Friday, July 31, 2009

Phoenix Coyotes: An Update

As we all know by now, the Phoenix Coyotes will remain, well, the Phoenix Coyotes. The NHL approved a bid headed by Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, which stipulates that he'll keep the bankrupt team in Arizona. They hastily rejected an offer by Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie because he wanted to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario. "That vote was unanimous", Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

The NHL was determined to keep the team in Phoenix, a city that in 14 years hasn't fully embraced, the idea of ice hockey in the desert. And with the dream season the Arizona Cardinals had, I doubt Arizonians will have ice hockey on their minds this coming winter.

This morning I received an e-mail from Lauren Robb of Winnepeg, Manitoba. Mr. Robb created the website Winnipeg Jets Online.Com ( with the hope that someday it can help influence the NHL to return to Winnipeg. After all the Phoenix Coyotes were once the Winnipeg Jets, an original expansion team since the World Hockey League began play in 1972. The WHL would later merge with the NHL in 1979.

In his site, Mr. Robb writes: "Winnipeg hockey fans, whose hearts were ripped out when their beloved Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes over a decade ago, are crossing their fingers in hopes the financially strapped NHL franchise could be returning to Canada."

Mr. Robb would love nothing more than to have a team in Winnipeg, but he is an ambassador for more Canadian teams in general. And quite frankly, I think the NHL should listen to him. An article by the Canadian Press states that 31% of NHL ticket revenue come from the 6 Canadian teams. In other words, 6 Canadian teams out of 30 total NHL teams bring in almost one-third its ticket revenue. Can someone please tell me what the NHL is thinking with this massive expansion in the U.S.

Here's an excerpt from Mr. Robb's e-mail to me:

Good Morning Jose!

It's quite unsettling that Bettman is trying so, so hard to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix. Where was that drive, that passion when the Jets were in trouble.

The good thing to come out of all of this is that many Canadian cities have raised their hand, during all this mess, stating that they're interested in housing an NHL team. This might open up the eyes of the other failing Southern teams that may be looking for a way out.

Time will only tell. I would absolutely love to have NHL hockey back in Winnipeg but, I would support the move North for any NHL franchise be it in Hamilton, Quebec, Saskatoon, Halifax or even another team in Toronto. There are too many American teams and not enough Canadian teams.

Lauren Robb

Mr. Bettman, I hope you're listening.

Pittsburgh Pirates: A Tale of Two Teams

Today marks the official trade deadline in Major League Baseball. Teams have until 4:00 pm eastern to pad their rosters for the stretch run.

A question on my mind these days is: "What has happened to the Pittsburgh Pirates?"

Pittsburgh has gone on a fire sale not seen since the days of Jack "Trader Jack" McKeon in San Diego. This house-cleaning began last year when they traded Jason Bay (to the Boston Red Sox) and Xavier Nady & Damaso Marte (to the New York Yankees) before the trade deadline.

So far this year, they have gone on a trade-happy rampage. Earlier this year they unloaded All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves and Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals. So far this week, former All-Star and senior Pirate's player Jack Wilson was traded to the Seattle Mariners, first baseman Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox and second baseman Freddy Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants. Who's next? I think if the Pirates can figure out a way to trade Sidney Crosby and Ben Roethlisberger, they probably would.

What's stunning about this whole thing is, we're not talking about some minor league team that plays in a "one-horse town" somewhere. We're talking about a major league team in Titletown, USA. The home of the defending Super Bowl champions, Pittsburgh Steelers and the defending Stanley Cup champions, Pittsburgh Penguins. Not to mention, the University of Pittsburgh, whose basketball team was ranked #1 on different occasions and were a #1 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament earlier this year.

This downward spiral began after the 1992 season. The Pirates are heading for a major league-record, 17th consecutive losing season. But for much of the 20th century the Pirates were one of the elite teams in baseball. So how do you go from being an elite team for over 90 years to becoming a struggling small business who has to get rid of its workers because you can't make payroll?

