Category Archives: Society

Virginia and Vanderbilt For The College Baseball World Series Title

One thing we know going into the NCAA College Baseball World Series in Omaha starting today is that there will be a first time champion when the final out is made. Neither school has been to the finals before and it will be the first ever meetings between the two universities in baseball. And if Vanderbilt wins, it will be the first men’s national championship in over 120 years of competition. Both schools have had great years and deserve to continue playing this week and it is nice to see different schools in the Championship Round. Don’t get me wrong I would rather see my four-time champion Cal State Fullerton Titans advancing but that can’t happen all the time.

That is what my rant is about this time. Fans need to take a big spoon full of reality and get over the idea that if their team doesn’t win the title it has been a bad year. This is most prevalent in college football but it infects all aspects of college athletics. To get to the Championship Round, Vanderbilt had to go 10 innings to eliminate a college baseball power, Texas, on a two 0ut infield squibber and some at Texas aren’t sure that the coach should return next year. Are you kidding me? Let me put some Castor Oil in that spoon full of reality for you just to make it a little more unpleasant.

The University of Texas is a good example of what is wrong with college athletics, in my humble opinion. This past season head football coach Mack Brown was forced out of his job by the big money boosters who threatened to stop being so generous if changes weren’t made. And of course they were totally justified because, well because the Longhorns had a terrible season, 8 wins 5 loses. And in the last 3 seasons their overall record was 25-14. That just isn’t acceptable, now is it. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win as much as anyone and I want to win all the time. But get a grip, that isn’t a healthy attitude.

A record of 30-21 in the last four years must have seemed like a terrible dry spell because Coach Brown had set the bar so high in the previous 6 season with an overall record of 69-9. But fans can’t be happy with being on top just some of the time and when your coach has led you to such great heights has let you down by having 1, that is ONE losing season in 16 years on the job, well it is obvious he needs to go. The great fans of Texas of course had a Facebook page, Fire Mack Brown where all the knowledgeable fans could demand the dismissal of Brown because he obviously couldn’t return Texas to its rightful place at the top of college football.

Sure college football is big business and I can’t shed too many tears for Coach Brown, he will make more with a buy-out than most American’s will earn in 10 years of hard work. But you have to put that in the perspective of the sports world we live in, ESPN headlined it this way, “Mack Brown’s Buyout Only $2.75 million.” And while that is a paltry sum for many it goes to my point that things have gotten out of hand. Gregg Doyel, national columnist for CBS Sports has problems with the culture as well.

“See my point? My point is this: Texas football is out of control, an enormous dog being wagged by a tiny tail, a $100 million enterprise that funds an entire athletic department and created an entire television network and held hostage two or three BCS conferences in the past few years. Texas football is a monster, and monsters don’t move with precision. They stomp around in the forest, flattening trees until they emerge into the clearing and trip and fall and land right on top of someone’s house.”

Continue reading Virginia and Vanderbilt For The College Baseball World Series Title

Homophobic Chant from Mexico Fans at FIFA World Cup

UPDATE:

An article in the New York Times asks why so many World Cup fans dislike Argentina. A poll by YouGov/Upshot asks, “Which country is your least favorite in the World Cup?”, and Argentina seems to be the favorite as the least favorite. The relevance to this post, regarding civility from the fans, is further down in the story which points out that even in the 1920’s fans did what they could to get under the skin and in the heads of opposing players. At that time Brazilian players were showered with the chant of “macaquitos“, or little monkeys, in Buenos Aries. So the more things change the more they stay the same I guess. At a pre World Cup match in Buenos Aries just over a week ago, Argentine fans vented outside the stadium with their not so friendly feelings towards Chile, “All I ask from God is for all Chileans to die.” Hey, at least they get right to the point!

 

Not going to make a lot of fans with this one. I can only plead with you to First Think. Then Think Again before attacking me for not being completely gay about this story. Once again my head is about to explode because a problem is being attacked, but through a politically correct lens, not looked at thoughtfully and thinking about all of the consequences of any actions to be taken. Evidently many fans at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil have been directing chants at the opposing team that are considered by many to be, well lets see, racist, homophobic, bigoted and signs of extreme nationalism.

