Okay, I know that the “Powers-to-Be” would put it down entirely to not wanting to run up against the three-day Gorge-uh-Thon of this year’s NFL Draft, but isn’t it somewhat ironic that upon the day that should have solely been reserved for Jason Collins news about being Gay, instead the National Basketball Association decided to trump this most positive development towards the breaking of a major barrier by smothering it instead with the ridiculous news that their mini Board of Governors had unanimously voted 7-0 to reject Seattle’s bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to the Pacific Northwest instead.
And in case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere or haven’t heard yet, 34-year old Washington Wizards seven foot Center Jason Collins announced to the sporting world on Monday, April 29th that he’s Gay, becoming the first current male athlete to openly announce his sexual preference vs. the small smattering of retired Pro-sports athletes to do so.
Even more impressive than Collins Sports Illustrated piece was the immediate positive response from ex-President Bill Clinton, while Collins also received personal calls from the lady simply called ‘O, as in Oprah Whim Frey and some guy named Barack, as in current “Commander-in-chief” President Barack Obama both supporting his decision to publicly come out.
Yet instead of this important story garnering the deserved national media attention, Dr. Stern and his Henchman Mr. Benedict were busy crashing the boards and instead bruising their way to the top of the heap with the announcement that the Clay Bennett led NBA Relocation committee had said ‘Nyet to Chris Hansen’s tender offer to relocate the woeful Sacramento Kings to Seattle…
And I just caught the tail end of I-T, thus missing the actual segment when the irrepressible “Round Mound of Rebound,” aka Sir Charles, nee Charles Barkley in his iconic straight to the point style told NBC Sports Network’s Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show that EVERYBODY in the NBA has played with a Gay athlete.
Even better yet, I thought Barkley’s comment on Collins was oh so succinct, when pointing out how Collins has played on six teams during his NBA career and thus SIX NBA Teams have had a Gay player on its roster…
Charles Barkley: “Everyone Has Had Gay Teammates” in NBA
Yet in one article I’ve perused - and only one article so far that I’ve come across, it rightly points out that Collins isn’t the first active major league sports athlete to come out, as that honour actually belongs to Glenn Burke, who I’ve previously written about on Sportyblog; as Burke, then a budding Major League Baseball star had the audacity of coming out in 1976 before being promptly ran out of the league…
Ousted MLB Soul finally recognized 16 years later…
Thus, its overly sad and pathetic that its taken a further 37-years for a second active player in one of the Big Four sporting leagues, i.e.; NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL to come out, which seemingly speaks volumes over how Homophobic these bastions of Professional Sports are, or at least the leaders of said leagues…
Yet supposedly controversial Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stated he’d be perfectly willing to employ a Gay player upon his NBA Franchise, and thus Mr. Cuban, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is by signing Collins to a Free Agent contract for next season, as previously Cuban made headlines by saying he’d have liked to have taken the WNBA’s Number One Draft Pick Brittney Griner to become the first female to play in the NBA.
Thus, perhaps unknowingly Cuban would have killed the proverbial “Two byrds with One Stone” after Griner, drafted by the Woman’s National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Mercury came out announcing that she was a Lesbian which seemingly garnered extremely little fanfare, and was for all practical purposes a Non-story - which begs the question why is a male’s coming out so much more sensational than a female’s? Or better yet why is female Homosexuality tolerated so much better?
Yet kudos to Griner for taking a public stands by not only declaring her Homosexuality but promoting the “It Get’s better” initiative.
And while I applaud the steps some of the major professional leagues are taking, most notably the National Hockey League teaming up with the “You Can Play” project along with both the San Francisco 49ers first, then with the reigning MLB World Champion San Francisco Giants following suit - jumping on the It Get’s Better Bandwagon; you certainly have to wonder what type of message it sends to current active professional athletes when the National football League’s two most outspoken and high profile Pro- GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Gay Rights players, the Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (36) and Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe (31) are both waived from their respective teams this season. Not to mention several NFL Franchises having recently been taken to task for asking potential draftees in this year’s draft if they like women?
Thus, as one article I read noted, the real issue to determine if these multi-billion dollar leagues are making progress will be whether or not any of the current 30-NBA (excluding Seattle) teams will pick up Jason Collins next year? Whilst I also say the NFL could help itself out on this position by two of its Franchises picking up the services of both Ayanbadejo and Kluwe and then ultimately having preferably multiple active players come out this fall, along with recent Gay announcee Robbie Rogers becoming an active MLS player.