I mean, we're talking about a team with 5 World Series championships, 9 NL Pennants and 9 East Division titles, under its belt.

We're talking about the team of Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Pie Traynor, Paul Waner and Ralph Kiner. A team whose illustrious history has ingrained such moments as, Mazeroski's 1960 World Series winning home run and Stargell's "We Are Family" 1979 team, in the minds of baseball fans around the world. And let's not forget the catchy nicknames: "The Flying Dutchman", "Maz", "Pops", "The Cobra" and "The Candy Man."

Did the heart-breaking loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, deflate the hearts and souls of the franchise and the city? Is the ghost of Francisco Cabrera still lurking-about in the city streets? It seems to me that something happened after that loss and the team and the city have never recovered.

But the Pirates were not the first or the last team to suffer heart-breaking defeats. In Boston, they still haven't forgotten the ball that trickled through Bill Buckner's legs; in St. Louis, they still haven't forgotten the botched safe-call at first base in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series; in New York, we haven't forgotten the Arizona Diamondbacks incredible comeback in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, against the greatest closer (Mariano Rivera) ever. The same Atlanta Braves team who broke your hearts hasn't forgotten Jack Morris' 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the '91 World Series.

Whatever it may be, something is most definitely wrong in Pittsburgh and I think it's no coincidence that it started with the 1993 season. I look at the Pittsburgh Pirates as a tale of two teams; the great franchise (1887-1992) and the "whoa is me" impostor (1993-present) that manifested itself after that dreadful night on October 14, 1992.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Phoenix Coyotes are Staying Put: Is It Good or Bad?

On Wednesday, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously rejected Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie's application to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes. Instead the board approved a bid by Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls.

Balsillie's bid was turned down mostly because he wanted to move the team from the Phoenix area to the city of Hamilton in southern Ontario, Canada. Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Hamilton and the city is craving for an NHL team.

Reinsdorf agreed to buy the team and keep it in the Phoenix area. All this sounds legitimate so far, but I see one problem with it. Since moving to Phoenix in 1996, from Winnipeg, Manitoba (remember the Winnipeg Jets), the Coyotes have lost money every year so far. Not one profitable year in the 14 years they've been in Phoenix. So what makes Mr. Reinsdorf think he's going to turn that around?

When asked about Reinsdorf's approval, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said: "I think based on Mr. Reinsdorf's experience and reputation as an owner of two very successful franchises in other sports leagues, it's no surprise that his application would be endorsed."

Yes Mr. Bettman, but those two franchises you mention are a baseball team and a basketball team in Chicago. Don't compare those two juggernauts, from two highly popular American sports, to a hockey team in the desert.

Now let's put it in perspective. Reinsdorf's bid of $148 million was unanimously approved while Balsillie's bid of $212.5 million was rejected simply because he wants to move the team out of Phoenix to a city that would welcome them with open arms. The team hasn't made a penny in Phoenix and judging from their attendance records, ice hockey hasn't quite caught on in the desert. There are even rumors of inflating attendance numbers in order to hit revenue sharing targets. Meanwhile, it wouldn't be surprising if every game sells out in hockey-loving Hamilton, Ontario.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it seems to me it would've been a much wiser business decision if the NHL pocketed the extra $64.5 million from Balsillie's offer and let him move the team to Hamilton (where they may actually make a profit). Or maybe, Bettman and Reinsdorf have something up their sleeves. But for now, hockey in Phoenix ain't working.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brett Favre Makes The Right Decision

Legendary quarterback, Brett Favre, informed Minnesota Vikings head coach, Brad Childress, that he intends on staying retired. In my opinion, not only is this a good decision but a wise one as well. Playing in Minnesota would have cast a shadow in Favre's Hall of Fame career. Many would question his motive for playing for an inter-division rival of the Green Bay Packers.

When Farve and the Packers parted ways before the start of training camp last year, the entire football world knew it was a bitter parting. The Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets, a team outside their division and conference. An understandable move that's been done before. When the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana parted ways, the 49ers traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs, a team outside their division and conference.

