Steelers Happenings

By S. Samek

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been busy the past couple of days. Roster additions and honorees being the tasks at hand.
The first class of the new hall of honor was announced recently. 27 former members of the Black and Gold make up this team. The class is as follows. Jerome Bettis, Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Bill Dudley, Joe Greene, Kevin Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Dick Hoak, John Henry Johnson, Walt Keisling, Jack Lambert, Bobby Layne, John McNally, Chuck Noll, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., Daniel M. Rooney, Andy Russell, Donnie Shell, John Stallworth, Ernie Stautner, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, and Rod Woodson.

It’s an awesome idea and I can’t wait to see who all enters. My vote though is Heath Miller when he meets the requirement for retirement should. He was a great guy and a champion as a player. The impact Miller made was for sure notable.

As for roster moves, two went down. The first was trading for a new tight end. Vance McDonald comes over from San Francisco with a fifth-round pick for a 2018 fourth round pick. I must admit the move confused me at first, think they were set with Jesse James. Yet you didn’t give up much to get better. You get a former second round pick with 64 receptions, 866 yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons. I could see him benefitting from having a better quarterback at the helm.

The second is the signing of Joe Haden the corner back from Cleveland. Corner has been one of the deficiencies for the Steelers the past couple of years. Haden is a former pro bowler and annoys A.J Green, of the Cincinnati Bengals. This helps out against a division rival in games that could have playoff implications. Welcome addition for sure.

 

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NBA POP Preview

By S. Samek

In this post, I talked about how NFL Legends were getting the pop treatment. I also mentioned how I would love to see other sports follow this lead and get pops too.

The NBA is the next sport to join in. Granted they did have a prior wave, but now we see additions for the first time in years.
Kevin Durant headlines with Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Chris Paul, James Harden, Kristaps Porzingis, John Wall, Kawhi Lenard, Anthony Davis, Damián Lillard and Klay Thompson. Demar DeRozan also as a Canadian exclusive at Grosnor.

 

I’m not a big fan of these. They just look kind of generic and plain. That and I’m not a huge NBA fan. Second, I find it funny that a couple may need new paint jobs after a recent blockbuster deal.
Also, to see no Lonzo Ball. The kid is everywhere and I’m sure any PR he can get he wants. Having another piece of merchandise with himself on it would be a good thing. O well, I can see him being added to the next wave, especially if he has a strong rookie campaign.
If you’re a fan of these players by all means add them to your collection. NBA fans in general should add them to. Outside of those audiences I wouldn’t bother with them. I know I won’t pick them up even on clearance.
Still glad to see Funko expanding with sports pops. Just need to reboot the MLB line to make me really happy.

PBA Update

Eventful weekend in pro bowling.

By S. Samek

What a recent wave of PBA competition. Lots of trophies being awarded to players on tour.
First off is the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Classic. In the four-man stepladder it was Joe Baily, Jason Sterner, Chris Via and Rhino Page. Baily lost the opening match to Sterner, who then faced off against Page.
Page was victorious and Met up with tournament leader Via. Via was looking for his first title, while Page was looking for his first in a while. In a low scoring tough conditions match, it wasn’t decided till the tenth frame. Page struck in the tenth, while only needing seven to win the match. The win gave him his fifth career title.

 

Page is having a bit of a resurgence. He was rookie of the year and a rising star before an injury. Good to see him come back and win.

EJ Tackett continues to win as well. The current player of the year was named the Storm Cup winner during the same event.
The Storm Cup was a seven-event swing that gave points for performance in the tournaments, with a cash prize going to the best overall player at the end. Tackett led by nine points going in and earned two more for his 19th place finish. No one else close to him earned enough points to best him. Giving Tackett the win and $20,000.
Tackett is the man on tour right now. He has such a bright future ahead of him, that should be hall of fame worthy. He just needs to keep winning.

 

Then we have two handed wonder Jason Belmonte. Belmonte picked up his third title of the season and number 15 overall with a win at the PBA-WBT Storm Lucky Larsen Masters in Sweden. He defeated Cameron Weir a former college star to win it all.
Hard to believe it’s only title 15 for Belmonte. Guy just dominates the tour.

PBA should have a lot more to come stay tuned.

 

 

Return of Mayo

NBA player wants to return after suspension to former team.

By S. Samek

O.J Mayo of the Milwaukee Bucks is serving a two-year ban. The reason violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy. Mayo has been smoking marijuana and abused proscription pain medications. Now he wants to return to his former team. After just a year. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20408862/oj-mayo-seeks-return-nba-eyes-milwaukee-bucks.

Mayo is trying to get in playing shape and looking for reinstatement to the league. Upon receiving it he would he an unrestricted free agent. He can’t apply for reinstatement until July, 1,2018 though.

Mayo averaged 7.8 points with 2.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. The points total was a career low. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20408862/oj-mayo-seeks-return-nba-eyes-milwaukee-bucks.

Mayo is a former first round pick in 2008 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. During eight years in the NBA, Mayo averaged 13.8 points in 547 games. The rebounds were at 3.1 per game and assists at 2.9. https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mayooj01.html. The numbers are decent and could earn him a look.

