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Japan 2009 World Baseball Classic Champs!!!

March 24, 2009 2 comments

Team Japan as 2009 World Baseball Classic Champions

Team Japan as 2009 World Baseball Classic Champions


Stars perform when they have to. That was Ichiro Suzuki in the 10th inning of the 2009 World Baseball Classic final. A slumpy Suzuki, Ichiro underperformed throughout the entire competition. But when his team needed him he came through by driving in the winning run, in a close 10 inning epic with 2008 Olympic champions, South Korea.

If I were a betting man I would have put my money on Japan. I knew they would pull it out. I think the consistent team work and team support allowed the Japanese to pull out some tough victories. The talent was always there, it was just a matter of making it all click just right.

Congratulations!

Peace

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No ‘I’ in Team, or Japan

March 23, 2009 2 comments

I love my home nation, the United States of America. Despite the economic downturn, and being the center of international criticism, I defend the merits of my country.

Mike Blake of Reuters Captures Japan's Greatest Strength - Team Work

Mike Blake of Reuters Captures Japan's Greatest Strength - The Team

That said, I am cheering for Japan to win the World Baseball Classic. Why this flinching patriotism? Am a traitor to the cause? Quite the contrary.

You see, if U.S. baseball wasn’t so tarnished by drugs, dishonesty, downright selfishness I would be singing a much different tune. Japanese baseball isn’t weighted down by these things. The players are focused on the team, and play with a spirit that has long been lost in U.S. baseball. In the States big contracts have enhanced bad behavior, and do little to curb out-of-control egos.

I hope that one day U.S. baseball gets back to the level it once was. In the meantime I will cheer on my second home, and it’s native sons – Nippon Ichibon!!!!

The Newest Supermodel -Yokozuna Asashoryu

In prime Asashoryu fashion, he is in the limelight while his fellow mates are hard at work getting ready for the 2009 Spring Basho held in Osaka beginning Sunday, March 15th and ending Sunday, March 29th. This time though the bad boy of the Sumo world is showing his hip side.

Appearing at the Shibuya Girls Collection fashion show in Tokyo, Asashoryu brought his grand style to the Yoyogi National Gymnasium and it’s 20,000 strong.

Asashoryu waving to fashion crowd

Asashoryu waving to fashion crowd

As the title of this event suggests, the crowd was made up of 20,000 teenage girls, mostly. I don’t think these same people will be the majority of the audience who will attend the Spring Grand Tournament in Osaka. That said, from the pictures provided by Kyodo Photo (above) and Chris Jue (below) you’d think the exciting but controversial yokozuna is trying to change the face of Sumo, instead of promoting his latest sponsor, FANTA (he’s wearing a FANTA shirt, and recently appeared in a TV commercial for them).

According to Kyodo News via The Japan Times Online, the big guy sounded a bit nervous, but seemed to enjoy the whole event, “I felt a kind of tension that was new to me….The shrill voices were also impressive.”

I bet he worked on his turn alot.

I bet he worked on his turn alot.

I will hold my criticism towards the big guy because when it comes to success this guys record stands on its own. He’s grand champion, and has the hardware to prove it. Regardless of what people might say about him his showcase of Emperor Cups is one not to be rivaled, even by current co-Yokozuna Hakuho (they are both Mongolian by the way). Frankly speaking, I love Asashoryu, whose name means “Morning Blue Dragon” (what a badass name) because of this aggressiveness and individuality (I’m a U.S. American from the New York City area – go figure). I understand how some see his actions as disrespectful to the centuries old traditions that make Sumo what it is. And I don’t approve of his rumored womanizing and his bad attitude ego trippin’. I’m not going to hang out with him over a bowl of chunko nabe. All that said, I will watch him stuff the rikishi down the throat of another opponent, and cheer him on.

Somehow, and there is great speculation that his matches are sometimes fixed, he manages to win. I for one think he beats people because he’s better. His technique is very good. His speed and strength compliment each other very well. And he believes in himself and his ability to beat anyone (sometimes to a fault some would say, but like most elite athletes).

But before all the talk of who will be hoisting the Spring Basho’s Emperors Cup, I guess Asa has a few other things to attend to…I wonder if he listened to Right Said Fred before his catwalk debut?

Peace

Equal Pay for Equal Play

February 15, 2009 Leave a comment

If anyone out there wants to get into a “lively discussion” here’s one – equal pay for women tennis players, and female athletes in general. Check out this article on CNN.com

I come down on the side of the argument that if Venus and Serena and Billie Jean and whomever want equal cash they should play 3 out 5 sets. Why they don’t is a puzzle to me. If Rafa can play almost 9 hours of tennis in a 36 hour span to win a hunk of metal and some money, why can’t Serena do the same? Dare I say, “She just isn’t fit enough, and womens’ tennis just isn’t good enough.” I hate to think that, but I’m left with very little else.

Danica Patrick drives an Indy Car with a bunch of guys, but she doesn’t ask to drive less because she’s a woman. Say whatever you want about her, and there’s a lot to say, but she drives the same distance as the men, and when she wins she collects the same amount of money. Simple – equal pay for equal work.

A few years back Annika Sorenstam played with her male counterparts, and was emotionally, physically and mentally spent afterwards. At the time she was the best in the world. Through experience she saw the difference between the mens’ game and the womens’ game.

A slap-in-the-face-point to me is that the women aren’t making peanuts. Serena and Venus are financially wealthy and set for life. They would have to be irresponsible and reckless to become poor (it could happen, but I doubt it). What are they complaining about? To my ears this is what I’m hearing, “We’re treated unfairly because we are women. I know we don’t play as much, but that isn’t the point. We play the game. Who cares how much or how well we play. We play, we win, and we put people in the seats. We should get paid for that.” I think they have a group of Wall Street financial “wizards” for PR managers. They’re being told they can get more for less, or even nothing (Probably those same financiers that caused this global recession).

