Post 100

By Steve Samek

Hard to believe, but Hammer Down has reached 100 posts. This post has a bit more of the celebratory than the informative. Taking a look at our best posts and any of significance so far.
Starting off of course with the first post ever written. This was my post on Mitch Keller as a top Pirates prospect. It was a fun post to write and has enjoyed some success as far as being viewed. Check it out here. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/after-strong-season-mitch-keller-is-a-top-three-pirates-prospect/
Next let’s keep with milestones and hit up post 99. It’s a piece on UBA expansion into Los Vegas. It’s based off the relative success on my post talking about the league may do well with an expansion in Portland, Maine. Read them here.
Moving on let do some editor’s choice. This would be my all-star team of some of the best posts we have to offer so far.
Our first pick is a couple options on Jose Fernandez. Both were incredibly well written by two excellent classmates and writers. Give them some love here. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/live-life-like-jose-lived-life/
And here https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/in-close-race-for-nl-cy-young-jose-fernandez-should-come-out-on-top/.

Next would be the most popular post by views on the blog. Talking about rank Pirates closers here. A good read worth seeing why it’s so popular. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/ranking-the-top-five-pirates-closers-since-2000/.
Another favorite of mine was one from a couple weeks ago. I never thought I would cover something as wild as snail racing. Here it is though, good for a laugh, or two. http://bit.ly/2tHvJZO.
This is one I just feel really proud of. A bit disappointed it hasn’t been viewed much. http://bit.ly/2p6qTmk. Support it there if you please.
While it has been a great run it would not have been possible without a lot of people. A lot of great classmates of mine contributed to the foundation of this blog. It would be missing a lot if it wasn’t for them. So many thanks to them, they know who they are.
I also want to than the fans and followers. It’s always so rewording to know someone appreciates the time and effort spent on these posts. Thank you fans.
What’s next you ask? Well here’s to another 100 posts I hope. I really was surprised to get this far. It almost was a done for blog in December. Though I made it through a tough couple of months and have done a decent job so far. I’m happy with the consistent up-ward direction of the blog. Looking to keep it that way and keep expanding best I can. Thanks again to all for your continued support.

UBA Expansion Part Two

By Steve Samek

In this post, http://bit.ly/2pbcKoH I covered an expansion movie I though the UBA should make. While nothing has come to light yet the league is still expanding. The roster of teams is now at 226.

Two of these teams are coming from the next big section, sense the addition of the Alaska district. That is the brand-new Las Vegas District.  The Las Vegas Hot Shots and Strong n 1 are the first two entrants in the district. A promo video is in place to make this announcement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m99OZOxKsU.

I like this expansion plan. Vegas isn’t known for professional sports franchises and could use more. Even though this isn’t a true major league like the PBA, it is a step up from amateurs. Heck if Vegas can expand to the NHL, why not bowling.

Expansion can also lead to Reno. Reno is a popular destination for bowlers. The PBA holds events there such as the USBC Masters and the World Series of Bowling. https://www.pba.com/Tournaments/Season/95

 The Women’s U.S open takes place there. https://www.bowl.com/News/NewsDetails.aspx?id=23622323370

 For amateurs, the USBC open championships occur there at the national bowling stadium. Making Vegas and Reno bowling towns that would fit well in the UBA.

The personalities would also match well in Vegas. The trash talk, nicknames, team names that are all about swagger would go well in a party place like Los Vegas. Vegas being a town now for being over the top with all the lights and attractions. The money aspect of the UBA also fits in well with the gambling and money moving of Vegas.

The only thing is Vegas is a bit far away from the main line of teams in New York and New Jersey. It isn’t really close to the North Carolina based South division teams either. So, it makes it extremely difficult to get a full season tour in with only two teams.

Maybe some teams visit from Alaska, but that’s still a significant chunk of miles to go to roll. I would love to see Vegas keep expanding and get its own tour season. Who knows maybe Battle Bowl, the primer event of the season gets moved to Vegas. That would be huge for the UBA and work well to accommodate the growing number of teams and individuals. It could also be the start of a western division of the UBA moving towards California and the like. Great move by the UBA.

Football POP

By Steve Samek

This may Seem like it belongs on the social blog, but its work here.

