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NEWS ALERT ... Serena wins Wimbledon

Tennis legend Serena Williams defeats Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 to win women's crown, while Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 to claim men's title.

Top 10 for July — the real reasons why Tom Brady destroyed his personal cell phone

07/28/2015

If the #DeflateGate controversy wasn’t already weird enough, we learned Tuesday that Tom Brady does a very odd thing when he realizes there might be troublesome information in his cell phone.

Brady has one of his personal assistants destroy the phone.

I got a new cell phone recently and Sprint said nothing to me about destroying my old phone. Perhaps Brady – the quarterback of the New England Patriots – is with Verizon and has the Egocentric Destruction Customer clause in his plan.

There certainly must have been some good info to hide for Brady to revert to such tactics when he is fully aware the NFL had requested access to his text messages. Why else would someone destroy the phone under those circumstances?

The NFL revealed Brady’s cell-phone antics on the same day the league announced that commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the silly #DeflateGate situation.

According to the NFL, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages on the phone over a four-month span. That sounds like a lot of messages to me. Certainly must have been a lot of chatter over the “weight of balls.”

Maybe there were awkward texts about the “texture of the balls,” — that phrase that sounded oh-so-odd when New England coach Bill Belichick used it in the late January spin-control press conference.

Either way, Brady exchanged 80 texts per day — on average — and it is reasonable to expect there were exchanges that had to do with the deflating of the footballs.

But a famous guy like Tom Brady is certainly hoping to prevent other activities that may hurt his public image from becoming commonly known.

So here we go … the top 10 reasons why Tom Brady has his cell phone destroyed instead of turning it over to the NFL:

10. Been hacking into the New York Jets emails and had all their defensive game plans saved.

9. All those pictures of NFL footballs in various stages of deflation look just a bit suspicious.

8. Has pictures of a large Confederate Flag draped on his bedroom ceiling.

7. Was “sexting” with the wives of 12 different teammates.

6. Several photos of his dart board — all with Peyton Manning’s picture on them.

5. Took private locker room pictures of Rob Gronkowski dancing naked.

4. He owned the lone known photos of Belichick laughing and smiling.

3. Those provocative pictures of wife Gisele Bundchen are supposed to only be seen by him.

2. Turns out Brett Favre wasn’t the only famous quarterback who sent penis pictures to Jenn Sterger (http://www.citypages.com/news/jenn-sterger-goes-deep-with-nfl-on-brett-favre-update-6563128).

1. There were indeed shocking pictures of deflated balls on the phone — his own.

Vacation by Tweets — Did I bring torrential rain for my Vacation In Drought Land?

07/24/2015

So I took a vacation to Drought Land and amazing amounts of rain fell from the sky.

Well, I did joke about taking a wheelbarrow full of water past security at the Boise airport so I’m guessing that the Weather Gods somehow learned of my zany request.

Regardless, I wasn’t expecting that a vacation home to San Diego would become memorable for crazy rainy weather. On one July day, it poured so hard that it set the record for most rain in the MONTH of July in San Diego history.

Then the record was broken the following day as it rained even harder and longer. And I recognized all the thunder and lightning as I seemingly brought it with me from seeing it for five straight nights in Boise.

Oh yeah, that thunder and lightning somehow followed me back to Boise too. I like being magical but this is a bit ridiculous.

Anyway, you surely recall the drill from past years. Vacation by tweets is back for another run and you can catch all the action of #VacationInDroughtLand below.

Enjoy.

 

JULY 12

–Vacation to #DroughtLand begins tomorrow … my biggest concern is whether there is enough water left for me to take a shower.

JULY 13

#VacationToDroughtLand about to commence. Hope TSA doesn’t mind me checking in a wheelbarrow full of water.

#ThatProudMoment when other passengers gawk at Coronado Bridge & I’m staring down at cemetery where father is buried #VacationInDroughtLand

–No sound on for All-Star HR Derby … That means no Berman Buffoonery … Life is good. #VacationInDroughtLand

JULY 14

–Always fun to visit the cemetery and see my father’s tombstone. #VacationInDroughtLand https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/621101597167255553

–OK, guess the tombstone is just coming in upsides down on Twitter. It is fine in my laptop & came in fine on Facebook. #UpsideDownUpsideDown

–Was feeling pretty young on my vacation. That ended when I saw Joe Morgan with a cane. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Pretty sure several All-Stars born in the 1990s just made fun of a lot of us. #RotaryPhone #CassetteTape #GoToBankToGetMoney #VCR

–Nothing like the cool breeze of a SoCal summer night. #SanDiego is known as paradise for a reason.

