and Clydesdale, Roy Halladay(9 CG). In addition, it was still 10 more CG than the whole Phillies staff if you included the 7 Cliff Lee threw as a member of the Mariners and Rangers and the 1 by Roy Oswalt with the Astros(prior to his trade to Philly).

Really the only knocks on Feller are that he walked a lot of batters, hit a lot of them and lost his 2 starts in the 1948 World Series(even though the Indians still won). The ’48 Indians by the way was the last WS championship for the franchise who lost heart-breakers in 1954 and 1997.

Other than that, the man on the field and off was the symbol of what a role-model should be. I am actually ashamed of myself for not mentioning him in my article titled: The 69th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor – A Day In Infamy and How It Compares to Today, while it’s easy to remember the names Joe Dimaggio(thanks to his movie star status off the field and the line from “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel) or Ted Williams(arguably the greatest pure hitter in the history of baseball), it was actually Feller who was the first to enlist in WWII on December 8th, the day immediately after Pearl Harbor.

Again, would Lincecum do this? NO! Would Strasburg do this? HELL NO! During the prime of his career, he gave up 4 years to serve his country and still came back stronger than ever. Despite pitching for 18 seasons, it can be argued that his numbers would’ve looked a lot better had he not left baseball to serve his country, possibly to the point that he could’ve rivaled his contemporary, Warren Spahn, the winningest pitcher in the modern era. Instead he fell about 100 wins short of the legendary lefty(363 to 266).

As I thought that Ron Santo signed a lot of autographs in his lifetime, Bob Feller was signing memorabilia long before it became a business in the late 50′s and early 60′s, according this article, he probably signed over 1 million pieces of memorabilia and despite his status as a Hall of Famer, the most he’d charge would be $5 to $10, compare that to the several hundred dollars an item modern prima donnas like A-Rod and Bonds charge for autographs.

All in all, it’s hard to say what was Bob Feller’s greatest skill. His self-less service to his country in it’s biggest time of need was easily his greatest accomplishment. His performance on the field was the stuff of legends and his personality off the field was as well. His off-field status was further cemented by his “Barnstorming” tours where he would earn money on the side by playing pickup games across the country. This included bridging the color barrier by pitching with Negro League great Satchel Paige and even attempting to pitch in the Cuban Winter League in 1947 which was shot down by then MLB Commissioner Happy Chandler.

As a fitting ending, Feller’s last outing came not in his last season as a pro in 1956, but at the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic in 2009 at the ripe old age of 90!

And as an added treat, here was Bob Feller setting a world record of 107.9mph with his fastball:

Put that in to perspective with the current record, owned by Reds phenom Aroldis Chapman(clocked at 105.1mph on 9/24/10).

Bob Feller, aka “Bullet Bob” you will be greatly missed, even by those who never knew you!

Bears-Lions – Trap or Not?

By · December 4, 2010 · Filed in Sports · No Comments »

It’s almost Sunday and that could only mean one thing – FOOTBALL! Now I was in the bandwagon before the season that figured the Bears were a 6-10 or 7-9 team, however, we held out hope that they’d sneak into the playoffs as 9-7 Wild Card.

There were just too many holes and question marks:

1) The Receivers:

Their receiving corps didn’t have a bona-fide leader and were a bunch of speed guys without the skills of true receivers(hands, physicality and route running).

2) The O-Line:

Again, no bona-fide leader, Olin Kreutz is a shell of his former Pro-Bowl self and their most recent first round pick, OT Chris Williams was a disappointment, especially considering he was one of 5 early round OT’s that wasn’t starting yet and this season ended up playing OG.

3) The Secondary:

Aside from Tillman, there were questions here. The hope was 3rd rounder Major Wright would shore up the Safety position, but that was just wishful thinking

4) The Running Game:

With Mike Martz as the new Offensive Co-ordinator, we assumed that Matt Forte wouldn’t get the touches needed to make an impact and really scratched our heads that they picked up Chester Taylor when they have a pass-first offense.

5) Urlacher:

He was out all but a few plays last year, would he come back strong or was he over the hill?

6) Cutler:

No line, no receivers and a propensity to make mistakes last year meant watch out this year.

Well with all these questions, the answer has been an 8-3 start that NOBODY expected, much like the 19-14 week 1 victory was unexpected, not because of Calvin Johnson’s TD that was ruled incomplete by a dumb rule, but because the game was close to begin with! This was supposed to be the one sure thing on the schedule, not a trap game.

