Sports Friday On The Couch...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, April 11, 2008



How about some cake?

and confetti!!!!


This is probably the best time of year in sports. March Madness has just ended and this year it ended with a bang. A fantastic final game that came down to the last shot in regulation and then went into overtime. Unfortunately, Memphis did not win, but all the same...a fantastic three weeks of basketball.

Baseball has just begun it's regular season and all 30 teams have hopes and dreams of playing into October. Little leagues and pony leagues and Cal Ripken leagues have begun across the country. Young boys and girls all out in the fresh air, playing a great game and learning sportsmanship and teamwork.

The NBA regular season is wrapping up and the playoffs begin in a week. We are not a huge fan of the NBA any longer; the game has become to much about me, me, me...but the playoffs hold an allure to see the best players in the game battling each and every evening.

The NHL playoffs began on Wednesday. We have totally lost interest in the NHL over the last few years. Still, our Rangers are playing well this year and we would not be unhappy if they could make a run at Lord Stanley.

We were looking at the four major sports and how their playoffs are set up. Both in the NHL and the NBA a full 53% of the teams get into the playoffs (16 out of 30 teams qualify). Is this necessary? Why have a regular season? Just let everyone in the playoffs and be done with it.

The NFL lets 37% of their teams into the playoffs (12 of 32 teams). A number of years ago MLB added wild-cards to their playoffs and many of the tried and true fans rebelled. In the end it has worked out pretty well and has kept many teams in the races until the last minute. But, in the end, only 26% of the teams make the playoffs (8 of 30). This is where we think the number should be.

The playoffs are for those teams that worked hard during the regular season...the teams that did their jobs the best. To allow 50%+ of the teams into the playoffs just seems, to us, to be overkill.

In Georgia, the azaleas are blooming and 42 invited men are walking the lush green fairways of Augusta National Golf Club. One of the hardest tickets in sports to obtain, these ducats are willed down to family members and cherished. This year marks the 51st appearance for Mr. Gary Player. It also marks the 30th Anniversary of his last win and he is 73 years young. Think about that...he has been playing in this tournament longer than most of our readers have been alive. remarkable!

He has won three Green Jackets over those years. Unfortunately, this track can be brutal and he shot a +11 in his first round.

Trivia fact...did you know that the Green Jackets are not allowed to leave the grounds of Augusta? YUP!

The Olympics begin in Beijing, China on August 8th, but the repercussions of the IOC selecting this location is causing world-wide upheavals. Protests have been held everywhere the Olympic Torch has appeared. Leaders or representatives of some countries are debating on whether they will boycott the opening ceremonies.

We understand the protests due to China's abysmal human rights records, but to physically attack normal citizens who are carrying the Torch, the symbol of these games, makes no sense.

Let's be honest folks, the Olympics have changed. Professionals are now allowed to take part in the games. they are covered in politics more so now than every before; discounting the 1936 games in Berlin, the US boycott in 1980 and the retaliatory boycott by the Soviet Union in 1984. There actually was a time when politics were not part of the Olympics. When amateurs competed against amateurs and the goal was to excel against the greatest from other countries.

Now, this week, the IOC executive board disqualified and stripped the medals from the athletes who won gold with Marion Jones in the 1,600-meter relay and bronze in the 400-meter relay.
Her teammates on the 1,600 squad were Jearl-Miles Clark, Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson (pictured above).

The 400-relay squad also had Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson.

We understand why Jones was asked to turn in her medals, but to chastise and stigmatize these other women is going overboard. There is no proof any of them cheated. They did their best and their team won. Some will say that they won because Jones cheated. Is the IOC now going to go back to the 60's and the 70's when the East Germans and the Soviets were using performance enhancing drugs and strip away all of those medals?

All of us who regretted the end of Brett Favre's career might have shed tears prematurely. "It would be hard to pass up, I guess," he told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. "But three months from now, say that presents itself, I may say, you know what, I'm so glad I made that decision. I'm feel very comfortable in what I'm doing and my decision."
"Yeah, I can probably be up there doing that and playing, but again, I don't know. It's only speculating. I think the world of that team. I had a lot of fun, not only this year, but over my career."