JULY 15

–Freeway traffic, ugh. Feel like I competed in NASCAR race & none of the other drivers had Dale Earnhardt Jr’s brain. #VacationInDroughtLand

JULY 16

–Great time at my sister’s house last two days. Eight-year-old niece didn’t want me to leave. Smart kid. Ha! #VacationInDroughtLand

JULY 17

–At CreamOfTheCrop elite hoops tourney in #GardenGrove. Cousin’s son is a prospect. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Look! Pay phones! Spotted in Orange County. The MLB All-Stars born in the 1990s don’t understand them either. https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/622245299000455169

–Spoke to diehard #Cardinals fan today in Orange County. She was EXTREMELY BITTER about Albert Pujols. Told her he was just a few miles away.

JULY 18

–The #Padres have seats that cost $94. Outside of the very rare playoff game, who would pay $94 to see #Padres play?

–Rain in #SanDiego, where people have forgotten what it looks like. Must be that wheelbarrow full I brought on plane. #VacationInDroughtLand

–What good is having free #Padres tickets if it is raining yaks & mooses? Maybe go downtown & just watch it pour? #VacationInDroughtLand

–My buddy just asked me if I “packed rain gear.” Of course not, I traveled to #DroughtLand. #SanDiegoTorrentialDownpour

–There was a better chance of me packing reindeer than “rain gear.” #VacationInDroughtLand

–Lunch at Mona Lisa, the best pizza place in #SanDiego. Always a high point. https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/622526154080063488

–We will be having baseball tonight based on the view from my free seats at #PetcoPark. https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/622557525280329728

— Cleaned up my dad’s brick like any good son would. #VacationInDroughtLand https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/622566452671844352

— Congrats to the Colorado #Rockies for getting two runners to third base. But having them get there at the same time isn’t good.

— What I learned tonight: Relatives of Colorado #Rockies players don’t pay attention to the game. Except when relative bats. #Weak #NoManners

— Said relative — Brandon Barnes — Ks to end game. #Rockies #Padres … His daughter stepped on my foot at least a dozen times. #NoControl

— Replica of PetcoPark was Saturday giveaway. #VacationInDroughtLand https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/622638733938921472

JULY 19

–Nephew & niece want me to join them in pool — & now it is pouring mules & donkeys for second straight day. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Pretty sure the drought is over in #SoCal. Just spent more than an hour battling monsoon-like rain. More water on freeway than at Sea World.

— Being on vacation & not seeing any TV, I don’t know what all these Donald Trump comments are about. But isn’t he a dorky doofus every week?

— Thought I went on vacation to #SanDiego … apparently I’m in #Seattle … more rain in one day than entire month of July in history of SD.

JULY 20

Yep, two more In-N-Out burgers. Each bite feels like heaven. Last ones until next CA vacation. #VacationInDroughtLand https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/623225606705016832

–Highest-priced ticket for #Padres game tonight is $122. As a kid, you could have gone to all 81 games for a buck & had $41 left over. #Sad

–The TV woman telling us about the weather is named Dagmar Midcap … got to be a real name cuz you wouldn’t make that up as a stage name.

–Taking trolley to #PetcoPark & worst nightmare occurs: Dude twice as big as seat sits next to me. How come 90-pound women don’t go to games?

–The famous Western Metal Supply Co. Building beyond LF at #PetcoPark. #VacationInDroughtLand https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/623311283295653892

–So the #Padres can’t show a replay when the opposing team homers? Is that because they themselves hit so few? #VacationInDroughtLand

–Matt Kemp homers for the #Padres … Multiple replay angles … Maybe they can show it another 42 times.

–Gerald Dempsey Posey III just got an RBI single for the #Giants. … Sounds a lot less imposing than “Buster.”

–Speaking of athletes nicknamed “Buster,” how about that time #Chargers selected brittle bust Craig “Buster” Davis in the first round?