Today Funko announced NFL Hall of Famers would become POP figures. 11 players and two coaches receive the Funko treatment.

For players you have Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw, Deion Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and more. The Coaches are Mike Ditka and Tom Landry. Sander’s also comes with exclusive options only found at Toys r us.

I like how these look a lot. I also like how it extends the NFL line and works well with the current players already in the line.

What I don’t like is how hard these things seem to find. I may find an NFL pop if I’m lucky, but it’s never a Pittsburgh Steeler. I have looked at multiple stores and can’t come away with Antonio Brown, or Big Ben.  Only Can Newton and a couple Seahawks to be seen.

I think from the line I’ll pick up Bradshaw and Mike Ditka for the Pittsburgh connection.

The Funko sports line seems to be neglected a bit and this should help. Between this addition and the new NFL wave set to come out it looks like the sports line is starting to return again.  Hopefully this leds to more NBA, NHL and MLB pops returning to the line.

Check out the new line here. https://funko.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-nfl-legends-pop-s.

 

Breaking up a Dynamic Duo

By Steve Samek

The Cleveland Cavilers have it set. You have an NBA championship and a finals appreances the past two years. You have Lebron James, the potential greatest player of all-time. Kyrie Irving a high-level lottery pick and dynamic player compliments James. Then they went and signed former MVP Derrick Rose. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20163596/lebron-james-derrick-rose-work-together-las-vegas. Life looks good if you’re the Cavs.

Conversely, Irving decides he wants a trade. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/26/kyrie-irving-trade-request-no-surprise-to-chauncey-billups-after-due-diligence-on-cavs/?utm_term=.f4d65cc31175 . He seems most interested in going to New York. http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/report-irving-wants-trade-to-knicks-very-badly/ar-AAoVKg1?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

Not what you’re looking for if you want another championship.

I figure why in the world would he want to leave Cleveland.  In less you went to Golden State. There Irving would have to contend with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant as far as being the number one player on the floor. Why not just stick with being the number two guy behind Lebron.

Especially if you want to win championships. Golden State and Cleveland look to have the edge for years to come as far as having talent in place that laps the field.

Maybe adding a piece like Irving could transcend a team, but no guarantees. http://www.espn.com/nba/player/_/id/6442/kyrie-irving.

 The question is though does a team have enough assets to trade for him. This would be for a team that wants to win now. Numerous teams have been mentioned looking to acquire him.

I don’t see this trade happening in less a king’s ransom is in it for Cleveland.  Kyrie stays and contends with the Lebron and hits free agency in a couple years and can bolt then.

 

 

Bell Hold Out

By Steve Samek

With training camp just, a couple weeks away the hot button topic for the Pittsburgh Steelers is running back Le’veon Bell.

Bell is playing with the franchise tag this season. Bell feels like he is entitled to the big money. Wanting to get paid like a number one back and a number two receiver. https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/07/25/leveon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-kirk-cousins-washington-redskins-themmqb-andrew-brandt.

The problem is do the Steelers want to pay for the on the field Bell, or the off the field Bell.

On the field Bell is a top talent rushing for 1,268 yards on 261 attempts while scoring seven touchdowns. http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15825/leveon-bell

This was in 12 games after missing the first one’s due to suspension. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000687567/article/leveon-bells-suspension-reduced-to-three-games.

 Bell has been suspended to start the past two seasons for drug issues. The Steelers have had no trouble parting ways with stars with off the field issues like Plaxico Burress, or Santonio Holmes. Yet the Steelers also held on to Ben Roethlisberger, despite off the field issues.

Too push Bell the Steelers drafted James Conor in the third round. Conor can learn under Bell and then take over as the starter when Bell leaves in two years. http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/james-conner?id=2557978. This would be dependent on Conor working out, but the expectation is there. Conor is a Public relations darling as well between beating cancer and being drafted by the NFL team in the same city he went to college in. He is also amongst the best-selling jerseys in the NFL. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/look-steelers-backup-rookie-rb-james-conner-has-the-nfls-top-selling-jersey/. So, if Conor performers and stays out of trouble the organization helps to maintain the positive image the Steelers are known for.