As Oh, My, FREAKIN’ Gawd, somebody Gay is playing Professional Sports, really? I mean c’mon, isn’t it time to move past this stupidity…
Tags: NCAA Baseball · Golf · Racing · soccer · Tennis · Misc · Nascar · MLB Baseball · NBA Basketball · NFL Football · NHL Hockey · College Basketball · College Football
So now that it’s all over and another year of football has passed us by - with the Baltimore Ravens being victorious in Superbowl XL VII, what will Y’all do now, whilst you’re pining for the National Football League resuming play? As I suppose the next big thing will be the upcoming draft, right? (April 25-27)
And as we all know, what’s now become known as “Black Monday,” this past season’s recipients included eight Head Coaches - a quarter of the league plus five General Managers that I’m aware of being told to hand in their playbooks the day after 2012 regular season play ended.
Thus its somewhat funny to be putting this story to bed as the ‘lil transistor radio I listen to is blaring out an advertisement for the University of Washington Huskies returning to tradition at its newly renovated Husky Stadium on the shores of Lake Washington for the forthcoming fall college pigskin season…
Nevertheless, leading the honour roll of dismissed coaches was Philadelphia Eagles (4-12) Andy Reed with the most surprising firing being the Chicago Bears (10-6) Lovie Smith.
Other floundering NfL Franchises promptly followed suit, loosely in the following order: the Buffalo Bills (6-10) sacked Chan Gailey after three losing seasons. The Kansas City chiefs (2-14) took no pity upon embattled Head Coach Romeo Crennel who surely suffered the most traumatic season with the murder-suicide involving Linebacker Jovan Belcher.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, (2-14) who tied for the worst record in the league, fired first year coach Mike Mularkey, while the Cleveland Browns (5-11) dumped Pat Shurmur.
The Arizona Cardinals (5-11) wasted no time in jettisoning Ken Whisenhunt, the Franchise’s only coach to ever take them to the Superbowl with the San Diego Chargers (7-9) bringing up the rear by tossing Norv Turner after a bumpy few years as its head coach…
Thus, here’s a very quick perusal of the head coaching vacancies, since having been filled and their relative position in this year’s upcoming draft along with the entire first round rankings prior to any trade shenanigans…
No. 1 Overall: Kansas City Chiefs
Longtime Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reed landed firmly upon his feet by promptly being hired as the ‘Chefs next savior of its revolving door coaching carousel, as Reed should hopefully be able to improve upon the dismal 2-14 record, as I have NO idea what their draft priority is, since surely the whole team needs improving…
No. 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville lured Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley to become its new head coach after the Seahawks impressive 11-5 romp with its fierce defense, as Bradley will look to turn around the anemic KittyCatz back into stalking Jaguars.
(No. 3, Oakland Raiders; 4-12)
No. 4: Philadelphia Eagles
As we all know, after Oregon’s Chip “I wanna National title” Kelly will he, won’t he stay as Head Coach of the Pac 12 Ducks ultimately saw the 49-year old college offensive whiz take the Eagles head coaching vacancy. With Philly now having enticed Mikey “Woof-Woof” Vick to restructure his contract and return for a further year’s pay, along with battling for the undecided starting Quarterback position vs. Nick Foles, I’m guessing that the Eagles will look to fill some other glaring hole with its No. 4 pick. As speaking of pick’s, it looks like Kelly picked a good time to pull a Pete Carroll and turn pro as his Alma Mater’s Mighty Ducks appear to be headed for a raft of NCAA sanctions…
(No. 5, Detroit Lions; 4-12)
No. 6: Cleveland Browns
Cleveland took the brash decision of hiring a rookie head coach in selecting previous Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski to the veritable revolving door position, as he’s simply hoping to stop the Browns losing tradition.
No. 7: Arizona Cardinals
Arizona has chosen the Indianapolis Colts Offensive Coordinator and temporary Head Coach Bruce Ariansto fill the once mighty shoes of Ken Whisenhunt, as surely the Bidwell’s are banking on arians to continue his winning ways after effectively guiding the Colts back to the playoffs last season, albeit I’m guessing somebody named Andrew Luck played a role in that?
