Thursday Jun 07, 2007

Ducks win! Ducks win the cup!

The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators to win the Stanley Cup last night! The team played well through the season and into the playoffs and deserved the win. Congrats to the team!

Too bad Hal Stern's favorite team were sitting at home watching, it would have been more pleasurable to avenge the 2003 Stanley Cup Final game 7.  Maybe next year, Hal.

 In an odd display of Southern California culture, after the post-game festivities, mostly dominated by the players skating around holding the cup, the programming went straight to Wheel of Fortune. I have to think that if Ottawa had won, the TV stations in Canada would still be showing highlights and party shots well into the wee hours of Friday morning.

Thursday Apr 26, 2007

mlb.com gets better every year

I've been a baseball fan for a long time.  Growing up in Alabama during the time of Hank Aaron's amazing career meant that I was an Atlanta Braves fan.  Now that I live near San Diego, I find it difficult to follow the Braves. Of course, I've also adopted the San Diego Padres, too.  The best way to follow the teams is now mlb.com. I've been visiting mlb.com for a long time and can say that without doubt they get much better every year. This year they've significantly improved the site, especially the gameday information.  The new gameday is very, very cool. It shows the pitches in 3-D including the strike zone and break. You can pick different angles to view the pitches. It is very, very cool.  Since such things cannot be completely automated, there must be someone in the back room putting together the play-by-play commentary.  Well, CNET just wrote a photo gallery showing the fine folks who run the site and put all of the information out there in near real time.  It is also cool because you can see some of the Sun gear in the background.  I'm happy to be a long time baseball fan (love ya Hank), and even happier to know that Sun has helped make mlb.com such a cool site.

Friday Jan 12, 2007

Dempsey to Fulham, Beckham to LA

Wow! Big day for the US on the contract front. Clint Dempsey got the ok for a transfer to Fulham where he'll join fellow Americans Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride. The deals are getting bigger for American players as we improve the talent pool, with this deal valued at just under $4M. From a worldwide perspective, the bigger news is that David Beckham will be playing just down the road from the ranch for the LA Galaxy.  I think he will spark some interest and inspire the next generation of players here.  I was just a kid when Pele played for the Cosmos, and I remember that most of my soccer friends wanted to be just like Pele.  Definitely a good day for the sport here.

 

Saturday Dec 30, 2006

Americans contribute to Chelsea's wobble

We are getting to see more and more soccer on television in America now.  And I hope that Americans are having a bigger impact on international soccer as we (slowly) grow better players. Today I watched Fulham "contribute to Chelsea's wobble" and am very pleased with Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra playing well and Carlos scored the equalizer in the 84th minute. While Chelsea was clearly not playing to the form we've expected over the past few years, Fulham played well and had many good scoring chances.  As more Americans get opportunities to play over seas, they should inspire better play back home.  You can make more money playing soccer than playing America's big-3 sports, check out some of the big contracts signed by the European clubs!

 

Friday Jul 14, 2006

Get on back to school...

Found myself a matchbook
Beside some hotel bed
Opened it up and looked inside
And this is what it said

Get on back to school
Domino college, back to school
Boneyard full of knowledge
Working vacation in a third world nation
Back to school

Yep, I'm starting school this fall. Never thought I'd be a Trojan...

[Parrotheads will recognize this as excerpted from Domino College by Jimmy Buffet and Dan Fogelberg]



Thursday Apr 27, 2006

183 wild miles

This weekend is the Wild Miles Adventure Relay race through the local desert. I just found out about it last Sunday, as word got out that the organizers need some assistance for communications. Cell phones are pretty much useless in some parts of the course and they need to be able to assist the runners as needed. Some of us ROARS members have volunteered to help provide communications are various checkpoints along the course. It should be fun.

In a nutshell, the Wild Miles Adventure Relay is a relay foot race on a 183 mile long course through the mountains and desert in eastern San Diego county. This year, 44 teams are competing. The race begins Saturday morning at 05:30 and should finish Sunday evening. They will run all night long. It takes a dedicated runner to compete in these events... not for the casual jogger. If you get a chance to prepare, maybe you can enter next year.