–Remember when there was no LOUD MUSIC every minute at #Padres game? Only Danny Topaz playing the Lowrey Organ. Can we go back to organ days?

#Padres unbeaten (2-0) with me in the ballpark in 2015. Some rich person ought to bankroll me an August vacation. https://twitter.com/MrSportsBlog/status/623371872231501824

JULY 21

–Why are the lights on at Qualcomm Stadium? Did the field flood again?

–My mom has a phone book in her house. MLB All-Stars born in 1990s: Why doesn’t she just Google to find the number?

–Look what I brought from #SanDiego — lots of rain. Sorry #Boise, blame me. Pours wherever I am last 2 1/2 weeks. #VacationInDroughtLand

Carli Lloyd becomes a household name after epic performance in World Cup title match

07/06/2015

Something tells me there will be a lot of teenagers named Carli about 15 years from now.

And that’s fine after Carli Lloyd stenciled herself into United States athletics lore with an epic performance on the biggest stage in women’s soccer.

Lloyd scored three goals to lead the United States women’s national team to an easy 5-2 victory over Japan in Sunday’s championship match. The World Cup title is the first for the Americans since Brandi Chastain’s famous penalty-kick goal decided the 1999 finale.

Talk about a big-time performance in a pressure-packed situation in Vancouver. Lloyd scored all three of her goals in the first 16 minutes, including an epic blast from just inside the center line.

There are a couple NFL teams that could use a kicker like that.

The 32-year-old Lloyd scored six goals in the World Cup and strongly shut down the criticism that former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage recently tossed her way in an interview with the New York Times.

“Carli Lloyd was a challenge to coach,” Sundhage told the publication. “When she felt that we had faith in her, she could be one of the best players. But if she began to question that faith, she could be one of the worst.”

The comments made Lloyd sound like a mentally weak head case who might fold under the pressure.

Seems like that scouting report didn’t hold up in the World Cup — hmmm, maybe coach Sundhage was part of the problem.

Those critical comments will quickly be forgotten after Lloyd’s fabulous finale and now her star will be rising as one of the top female athletic role models.

It is always a win-win when young girls find more heroes to emulate in the male-dominated sports field. They see NFL and NBA stars in commercials all the time but have to look hard to find someone of their own gender.

Two of my nieces have become starstruck over U.S. standout Alex Morgan and were among the thousands of little girls mesmerized by the “Share a Coke with Alex Morgan” promotion. The winner of the grand prize earns a training session for themselves and a friend with Morgan.

Carli Lloyd became the hero of numerous young girls on Sunday. Something tells me she won’t be overwhelmed by this new gig.

Anyone who can score three goals in the World Cup final can easily juggle having three million new fans.

As well as having chance encounters down the line with young girls who say “I was named after you!”

Suspension of Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is a stunner due to his reputation

07/03/2015

It certainly was a bit stunning to hear that San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season due to violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Gates is known for possessing a strong work ethic and had never previously come under suspicion in his career. During the time I covered the Chargers, he was known as being “clean” and nobody ever brought his name up as somebody who might use unsavory substances.

You may recall that early in Gates’ career, there was another San Diego player who was suspended for four games for a violation of the NFL policy. That was outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who vociferously claimed that he was innocent and even threatened to sue the stimulant company.

Funny, Merriman didn’t follow through on his threat and his productivity declined in alarming fashion. And there also were people in the organization who weren’t buying his story.

So now we have to wonder about Gates: Is this a one-time mistake or has he been getting an edge during the course of his All-Pro career? Or could he now be going that route because it is harder to prepare for an NFL season when you are 35 years old?

The four-game suspension will cost Gates close to $1.5 million so it certainly would qualify as a costly mistake.

Remember, Gates has never been suspected of doing anything illegal during his previous 12 NFL seasons. Then again, players have been known to lie or use spin control when they get caught.

Before we go further, let’s look at Gates’ statement:

“In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL.

“In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines.

“I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions.

“I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”

Part of me wants to give Gates the benefit the doubt. Yet the skeptical part remembers all the times that players, coaches and other people in the Chargers organization lied. Including right to my face — hey Norv Turner, remember all those times?