Yet surely All Pro Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald must be relieved over the ‘Cards having traded for Oakland Raiders QB Carson Palmer to the starting slot after having attempted to catch passes from four different signal callers last year…
No. 8: Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has hired rookie Head Coach Doug Maroni away from Syracuse University to turn around the woefully underperforming bills, who I recall, getting shellacked by Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks late last season…
(No. 9, New York Jets; 6-10)
(No. 10, Tennessee Titans; 6-10)
No. 11: San Diego Chargers
San Diego is apparently trying to put some spark back into their lightning bolts by having selected Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy to become its new head coach - as McCoy was instrumental in Kyle Horton’s turnaround in Denver before some guy named Peyton came to town and thus the Chargers will be hoping he can work his magic in revitalizing Phillip Rivers sagging ship…
(No. 12, Miami Dolphins; 7-9)
(No. 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 7-9)
(No. 14, Carolina Panthers); 7-9
(No. 15, New Orleans Saints; 7-9)
(No. 16, St Louis Rams; 7-8-1)
(No. 17, Pittsburg Steelers; 8-8)
(No. 18, Dallas Cowboys; 8-8)
(No. 19, New York Giants; 9-7)
No. 20: Chicago Bears
Chicago has gone completely outside of the box; Err country when obtaining its new head signal caller from Up North Eh! As the Bears chose Marc Trestman of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, who he led to consecutive Grey Cup titles - as apparently Jay Cutler and Crew weren’t used to having a head coach running up ‘N down the sidelines frantically during Mini-Camp to make his point clear vs. the laid back Lovie Smith style. Hey, may be it has something to do with trying to keep warm on Montreal’s frigid sidelines, eh?
(No. 21, Cincinnati Bengals; 10-6)
(No. 22, St Louis Rams from Washington Redskins; 10-6)
(No. 23, Minnesota Vikings; 10-6)
(No. 24, Indianapolis Colts; 11-5)
(No. 25, Seattle Seahawks; 11-5)
(No. 26, Green Bay Packers; 11-5)
(No. 27, Houston Texans 12-4)
(No. 28, Denver Broncos; 13-3)
(No. 29, New England Patriots; 12-4)
(No. 30, Atlanta Falcons; 13-3)
(No. 31, San Francisco 49ers; 11-4-1)
(No. 32, Baltimore Ravens; 10-6)
Rankings are made in descending order of season accomplishments with reigning Superbowl Champions going last, followed by Superbowl loser and corresponding Division Champions and Wildcard playoff teams and then regular season records. In cases of ties, the league reverts to its strength-of-season formula, which can further be decided by division records and ultimately a coin toss…
(First round Draft order source; NFL.com)
Tags: NFL Football
Not being a fan of Major League Baseball, nor collecting sports memorabilia in general - as I’ve spent copious amounts of Dinero upon Motorsports items such as Diecasts, lithographs and serigraphs instead, I simply had no concept of why one particular baseball card would fetch millions…
And I have to say that the more I hear the term T206 I think of thee Terminator, as in T2 I believe it was once called? Y’all know that indestructible robot character ‘Awnie (Arnold Schwarzenegger) played back in the early 1990’s when Judgment Day was released; but I digress…
Thus, having just heard of another record sale being made at auction for this mysterious T206 card, which fetched an incredible $2,105,770.50 for Golden Auctions on April 6th; Aye Karumba! I was left pondering just who in the Hell is Honus Wagner and why is his baseball card worth so much?
A quick perusal of the Internets led me to the all knowing Wikipedia, which I prefer to call ‘WICKEDpedia due to its being correct approximately 69.86% of the time? Yet nevertheless, its T206 Honus Wagner page was quite interesting, along with being entertaining too, as I was totally unaware that the lucrative, prized and most expensive example of this baseball card is known as the Gretsky T206 Honus Wagner, which is the Holy Grail of all known existing Wagner cards having last fetched a staggering $2.8-million paid by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick.
Apparently the card is worth its insane value due to its miniscule publication, as its age of original circulation plus overt rarity makes its availability a veritable needle in a haystack! As the card was produced by the ATC (American Tobacco Company) between the years 1909-11, with only a mere 50-200 thought to be produced.
As the ATC created the T206 series in order to interest purchase of its cigarettes - deciding to issue cards representing 524 Major League Baseball players of the time period, for which apparently Honus Wagner was considered to be the greatest player of all then - a distinction sometimes disputed with ty Cobb, whom himself admitted to Wagner being the greatest ever, while historians decry Honus as the greatest Short Stop to ever play the position.
