Friday, April 10, 2009

Abbott and Costello: Who's On First?

With baseball season now up-and-running, this would be a good time to post the famous Abbott and Costello skit "Who's On First"...this is real simple humor that doesn't have a swear word...

By the way, here is the lineup if you want to keep track...
First Base: Who
Second Base: What
Third base: I Don't Know
Left field: Why
Center field: Because
Pitcher: Tomorrow
Catcher: Today
Shortstop: I Don't Care/I Don't Give a Darn

I Want Revenge is looking for revenge at the Derby

Another favorite for the Kentucky Derby, which runs on Saturday, May 2nd, is I Want Revenge...

I Want Revenge has run eight times and won three, his latest was the Wood Memorial when he came from last to win by 1.5 lengths...see the video clip below of an incredible December, I Want Revenge lost by a nose to Pioneerof the Nile in the Cash Call Futurity...they faced off again in February at the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita...and once again, Pioneerof the Nile won with I Want Revenge coming in third...

Trainer Jeff Mullins was born in Murray, Utah and has been a lifelong horseman...he galloped horses when he was eight years old, and as a teenager, rode at bush tracks in his home state and in Wyoming...Mullins started training at 17, supervising a string at Les Bois Park in Idaho...

I Want Revenge
Trainer - Jeff Mullins
Jockey - Joe Talamo
Sire - Stephen Got Even

I Want Revenge's pedigree is laced with stamina on both top and bottom. He is by millionaire Stephen Got Even, a son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and grandson of 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew. Stephen Got Even captured the now known as the Lane's End S. at Turfway Park in just his fourth career start. In the wake of that effort, he went postward as the 5-1 second choice in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, where he was bumped on the first turn and eventually finished 14th.

Below is a 2:13 clip of I Want Revenge's win at the Wood Memorial

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pioneerof the Nile will be one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is fast approaching and Stiles Points will be featuring some of the top contenders for the first leg of the Triple's feature is on Pioneerof the Nile...

Pioneerof the Nile has raced eight times and has won five, including its last four races...on April 5th it won the Santa Anita Derby and on March 13th it took the San Felipe (video below)...

Pioneerof the Nile
Trainer - Bob Baffert
Jockey - Garrett Gomez
Sire - Empire Maker

Like many colts before him, Pioneerof the Nile will seek to avenge the loss of his father in the Kentucky Derby. His sire, the regally bred Empire Maker, won the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial prior to starting as the 5-2 favorite in the 2003 Run for the Roses, but complications from a foot bruise perhaps compromised his chances at Churchill Downs as he wound up 1 3/4 lengths second behind Funny Cide.

Steve Haskin of BloodHorse wrote this:
"This winning machine just goes out there race after race and gets the job done even with having to run counterproductive to his best running style. He can adapt to any pace scenario and is so smooth and light on his feet he's a joy to watch. It would be a surprise if he didn't handle the dirt just as well or better, but he still has to go out and do it."

This was written about Pioneerof the Nile on the Kentucky Derby blog:
overcame the challenge of another paceless race on Saturday and enhanced his status as a leading contender for the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1) with a one-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). It's now on to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, for the dark bay and trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Run for the Roses three times but who has not had a participant in the 1 1/4-mile Classic the past two years.

"He came out of the race very good, and he'll probably leave for Kentucky on the 14th," Baffert said Sunday morning, as he watched his two-time Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing (Indian Charlie) jog. "He's still pretty fresh at the barn this morning. He never had to lay his body down."

Pioneerof the Nile has rarely if ever experienced a pace scenario that would benefit his come-from behind style. He began his current win streak in the December 20 CashCall Futurity (G1) in his final start at two, made his three-year-old bow a half-length score in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) and was a 1 1/4-length victor of the San Felipe S. (G2) on March 14.

"I'm figuring out his style as we go along," Baffert said. "I learned a lot from that horse yesterday. You get a little bit out of each race, and it prepares me for the Derby, so I'm really happy with my situation right now. The only time he really hooked top-caliber horses was in the Robert Lewis. But we know what he can do when he does hook them, and he's improving."

Garrett Gomez has ridden Pioneerof the Nile in each of his four victories, but the dual Eclipse Award-winning jockey also has ridden Florida Derby (G1) runner-up DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song) for Todd Pletcher, who hopes to make the Kentucky Derby despite marginal graded earnings at this time.

"I haven't even given that any thought," Baffert said when asked if he had Gomez for the Derby.

A 3:34 clip of Pioneerof the Nile's win at the San Felipe:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Human Eraser, Marvin Webster, found dead

The Associated Press is reporting that Marvin Webster, a fierce shot-blocking center who helped lead the Seattle SuperSonics to the 1978 NBA finals, was found dead in a hotel bathtub in Tulsa, Okla. He was 56.