But Gates was always straight up with me. He was a go-to guy per the locker room quote mill and he always was cordial and had insightful things to say. In addition to being a tremendous athlete, Gates is highly intelligent.

The former Kent State basketball star once returned my call in the offseason to talk, well, college basketball.

I can recall how gruesome his injured foot looked when he showed it to me in the locker room the week of the AFC Championship Game in Jan. 2008. And he was sooo disappointed that he was at less than half speed in the frigid conditions in Foxborough as he felt his inability to separate from Tedy Bruschi on what normally would have been a sure touchdown might have cost the Chargers a Super Bowl berth.

So he’s accountable. Very accountable.

And that’s what makes me pause here — it is possible that Gates accidentally landed on the banned substance list without knowingly ingesting something illegal.

But then I read that statement and I see the player with 99 career receiving touchdowns is going overboard per angling for the benefit of the doubt.

That always raises a red flag when the athlete goes that route — and isn’t in front of the camera fielding questions — as the NFL excels at spin control.

At this moment, there is no way to really know whether or not Gates made a huge mistake or knowingly took a banned substance.

But the shock that a player and person of his caliber drew a four-game suspension remains.

The USA women’s soccer team never lacks for punch with incorrigible Hope Solo in goal

06/21/2015

The United States women’s soccer team is back on the pitch Monday night and is hoping it will have enough punch to defeat Colombia and move one step closer to reaching the World Cup final on July 5.

Oh yeah, Hope Solo is on the squad. Clearly, the Americans definitely have enough PUNCH.

Solo might be a star goalkeeper but she is also a controversial figure after a domestic assault incident with two relatives last summer. The details in the police report make her sound like the female Floyd Mayweather and let’s just say that is no compliment.

There’s something about repeatedly smashing your 17-year-old nephew’s head into the concrete floor that doesn’t sit right. Obviously, it was a bad draw to land a strong soccer player as an aunt.

Solo tried to paint herself as the victim on a national television morning show but ESPN’s investigative team unearthed details of the way she acted in jail, and that marked the end of any sympathy points. A male athlete who acted that unsavory would be scorched in the media.

Hmmm, maybe Solo was suffering from roid rage. Any media outlets investigating that angle?

At least we know the USA women will win the postgame boxing match.

The story was close to flying under the radar for much of 2015 — just as the U.S. soccer federation was hoping — until ESPN timed its report for the beginning of the World Cup.

That put the lack of action against Solo and the lackluster investigation into the spotlight. Little hard to sweep it under the rug now despite coach Jill Ellis acting like it is something that happened decades ago.

Ellis, of course, needs Solo on the squad as she otherwise has no chance at coaching the Americans to a World Cup title. Apparently, Hope Solo is the only woman in this entire country who knows how to play goalie.

And now Ellis doesn’t want to deal with the situation and the players get stuck in the middle. They are sick of being asked questions about Solo but the goalie hasn’t faced the media in two weeks.

This isn’t going away ladies. Just because some of you wear dresses in your free time doesn’t make it acceptable for one of your teammates — a woman — to beat the tar out of two people.

Remember how everyone ripped the NFL for not penalizing Ray Rice severely enough before finally getting it right? Women’s soccer has gone the opposite route.

The organization figured it could do nothing because people don’t pay attention to the sport most of the time. They were gambling that it eventually would go away. The out of sight, out of mind phenomenon.

Unfortunately for them, the women’s World Cup is one of the few times we do care about soccer and that put the lack of punishment into the spotlight.

Too bad there isn’t a video of Solo pounding her nephew’s head into the ground floating around the Internet. That would change things real quick.

Solo apparently isn’t done with spin control. She recently had People Magazine over to her house and the publication printed a story over the weekend with Solo once again playing the victim.

“It’s been painful,” she said to the publication. “I almost lost my career. It’s been traumatic and embarrassing.”

Well, she should be embarrassed. Her own actions put herself in this situation and she deserves all the derisive comments people make on social-media sites.

Look, the women’s national team has had a number of solid role models over the years, ranging from the great Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy to current member Alex Morgan. Young girls look up to these women because they seldom see women professional athletes on television.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any bad eggs mixed it. Look no further than Solo, who might not be Tonya Harding bad but she’s up there when we talk about unsavory female athletes.