 There is interest in Mayo playing oversees. At the moment, he hasn’t received any deals yet. Should this not be the case, he has a trainer and coach to work with. https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2017/08/o-j-mayo-has-interest-in-playing-overseas.html.

I could see him getting another shot if he stays clean. One bad season can be overcome. Working to keep him off the drugs would be a challenge, but can be done. Basketball maybe the best way to do it.

 

Ski Ban

Norway loses Olympian and world champion for 2018 Olympics.

By S. Samek

The Olympic games. The pinnacle of athlete’s hard work, dedication and training. The chance to represent your county and win world is worth striving for. Sometimes to the point where a line is crossed.

Norway lost a star skier for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Therese Johaug is banned from racing until April of next year. The cause: Testing positive for a banned substance in lip balm.

I didn’t know they had steroids in lip balm. Apparently, it was being used to treat a sunburn. Either way this is quite the loss for team Norway. Johaug is a world cup champion as well as an Olympic Medalist, winning Silver in Sochi.

The ban will cause her to miss the Olympics and chance to defend her World Cup title.

Norway’s team doctors apparently approved the balm in question, but upon further investigation the substance is still banned. The investigators have ruled that Johaug isn’t totally guilty of wrongdoing and should have read labels with clear anti- doping warnings.

Seems to me like this ban is than enough punishment. Norway should still be in good shape to compete, but did lose a star athlete. Anytime that happens its always tough.

Let this be a lesson though, read labels and don’t take foreign substances without seeing a doctor first. Don’t do drug kids.

 

WNBA Playoff Chase 2017

Teams fighting for positions in close race as season expires.

By S. Samek

It’s the heat of the WNBA season. Eight teams enter the playoffs and spots are still up for grabs. Not many though as five of eight teams have punched a ticket to the Tournament.

The 2016 champions LA Sparks sit in the two seed with a mark of 21-8 so far. Ahead of them is their nemesis from the championship series last year the Minnesota Lynx at 22-6.

The Conneticut Sun have the bronze medal seed after a 19-10 record to date. Following them at number four is the League’s hottest team with five wins in a row, The New York Liberty.
In fifth it’s the off-season sighing winners the Washington Mystics. Though both the Liberty and Mystics sport identical 17-12 records.

Phoenix, Seattle and Dallas would round out the eight if the season where over. Chicago and Atlanta are chasing spots, but it doesn’t look good for either team. Atlanta has to be the coldest team in the league, having lost nine in a row.

San Antonio and Indiana have been eliminated from playoff contention. Both teams have won fewer than ten games. Atlanta has ten wins, but with the landslide at which they are headed I see their elimination coming swiftly.
The Sky have a bit of a challenge to get in as well. With a tough final five game slate. The Sky has to play all teams ahead of them in the standings, including Minnesota. They sit three games out of a playoff spot so, they may have to win out with help to get in.
The last three in at the moment should have a leg up on getting in. Seattle and Dallas sit just a game behind Phoenix. Though they each have a three-game lead up on Chicago. Lucky for these teams with the new playoff system in place, it won’t be a don’t finish eighth and get smashed by one last season’s finalists in the first-round situation. Though they still have to win four series to win it all as a five through eight seed.
Look for any head to head matchups down the stretch to settle seeding. The most intriguing of which would be the 1-2 rematch between LA and Minnesota. On August 27,2017. With LA a game behind the Lynx, who have a game an extra game left to play, this is a can’t miss matchup.
Be sure to check out the rest of the season’s sure to be clutch action. See you in the playoffs.

 

Fayetteville Baseball 2019 Name

Fan vote determines new identity.

By S. Samek

It was discussed in a prior post how bad and boring the new Houston Astros affiliate in the Carolina league’s new name would be. http://bit.ly/2mBxu8e

 Fortunately, this is just a two-year stop gap name until the team moves to a new stadium in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Name possibilities have been announced and well let’s check them out here.

 

First up is The Fatbacks. The name is explained as coming from a pork dish, popular down south. Absolutely not does this need to be a nickname. Food nicknames are starting to get ridiculous. http://bit.ly/2uJuui0.

Also, really a pig them, it doesn’t show much creativity. I mean you have the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs the Texas Air Hogs any Razorbacks you can think of, the former Winston-Salem Warthogs. I don’t think swine is the way to go.

Batting second is the Flytraps. Apparently, the plant is native to the wetlands of Carolina. It also matches up with catching fly balls. To me it screams backyard baseball copycat. It’s a fun name for a kid’s game, but not for the major leagues.

Third we have the Jumpers. The name comes from parachute regiments at Fort Bragg nearby, specifically the 82nd airborne division. Good effort though I think misplaced. Jumper isn’t really a flattering term. Why not try like the artillery, Battery, or old school Generals, maybe Cannons, or raiders. The possibilities are there if you look and think a bit creatively.

Fourth up is the Wood Dogs. This is a meh name. Sounds too much like the Down East Wood Ducks. It’s just rather boring. Also, too close to the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs of the Coastal Planes League.

Finally, we have the Woodpeckers.  Named after an endangered species in the area. It just doesn’t seem like an exciting name. It just falls into the generic bird category.

Not impressed with this crop of names. They just feel generic and boring. Not much better than Astros. I think they have something with a military angle, but it needs to not be jumpers. Interesting to see the final name and logo.