When the Jets released Favre, leaving him free to sign with any team, many questioned his motives for showing interest in the Vikings. Favre, to this day, says it's his love and desire for the game. But could it be the two regular season games the Vikings play against the Packers? Is revenge on his mind? Even if the answer is no, it'll still leave a negative impression in the minds of many. Not to mention, the media circus these two games would produce, turning the NFL season into a soap opera.

Favre is without a doubt one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and he has nothing more to prove. This back and forth between retirement and comeback is getting old and hurting his legacy.

Stay retired, Brett. Don't tarnish you're "god-like" status in Green Bay. Someday, when they retire your number, it'll be "Brett Favre Day" and the entire city will be chanting your name. Don't blemish these future moments by casting a shadow of you in a Vikings uniform. At this point in your life, that would just be "excess baggage".

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let's Cut Michael Vick Some Slack

On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, approved a conditional reinstatement of Michael Vick. Vick can sign with any team, attend practices, training camp and play in the final 2 preseason games. The only remaining question is, will any team be willing to take a chance on him?

I do believe Vick has the right to regain his career and become a productive member of society. Vick has acknowledged his mistake, apologized for it and paid his debt to society. Yeah, you have the animal-loving people out there who say he's not being honest and is only doing it to repair his shattered image, but I believe in redemption and feel everyone deserves a second chance.

I don't condone what Mike Vick did. Dogfighting is cruel and he deserved the punishment he got and all the ramifications that came with this senseless act. But the guy has payed his debt and is willing to work with humane organizations to put an end to the cruel and illegal sport.

So I say, let's give the guy a shot. Hopefully soon he'll get back to doing what he does best, making electrifying plays on the football field.

Shame on the Washington Nationals!

On March 31, 2008, The Washington Nationals opened up their new stadium, Nationals Park. The stadium itself looks like a beautiful venue, but something is disturbingly missing.

Have they forgotten that they used to be the Montreal Expos? The only number hanging on the outfield wall of Nationals Park is #42, Jackie Robinson. As we know, every major league team has retired #42, in honor of Jackie Robinson. But The Montreal Expos, also retired #8 (Gary Carter), #10 (Andre Dawson) #10 (Rusty Staub) and #30 (Tim Raines). So why don't The Washington Nationals (formally known as The Montreal Expos) honor these numbers and proudly display them in their ballpark? To add insult to injury, current players are allowed to wear these retired numbers, i.e., #10 (Ronnie Belliard) and #30 (Justin Maxwell).

I just don't get it! You change your name and relocate and as far as you're concerned, who you were in the past, never existed? Does that make sense?

Considering that The Nationals are by far the worst team in the majors, the least they could do is honor their past and give their fans something to be proud of. After all, those numbers, The Montreal Expos retired, were of great players. Gary Carter is a Hall of Famer and Andre Dawson is a soon to be Hall of Famer.

Whomever made this decision in Washington, has no clue about the significance of baseball history. And for that I have to say, "shame on you, Washington Nationals."

"Chaos Theory"

This whole Robert Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley situation reminds me of something Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park, "just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean you should."

Mr. Gates could have approach the situation from two different angles. Lets take a look:

1) Did Mr. Gates have a right to spew all the rhetoric he did on those police officers while on his property? Sure. But what did he get out of it? All he did was "piss off" the police, who proceeded to arrest him for disorderly conduct. I'm guessing, Mr. Gates took comfort in himself while sitting in a jail cell knowing he stuck up for his "rights". If opening up a "can of worms" for the sake of principals made him feel good, I guess that's his prerogative. Enjoy your 15 minutes, Mr. Gates.


2) Why not put you're "principals" in your "back pocket" for 2 minutes, cooperate with the police, speak to them in an educated fashion and resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Who wants to be involved in a police confrontation? It's happened to me in the past and all I wanted was for the situation to end as quickly as possible. The only way that's going to happen is by remaining calm and cooperating with them. Once we start spewing all this political or social rhetoric at them, we're asking for trouble. I have no "beef" with taking the "principals" route, but personally I would just "chill" and get the thing over with, right there and then, with not too much hoopla.