But if Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury?

"Aaron has fallen into a great situation," Favre said. "And if that opportunity presented itself and they did call, it would be tempting. And I very well could be enticed do it."

Favre did say he would be hard-pressed to accept in October and it would all depend upon if he was in shape.

C'mon you think he would NOT be in shape and would NOT say yes? Me thinks he would be on the first play to Green Bay.

Well...maybe three of you have gotten to this point without hitting the 'close window' button and moved on to another blog...

For you is some Tuneage for your weekend. Have a great happy.

Live at Keystone is the re-issue an an album originally released in 1973. It was the result of a jam session at the Keystone in Berkeley with guitarist Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders on keyboard, John Kahn on bass, and Bill Vitt on drums. When it was originally released in the 70's, this was record one of a two record set. With the remastered 2004 release, it was split into two separate discs; however, an additional track, "Merl's Tune" was added so that you have 55 minutes of music on volume one.

Merl Saunders was a long-time collaborator with Garcia, with the Dead, and the leader of many different bands in the Bay Area. He's also worked as a keyboardist on the Hammond organ with a long list of musicians, including Harry Belafonte, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, B.B. King, and Bonnie Raitt.

Two to take you into the weekend "It's No Use" and the aforementioned "Merl's Tune"


37 Of Your Sparks

  1. Liz Hill Says:
  2. The NASCAR season is hitting stride. Jeff Burton leads the points race with two time defending champion Jimmie Johnson 144 points back in sixth place. Jeff Gordon will try to climb back into the Chase for the Cup as the drivers tackle Phoenix this Saturday night.


    Nice tunes sugar--have a good weekend;-)

  3. Schmoop Says:
  4. Y'know...If the NBA season gets any longer it's gonna start running into the following season. Cheers!!

  5. Twyla Says:
  6. It's a shame that the Olympics aren't about the amazing athletes anymore.

    Hope you have a great weekend. :-)

  7. Travis Cody Says:
  8. Thanks for the birthday shout and the CAKE!

    So many sports, so little time.

  9. TURNBABY: turn left...yellow flag...turn flag...turn left...look out accident....yellow flag...turn left...get gas and tires...

  10. MATT-MAN: Well then Ryno will be playing all year long dude...

  11. TWYLA: Yes, it is a shame - enjoy your weekend

  12. Julie Says:
  13. Have a great weekend dear Vinny!

  14. Everything is blooming in Georgia and I am not there =(

    I'm with Turnbaby...NASCAR! I don't give a rats patootie if that makes me a redneck. Pass me a PBR and let's go fast!

  15. You've got a sports smorgasboard today, my friend. I hate that the Olympics has become what it has. I always loved watching the competition because the athletes were competing for love of the sport and for honor of their country. Now? Who knows their motivation, or at least that's the way it seems.

    Hard for me to ignore the NBA, as I had hoped. I suppose hope springs eternal for Suns fans.

  16. oboy CAKE!!! i thought i smelled cake in here! oboy oboy oboy...

    smiles, bee

  17. JULIE: You also sweet friend

  18. STARRLIGHT: So, get there! and are ya wearin' your daisy dukes while drinking the PBR?

  19. Tug Says:
  20. Ya' much as I love Favre, I think he left at the right time. Time to move forward to all involved.

  21. SONGBIRD: Hope springs eternal for Sun's fans... yup it appears so

  22. BEE: If anyone can smell cake it is you!

  23. TUG: Agreed....the impact of retiring gets lost after the fourth time!

  24. DrillerAA Says:
  25. The Masters is full of unique traditions, but I had never known that the green jackets don't leave the premises. Does that save them the trouble of actually giving multiple jackets to the likes of Mr. Player, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Nicholas, and Mr. Woods? You know they can afford it.
    Have a great week-end!

  26. leelee Says:
  27. I love baseball and I love that Jerry Garcia Jam...thanks for the smiles..