His body was discovered in his room Monday morning in the downtown Ambassador Hotel, police said Wednesday.

Foul play is not suspected and the death apparently stemmed from an illness, police spokesman Jason Willingham said. He added that the former 7-foot-1 center had been living at the hotel and employees grew concerned after not seeing him for several days.

The medical examiner office said the cause of death has not been determined. W. Charles Bennett, Webster's former agent and current financial adviser, said Webster's death was related to coronary artery disease.

Known as "The Human Eraser," Webster spent nine seasons in the NBA. He averaged 16.1 points during the SuperSonics' playoff run in 1978. He signed with the Knicks the following season and played six years in New York.

Detroit Pistons assistant coach Darrell Walker played with Webster in New York during his first two NBA seasons.

"That second unit we had when I was here, it was myself, Trent Tucker, Louis Orr, Ernie Grunfeld and Marvin Webster was our center on that second unit," Walker said before the Pistons faced the Knicks. "The second unit, we'd press and trap, and Marvin was back there erasing it. He was a great shot blocker, one of the best shot blockers of all time."

After playing 333 consecutive games, Webster missed the next two seasons because of hepatitis before making a failed comeback with Milwaukee during the 1986-87 season. He played in 15 games as a Bucks reserve before retiring.

"Anybody who knew Marvin personally would tell you he was a wonderful man. A jolly giant of a guy," Bennett told The Associated Press from Albuquerque, N.M.

Bennett said Webster was somewhat reclusive and was always "trying to find a place of serenity and peace." He remembered Webster as an avid reader who was deeply religious and enjoyed traveling.

Bennett said the hepatitis caused a toxic imbalance, and Webster had sought alternative treatment in Oklahoma. He liked the area and returned to visit for much of the past year.

For his career, Webster averaged 7.1 points and 7.0 rebounds. He played in college at Morgan State and his first pro season was with Denver of the ABA in 1975. He also played with the Nuggets after they joined the NBA the following year.

His best statistical year came with Seattle, when he averaged 14 points and finished ninth in the NBA with 12.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game. The Sonics lost the finals to Washington in seven games that year, one season before winning their only NBA title.

His son, Marvin Webster Jr., played college basketball at Temple but died during his sophomore year at 18 after a heart attack.

Herbert Warren Wind of Sports Illustrated coins the name Amen's Corner

In an article that appeared in last year's Augusta Chronicle, John Boyette writes how Amen's Corner got its name... "But a catchy nickname for the three holes didn't exist until Herbert Warren Wind, the golf writer for Sports Illustrated , came up with the term to describe the action in 1958." ...
  • John Boyette
  • Tuesday, April 07, 2009

    McShay has Denver grabbing Mark Sanchez to replace Jay Cutler

    Todd McShay of and updates his NFL first round draft selections after the recent trade of Jay Cutler nabbed the Denver Broncos an extra first round pick (18th overall) from the Chicago Bears...

    1. Detroit Lions (Record: 0-16): Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

    2. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

    3. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

    4. Seattle Seahawks (4-12): Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

    5. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas

    6. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1): Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

    7. Oakland Raiders (5-11): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

    8. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

    9. Green Bay Packers (6-10): B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

    10. San Francisco 49ers (7-9): Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

    11. Buffalo Bills (7-9): Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

    12. Denver Broncos (8-8): Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

    13. Washington Redskins (8-8): Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

    14. New Orleans Saints (8-8): Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State

    15. Houston Texans (8-8): Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

    16. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi

    17. New York Jets (9-7): Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

    18. Denver Broncos (from 9-7 CHI) (8-8): Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

    19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7): Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

    20. Detroit Lions (from 9-7 DAL) (0-16): Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC

    21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1): Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

    22. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Darrius Herward-Bey, WR, Maryland

    23. New England Patriots (11-5): Clay Matthews, OLB, USC

    24. Atlanta Falcons (11-5): Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

    25. Miami Dolphins (11-5): Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

    26. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): Brian Cushing, OLB, USC

    27. Indianapolis Colts (12-4): Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi

    28. Philadelphia Eagles (from 12-4 CAR) (9-6-1): Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

    29. New York Giants (12-4): Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois

    30. Tennessee Titans (13-3): Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

    31. Arizona Cardinals (9-7): Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut

    32. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut

    Matt Wieters: Baltimore Orioles stud young catcher will be a name we all know

    Over spring training one of the names that caught my eye was Baltimore Orioles young stud catcher Matt Wieters...I have read nothing but rave fact, some wrote the only reason the Orioles sent him to the minors to start the season was to delay the clock on his free agency...