It's amazing, how a simple response to an alleged break-in, followed by an overreaction by a Harvard professor, got the President of the United States involved in the mess. Quite frankly, he didn't come out looking too good either.

I think all the parties involved, including the President, should listen to Dr. Ian Malcolm.

Oh and, um, enjoy your beer, guys.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Saga of Pete Rose

Today we learn, Commissioner Bud Selig is considering lifting Pete Rose's lifetime suspension from Major League Baseball. With all that's happened in baseball, with the steroid's controversy, over the last 10 years, it's the least Selig can do.

If there's ever a player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, it's Pete Rose. Few players in the history of the game played with the fire and desire, like Rose did. He is by far the hardest working player I've ever seen play. No player sacrificed his body for the sake of his team and the game in general, like Pete Rose did.

Rose is the all-time leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and singles (3,215). He is second in doubles (746) and 6th in runs scored (2,165). Rose was a 17-time All-Star, the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year and the 1973 NL MVP. He holds the major league record with 10 200-hit seasons.

Rose received a lifetime ban in 1989 when he was found guilty of betting on baseball, while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. My question is, why should Pete Rose, the player, be punished for something Pete Rose, the manager, did? Considering what players have done to hurt the "integrity of the game" over the last 10 years, Rose's gambling looks like a misdemeanor.

At the time, Rose received his lifetime ban, steroid use was not even part of any baseball conversation. Gambling was the ultimate evil. Which is worse? Rose's gambling did nothing to pad his career numbers. He achieved his Hall of Fame career on pure talent and hard work. Steroids directly enhances a players performance. So why not a lifetime ban for those who knowingly hurt the game by using performance enhancing drugs?

If the Hall of Fame doesn't want Pete Rose, why is all his "stuff" there? Things such as bats, balls and uniforms from Rose's record breaking career are all on display in the Hall of Fame. So it's ok to recognize the records but not the man who broke those records?

I hope Commissioner Selig does the right thing by lifting the ban, so Pete Rose can be enshrined where he rightfully belongs, The National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Is Loyalty in Baseball a Thing of the Past?

As a baseball fan, I've always had the utmost respect for players who play their entire career with one team. In the old days this was not an unusual phenomena, but since the historic 1976 collective bargaining agreement, these players have become an endangered species. The '76 agreement was monumental because it was the official start of the era of free agency.

On December 23, 1975, the Reserve Clause crumbled, and the dawn of a new era began in baseball. Pitchers Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos played the '75 season without contracts and then demanded the right to put themselves on the open market. A three man panel consisting of a representative for the owners, a rep for the players and an independent arbitrator, Peter Seitz, heard the case. Seitz casted the deciding vote, ruling that Messersmith and McNally were free and had no further obligations to their respective teams. Thus changing the baseball world forever.

A consequence of free agency is that players nowadays rarely play an entire career with one team. They either sign with the highest bidder or smaller market teams trade their high profile players before their contracts expire, just to get something in return rather than having the players walk away for nothing. Such a situation is happening with the Toronto Blue Jays who are shopping ace pitcher Roy Halladay around because of fear of losing him to free agency. There are however one-team players still around . Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees is a perfect example.

With the induction of Jim Rice, who played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, into the Hall of Fame, I did some research to see how many such players played their entire careers with one team. Considering how many players have played in the Major Leagues over the past 130 years or so, I found it to be a short list. Less than 200 players had careers of at least 10 seasons in the majors all with one team.

After going thru the names, I decided to have a little fun. I put together two All-Star teams, an all-time team and a post-1976 team. The post '76 team is made up of players whose careers began after the 1976 season, hence, the free agent generation.

Remember, only players who played with one team are eligible.

