With the World Cup going on soccer has taken center stage in America’s consciousness.The record TV numbers prove that.The different venues throughout the country are packed with casual as well as hardcore fans.While I am not a soccer fan,I do get interested when our country is involved and actually has a pretty good team.The question is whether soccer can become as big in this country as Baseball,Football and Basketball.Every time the World Cup is played this question comes up.Soccer gets a temporary boost but it usually doesn’t last.The NY Cosmos were very big and had had superstars like Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia but their popularity waned when those stars left.Soccer will always be more popular worldwide than here but every four years when the World Cup is being played,soccer in this country becomes the attraction.It’s just that it doesn’t last.That’s my opinion.
Tony Gwynn,one of the greatest hitters in baseball history,passed away this week after battling cancer.While many players and baseball writers tell of him not only being a great player but more importantly being a great person,I want to touch on what was the likely cause of his death and the issue it brings up.Tony liked to use smokeless chewing tobacco.He told of how it relaxed him before and during a game when he would take a pinch and put it in his mouth.He also told of how addicted he became to it,so much so that when he awoke in the morning he would brush his teeth then take a pinch.This brings up the question should smokeless tobacco be banned in baseball.It is banned in the minor leagues and many think it should be banned in the major leagues as well.The only problem is that it is not illegal.How can you tell a grown person that they cannot use a product,though it is harmful to their health,they can’t use it.Cigarettes are still legal and while people are being told they shouldn’t smoke,no one is telling them they can’t.The people against say it’s a bad role model for the kids who someday aspire to be major league players,the ones for say it’s the parents job to teach their kids,not the players.Charles Barkley once famously said “I am not a role model”and to some extent I agree.Just because a kid may not be exposed to it now doesn’t mean he won’t be exposed to it later when he’s an adult and must make his own decisions.Tony Gwynn made the decision to keep pinching tobacco and it’s the sameway with cigarettes,alcohol and drugs.It’s all a matter of choice.That’s my opinion.
The New York Knicks have made Derek Fisher their new head coach replacing Mike Woodson.The deal is for 5 years (25 million)which is the same number of years for Team President Phil Jackson (60 million).Now there has been alot of back and forth about a guy with no head coaching experience taking over what many so called experts and media types think is a near impossible job.Let me be the voice of reason here.First of all, Phil Jackson is putting in a new system known as the triangle.He wants a coach that knows that system.Secondly, Derek Fisher has been a championship player winning 5 rings.He knows what it will take and everything I heard at his press conference makes me believe that he will communicate that to his players.Thirdly,and this I think is something hardly anyone in the media believes,is the Knicks roster is not that bad.Mike Woodson was a decent coach but he is not a championship coach.The one ring he has was with the Detroit Pistons as Larry Brown’s assistant.He is good enough to make the playoffs,witness the Atlanta Hawks and the Knicks last season.But he doesn’t make adjustments during the game and he tries to make his system work even if he doesn’t have the right players to do so.The one thing a coach must be able to do is adapt to the talent he has and get the most out of it.Offensively,There was too much of Carmello Anthony holding the ball while the other players stood and watched and that will change with the triangle.Defensively, they were constantly switching which often gave the opposing team a mismatch the Knicks couldn’t handle.Phil Jackson will eventually get the players he needs to run his system but in the meantime he and Derek Fisher will see the talent that’s currently there and get the most out of it.That’s my opinion.
Pop Superstar Justin Bieber has been seen on video not once,but twice,using the N-word. In one video he makes a joke about black people saying “why are black people afraid of chainsaws?”he then imitates a saw running saying “run nigganigganigga”.Even though you can hear someone telling him don’t say it,the little punk says it anyway.The other video has him singing his song “One less lonely Girl,” saying “One less lonely Ni—r.If I kill you I’ll be the KKK”.I would like to ask the following question?Why has Donald Sterling been called an old racist and vilified by the whole country and this idiot has people,even black rappers like lil wayne defending him.What Sterling said was not as bad as what this kid said.I don’t want to hear about he was 15 years old and immature.I was called the N word plenty in high school and got in fights because of it.Those kids were the same age as Bieber and they knew what the word meant and how to use it against me.They also made references to the KKK.It was a form of bullying that I had never experienced.Before he became such a big star,what interaction,if any,has Justin Bieber had with black people?Usher,who is black,gave him his start.Ludacris,who is very popular in his own right,raps on Biebers first hit song “Baby”and appears in the video as well.So to me his interaction with black people was to get his career off the ground.You can be a Justin Bieber defender if you want to be,but for me the videos speak for themselves.That’s my opinion.
This Saturday California Chrome tries to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the triple crown of racing by winning the Belmont Stakes.I saw Affirmed win that day in a nose to nose race with Alydar. Who would’ve thought it would be 36 years later and no horse has done it.Spectacular Bid finished 3rd in 79,Pleasant Colony 3rd in 81,Sunday Silence came in 2nd to Easy Goer in 89,then you have to go to 1997-99 when Silver Charm,Real Quiet and Charismatic finished 2nd,2nd and 3rd respectively.Funnycide was 3rd in 2003 and Smarty Jones came in 2nd to Birdstone in 04.Big Brown did not finish in 2008 and I’ll Have Another did not start in 2012.I have always maintained that the mile and a half of the Belmont is the toughest in all of racing.Many a horse has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to be thwarted by the most challenging race a horse can run.It’s not called the “Test of Champions”for nothing.So all I can say is good luck California Chrome because you are about to run a race that will either make you immortal or just another horse that got swallowed up by the the mile and a half monster of Belmont.That’s my opinion.
Elliot Rodger is the very disturbed young man who stabbed three men in his apartment, killing two roomates, then drove to UC Santa Barbara and shot three women outside a sorority also killing two more.Then to top it off he drove to a nearby deli where he shot and killed another male student and injured two people on bicycles while he was shooting randomly at anyone or anything.He then did what has become the popular thing with mass murderers now,instead of getting caught and facing the consequences for his hideous actions,he took his own life shooting himself in the head.He wanted revenge for being a virgin and not bedding any of the ladies at school.He killed the guys because they were able to do what he couldn’t.While people try to figure what drove him to do this,I’m focusing on the victims families,the ones who witnessed these killings and those who were fortunate enough to get away.While this coward decided to end his life,the emotional scars he left behind will last with these people a long,long time.That’s my opinion.
Thursday the NBA Finals begin with the San Antonio Spurs hosting the 2 time defending World Champion Miami Heat. Being a Knicks fan ( stop laughing, I can hear you) I have refrained from writing about the NBA, but since it’s the finals I’ll do it. I think the Spurs are on a mission this year to win the title because they really blew it last year.They were up 3-2 in the series and had a 5 point lead with 30 seconds left in the game. The reasons are many why they lost,missed free throws,Tim Duncan on the bench at that time etc. but they should not have lost that game.Miami won that game and game 7 to claim their repeat championship.Miami had the home court advantage last year but the Spurs have it this year.Also the format has changed, instead of the 2-3-2 format they had been using like baseball,they have gone back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format.How this will affect the two teams remains to be seen.Like I said earlier the Spurs are on a mission to avenge last year.Miami on the other hand is looking to 3 peat which would put them among the best ever.LeBron James is looking to get closer to Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time.Tim Duncan has 4 rings himself and is looking for number 5. With last year as a backdrop, this should be a great series.That’s my opinion.