And if the Americans need Solo’s “punch” to win, that’s pretty shameful. Perhaps it would be fitting if Solo makes a rare mistake and the United States loses on Monday.

I’m sure not flying solo when it comes to that opinion.

Boise State loses athletic director Coyle to Syracuse but does it really qualify as a loss?

06/19/2015

Boise State will spend the summer searching for a new athletic director.

Syracuse University announced Friday night that it has decided on Broncos’ athletic director Mark Coyle to be the person who cleans up the big mess the Orange athletic department has become.

“I recognize that Syracuse University student-athletes, coaches, athletic staff and fans are among the best in the country,” Coyle said in Syracuse’s press release. “I am eager to work beside them and look forward to becoming a part of Orange Nation.”

Nice jump in pay for Coyle, who has been working very hard at putting Boise in his rear-view mirror. He recently was a finalist for the Pittsburgh athletic director position and then hotly pursued the Syracuse gig.

Coyle gets to inherit the messy situation involving basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who has a tarnished reputation after having 108 victories vacated due to academic and drug-testing violations dating back to 2001. The football program also vacated 11 wins due to its own infractions.

Good luck with this Syracuse as nobody really knows whether or not Coyle can manage such complicated high-pressure situations. Actually, all Coyle really did at Boise State was keep things from declining.

He had the easiest coaching search in recent college football memory when Chris Petersen left for Washington. Hometown boy Bryan Harsin — a former Boise State player and assistant coach — wanted to return home after one season as Arkansas State’s coach and all Coyle had to do was make sure he didn’t mess up the hire.

Basketball coach Leon Rice was already in place and Coyle arrived in town during the 2011-12 season just as Rice was in position to get things going. The two recent NCAA tournament berths are a credit to what Rice built, not to anything Coyle has done.

A big downside for Syracuse is that Coyle packed no presence in Boise. People don’t know him, people never see him, and people don’t have an emotional pull with him like they did with former athletic director Gene Bleymaier.

He is going to have to be much more visible in Syracuse, where they follow the men’s basketball program like it’s an NBA team. That means standing up in front of the cameras regularly and being accountable.

Coyle begins his new duties on July 6. Boise State marked Coyle’s first time running an athletic department and I expect school president Bob Kustra to hire another first-time athletic director.

That means a hire that comes cheaper and is easier for the university prez to control.

I don’t think I will be proven wrong with that assertion.

Padres can’t help but do very stupid things — firing Bud Black after overhaul joins the list

06/15/2015

After all those years of squeezing wins out of San Diego Padres teams with little talent, the 2015 season had a chance to be manager Bud Black’s time to shine.

Perhaps having a few players who can actually play would lead to more wins. Perhaps managing some postseason games was finally on the horizon. Perhaps people around the country would get a chance to see why Black has such a good reputation despite being stuck with a poor organization all these years.

Perhaps the Padres would forget they are the Padres and wouldn’t do something stupid.

Too late now — the stupid has been done.

Black was fired on Monday with the Padres sitting a game below .500. Kind of a poorly timed move considering the offseason overhaul that netted starting pitcher James Shields, closer Craig Kimbrel, outfielders Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

The plethora of new faces requires a bit of an adjustment period so possessing a 32-33 mark with 97 games remaining isn’t exactly an awful managerial performance. And who knew that Matt Kemp (two homers in 64 games) was really Carlos Quentin in disguise and will never again be the player who hit 39 homers and drove in 126 runs in 2011.

Good job getting the manager fired, Matt. Don’t be surprised if Black searches out Clayton Richard and sends him to the ballpark with a message — Google search near-fight between Kemp and Richard in 2013 if you need details.

Black was in his ninth season with the Padres and was the 2010 National League Manager of the Year. He wasn’t hired by new general manager A.J. Preller so there is no loyalty there and an organization always looks for scapegoats when a team is believed to be underachieving.

The Padres appointed bench coach Dave Roberts to be interim manager and are undergoing a search for a full-time manager. Triple-A manager Pat Murphy is among the candidates and perhaps a long-time manager such as Ron Gardenhire would be a good fit.

