Islanders Lose a Legend

Islanders BannerIt has been confirmed that legendary coach Al Arbour has passed away in Florida.

As an Islander fan for as long as I can remember, Al has always been a revered figure in Islanders history. Not just for winning four straight Stanley Cups as a coach, but as a member of the community on Long Island, a father figure to his players, and a respected member of the hockey world.

Say what you will about the history of the Islanders franchise over the years, and there has certainly been some rather sordid events in the years since Al walked behind the bench, but any mention of Al Arbour brought any negative comments about the Islanders to a halt. There was simply no arguing with the character and accomplishments of the man we came to know as Radar.

I can’t help but wonder about the fact that Islander fans are losing another piece of their history during the same Summer that saw us say goodbye to the old barn as well. Hopefully, the team will do everything they can to keep that history deeply ingrained in the new location. A tribute to Al in the new arena would be a fitting way to start that trend.

Rest in Peace Al, and our prayers and condolences are with all who knew and loved him.

Reading – Russell Wilson claims his new water heals concussions. That’s corny and dangerous.

Russ, Russ, Russ. Maybe it’s a good thing the season is starting so people can pay attention to what happens on the field. This is really dangerous, and pretty much illegal.

This is one side of athletes and celebs using social media that is not a positive move, using the tools as a way to pitch products that they have investment in. It’s always been a thing to use athletes for endorsements, but when you let them have full control over the “pitch”, they may say things that are not helpful to the company being pitched. Or, in this case, make claims that amount to false advertising. Not cool Russell, and so offensive to all those families dealing with the aftermath of brain injuries caused by multiple concussions.

Russell Wilson claims his new water heals concussions. That’s corny and dangerous.

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Reading – Auburn’s athletic department tried to pay for classes players could pass

“To be clear, the athletic department cannot be trusted. An internal memo details the department’s fears that graduation rates will drop should public administration no longer be offered. Instead of saying, “If our players are congregating around one not-that-popular major and we realize it is one of the only ones they can pass, we have completely failed them,” the people in charge said, “Man, we gotta save that major.”

Then they offered money to keep it going. That money wasn’t accepted, but it should be the last reminder we need that it’s far past time to stop pretending that big-time football and academics are working in harmony.”

To be fair, this investigation is at Auburn, but it could easily be the same at most big-time college football programs. They are big business, and at best a money-making arm of an actual academic institution.

Auburn’s athletic department tried to pay for classes players could pass | For The Win

Reading – Players rip MLB for not taking fan safety more seriously

You know what? They make a valid point. If a professional athlete sitting in the dugout and paying attention to the game can’t react fast enough to avoid getting hit, what chance does a fan sitting right behind the dugout have? As much as we all like the chance at catching a foul ball, or not having to watch the game through netting, Gose’s comments have me thinking entirely differently about this. Let’s get some fan protection in there.

Players rip MLB for not taking fan safety more seriously

Reading – Ohio State to experiment with beer and wine sales in Ohio Stadium

This is actually a huge shift for OSU, even if it’s only for a small subset of fans at the actual game.

But it makes sense, college athletics is big-business, and like any big business, why would you let a revenue stream go untapped? If you walk around Columbus prior to a game, it’s clear that plenty of folks are drinking before entering the stadium. Here in Corvallis, and other stadiums in PAC-12 land last season, I got to see the ritual of half the stadium leaving at halftime to go grab a couple of drinks before coming back into the stadium. Why let someone else sell that alcohol?

Ohio State to experiment with beer and wine sales in Ohio Stadium

There Are Bad Trades and Then There Are The Dodgers Deadline Deals

cropped-8629542927_dbdfdea0c3_b.jpgDodger fans, myself included, had a fairly exciting end of July. As the non-waiver trade deadline came upon us, the team was very busy trying to add pieces that would help them be more successful in the postseason this year.

We were doubly excited that while we didn’t add the big names we hoped for, we seemed to be adding some decent parts without giving up any of the teams top prospects. Or at least it seemed that way, and even the media was impressed at the time.

That was then. This is now. What was added to the roster on the last day of July?

Matt Latos

Alex Wood

Bronson Arroyo

Jim Johnson

Luis Avilan

Jose Tabata

Jose Peraza

How has that gone so far as the Dodgers look to increase their lead over the Giants?

Latos – 3 starts, 6.75 ERA .305 opponents batting average, relegated to the bullpen.

Wood – the “best” of the bunch – 4 starts, 1 win, 5.01 ERA, .264 opponents BA

Arroyo – injured will not pitch this season. (Not news here, we knew this when the deal was made.)

Johnson – disaster would be putting it mildly. 8 appearances, an ERA of 21.00 and opponents are hitting an even .500 against him.

Avilan – 6 appearances, and while opponents are only hitting .225 against him, he somehow has an ERA of 7.20

Tabata – Yet to appear in an MLB game for the Dodgers

Peraza – one hit in 6 ABs, back in the minors while the team deals for Chase Utley instead.

Yikes. That’s hardly the look of a successful series of deals. The bottom line, for all the wheeling and dealing at the deadline, the Dodgers have gotten pretty much nothing from their additions. They find themselves just 2 games up on the Giants, with the same back-end of the rotation and bullpen in the 7-8th innings issues that they had prior to July 31st. In fact, the bullpen has become a nightmare. Is there another move in the Dodgers future? Or is the answer in the system already? The Dodgers better come up with something. They have a great 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation,and at closer,  but they need something from the rest of the pitching staff if they expect to improve on last season’s disappointment.