    Here are some tidbits about Wieters...
    Matt Wieters, catcher
    - 6'5", 230 lbs
    - Switch-hitter
    - Drafted fifth overall in the 2007 draft
    - Played college ball at Georgia Tech
    - In addition to catching, he served as Ga. Tech's closer
    - Was Baseball America's 2008 Minor League Player of the Year

    From Baseball America
    - Above-average hitter with above-average power
    - Strong arm - threw out 46% of base stealers
    - Earned high marks for handling pitchers

    - Below average runner
    - May not last past 5 years as a catcher

    The Future
    " . . . so Wieters may open 2009 at Triple-A Norfolk. He'll reach the majors at some point during the season, and it's hard to see him going back down after that."

    Pat Summerall talks about drinking problem at Masters Prayer Breakfast

    Kelly Jasper of the Augusta Chronicle writes about former broadcaster Pat Summerall and his talk at the yearly Masters Prayer Breakfast... "Mr. Summerall also shared memories of Augusta, including one moment after the 1992 Masters Tournament, when fellow sportscasters confronted him about his long-standing, excessive drinking." ...
  • Kelly Jasper
  • Fuzzy Zoeller makes his last Masters appearance

    Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle writes about Tiger's recovery from knee surgery... "One television anchorman recently claimed this would be the most anticipated Masters ever, exceeding even the buildup in 2001 when Woods won his fourth major in a row." ...
  • Scott Michaux

  • Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle writes writes about Fuzzy Zoeller's final Masters tournament... "The charismatic Zoeller plans to call it quits after this year's tournament. He would have done it last year except that his children persuaded him to stick it out through the 30th anniversary of his win." ...
  • Scott Michaux

  • Jason Sobel of writes about this week's Masters... "Masters week is upon us and, as always, there are numerous story lines entering the sport's biggest event. This special all-Masters preview edition of the Weekly 18 begins with the notion, though, that this time around there might be more pre-tournament drama than any recent edition -- led by one player, of course." ...
  • Jason Sobel
  • Monday, April 06, 2009

    Head coach of Kentucky basketball is toughest college coaching job

    Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman rates the head coaching job of Kentucky basketball as the most stressful coaching gig in college sports... "With all due respect to Longhorn and Sooner fans and Notre Dame's subway, train and helicopter alumni, coaching Kentucky's basketball team rates as the most difficult job in all of college sports." ...
  • Kirk Bohls
  • Who will win the World Series?

    It's Opening Day for most Major League Baseball who do you think will win the World Series this year? a true American, use your rights and vote NOW!!!...remember, so people in like Laos do not have these rights...
    Who will win the 2009 World Series?
    Boston Red Sox
    Chicago Cubs
    Los Angeles Angels
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    New York Mets
    New York Yankees
    Philadelphia Phillies
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Tampa Bay Rays
    Other free polls

    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Chipper Jones begins 16th season with Braves

    Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes how Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones will be looked as the team veteran now that John Smoltz is no longer with the Braves...Jones is one of only nine active players with at least 10 years in the big leagues to spend his entire career with one team... "It’s understood that the occupant of that locker is the alpha Brave, the man expected to set the theme and tempo of a season. The maestro’s baton is super-glued to Jones’ hand now." ...
  • Steve Hummer
  • Michigan State vs. North Carolina: Will Tyler Hansbrough & crew get that elusive national title?

    Here is the write up and box score from the first time Michigan State and North Carolina met back on December 3rd...
  • Michigan State-North Carolina Boxscore from December 3

  • Michigan State-Connecticut
    Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press writes that Tom Izzo is not going to the NBA... "Mariucci is also Izzo’s most trusted sounding board. When the inevitable NBA suitors pursue Izzo in the coming weeks, he will seek Mariucci’s counsel. Mariucci doesn’t think his best friend is going anywhere regardless of how hard the NBA might push." ....
  • Drew Sharp

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press reviews the first time that Michigan State and North Carolina met this year... "Michigan State was only a piece of itself that December night, when North Carolina whipped the Spartans, 98-63. Tom Izzo knew it before tip-off. Everybody did." ...
  • Michael Rosenberg

  • Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant writes about the uncertainty surrounding the UConn program... "We will have to wait and wonder if this is the end of an era. On this Saturday night, we can say this much is certain: It is the end of a season." ...
  • Jeff Jacobs

  • North Carolina-Villanova
    Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News and Observer writes how Carolina must win Monday to deem the season a success... "It's always been about the whole shebang for this North Carolina basketball team. That's remained the overriding theme -- a daily swig of motivation -- since the Tar Heels left San Antonio empty-handed, wet-eyed and roundly panned after last season's Final Four." ...
  • Caulton Tudor

  • Bob Ford of writes how Villanova will look back at the "what-ifs"... "All the what-ifs added up against Villanova last night, finally becoming an 83-69 loss to North Carolina that eliminated the Wildcats from national championship contention one game short of that goal." ...
  • Bob Ford

  • Dana O'Neil of writes how Carolina won despite all their statistical errors... "They missed 15 free throws, got beat on the boards by five, lost the game in the paint by 10, second-chance points by three and even got beat on the fast break. And won by 14." ...
  • Dana O'Neil