Preller came from the Rangers organization so let’s hope he has forgotten how to get a hold of former Texas manager Ron Washington.

There is still too much weirdness stemming over Washington’s sudden mysterious resignation from the Rangers late last season. He went into hiding for two weeks and emerged briefly to say he cheated on his wife.

Since people inside baseball cheat on their wives all the times, it is whatever Washington didn’t reveal publicly that is even more important. He needs to keep attending those marriage counseling sessions and allow more time for his image to be restored before he’s filling out lineup cards again.

Since Black was fired with a losing record — what would have happened if the Padres had defeated the Dodgers in Sunday’s 12-inning game? — his tenure ends with him tied with Bruce Bochy for the most losing seasons (seven) in franchise history.

We all saw what happened with Bochy once he left the poorly run San Diego organization: He began accumulating World Series rings — three in the last five years with San Francisco — and is now being mentioned him as a possible Hall of Famer.

I see Black having a similar renaissance once he joins a better organization. We will someday see him managing in the postseason and perhaps he does win a World Series title.

I mean, who would have ever forecasted Ned Yost managing in Game 7 of the World Series? You would have been laughed at for suggesting that one but there was Yost and the Kansas City Royals sitting one win away last October.

And you can laugh a lot at the notion of the 2015 Padres crashing the World Series as well. The Preller experiment definitely needs more time to develop.

San Diego took a step backward by unceremoniously making Black the first scapegoat.

American Pharoah deserves extra bales of hay for ending the Triple Crown drought

06/06/2015

American Pharoah is now a legend and the impressive horse will be fed the biggest pail of oats and be served the most delicious bales of hay ever invented.

Trainer Bob Baffert can certainly afford to buy American Pharoah the best bales of hay around after the horse became the 12th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history on Saturday. Not since Affirmed in 1978 had one horse won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

You remember 1978 — that’s when stamps cost 13 cents and, gosh, did my mom think they were expensive. Dave Winfield still played for the San Diego Padres and thought he was underpaid. The Cars were taking over the rock music world with their debut album.

Let all that sink in … yeah, 1978 kind of seems like ages ago now.

And now 2015 is a memorable horse-racing year thanks to American Pharoah.

It was a standout race as jockey Victor Espinoza quickly moved American Pharoah to the front and led the entire way while posting a winning time of 2 minutes, 26.65 seconds.

American Pharoah breaks the jinx that had been picking up momentum over the last decade as short-sighted people began saying there would never be another Triple Crown winner. That’s kind of like saying the Chicago Cubs will never again reach the World Series.

Ohhhh. Yeah, bad comparison.

There had been eight attempts since 1997 with horses such as California Chrome (2014), Smarty Jones (2004) and Silver Charm (1997) among the disappointments. There were also major failures such as Big Brown (2008) and War Emblem (2002).

If horses have a memory, perhaps War Emblem was scarred by the eighth-place performance at the Belmont. Two of my brothers and I saw him at the Pacific Classic in Del Mar two months later and he was a nonfactor in that race as well and finished sixth.

Who knows where Silver Charm hangs out these days but we had a lot of fun picking on him in the sports department that no longer exists. Two of the dudes — or should I say gambling addicts who like horses more than people — were so crushed when Silver Charm failed to win the Triple Crown but the rest of us really enjoyed sticking the needle in.

You see, not every horse can be Secretariat — he’s the 1973 horse racing Triple Crown winner — but American Pharoah can take his place as one of the better horses in recent times.

American Pharoah won by 5 1/2 lengths over Frosted, which pales in comparison to Secretariat — even today, he could still win, show or place — and the famous dash in 1973.

Secretariat won by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Count ’em up — 31.

He eats bales of hay … Secretariat.

And now let’s serve up some extra bales for American Pharoah for ending the Triple Crown drought.

I personally went through some sacrifice as I watched 4 1/2 minutes of horse racing this year instead of my usual two.

And with the drought over, there goes the annual anticipation and hype the horse-racing folks create about the possibility of the first Triple Crown winner since the 1970s.

Now there is nothing to look forward to when the 2016 Kentucky Derby rolls around.

So I may be back to watching just two minutes of horse racing next year.

Thank you American Pharoah! Enjoy the extra oats and hay!