All-Time Team:

C: Johnny Bench (Cincinnati Reds)
1B: Lou Gehrig (New York Yankees)
2B: Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn/LA Dodgers)
SS: Cal Ripken (Baltimore Orioles)
3B: Mike Schmidt (Philadelphia Phillies)
OF: Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees)
OF: Stan Musial (St. Louis Cardinals)
SP: Walter Johnson (Washington Senators)
CL: Mariano Rivera* (New York Yankees)

Bench: Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, George Brett, Mel Ott, Al Kaline, Tony Gwynn, Bill Terry, Robin Yount, Roy Campanella, Carl Yastrzemski, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Bob Feller

Post-1976 Team:

C: Jorge Posada* (New York Yankees)
1B: Albert Pujols* (St. Louis Cardinals)
2B: Craig Biggio (Houston Astros)
SS: Cal Ripken (Baltimore Orioles)
3B: Chipper Jones* (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres)
OF: Kirby Puckett (Minnesota Twins)
OF: Ichiro Suzuki* (Seattle Mariners)
DH: Edgar Martinez (Seattle Mariners)
SP: Mark Buehrle* (Chicago White Sox)
CL: Mariano Rivera* (New York Yankees)

Bench: Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin, Derek Jeter*, Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, Jeff Bagwell, Kent Hrbek, Lou Whitaker, Mike Greenwell, Lance Berkman*, Todd Helton*, Mike Scioscia, Tim Salmon, Roy Oswalt*, Brad Radke, Bob Stanley

Note: Players with (*) next to their names are still active and could potentially play for other teams later in their careers. I'll make the adjustments if those situations occur. Roy Halladay and Jake Peavy are no-brainers, but I purposely left them out because of ongoing trade rumors.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hall of Fame: The Case for Steve Garvey and Al Oliver

Today the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is holding it's annual inductions ceremony. And as usual, a debate comes up as to who deserves enshrinement and who doesn't. Make no mistake about it, this year's inductees, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame. Rickey Henderson, a first ballot Hall of Famer, received 94.8 percent of the votes and Jim Rice, in his 15th and final year of eligibility, received 76.4 percent of the votes. To be eligible a player needs to be on more than 75 percent of the votes.

The only questions about this years inductees are: In Rickey Henderson's case, what were the remaining 5.2 percent of the voters thinking? Rickey Henderson is indisputably the greatest lead-off hitter of all-times. He's the all-time leader in stolen bases (1406), the all-time leader in runs scored (2295), the all-time leader in lead-off home runs (81) and second all-time in walks (2190). A member of the 3000-hit club, Henderson was the most electrifying player of his generation.

In Jim Rice's case, the only questions are: What took so long? Why did a player of Jim Rice's caliber have to wait until is 15th and final year of eligibility to get inducted? During his distinguished career, Rice was one of the most feared hitters in baseball. He was the 1978 American League MVP, putting together one of the greatest offensive seasons in Major League history. He was an 8 time All-Star and on 6 occasions finished in the top 5 in the MVP voting. Not too mention, he's one of those rare players who played his entire career with one team (Boston Red Sox).

Over the last 20 years, I've noticed a few deserving players who keep "slipping thru the cracks." I won't mention, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson or Lee Smith because they still have years of eligibility and I think they'll eventually get in. In fact, I predict Blyleven and/or Dawson will get enshrined in 2010. The two players, who's eligibility has expired, that puzzle me the most are Steve Garvey and Al Oliver.

During his illustrious career, Steve Garvey was one of the most popular players in baseball. He was a 10 time All-Star, twice winning the All-Star Game MVP (1974, 1978). He was the National League MVP in 1974 and a World Series champion in 1981. Twice he was named NLCS MVP (1978, 1984). He is one of only 13 players in history with at least 6 200-hit seasons, all of whom, with the exception of Pete Rose, the all-time leader (10), are in the Hall of Fame. Garvey won 4 Gold Gloves during his career and is still the "Ironman " of the National League, playing in an NL record, 1207 consecutive games.

Al Oliver during his 18 year career put up numbers that have gotten many other players enshrined in the Hall Of Fame. He is a career .300 hitter (.303), winning a batting title in 1982 (.331) with the Montreal Expos. A 7 time All-Star selection, Oliver was a World Series champion in 1971 and a 3- time Silver Slugger Award winner. He batted .300 or better 11 times and retired with 2,743 hits, one of the highest totals ever for a non-Hall of Famer.