Media reports are not entirely accurate, I can say that because they are reporting different facts. The Hollywood Reporter points out that Brazil and Mexico could be disciplined for the actions of their fans and I would bet the powers that be are surprised by the reaction of their readers. According to the Reporter, FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, has campaigned in recent years to snuff out bigotry in soccer. He has been a strong advocate for points deductions, saying “sporting sanctions are the only effective punishment.” Now, Think about this. Points deductions? What could possible go wrong with this? They are talking about punishing a team for the actions of THEIR fans. Which opens up the chance for rabid supporters to appear to be fans of the opposition, behave badly and thereby help their real team win. More problems with the initial reporting are brought up by many commenters at the Reporter site questioning the actual meaning of the term “puno”.

The report in the Wall Street Journal is the best I have seen so far although their headline mentions only Mexico as a dastardly culprit . The Journal reports, ” Héctor González Iñárritu, director of national teams at the Mexican Football Federation, told the Mexico City newspaper Milenio that FIFA could issue a fine. But he added that further sanctions were unlikely, saying the jeer is outside the federation’s control.” Makes sense to me.

At the same time the Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, has his own take on the situation saying basically that it is much to do about nothing as he defends the fans. He says it is just a folksy part of the game and a tradition in Mexico in this interview with  Radio Red Spanish.  Herrera adds, “FIFA should be worried about more serious things.” Now just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right but those trying to change the CULTURE are up against it. I know how it is, I stopped going to high school games decades ago because of the behavior of the students. The vulgar language that had become acceptable, even back then with adults paying no attention to what their little devils were up to and the, in my opinion disrespect shown during the playing of the national anthem was more than I wanted to endure. I guess I’m a little put off today by those who are so upset with their particular sensitivities when these self-same people didn’t and don’t, care about my feelings and possible negative consequences that have been brought about by a more vulgar society. While I might be empathetic with some goals of people and organizations such as Network FARE I can’t support their work because they have a narrow field of view.

With age come wisdom. Sometimes. Age may also bring senility. Anyway, living a long time means a lot of experience that many younger people or those who just don’t pay attention know nothing about. I lost interest in the Olympics many decades ago when the Games were hijacked and used for political expression. At the same time the great liberals of the time were all exercised about nationalism being displayed, especially by Americans who rooted for their country to win. Imagine that, and they put pressure on to stop keeping metal counts and standings. The horrors. The movement was basically by American liberals against anything American and didn’t have a lot of success at least at the time. But it laid the groundwork for what we see today.

I’m not in favor of fans behaving in any way they please. But with the movements of today, we will have to sit in total silence to keep from offending anyone. Team names? The Fighting Irish and the silly leprechaun mascot? I am offended. The Demon Deacons, get real, that has to do. What can we do? Just have numbers? Team 1 and Team 2? No, that wouldn’t be fair, some would assume Team 1 is better than Team 6 just because of the number. Change can be good. Treating other people well is a good thing. But there is a difference between good behavior and Orwellian thought control.

Tony Gwynn’s Death Makes Addison Reed Think, Stops Using Smokeless Tobacco

Tony Gwynn, one of the great pure hitters in Major League Baseball history, lost his battle with cancer last week. The cancer, he says, was the result of years of chewing tobacco, a practice that has been part of baseball since it’s very beginning. MLB has been discouraging the use of smokeless tobacco for years because it is known to increase the chance of cancer. And while the use by players has been in decline there are many who haven’t been able to kick the habit. Addison Reed of the Cincinnati Reds was one of those who kept telling himself he would quit, soon. The slap to the head for him came with Gwynn’s passing, it finally brought home the reality of what could happen because of his habit.

First Think, Then Think Again. Easy enough to say but the reality is we don’t usually do the hard work of thinking through issues. We shortcut the process to come to the conclusion we want to reach regardless of how the facts stack up in an argument. Then there is the problem of actually going through the process of analyzing a situation, really trying but in the end making the wrong decision. If you read the articles I have linked you will see that there is nothing new here, just guys who have made a decision and nothing that is said can change their behavior until an event becomes the trigger that makes change possible for them. That trigger for some is the birth of a child, a death such as Gwynn’s or even a dream.