But I still don’t know who Honus was? As a quick search reveals that he played for twenty years in the majors, almost exclusively for the Pittsburg Pirates, beginning his big league career in 1897 and hitting a ‘Mega .344 batting average as a rookie. As Wagner would end up with a lifetime hitting average of .327 while hitting over .300 in seventeen of his twenty seasons! He also won eight batting crowns along with a World Series ring and upon retiring became the Pirates manager.
He was also called the Flying Dutchman which makes me laugh since that is the moniker firmly affixed to two time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, albeit Luyendyk is actually of Dutch descent whilst Wagner’s nickname was affixed due to his prestigious speed and Germanic descent, as in Herr Deutch…
Reportedly the Wagner baseball card’s rarity is due to the fact that Wagner refused to give the ATC permission to utilize his image due to not wishing to have youngsters purchasing tobacco in order to obtain his card, which hence, the ATC quickly pulled from its T206 series.
As for the illustrious Gretsky T206 Honus Wagner card, which was first sold to memorabilia dealer Bill Mastro, originally for a paltry $25,000 during the mid-1980’s, which changed hands a second time before being sold again, I’d presume part of its intrinsic value is due to the Provenance of one of its past owners, as yeah, its that Gretsky, as in thee Great One, i.e.; the National Hockey League’s No. 99 Wayne Gretsky who purchased the card in an auction in 1991 where the card’s pre-sale estimate value was pegged at a measly $114,000 for which Gretsky shilled out $451,000 - four times the estimate, before he turned around and resold the card four years later to Walmart for use as a grand prize giveaway, for which Gretsky was paid a cool half million, with the Sweepstakes winner name being drawn upon the Larry King show…
The winner, a Post Office employee couldn’t afford the taxes upon her winnings and thus elected to have it put up for auction again, this time being sold at Christies for $640k to Michael Gidwitz, who’d lost out on the card four years earlier against Gretsky - and thus the precedence was set for this card’s value to continue skyrocketing, while another Sports Memorabilia expert named Alan Ray claimed previously that he had pictures revealing that the card had been doctored by its original buyer, a one William (Bill) Mastro, which was refuted and primarily downplayed.
Thus, I’m sure partly due to the recent sale of another T206 Wagner card, possibly the “Jumbo” Wagner? I’m sure that public scrutiny of all things Wagner is tantamount? As ironically just four days prior to the latest sale, a judge rejected Mastro’s second Plea-arrangement deal for mail fraud, in which he’s not only admitted to hiring “shill Bidders” to pump up bids for his former Auction company, but did indeed tamper with the Gretsky Wagner card by trimming its edges in order to increase its value. Which I’d presume is one of the few times altering an original is actually worth doing, since typically alterations are known to ruined an item’s intrinsic value…
And Y’all may have heard recently of the Honus Wagner card that was bequeathed to the Roman Catholic Nuns of Baltimore’s Sister’s School of Notre Dam, which also had an interesting outcome during its 2010 auction. Its original winning bidder failed to cough up the quarter-million plus he’d agreed to pay for it, before the Auction company offered it to a longstanding reputable client for the same price, which after they’d taken their obscene 19% Commission Fee, wired the Nuns a cheque for $220-large!
While another interesting example of a Wagner card is known as the All Star Café card and was apparently once owned by Charlie Sheen who loaned it to a café from which said card was stolen…
As all of this collecting hysteria makes me wonder if Baseball Cards are the only type of cards worth any value. As I have NO idea if the NFL, NBA or NHL offer such cards? Which makes me wonder if I’ve got anything of value myself?
While I’ve also read recently about a current Major League Baseball player named Pat Neshek of the Oakland Athletics whose trying to collect a complete set of a single year, as Neshek is trying to finish off his collecting of the year 1985 - having approximately 75% of the staggering 792 cards signed! Which makes me wonder just how valuable an entire 524 T206 card series would be worth? Especially since 76 of its selectees became Hall of Famers…
An Autograph Collector With Special Access
Tags: Misc · MLB Baseball
Wednesday, April 3rd was the day of reckoning for Sacramento Mayor and ex-Phoenix Suns All Star ‘KJ, nee Kevin Johnson to present his latest rescue plan to the National Basketball Association to keep the city’s only major professional sporting franchise from leaving his city.
Having grown a bit weary of the will they, won’t they made for TV drama that’s been occurring in Sacramento for the past three years now. In a nutshell, without going into the whole enchilada of details, the Sacramento Kings have been teetering upon relocation for the last three years, after the current majority owners, the Maloof’s reneged upon a handshake promise to keep the team there and occupy a new, purpose built basketball arena, after Joe and Gavin Maloof had tearfully told a sell-out crowd at center court with Kevin Johnson alongside that they loved the city and were staying put for the foreseeable future - the next thirty years when announcing their new Arena financing scheme whilst beating the Utah Jazz on Feb 28, 2012.