I compared Garvey's and Oliver's career numbers (chart below) with two current Hall of Famers, Bill Mazeroski and Enos Slaughter and the numbers are strikingly similar. In fact, I'll go as far and say, Garvey and Oliver had better career numbers than these two respected Hall of Famers. I'm not saying Mazeroski and Slaughter shouldn't be in, but if they got in, I can't see how the Veteran's Committee can overlook Garvey and Oliver. Since their years of eligibility have expired, the only way Garvey and Oliver can get in is if the special Veteran's Committee votes them in. A quick note, Mazeroski and Slaughter were voted in by the Veteran's Committee, not the Baseball Writer's Association of America.

How the Baseball Writer's Association of America overlooked Steve Garvey and Al Oliver for 15 years is beyond me.

Chart comparison:

Steve Garvey23328835114325994404327213080.294
Al Oliver23689049118927435297721913260.303

Bill Mazeroski216377557692016294621388530.260
Enos Slaughter238079461247238341314816913040.300


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Racial Profiling: The Never Ending Story

One day back in 1985, as a seventeen year old kid in NYC, I entered the subway station on 96th Street to catch the Number 6 train. I had just finished my shift at a Red Apple Supermarket and was looking forward to going home and relaxing. As I walked to the platform, two white police officers corralled me. At the moment, I didn't know what was going on, but sensed, it was not good. They immediately accused me of "hopping the train." I pleaded my case to no avail. They told me to shut up and that I'm lucky I'm only getting a ticket. I was nervous, tense and extremely angry. Luckily, an older white gentlemen, who was observing the situation from afar, came over and told the officers he saw me pay my token. After that, the officers closed their pads, put away their pens, gave me a cold gaze and told me to scram.

A moment later, as I'm waiting for the train to arrive, the old man came up to me and told me, the token booth clerk told the cops that a teenage Hispanic male had just hopped the train. He said it happened maybe two minutes before I got there. At the moment all I said was, "Oh I see, they assumed it was me."

The next day, I told the story to my high school English teacher and he told me I was the victim of racial profiling. I had never heard the term before and asked him to explain. As he was explaining it to me, I remember thinking to myself, "Ok, so that's how things roll."

That was 1985. Here we are 24 years later and racial profiling is still a hot-button issue. Just last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts, police responding to a break-in, arrested an African-American professor in his own home. In his news conference, President Obama said, "the police acted stupidly", when they arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct. Charges which were later dropped.

Today, the Cambridge Police Department held a news conference, clearing Officer James Crowley of any wrongdoing. Based on their investigation they concluded, Officer Crowley acted appropriately and within the guidelines. Commissioner Robert Haas said, "I don't believe that Sergeant [James M.] Crowley acted with any racial motivation at all." Nonetheless the case has clearly brought the issue of racial profiling back in the forefront.

As I stated earlier, I first learned about racial profiling, first hand, 24 years ago and here we are today still talking about it. So I ask myself, why doesn't this issue seize to exist?

I never saw the kid who allegedly hopped the train two minutes before I arrived at the station, but unfortunately, to some extent, he is the answer to my question. As long as one race or group disproportionately commits more crimes than other groups, racial profiling will keep manifesting itself. Does this make it right? No. But it's a fact.

According to a 2005 study, The Color of Crime by The New Century Foundation, which is based on federal crime reports, blacks are 4 to 8 times more likely to commit crimes than whites. Hispanics are 4 times more likely than whites. With those kinds of numbers, of course, there's going to be an element of racial profiling. Again, does this make it right? Of course not. But it's an element that allows it to keep existing. If every time we watch the local news and a crime is being reported and all we see are black and Hispanic males walking out of police precincts in handcuffs, of coarse, those images are going to absorb themselves in society's sub-conscience.