Running backs seem to come and go and developing them seems easier than finding a franchise quarterback. That’s why I feel Roethlisberger was kept and receivers were let go, even with off the field issues.

I think that will be the case with Bell. He can play out the final two years of his contract and then move on. That way the Steelers can take advantage of his performance the next two years, but then get rid of him if he continues to be a headache off the field.

Bell wants to hold out and can do so. Antonio Brown is trying to get him not to. Brown is more focused on teaming up with Bell to get to the Super Bowl this season. http://thebiglead.com/2017/07/26/antonio-brown-vs-leveon-bell-is-an-interesting-subplot/.  Should be an interesting idea, but Brown needs to tread lightly before he gets into trouble.

Bell is a big contributor to this team. He needs to be on the field. He just needs to behave off of it.

 

 

 

Snail Racing World Championship

Odd event names champion

By  Steve Samek

Speed matters. From the fastest cars to the fastest athletes. People want information sent to them as fast as possible. We have rush delivery for those that can’t wait for items from online stores.

Animals are the same way. We celebrate the fastest horse, or greyhound. Cheetahs are known for their speed trait. The fastest animals survive and the slow are mocked

Though this next event is very much in the spirit of the old tale the Tortoise and the Hare. With both a bit of the tortoise and hare inside them. The nation where the event takes place is England. The animal competing is the is the sail. It’s the world championships of snail racing.

This has apparently been going on for at least 9 years. There is archived result from this event dating back to 2008.  http://www.snailracing.net/.  Though according to this post, it has been going on for 50 years. http://nypost.com/2017/07/17/larry-the-snail-wins-world-snail-racing-championships/.

For the contest, the snails go around an oval track about 13 inches long. Crossing the finish line first was Larry in a speedy two minutes and 47 seconds. In case you’re wondering the that’s 47 seconds behind the all-time record for sails set in 1996 by Archie. Now that is some speed. http://nypost.com/2017/07/17/larry-the-snail-wins-world-snail-racing-championships/.

View Larry’s slug to victory here. http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20091137. The trophy is looks like a watering can filled with lettuce. Larry is a world champion and should enjoy the trophy. Look for the movie in 2025. Conversely you could just watch Turbo. Either way plenty of ways to get your fix for slow and slow winning the race.

 

Gwinnett Name Change

By Steve Samek

 

Name change time. This time for the better, or is it? The Gwinnett Braves are change their name. The final six options were revealed the other day. The finalists include Lamb Chops, Sweet Teas, Buttons, Big Mouths, Hush Puppies and Gobblers. Each one has a local connection attached. https://secure.milb.com/tickets/form.jsp?formid=team_name_vote&formcode=form&sid=t431&section=team2.

While I am a fan of each team having a unique namehttp://bit.ly/2q0kjyz.

I don’t feel better about it in this case. Braves is a better name than all of them.

Big Mouths is a after a big mouth bass. At best, this is a generic fish theme logo, or confused with Bass pro shop. At worst, well I see some perversion with this name. Its sadly, may be the best of the bunch.

Buttons has to be the worst of the bunch. What the heck logo would you come up for this. The whole idea stems from the Namesake of Gwinnett, Button Gwinnett. He signed the Declaration of Independence. Good for history and America, bad for a baseball team name.

Gobblers is a generic bird name at best. Slang word for a turkey, should make it better right. Wrong, turkeys would be unique, but don’t make for the most intimidating team.

Hush Puppies and Sweet Teas follows the food theme trend in MILB. http://bit.ly/2njLZ0M While Montgomery, Fresno and Lehigh Valley did this well. A few teams did not. See New Hampshire, Rochester and Albuquerque. Lamb Chops is thrown in there too. Terrible choices with very loose regional, not even city exclusive ties make for a weak crop of pickings.

Fans seem to be agreeing that the picks aren’t so great. Voicing displeasure of them on social media. http://www.ajc.com/sports/fans-react-gwinnett-braves-announcement-final-six-name-options/dM7dS1nzytUxN9kixBNhUI/.

I think the Gwinnett Gators, Peanuts or Dragons would make cool names. Sticking with the Braves is another option. Though it would help the organization to add a unique name after finishing last in this pool. http://bit.ly/2onj9hj.  Stay tuned to see how the vote and logo turns out.