Monday Mar 21, 2005

Mississippi State falls, Duke advances

argv! It has been a bad month for my alma maters... now Mississippi State has lost to Duke in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. I guess I can look forward to opening day now...

Monday Mar 14, 2005

UAH falls, Bemidji State advances

My alma mater, UAH fell to Bemidji State 3-0 in CHS hockey last night. The Beavers advance to the NCAA tournament. I was able to catch some of the game on TV last night, which is unusual considering that college hockey rarely gets on TV to begin with, let alone all of the way out here in southern California. While it is no substitute for the NHL, college hockey is a lot of fun. Great crowds, lots of enthusiasm, and a good place to see the pro stars of tomorrow (assuming there is a tomorrow for the NHL...) If you get a chance, and don't get buried by the college basketball hype, checkout the NCAA hockey tournament.

Wednesday Feb 09, 2005

Fox Soccer Channel

Fox Soccer Channel is awesome! I can now forget the 2004-2005 NHL season.

Friday Dec 24, 2004

Hockey fans at Sun

I never knew there were so many hockey fans at Sun. Most folks know Scott is a long-time fan. But now I find that Hal Stern is a fan, too. Unfortunately for him, he roots for the Devil's.

How does an Alabama boy who grows up and moves to Southern California become a hockey fan? There is no real winter in either place. I was born in Huntsville during the space race. My father was in the Army Signal Corps and got stationed in Huntsville at Redstone Arsenal. After World War II that is where many of the German rocket scientists were designing rockets and missiles and dreaming of going to the moon. In 1950 the population of Huntsville was about 15,000 people. It wasn't even the biggest city in north Alabama, and when they designed the interstate highway system, it didn't even warrant a close pass. By 1970 Huntsville had about 130,000 people, most of them attracted by the space race and the US Army Missile Command. The town nickname is Rocket City. Most of the people who came to Huntsville weren't from Alabama originally. Many people came from northern climes and one of the passions they brought with them was ice skating. My parents are from northern Ohio and grew up with the cold and winter sports. Us kids learned to skate at a young age, but during the '70s it got too expensive to keep taking lessons and getting ice time, and I discovered soccer.

When I was in high school I also took courses at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who had a pretty decent soccer program, but a much better hockey team. As a student, I could get into the games for free. This came in very handy as an inexpensive way to go out and have fun without spending too much money. The team was quite good, compared to the competition, and often won.

Later, when I went to Mississippi State University I was somewhat shocked to find that not only did they not have a hockey team, but the nearest rink was over 100 miles away. Meanwhile, UAH went to NCAA division II and won titles in 1996 and 1998. Now the Chargers are in NCAA division I, and often play teams from up north (Wayne State is next, January 7) so they face stiff competition. Occasionally I can catch a game on DirecTV.

Another event that occurred during that time was cable television. Huntsville is about 200 miles from Atanta, and we would get to see some Atlanta Flames games. Prior to cable, the only games we could see were those carried by "big 3" networks, which was and is still quite limited. The Flames weren't very good, and moved to Calgary in 1980, where they have had some success. I still root for them on occasion.

Also in 1980 we were able to see the Miracle on Ice, with the US Hockey team winning the gold at Lake Placid. My friends and I really enjoyed watching that incredible feat.

During the mid-1980s through 1999, I didn't follow hockey much. I wasn't living in Huntsville anymore and Atlanta didn't have a team to follow. In 1999, I moved to Southern California. The Kings and Ducks are nearby, so I can see many of their games on TV. Although neither are dynasties like the Avalanche or Red Wings, they do play some pretty good hockey. The Ducks had a phenomenal season in 2003, very entertaining, with a bittersweet ending.

My wish for Christmas and the New Year is a return to the rink. C'mon guys, get your act together and work out a viable business plan. Although I do like watching the classic games, it is a little bit anticlimactic since I know that the Kings always win the King's Classics games. What do you say? Do it for an ex-pat Alabamian hockey fan!

P.S. Hal, whether they play or not, the Kings and Ducks are still better than those Devils.

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