  28. LEELEE: LOVE LOVE LOVE baseball and Jerry

  29. The Teamster Says:
  30. bond...great tune....anything with garcia is good.....might go see John Lee Hooker Jr. at a little dive bar in Sacramento....have you seen him?

    turn....a Nascar fan? by the way...they make right hand turns at Infineon and Watkin Glen...

    travis..happy birthday

  31. DRILLERAA: This from The Masters Site: "The tradition began in 1949, when Sam Snead won his first of three Masters titles. The green jacket is only allowed to be removed from Augusta National by the reigning champion, after which it must remain at the club."

    TEAMSTER: yup garcia is incredible...Never seen Hooker..would love to though. Yeah Turn likes the left hand turns and you are correct The Glen definitely has right hand turns.

  32. Anndi Says:
  33. Happy Birthday to Travis!


    all I got...

  34. Ralph Says:
  35. How about Boston-New York tonight? Buchholz-Wang (or Wang-Bucholz as you probably prefer :>)

    As for playoffs, I remember when the NHL when they absorbed the WHA…16 out of 21 teams made the playoffs, a depressing 76.1% able to play in the post-season.

    MLB is probably the purest in regards to a more meaningful playoff system. Problem is that too many people make lots of money selling lots more beer because of playoff expansion. Commerce always trumps talent I’m afraid…

  36. Mimi Lenox Says:
  37. Thanks for telling us about Trav's birthday. I have rendered my Pencil Skirt song to him.

  38. Lu' Says:
  39. Oy I don't get into sport. Participate in one, trapshooting. Man I don't think my brother-inlaw blogs. He would so dig this site. He enjoys sports, watching I believe. He adores music. Wealth of knowledge that guy. As always thanks for the tunes Sir.

  40. Ken Says:
  41. Dab Nab It I'm one of the three that moved right on down to these tunes.....................
    And I'm just lovin it!

    More than any band, I've seen Dead!

  42. Jeff B Says:
  43. To me the watering down of the playoff pools in sports has become a celebration in mediocrity. Average is now considered noteworthy. Too bad.

    I hope Favre doesn't play the I think he'll be a lot more respected if he just hangs it up as previously stated.

  44. ANNDI: well thanks for stopping by

    RALPH: We took the first one... Wang was brilliant...I remember the 76.1% in and never understood it...and you are is revenue that expands playoffs not talent

  45. MIMI: I am sure he was thrilled

    LU': Send him over do not need to blog to read! and you are welcome

  46. MICKEYT: Glad you made it down to the Tuneage...It is tied between the Dead and Hot Tuna for me

    JEFF: It truly is too bad Sir and I agree regarding Favre.

  47. Meribah Says:
  48. **Eyes glaze over at the mention of sports** Huh? What? I'm awake! Really! LOL :P

  49. TopChamp Says:
  50. gutted I didn't spot trav's birthday sooner!!

    Still I'm sort of offline.

    I don't get the sport but enjoyed the music. Hope you're having a good weekend.

  51. cathy Says:
  52. Ok, It's Sunday morning here in Athens and although I'm a lapsed catholic I have an urge to confess...

    ... I didn't read the post, I just had a nap on the couch, sorry. I don't like watching sport let alone reading about it.

    You're right about the olympics though and I had to stop the music because if I sit here and listen to a "├┐ou done me wrong"song I would probably have to pan my husband's head afterwards.

    Have a great weekend! LOL

  53. What is really sad is that Jeff's comments about football could also be used to describe todays parental expectations. The celebration of mediocraty and the "I deserve something cause I showed up" attitude goes far beyond sports in this country.

  54. MERI: Come out of it...:::slaps you twice lightly::: c'mon girl come out of it

    TOPCHAMP: Glad you enjoyed the music at least

    CATHY: LOL I am also lapsed...napping is fine...we allow our guest the option...but you did read some of it! LOL

    STARRLIGHT: Very true...I have preached on that here

  55. katherine. Says:
  56. I missed travis' birthday! (gonna have a word with the Teamster! NASCAR for a week!)


Music On The Couch