I'll repeat, it doesn't make it right, but it does feed into its existence. Surely there are many instances where racism is the only factor. But the disproportion in crime commitments only enhances the problem.

If we ever get to a time when crimes are committed at an equal rate by all groups, I'm sure we'll see a reduction in racial profiling. But as long as one or two groups hold the lead, unfortunately every member of those groups is open to racial profiling.

Of coarse, we should get to a time when no crimes are committed. Period!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Erin Andrews: An Unfortunate Moment

As a loyal ESPN viewer, I have been watching Erin Andrews work the sidelines since she joined ESPN in 2004. And yes, her beauty immediately caught my attention. Every time the cameras cut to her, I stop what I'm doing and pay attention. I'd be lying to you, if I said, "I'm only interested in hearing what she has to say." Over the last few years, I've noticed how her "sex-symbolism" has grown, which means, I'm just one in millions, who's noticed the ESPN beauty.

When you start reading articles about meaningless moments, such as, the interview she gave to a FanHouse reporter at the EA Sports Draft Night Premiere IV in New York City, you know something is happening. Erin Andrews, the sex symbol, has arrived. With each passing day her stature just keeps snowballing. Heck, she's been named Playboy magazines sexiest sportscaster for two straight years and I can't see anyone dethroning her in 2010.

When the news broke that some pervert secretly taped a naked Ms. Andrews thru a peephole in her hotel room, I was appalled but not surprised. It was a tasteless act and the perpetrator(s) should pay dearly for it. But the bottom line is she is becoming almost like a Greek goddess and you knew some low-life out there would try and exploit this.

I hope Ms. Andrews and her attorneys come out victorious from this unfortunate situation. Sitting at home and admiring her beauty while she works the sidelines is one thing, but perpetrating a vile act of invasion of privacy is unacceptable.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo11, one little tidbit about the flight hasn't received much mention.

No doubt, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went on the most monumental journey in human history. The first moon landing was an historic event that captured humanity's imagination and is still mind-boggling today.

Of all the things the Apollo 11 crew brought with them to the moon, the one everyone remembers most is the American flag, which they proudly placed on the moon. But there was one more memento left on the moon, which was truly an amazing symbolic gesture.

Armstrong and Aldrin took a strip of fabric and a small piece of wooden strut from the Wright Flyer 1 to the moon. The Wright Flyer 1 was the Wright Brothers first successful powered aircraft. In his book, Look To The Stars, Aldrin would later write, " I think Orville and Wilbur would have been pleased and very proud."

In 66 short years we went from that fateful moment in Kitty Hawk, NC to the Sea of Tranquility on another heavenly body. All mankind is pleased and very proud.

Thank you, Jupiter

Once again Jupiter takes one for the team.

An amateur astronomer in Australia captured images of Jupiter showing an impact site the size of the earth. Apparently, the giant planet was hit by a large comet or asteroid. This marks the second time in recent years that our distant neighbor has been scarred by a large comet or asteroid. In 1994, the comet Shoemaker Levy 9 collided with the gas giant, leaving some very noticeable bruises.

If you put Jupiter in perspective, its numbers are impressive. Its total size is 2.5 times more massive than all of the planets in our solar system combined. Think about that. It’s worth repeating; Jupiter’s total mass is 2.5 times more than every other planet in the solar system combined. Now that’s mind-boggling.

Of its 63 known moons, yes 63, four of them are massive enough to be planets themselves. They are known as the Galilean moons. These moons (Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto) were discovered by Galileo in 1610.

Of course, Jupiter’s immense size means one very important thing. It possesses a powerful gravitational pull. As we all remember from science class, the bigger the object the stronger its gravitational pull. So it’s no coincidence that these comets and asteroids keep slamming into Jupiter. After all, it has the size and the gravity to swallow anything that comes close to it.

In a family consisting of 8 planets, their moons and a few dwarf planets, maybe it's not so bad having a big brother in the middle of it all taking all the punches. We all know if a comet were to hit our planet it would mark the end of our existence. So maybe this was on the mind of whoever drew up the map. Coincidence? Probably not.