Yet, this like previous deals were scuttled ultimately by the Maloof brothers, sending Mayor Johnson scrambling to secure the Kings staying put by making last minute “Three-pointers” from Downtown, when presenting NBA Commissioner David Stern rescue plans, as Johnson and his latest entourage will present his second rescue package in the past three years in New York city after the combined professional basketball’s relocation and Finance 12-member committee hear Seattle’s Chris Hansen group pitch first.
The Maloof’s, who tried moving the NBA Franchise unsuccessfully to Anaheim once, made a pending sales agreement with Chris Hansen, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom’s to purchase their 65% majority stake back in January for $341-million, upon which the team would be relocated to Seattle and a new purpose built 18,500 seat Arena would be built in Downtown Seattle, nearby the current homes of the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders FC and Mariners, with the brand new facility costing $490-million, which $200m would be financed by the city.
Meanwhile, in his last ditch heroics to save the Kings, Johnson has rustled up a new ownership group along with orchestrating a new $448m Arena project which would utilize $258m public funds while renovating a fast decaying portion of the cities downtown corridor.
The part I’m not crazy about is how the NBA has issued a gag order against the Maloof’s and Chris Hansen’s ownership group while letting ‘KJ have the public spotlight all to himself. Yet, I feel that perhaps it’s all just more theater? As it seems the important caveat finally disclosed is: the league is purely meeting to discuss whether or not to approve the pending sale, which it’s only blocked once in recent history, back in 1994 involving the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But with today’s meeting solely focusing upon whether or not to approve the pending sale and subsequent relocation, which the sale only needs 75% approval and the relocation 50%, coupled with the fact that George Maloof says he wishes to complete the pending sale.
Along with the fact that Seattle’s new ownership group’s deal is already in writing, plus having the twelfth largest television market vs. Sacramento’s twentieth; eight Fortune 500 companies vs. 0 and Chris Hansen just divulging that 44,000 people have placed their names upon the priority ticket waiting seating list, not to mention 268 potential suite owners and 983-interested business sponsors, I’d have to say that the ball certainly seems to be bouncing in Seattle’s favour.
Yet after a five year void of no professional basketball team here, and once again having had to cancel our yearly waterfront Fourth ‘O July Fireworks extravaganza; not to mention that the World Cup Soccer qualifying match this summer is being capped to only 42,000 tickets due to a Mariners game taking place at the same time, does Seattle really need another professional sports team? As I cannot say I’ve overly missed them, yet we’ll all find out when the entire NBA Board of Governors meet for their annual meeting upon April 18-19…
Tags: NBA Basketball
In 2012, the total payout from the US Open sat at $25.5 million. This number is set to increase to $33.6 million in 2013, and will continue to climb all the way up to $50 million by 2017.
Over the past year tennis players have pressured officials to increase the money they put in the prize pot. The tournament brings in around $250 million a year, and only around 10% of that was paid to players in 2012. Now the number will gradually increase all the way through to 2017, which should reassure players and bring an end to tensions.
US Open tennis tickets website StubHub says the news will lead tennis players to turn their attention to Wimbledon. The All England Club will reveal their 2013 prize package towards the end of April, and they are likely to see intense lobbying in the run-up to the announcement.
Players were lobbying not just for increased pay, but also for a change to the hectic schedule where the semifinal and final would be played on consecutive days. The US Open has acknowledged that this is no longer appropriate for the modern game and they have agreed to change the way it works. Now, the tournament will run for 15 days instead of 14. The men’s final will run on Monday, and the women’s on Sunday.
The players are unhappy with the idea of a Monday final, but this will change after 2015. From that point the men’s semi will be on Friday and the final on Sunday; the women’s semi will be on Thursday and the final on Saturday. This will allow the men to have a Sunday final, and it will give players a full day of rest between matches, which has been an objective of the players for some time.
The players have consistently said they would like to see tennis have more professionals who can afford to live off the sport. This would suggest that they would like to see more prize money reach players at the bottom, but it’s still unclear how the money will be distributed, although the final total has been agreed.
It is unclear whether or not men and women will be paid equally in the coming year. This has become a hotly debated topic in the sport, and unless women see equal pay, we can expect to see aggressive lobbying on the issue.