Of their 3 losses, only one was a game where the Bears were dominated against the Giants and that game still wasn’t a blow-out. The other two losses unfortunately were at home and the Seahawks game was a late comeback that came up short while the Skins game had a terrible missed call that turned the momentum against the Bears.

So coming off of their most impressive victory this season and the added bonus of Detroit depending on their 3rd string QB, how will the Bears respond?

The hope is to keep on rolling as they’ve got their work cut out in the following weeks with New England and the Jets coming up and what could be a winner-take-all showdown in Week 17 against Green Bay.

Otherwise, let’s hope that the momentum Cutler built off of one of the best games of his career as well as Forte having a monster game and the Defense doing an admirable job of containing Vick and the Eagles will translate to no lag against a team that really only has 2 players that cause fear- Ndamkong Suh and Calvin Johnson. Although Nate Burleson’s ill-advised “guarantee of victory” should give some added motivation and hopefully Nate Vasher won’t do the only thing he did while playing FOR the Bears- jump routes and get picks.

Avoid these mistakes and the only trap will be getting caught in the playoffs in a few weeks!

UPDATE- What looked like a trap with a 17-14 3rd quarter deficit, turned into another day at the office. While the Bears Offense looked pedestrian at times in the first half, Jay Cutler was the definition of QB Efficiency for the game as his 117.0 QB Rating would show,  I believe the only reason it was lower than last week was he “only” threw for 1 TD and his Yds/Attempt were “only” 9.0, both of which kept him under the 140.6 he performed last week.

What won’t show in the stat sheet were his few shuffle passes that made something out of nothing in what looked like sure sacks, something I hope as a Bears fan we will see in the coming weeks as there are no more “trap” games, only tough games.

All that said, Bears Win 24-20 and to top it off, Robbie “Good As” Gould has a new career long of 54yds!!!

I’m not sure what the tie-breaker situation is, but this all but eliminates the Vikes from the division race(best they can do is tie the Bears in both record and head-to-head, I believe the next tie-breaker is record against NFC teams).

And it makes that final game against the Packers that much more important as they kept pace by beating the 49ers…

Ron Santo – Death of a Legendary Human Being!

By · December 4, 2010 · Filed in Sports · No Comments »

Ron Santo 1940-2010

If you were a Cubs fan and didn’t like his announcing – I understand and agree with you that he wasn’t the greatest announcer.

If you were a Cubs fan and didn’t believe he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame – I can see your point, his career average was somewhat low and he never made the playoffs.

If you were a White Sox fan and either didn’t like him because of his strong ties to the North Side OR the fact that he only gave you one year in the twilight of his career – that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

However, the man off the field and outside of the announcer’s box was someone you couldn’t help but admire!

Ron Santo was the first autograph I ever got as a child waiting outside of Wrigley Field. While the players had a fence around the parking lot, the announcers and coaches came out of the press exit and had no choice, but to walk past over-zealous fans. Despite having this level of access, Cubs legends like Santo and Billy Williams(the hitting coach at the time) could’ve still just walked past and not given fans the time of day – THEY DIDN’T! In fact, ol’ Ronny signed autographs until his hand hurt, he was that generous.

To top it off, I’ll never forget a chance occurrence when I ended up on the same elevator with #10 at the Cubs Convention in 1994 when I was a wide-eyed child face to face with a legend and I just had to pose the question “Why is Brooks Robinson in the Hall of Fame and you’re not?”

His response would shock the lot of you who thought he was a me-first, self-centered individual. He stated “well Brooks was a much better defensive 3B and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.” Yes, not only was he generous, but he was humble!

Sadly, that would be my last memory of Ron Santo, in fact the several autographs I got as a kid were all I needed and I even had the gall to say to my boss at a sports memorabilia shop I worked at in college that “Ron Santo was an easy autograph to get, I don’t see how you can sell it for $25.” Which basically meant, I got mine, I didn’t need any more. Even worse was just last year my father was diagnosed with Type-II Diabetes and would now have to endure the struggle and sacrifice that Santo did from the age of 18. In fact, on Thursday night my dad made a comment that his “feet were hurting” a possible sign that his blood-sugar was too high to which my exact words were “you need to take better care of yourself now that you’ve got diabetes, you don’t want to end up like Ron Santo” and sadly I found out the next morning that he had passed away.

On top of his generous spirit, he was also a very vocal supporter of juvenile diabetes research and did a lot to advance this cause.

Ron Santo you will be missed!

If anyone would like to preserve his legacy, please donate to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation