THE BLAME GAME

We live in a culture that is obsessed with the idea of blame. There always has to be a scapegoat. How did we ever get this way as a country? The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Instead we have become a society that is not only hypocritical, but also judgmental and at many times unfair.

Whatever happened to the old adage of just fixing a problem. Does there always have to be blame attached to the event or story. For example, let us look back at 9/11. After the horrific attacks, it became clear that the Terrorist Group Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the worst attack on American soil in history. Ok, so Osama Bin Laden and his group of Muslim extremists were behind the attack. But instead of just coming together as a country and trying to get these bastards, who were clearly responsible for the thousands of deaths, instead the American people began to look at every avenue and pass blame on numerous sub groups and even individuals.

C’MON, seriously! Do you think that it matters if the CIA had intelligence that these attacks were imminent. Do you think that if the CIA had acted more quickly that 9/11 could have been prevented. Lets face it, some things are just destined to happen. Yes, maybe there was some negligence on the part of the CIA. However, the CIA is not to blame for 9/11. Instead of blaming them and having a war of words between politicians, government agencies, etc., why could they not just focus on solving the problem and moving on.

The reason that the “Blame Game” has become so ingrained in our culture is that no one likes to be wrong. Criticism is not taken very well, so it’s much easier to point the finger at the “other” person. I would argue that blame and judgement could be a very dangerous path and that this type of behavior could truly ruin our country and what it was founded on.

Let us also look at the Benghazi Terror Attacks on September 11, 2011. Now these attacks were carried out overseas instead of in the United States, but they definitely affected our country the most in terms of lost lives and fear. Once again, a Jihad Terrorist Group claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, instead of just taking the information and running with it, the people had to find another scapegoat or “patsy.” This time, the Government including President Obama and Hillary Clinton were blamed. It was stated that they were aware of this threat and once again did nothing.

The “Blame Game” is not relegated to the Political Sector. Blame is used everywhere everyday. In schools. In the workplace. In Sports. On the Roadways. Blame and Judgement are two dangerous tools that can really wreak havoc if not used in the proper way. God tells us not to judge others because we are just as bad.

The latest Terror Attack at the Boston Marathon brought back memories of 9/11, and although no specific group has taken responsibility, it is thought that the perpetrators were somehow tied into a terrorist network. Here we go again. Instead of coming together, sharing our intelligence, sharing our tools to get these terrorists we continue to place blame on whoever is in the way.

This time the blame is being placed on the FBI. Really? Ok, so you are going to sit here look me in the eye and say that the FBI definitely knew these Attacks would happen and they failed to react even a little bit? I would strongly disagree. Had the FBI had intelligence that the Marathon was a terrorist target, they would have reacted right away. I mean no agency, no network, no group is infallible. Mistakes are made. We are all human beings. Instead of standing around debating who is at fault here and who we should blame, can we please look at the facts.

The fact is that two Muslim extremists planned and carried out a terrorist attack in Boston at the marathon. That much we do know and one of the suspects is dead and the other one is in custody. Well, don’t you think that all these agencies should be sharing their intelligence, resources, and plans to find out how deep this plot runs. Are there any other people involved? Was Al-Qaeda responsible? How about Hizbollah? No, instead the American people as well as the Government is crucifying the FBI.

Maybe the FBI was Nieve and negligent, but they are definitely not to blame. Let us please focus on the tasks at hand. Find out who is responsible and get the people that did this to you. The FBI should be addressed but that should be something that is done behind closed doors. Blame is a very serious and dangerous tool that has become all to coon in our society today. The World would be a better place without blame. Instead of blame, how about connecting the dots and finding facts. This is a much more efficient way to get to the bottom of a problem and correct it. Just saying, this “blame game” must stop. Blame the terrorists. Blame the Haters. Blame the real people who are responsible for these heinous crimes. Until next time, have a great weekend everyone!

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THE METAL WORLD MOURNS THE LOSS OF ANOTHER TRUE LEGEND

On Thursday, Jeff Hahnemann, Guitarist for one of the “BIG FOUR BANDS” SLAYER, was found dead in his home in Southern California. Jeff along with Kerry King formed the Metal Band Slayer in 1982. In 2011, Hahnemann nearly lost his arm due to a spider bite. The injury initially went untreated but then the star guitarist began to be plagued with health problems. Recently though, his health had improved and he was in the studio working on a new Slayer Album.

The initial cause of death is being stated as liver failure, although the “Spider Bite” and reoccurring skin eating disorder has to have some link to his death. The actual skin disorder is called necrotizing fasciitis. This disease is extremely fast as far as progressing to the later stages. The disease actually involves bacteria that actually eats human flesh. The bacteria spreads easily through the subcutaneous region. Doctors are not sure if the infection can spread to the organs, however the fact that he died from liver failure may be an example of this occurring.

Jeff grew up in Los Angeles and was in a family of many war veterans. His interest in war is the direct influence on his music lyrics and war connotations. “Angel of Death”, which Jeff was responsible for writing, is widely criticized for its link to Nazi Activity in the Auschwitz Death Compound during World War II. Jeff wrote the songs “Angel of Death”, “Raining Blood”, “War Ensemble”, “Seasons in the Abyss”, and “Reigning Blood”, all of which are played at every Slayer Concert!

Jeff had been trying to rehab and a few guitarists including Exodus front man Gary Holt was filling in. As a huge Slayer fan…I am not sure how the band will move forward at this point. It’s similar to Pantera with Dimebag. I mean, Pantera has yet to have a reunion and it would be impossible to replicate Dimebag Darrel and his style of play. The same holds true for Hahnemann. He is an excellent lyricist and has wrote some of the most extreme riffs for Slayers material. It would be like Dave Mustaine passing away and trying to keep Megadeth going.

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding his death, Jeff will be greatly missed. I know today in his memory, I am going to have a Slayer marathon and listen to all of the CDs in order. Rest in Peace Jeff…we pray for your soul. We pray for your family, friends, and band members. We pray for all of those around the Metal Community affected by his loss. We pray for your fans. And as we close the page on your life…you start a new chapter in Heaven. God Bless.

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BASEBALL’S 600 CLUB (NOT HOMERUNS)

Florida Marlins Outfielder Juan Pierre joined a distinct list during Thursday Night’s Game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Pierre became only the 17th player in major league history to reach 600 Stolen Bases. In contrast, only 8 players have hit 600 or more home runs. Another major milestone is the 300 win club. Now this club holds 24 Pitchers to date. So a pretty interesting side note here shows that the home run club is most exclusive according to the numbers, the stolen base club is second and the 300 Win Club third. 8-17-24

So, combined, only 49 Players have hit these milestones in the very long history of baseball. MLB was founded in 1868. So in the 145 total years of MLB, there have only been 49 players that have reached 600 Home Runs, 600 Stolen Bases and 300 Wins. This shows the magnitude of all of these players that have reached these milestones.

Anyway, lets take a look at the 600 Stolen Base Club and see the specifics, what players have made it, who has come close and who may have a shot going forward. By definition, a “stolen base” is any time a player successfully makes it to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate. Stolen Bases were more prevalent in past seasons and have dramatically been cut down as far as the frequency in modern day baseball. There may be a few reasons for this, but two of the main reasons would be increased velocity of pitchers getting the ball to the plate as well as an improvement on the defensive side of the ball for catchers. Today, catchers are better at getting the ball and releasing it quickly to try and get the runner out while they attempt to swipe a base.

Lets now take a look at the list:
1) Rickey Henderson (1,406 SB)- Known as the “Man of Steal” Rickey was probably the best Leadoff hitter in Baseball History. He holds the records for career stolen bases, walks, runs scored and Leadoff Home Runs. He was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2009 with a 96% First Ballot Vote.

2) Lou Brock (938 SB)- Brock, who played the majority of games with the Saint Louis Cardinals held virtually every stolen base record before Henderson broke his records. Brock was the first player to break Ty Cobb’s long standing Stolen Base record. Brock was also inducted into the HOF in his first year of eligibility in 1985.

3) Billy Hamilton (912 SB)- Hamilton was a player that played between 1888 and 1901. He was a prototype Leadoff hitter and played in the “run-happy” era. Hamilton holds the record for 7 Stolen Bases in one game. He is also the first player to have both a Leadoff Home Run and Walk-Off Home Run in the same game. He Made the Hall of Fame in 1961.

4) Ty Cobb (892 SB)- Cobb is legendary and held 90 Records at one point in his career before many were broken in years later. Cobb started his career in 1905 with the Detroit Tigers and ended it with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928. Cobb was known for his aggressive style of play and was always on base a la hit, walk, or being hit. He would steal on every count. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1936 receiving 222 of 226 Votes, a record.

5) Tim Raines (808 SB)- Raines, nick named the “ROCK” was another terror on the base paths. Raines career spanned from 1979-2002. A few seasons were marred when he went into a drug treatment program for a cocaine addiction. After he came back, his numbers actually got better. In 1983, he stole a career best 90 Bases. Raines has still failed to enter the HOF but his numbers definitely support his induction.

6) Vince Coleman (752 SB)- Coleman’s career was relatively short compared to other players on the list, which makes his accomplishments more dramatic. He only played from 1985-1997. In his debut season he stole 110 Bases, setting a record. He was only the 3rd player in history to post 3 consecutive 100 Stolen Base Seasons. The end of his career was a downward spiral, but anyone that saw him can acknowledge that without his injuries and problems off the field, he very well could have been the all time leader, even better than Henderson.

7) Eddie Collins (744 SB)- Known as “Cocky”, Collins time in the MLB saw him as a second baseman, coach, and executive. Collins was a quiet leader on the base paths and was inducted into the HOF in 1939. Collins died in 1951 at the age of 63.

8) Max Carey (738 SB)- Carey played from 1910-1927 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Robins. He regularly stole 40 Bases a season and has an excellent percentage. He led the league in steals 10x and was always at the top in this category. He also stole Home 33x, second only to Ty Cobb’s 50. He was inducted into the HOF in 1961.

9) Honus Wagner (722 SB)- Wagner was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman”. His career spanned from 1897-1919. Wagner won 8 Batting Titles which ties Tony Gwynn for the major league record. He led the league in slugging six times and stolen bases five times. Wagner is most noted for his baseball card which continues to be the most valuable of any player in history. He also made the HOF in 1936 receiving more votes than anyone besides Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

10) Joe Morgan (689 SB)- Morgan is most known for his career with the Reds and “The Big Red Machine”. He was the first second baseman in history to win back to back MVP Awards. Morgan, who is now a broadcaster, is considered one of If not the best second baseman if all time. He entered the HOF In 1991 as a First Ballot.

11) Willie Wilson (668 SB)- Wilson held the record for most official at bats in a season with 705 until Jimmy Rollins just recently passed him. Wilson hit a career .285 for his career, most of which was played for the Kansas City Royals.

12) Bert Campernaris (649 SB)- Campernaris had almost as many steals in his career as RBI. That’s pretty uncommon and hard to do.

13) Kenny Lofton (622 SB)- Kenny played from 1991-2007. Most of his years were spent with the Cleveland Indians where he did not receive much press. He was a six time all star and five time stolen base champ. Lofton has the record for post season steals with 34 which broke Rickey Henderson’s record of 33. He will make the HOF some day.

14) Otis Nixon (620 SB)- Nixon played his MLB career from 1983-1999. During that span he played for ten different teams. Nixon made the final out of the 1991 World Series by attempting to bunt for a base hit which still stands as the only time this has happened.

15) George Davis (616SB)

16) Tom Brown (615 SB)- 1882-1898.

17) Juan Pierre (600 SB)- In 2010 he had his most prolific season as far as stolen bases with 68 playing for the White Sox. He has had 200 Hits four times and 60 Stolen Bases three times. He won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003. He is the ninth fastest player to reach 600 Stolen Bases.

Well, the 600 Stolen Base Club is exclusive and to ha e Pierre’s name mentioned with the likes of Lou Brock, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Rickey Henderson is quite an accomplishment. I would say the only player on the radar who has a shot at 600 now is Jose Reyes because of his age. If Jimmy Rollins plays many more seasons and all of a sudden has a surge he
Could
Reach that number but I highly doubt it. Also Carl Crawford. Anyway, congratulations to Juan Pierre…quite an accomplishment for a player that has not always been a big name player.

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TOP 25 PITCHERS SINCE 1990

Ok, so every time I do a “Top List” of any sort it takes a lot of thought, research, analysis, knowledge, understanding and obviously intangibles. When it comes to sports, it is always hard to rank certain players by position because of many different factors. Also, every expert has their own take on these lists and use different criteria when putting together such a list.

There are a few important notes to make when putting this particular list together. First of all, in my list the pitcher can be either a starter or relief pitcher. Of course, most of the pitchers that will make the list are starters, but there are a few relief pitchers that cannot be ignored. Secondly, it should also be noted that the 1990-Present Pitching Class occurred during the “Steroid/PED” era. However, although a lot of these pitchers have been linked to certain substances, it does not disqualify them from being in this List.

My Top 25 List will not be done in any set order, because of many reasons, one of which is that some of these pitchers are still active and have not completed their careers. As with any list, I am sure there will be disagreements and arguments against who made the list. This will always be true as each and every analyst has their own set of standards when it comes to athletes. The list will include certain players that have retired and some of them may have began their careers before 1990.
Best of the Best:
Greg Maddux- Greg Maddux probably makes the Top 10 List of all time…he was that good. He went 355-227, 3.16 ERA, 109 Complete Games, 35 Shutouts, 5008 Innings Pitched, 3371 Strikeouts and 999 Walks. Maddux pitched the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. His peak was in the mid nineties when he won Four consecutive CY Young Awards in a row from 1992-1995. Maddux was a master on the mound and rarely made mistakes. His control was exceptional and he definitely was one of the most dominant starters of this era.

Roger Clemens- Roger’s name has unfortunately been linked to steroids. However, Regardless of this black mark, Clemens was still one of the most dominant starters in MLB history. His numbers definitely support his place as one of the “Greats” but the PED allegations definitely sting. For his career which he pitched for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros. Roger Clemens won an unheard of six CY Young Awards during his illustrious career. He was 354-184, 3.12 ERA, 118 Complete Games, 46 Shutouts, 4916 Innings Pitched, 4672 Strikeouts and 1580 Walks. As I stated, if not for the steroid allegations, Clemens would be in the Top 10.

Randy Johnson- Randy Johnson began his career with the Montreal Expos. Johnson was a freak of nature standing at 6’10”. His nick name was the “Big Unit” which uniquely described his imposing figure on the mound. He pitched the majority of his career with the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and finished with the San Francisco Giants. He finished his career with a 303-166 Record, 3.29 ERA, 4135 Innings Pitched, 4875 Strikeouts, 100 Complete Games, 37 Shutouts, and 1497 walks. Johnson won 5 CY Young Awards, was a 10 Time All Star, threw a no-hitter as well as a perfect game, and was the World Series MVP of 2001. Johnson was definitely the best southpaw ever during this era.

Mariano Rivera- Rivera is the first Reliever to make this list. Rivera is still active and has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees. For his career he is 76-58, 2.21 ERA, 1130 Strikeouts in 1230 Innings Pitched, a MLB record 618 Saves in 691 opportunities, an amazing 14 (30 Save Seasons), 7 (40 Save Seasons) and 2 (50 Save Seasons), 12 Time All Star, 5 Time Rolaids Relief Man of Year, 5 Time World Series Champion including a World Series MVP in 1999, an unprecedented 42 Post Season Saves in 141 Innings Pitched, an 8-1 Record and 110 Strikeouts and only 21 Walks. Rivera in my mind has to receive some votes for the Top 10 Pitchers of all time and is definitely the most dominant reliever to ever don a baseball uniform. Rivera as mentioned has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees.

Pedro Martinez- Pedro Martinez is the wild card of the list as he is well under 300 Wins for his career, but had it not been for injuries, he may have eclipsed this mark and then some. Martinez played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies. He ended his career 219-100, 2.93 ERA, 2827 Innings Pitched, 3154 Strikeouts, 760 Walks, 46 Complete Games, 17 Shutouts, and a .687 winning percentage which is the highest among pitchers with 200 wins in history. He won 3 CY Young Awards and was an 8 Time All Star. In 1999, Pedro went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 Strikeouts. He only had 37 Walks in 213 Innings Pitched. This may be one of the greatest seasons on the modern pitching era. In 1997, he went 17-8, with a minuscule 1.90 ERA, 305 Strikeouts and only 67 Walks in 241 Innings Pitched with an amazing 13 Complete Games and 4 Shutouts. In 2000, Martinez had a career best 1.74 ERA. Martinez could have been so much more.

Tom Glavine- Glavine was one of the three stars that dominated the nineties and 2000’s for the Atlanta Braves along with Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. Tom Glavine finished his career with a 305-203 Record, 5 (20 Win Seasons), 3.54 ERA, 56 Complete Games, 25 Shutouts, 4413 Innings Pitched, 2607 Strikeouts and 1500 Walks. Glavine was also a 10 Time All Star, World Series MVP in 1995, and a 2 Time CY Young Award Winner. Tom Glavine was never an overpowering pitcher, but instead painted the corners like a master. Glavine in his prime was top notch.

John Smoltz- The Third member of the vaunted Atlanta Braves rotation during the nineties and 2000’s. John Smoltz is the only Starter/Reliever to make this list. Smoltz finished his career 213-154, 3.33 ERA, 53 Complete Games, 16 Shutouts, another 154 Saves, 3473 Innings Pitched, 3074 Strikeouts, 1010 Walks, in 21 Seasons. John Smoltz may not have the wins and Noteriety of Maddux or Glavine, but he was money in the post season. In the Playoffs, Smoltz was a tremendous 15-4, 2.67 ERA, 209 Innings Pitched, 199 Strikeouts, 67 Walks. He was a 1Time CY Young Award Winner as well as a One Time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, an 8 Time All Star, and a 3 Time 40 Save Closer. Smoltz easily makes this list.

Curt Schilling- Curt Schilling is one if those pitchers that peaked later in his career and may have had better stats if he started earlier. With that being said, Curt Schilling was still one of the most dominant starters if his time. During his career he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox while beginning his career with Baltimore and Houston. Schilling was 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 83 Complete Games, 20 Shutouts, 3116 Strikeouts in 3261 Innings Pitched, 711 Walks, 6 Time All Star and 3 Time World Series Champion. Schilling was a 3 Time 20 Game Winner, 3 Time 300 Strikeout Pitcher, and a 15 Complete Game Starter in 1998. In 5 Post Seasons, Schilling went 11-2, while posting a 2.23 ERA, 123 Strikeouts, 25 Walks in 133 Innings Pitched. He also finished with 4 Complete Games and 2 Shutouts. He won the World Series MVP in 2001 for the DiamondBacks and the NLCS MVP for the Phillies in 1993.

Mike Mussina- Mike did most if his damage as the most quiet pitcher on this list. First of all, he spent a majority of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and was their ACE during a time period where the team was really bad. During his 18 Year Career, Mussina was 270-153, 3.68 ERA, 3562 Innings Pitched, 2813 Strikeouts, 785 Walks, 57 Complete Games, 23 Shutouts, 5 Time All Star and one of the oldest pitchers to win 20 Games at age 39. Mussina only won 20 games once and that was as a Yankee. However, he was extremely consistent and put up some pretty darn good numbers.

David Cone- In 17 Seasons, Cone went 194-126, 3.46 ERA, 2893 Innings Pitched, 2668 Strikeouts, 1137 Walks, 56 Complete Games, 22 Shutouts, 2 (20 Win Seasons), 1 CY Young Award, 5 Time All Star and 5 Time World Series Champion. Cone also pitched a perfect game in 1999 as a New York Yankee. In his 17 Year Career he has an 8-3 PostSeason Record.

Orel Hershiser- Orel Hershiser finished his 17 Year Career with a 204-150 Record. He had a lifetime 3.48 ERA in 3130 Innings Pitched, 2014 Strikeouts, 68 Complete Games and 25 Shutouts, 1007 Walks. Hershiser was also a 3 Time All Star, 1 Time CY Young Award Winner, 1 Time World Series Champion as well as a World Series MVP. Hershiser holds the MLB record of pitching 59 Consecutive Scoreless Innings!

Ok, we’ll that was the Top 10. Now I will give you my 15 Remaining. Some of these pitchers are still active and some are retired.
1) David Wells (239-157, 2201K’s)
2) Kevin Brown (211-144, 3.28ERA)
3) Brett Saberhagen (167-117, 2xCY Young)
4) Dwight Gooden (194-112, 2293K’s)
5) Chuck Finley (200-173, 2610 K’s)
6) Jaime Moyer (269-209, 2441 K’s)
7) Roy Halladay (201-103, 67 Complete Games, 2x CY Young, 2097 K’s, 3.35 ERA)
8) CC Sabathia (195-104, 3.50 ERA, 1xCY Young, 2250 K’s)
9) Johan Santana (139-78, 3.20 ERA, 1988 K’s, 2xCY Young, 1st Mets No Hitter)
10) Justin Verlander (127-67, 1x CY Young, 1495 K’s, 2 No Hitters.
11) Billy Wagner- ( 422 Saves, 2.31 ERA, 1196 K’s, 9 (30 Save Seasons)
12) Roy Oswalt (163-96, 1818 K’s, 3x All Star)
13) Trevor Hoffman ( 601 Saves, 2.87 ERA)
14) Cliff Lee (127-79, 3.58 ERA, 1xCY Young, 1658 K’s)
15) Josh Beckett (132-98, 1xCY Young, 2x World Series Champion, 2x World Series MVP)

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