What happened to the saying, “Equal pay for equal work?” Female tennis players need to remember that, and stop being so selfish.

Peace

A Real Class Act

January 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The U.S. American football community got some expected, but still unwanted news – Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts is retiring….(for now). Let’s hope one day he changes his mind because he is one coach all teams should have the pleasure of experiencing. One of the best coaches in the history of the game. I just had fun watching him. Dignity and professionalism with a raging passion for the game made Tony Dungy a role model for younger coaches, and veteran ones.

With his family being his most important priority, he has chosen to spend more time with them instead of on the football field. How can you blame him. A few years ago his son committed suicide (how he carried on after that was a test of will and faith). Now with his other son having broken his leg, it is time to step away from the game, and tend to his family. The signs were clear.

tony-dungy-sb-trophy

Not a man who does it for the glory Dungy recognizes that one Super Bowl ring is all anyone really needs. With coaching records, and accolades from goal post to goal post he has it all. What more is there to prove….Nothing!

Here’s to you Mr. Dungy. A real class act! A true role model!

Check out this NFL video giving a little roundout of Dungy’s career. Just click.

Peace

Categories: NFL, Sports

Forget the Favre Fantasy – PRIDE His Deadly Sin

August 3, 2008 2 comments

For the latest on this developing story you can check ESPN news at this story headline – “NFL grants Favre reinstatement; sources say QB job is open.” Now for my commentary.

If this isn’t the most ridiculous thing. I seem to remember a weeping Brett Favre talking about how he was done and that he had thrown his last ball. That last ball though was an interception. Go figure, as he holds the record for most interceptions ever in an NFL career (he also holds every other major passing record, PLUS has a Super Bowl ring, AND a pair of MVPs). This is rather pathetic I think. The Green Bay Packers should have swept Brett aside and told him, “Listen, stop acting like a big baby and go home. Your time in the sandbox is over. We’ve committed to this new guy and that’s it. If you want to be a consultant on building sandcastles then we’ll give you a call, but your time in the sandbox is over little Brett.”

One of the great ESPN Sports Reporters asked the question, “Who is Aaron Rodgers, and what has he done in the NFL to deserve to start over Brett Favre?” Funny, I see it the opposite – “Who is Brett Favre to take away the opportunity of someone else who is trying to build a career?” I hope Rodgers kicks Brett’s ass in training camp and on the field because this is a clear example of why PRIDE is a deadly sin. Brett can’t swallow his and he’s going to choke on it one day. What is the alternative in this situation – Brett walks away with honor. He is healthy. He can spend time with his family, who he should be thanking more for standing by him all these years while he put them through the ringers.

In a conversation with a friend I posed the question/statement – “Would you rather have Dan Marino (who has never won a Super Bowl), or Brett Favre leading your team?” My friend without hesitation said Dan Marino. I would to. Marino entered, played, and exited the game with class. Favre broke his records, but he will never be to the game what Marino was. This attempt at taking the spotlight is ridiculous and childish, and shows Brett’s true colors.

Some will say, “He loves the game too much,” and “You’ll never understand what it’s like until you’re on that stage.” They’re right, and guess what…I don’t ever want to know, if this is what I would become. Money and fame can’t be the reasons Favre is going back. He must have enough of both. He’s going back because of PRIDE, and as I said before this is why PRIDE is a deadly sin. Have fun Brett.

Peace

The Legend of Tiger

There is no doubt, as if there ever was, that we are watching the greatest golfer to ever play the game. I’m not diminishing Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, or the other greats who came before Tiger, but there is always that One who will eclipse the Lords of yesteryear. Tiger is that One. His victory at this year’s U.S. Open was by far the best in modern tournament history, and maybe ever. I’m not making that statement. I’m just repeating what many an expert golf analyst have already said. He’s the best.

At 32, he has 14 majors, 65 tour wins, more money than some countries, and a secure place in golf history. What made his victory at Torrey Pines all the more dramatic, was he wasn’t 100%. His knee was really not helping him. Post surgery/rehab soreness saw Tiger limping around the fairways and greens. He had blown hole after blown hole. Bad starts and stormy bunkers tried encroach on this psyche. Well, with no luck as he found a way to win.

He closed out this event in sudden death fashion against a formidable opponent who at anytime could have taken it, but didn’t. And in true Tiger fashion he was humble and gracious in his moment. He gave kudos to The Rocc, who seemed to come out of nowhere but Tiger thought differently. Like a true warrior he never underestimated his competition. He knew who was out there, and he knew the capabilities of everyone playing. Sometimes I think that is what makes him so dangerous. He knows that these guys can win at any time, so he always has to play with his best, or whatever his best will give him on that day.

So the conversation will now escalate to WHETHER OR NOT Tiger will reach the hallowed ground 18 majors. As far as I’m concerned the conversation should be about WHEN will he reach 18, and how far out of reach will he place the record. Remember, Tiger still wants to do the true Grand Slam – all 4 majors in the same season, in a row. He can’t do that this year, but if he wins another major, or two this year, and then sweeps them all next year. You’re looking at probably 20 majors before the age of 34. Tiger will probably play another 10 years, and with his physical conditioning, no telling how long he will go for. The only stumbling block is his mental capacity and will to stay in the game, and win. Just remember, Jim Brown quit at the top of his game, and so did Barry Sanders, and they were shocks to a lot of people. Will Tiger follow suit? I sure hope not, and by all accounts it looks unlikely. So strap in and prepare yourself for more history making because every time Tiger walks the courses of a major, he’s taking one more step towards eternity.

Peace

Categories: Golf, Sports Tags: , , ,