Stephen Curry has a spotless image, let’s hope he doesn’t turn into a buffoon or fraud

05/30/2015

Stephen Curry has emerged as a bona fide star over the past two seasons but now he has a chance to hit the megastar platform.

Being named regular-season MVP of the NBA boosted him up another level and now he is about to embark on the NBA Finals stage for the first time when the Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Take down the Cavs and a guy named LeBron James and Curry’s stock – on and off the court – goes skyrocketing to a new stratosphere.

It’s a good stage to be on for sure and more and more people have caught on that one of the faces of the NBA is a 6-foot-3 guard who was once passed over by all the major colleges and ended up being a major star at tiny Davidson College.

Of course, the slaps in the face continued on the night of the NBA Draft when the Minnesota Timberwolves picked some guy named Jonny Flynn – don’t Google him, not in the league – over Curry. That act of stupidly explains perfectly while the Timberwolves are indeed the Timberwolves.

So it has been a charming story to see Curry drain 3-pointers from all areas of the court and evolve into one of the top players in the NBA. His wife and daughter receive plenty of TV time as do his parents – father Dell played 16 seasons in the NBA – and the endorsement opportunities are rolling in.

His image is spotless.

Uh oh, did I say spotless?

Here is where the worrying begins: Are we seeing the real Stephen Curry or will he become the next athlete to combust at some point?

Too many times, we have been fooled by an athlete that appears to be an outstanding person and then we learn of some shady acts or despicable behavior.

Who saw the Tiger Woods sex harem scandal coming? A married man totally crafting his family image and Tiger was stripped down – pun intended – and exposed (yeah, also intended) and funny how his golf game also went into decline as his personal life did.

Who can forget Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in 2003? It was stunning a big-time star like him would even be in such a position and it has forever stained his legacy. Bryant didn’t serve jail time but he did apologize for his actions and he also settled a civil suit with the accuser, which is the athletes’ way of buying out of the crime.

And whatever was more stunning than the O.J. Simpson murder case? His ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman were slaughtered by one of the all-time greatest running backs in football history. (Sorry, not using the word allegedly since he didn’t back up his boast that he would look for the real killers). I will never forget the surreal scene of a guy going from being totally beloved to being viewed as a totally despised monster in a matter of days. The White Bronco – not you Peyton Manning — lives on.

We could talk about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for hours. He was always a jerk, always treated people rudely, lied through his teeth all the time about his juicing and really has no redeeming positive qualities. Think of that, he is such a rotten apple that he doesn’t even belong in a good athletes turn into buffoons discussion.

New faces pop on the scene each year. Ray Rice was hailed as a great guy in the community before he smacked his then-fiance in the elevator and dragged her out like a carcass of meat. And how about Adrian Peterson beating his young child with a switch? I shook hands with Peterson once and my hand was sore for two hours so I can’t even imagine somebody of his unbelievable strength brutally whipping their son like that.

So this is what we are asking of Curry – don’t turn into a buffoon someday. Don’t become a moron. Don’t be living a secret life where you are scoring out of wedlock and eventually one gets pregnant. Don’t punch anyone in your family. Don’t be a fraud.

Seems like easy stuff to achieve but too many athletes fail at it. Though I’m from San Diego and two of the biggest stars in the city’s sports history had no troubles being good citizens with impeccable reputations.

Guys named Tony Gwynn and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Curry is on the same path as those two legends and let’s see if he can keep it up. The image is spotless, his popularity is out-of-control high and he’s one of the top outside shooters the league has ever seen.

And now he has an NBA title to chase and we can all sit back and watch the Curry vs. LeBron show. Should be an entertaining NBA Finals.

And let’s hope we are still talking about this Stephen Curry being a real good guy a decade from now.

As a kid, you never knew what you’d bring home after going to a major-league ballpark

05/03/2015

MLB.bat

One of the major-league bats Mr. Sports scored when he was a kid hanging out at the ballpark all the time.

Bats, balls, hats — being a kid in a large city sure was a lot of fun. And you could get into the stadium real cheap, not like today when a kid has to drain his bank account to go to one game.

Maybe this fall, I will chronicle the story of scoring a jersey from an NFL Pro Bowl player in exchange for a 25-cent RC can. True story.

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