 

This isn’t a screed against the use of smokeless tobacco, unlike the editorial board of the Modesto Bee which wrote that, “We MUST Snuff Out Smokeless Tobacco Use“. They call this a teachable moment which it is, and hopefully will open more eyes and save others from the suffering from cancer that can be a result of a nasty habit. Of course it is a legal product and untold numbers of people have dipped and enjoyed it from childhood without becoming a cancer victim. We are all different and what makes me happy may not do anything for you. Obviously I am a little “prissy” for others, I watch an outfielder chewing and spitting all game long and the chance of him succumbing to cancer doesn’t bother me as much as the idea of the other outfielder having to make a head long dive for a screaming line drive and winding up getting tobacco juice, spit, on him. That is plain nasty.

Many of us suffer from bad habits and just don’t have the necessary motivation or will power to escape. Many of us have bad habits and thoroughly enjoy every moment of them despite any negative consequences. The power of thought is amazing, we can convince ourselves what is good is bad, and what is bad is good and leave me alone it is of your business what I like to do. It is never easy to make others do the right thing even though I know very well what you need to be doing. However, culture can be changed to advance public health, is the conclusion of Robin Silverstein of the University of Minnesota in her great presentation, Smokeless Tobacco and Baseball.

Rest in peace, Tony Gwynn and condolences to your family. May your story be the trigger that helps others possibly avoid something so avoidable.

X-Games Skateboarding Gold Star Winner Nyjah Huston Not Award Winning Neighbor

In many ways Nyjah Huston has it all. At 19 he has the fame and fortune many dream of. But many of his new neighbors in San Juan Capistrano, California, say they can’t get enough sleep to dream at all, because of the party house Mr. Houston’s new $2.7 million crib has become. In just over three weeks, Orange County Sheriff’s officers have made nine calls on the house responding to complaints of loud noise. Most of the time the visits have been after midnight. Some neighbors also worry about the number of cars parked on the street being a danger by blocking the path of emergency vehicles in the case of fire.

Born in Davis, California and raised in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico but has returned to California and a home he bought in September of 2013 in San Juan Capistrano. He had a falling out with his father and has blamed his fathers controlling nature for the problems. He has said his father raised him as a vegan as part of a strict Rastafari lifestyle. That included listening to only reggae music and not being able to cut his dreadlocks.  With his mom he founded Let It FLow an organization that helps bring clean water to needy communities.

Bagging more prize money than any skateboarder in history not to mention endorsement money, he has been able to buy into an exclusive southern California neighborhood not accustomed to the type of parties a 19 year-old skateboard hero seems to thrive on.  His Twitter page might give some clue what his neighbors are up against. Another Justin Beiber in the making? Only time will tell. Let’s hope his mom is able to have some influence and make him understand there are others who command respect, not just him.

 

Openly Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio Battles Hate From The Left

The primary season continues on Tuesday June 3rd with Californians going to the polls, although not expected to do so in large numbers. One race of interest is in the southern part of the Golden State, the 52nd congressional district. In one of the few remaining large population centers in the state where Republicans hold hope of winning, their leading candidate is Carl DeMaio and he is openly gay. His story is told by Dana Perino of Fox News. Mr. DeMaio has a compelling back- story of personal success including election to the San Diego City Council.

The interesting dynamic is California’s open primary system giving registered Democrats the opportunity to vote for a Republican such as Mr. DeMaio if they wish. But much of the smear campaign against him has thought to actually come from the left. Much as black Republicans are marginalized because of their conservatism, it seems the same dynamic is at play in the case of Mr. DeMaio, who, if a Democrat, would be attracting a lot of support simply because he is gay. On the other side, will socially conservative Republicans vote for a candidate such as Mr. DeMaio who more closely represents their views on most matters than the Democrat incumbent, Scott Peters or cast their vote for someone else because of that same issue. Continue reading Openly Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio Battles Hate From The Left