BUSTED

     IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT BIOGENESIS INVESTIGATION AND THE 65 GAME SUSPENSION OF RYAN BRAUN FOR HIS USE OF PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS…MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEEDS TO REVISIT ITS DRUG POLICY IN THE FALL.  RYAN BRAUN, A FORMER MLB MVP IN 2011 FOR THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS WAS SUSPENDED YESTERDAY FOR  THE REST OF THE SEASON (65 GAMES).  RYAN BRAUN HAD BEEN SUSPENDED PREVIOUSLY AND WAS ABLE TO APPEAL THE DECISION AND BEAT THE SYSTEM.  NOW HE TESTS POSITIVE AGAIN.  THIS IS A TRAVESTY AND JUST REAFFIRMS THAT THE LEAGUE STILL HAS A PROBLEM WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE THAT IS NOT GOING AWAY.  

     PLAYING PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS A LUXURY.  ATHLETES THAT ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE IT BIG BECOME RICH AND ARE ABLE TO “WORK” IN A FIELD THAT EVERYONE WOULD DIE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO.  IT IS SICKENING THAT THIS NONSENSE IS STILL A BIG ISSUE.  ONE WOULD THINK, THAT AFTER THE CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS AFTER SOME OF THE MOST PROMINENT PLAYERS WERE LINKED TO PED’S, THAT MODERN DAY PLAYERS WOULD STAY AWAY FROM THIS “BLACK CLOUD.”  

     GOING FORWARD, THE LEAGUE NEEDS TO ADOPT A MORE STRINGENT POLICY ON THE DRUG POLICY.  RYAN BRAUN HAS CERTAINLY LIED TO THE PUBLIC, LIED TO HIS TEAM, LIED TO HIS PLAYERS, LIED TO THE FANS, LIED TO THE LEAGUE.  THIS IS AN EMBARRASSING MOMENT IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S FACE.  RYAN BRAUN WORKED OUT A PLEA DEAL AND HIS SUSPENSION SPANS THE REST OF THE SEASON.  HOWEVER, WHAT MAKES THIS WORSE IS THAT BRAUN SAT THERE AND LIED THROUGH HIS TEETH A YEAR AGO, WHEN BRAUN TESTED POSITIVE FOR PEDS BEFORE.  HOWEVER, BRAUN APPEALED THE DECISION AND THE SUSPENSION WAS LIFTED.  WHAT MAKES THIS A REAL UGLY ELEPHANT, IS THE FACT THAT BRAUN IS STILL NOT SHOWING MUCH REMORSE FOR HIS ACTIONS.  BRAUN SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THE LEAGUE, THE FAN’S HIS TEAM AND APOLOGIZE AND SHOW SINCERE REGRET FOR HIS ACTIONS AND LIES.  NO…INSTEAD…WE HAD A HALF ASS ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS THE SITUATION AND HE LEFT WITHOUT MAKING ANY TYPE OF INTERVIEWS OR A PRESS CONFERENCE.

     LISTEN…I AGREE THAT THERE ARE SO MANY PLAYERS THAT DID THIS BEFORE BRAUN AND THAT THEY ARE STILL AFFILIATED WITH THE LEAGUE.  HOWEVER, THE PUNISHMENT NEEDS TO MEET THE CRIME.  WHAT I WOULD PROPOSE TO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WOULD BE TO INSTITUTE A ZERO POLICY FOR PED’S AND STEROIDS.  IF ANY PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE ON A FIRST OFFENSE, THEY SHOULD AUTOMATICALLY BE SUSPENDED FOR ONE SEASON (BEING 162 GAMES.)  NOW…IF THE PLAYER RETURNS AND IS DUMB ENOUGH TO GET CAUGHT AGAIN…I FEEL THAT THEY SHOULD RECEIVE A LIFETIME BAN.

     WHENEVER I GET INTO THESE DISCUSSIONS, IT IS HARD TO IGNORE THAT SOME OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS OF THE PAST WERE GUILTY OF THE SAME INFRACTIONS.  HOWEVER, THAT WAS IN THE PAST AND THE LEAGUE HAS PROGRESSIVELY CRACKED DOWN MORE ON THIS PROBLEM.  I JUT FEEL THAT IF THE LEAGUE INSTITUTED MORE STRINGENT RULES, THAT PLAYERS WOULD THINK TWICE OF DOING IT AGAIN.  I MEAN, MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND AND THESE GUYS MAKE MILLIONS.  I DO NOT KNOW TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT WOULD RISK THAT TYPE OF MONEY FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE DRUGS.

     WELL, THERE ARE NOW EVEN LARGER FISHES TO FRY.  THE TALK IS THAT THE LEAGUE HAS MORE EVIDENCE ON ALEX RODRIGUEZ (AROD).  AROD HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN FOUND TO HAVE TAMPERED WITH EVIDENCE AND OBSTRUCT THE INVESTIGATION.  IN CONCLUSION, THE LEAGUE SHOULD CHANGE THE POLICY TO MAKE MORE HEADWAY IN THIS PROCESS.  ONE THING REMAINS TRUE…THE LEAGUE HAS DONE A BETTER JOB WITH THE DRUG POLICY AND HAS COME ALONG WAY WITH IT’S RULES AND REGULATIONS.  IN MY ESTIMATION, RYAN BRAUN SHOULD BE BANNED FOR LIFE BUT HE LUCKED OUT WHEN HIS FORMER SUSPENSION WAS APPEALED.  AT THAT TIME, BRAUN SHOWED NO REMORSE.  MLB MUST DO THE RIGHT THING.  MORE TIO COME….Image

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BUCKET LIST

     THE OTHER DAY I WAS BORED AND GOT TO THINKING ABOUT WHAT THINGS I WOULD LOVE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE MY LIFE IS OVER.  ALTHOUGH I AM ONLY 37…LIFE IS TOO SHORT AND THE MAN UPSTAIRS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT KNOWS WHEN OUR TIME IS UP.  I AM SURE THAT EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN UNIQUE BUCKET LIST.  SOME THINGS MAY BE TRIVIAL WHILE OTHER THINGS MAY BE LIFE CHANGING.  ALSO…SOME PEOPLE MAY DRAFT THEIR BUCKET LIST AT A YOUNGER AGE WHILE SOME MAY WAIT UNTIL LATER IN LIFE.  LIFE CHANGING EVENTS WOULD BE DESCRIBED AS SUCH THINGS AS MARRIAGE, CONCEIVING A BABY, HAVING A GRAND CHILD, CHANGING CAREERS ETC.  TRIVIAL EVENTS COULD BE GETTING A PROMOTION, BUYING YOUR DREAM CAR, TRAVELING, ETC.  FINALLY THERE ARE THE SMALLER MOMENTS THAT DEFINE A PERSONS LEGACY.

     AS I WRITE THIS POST, I WILL ATTEMPT TO CREATE MY OWN PERSONAL BUCKET LIST  WHICH HOPEFULLY WILL BE ORIGINAL AS WELL AS ATTAINABLE.  I STRESS THAT I MY OPINION, A BUCKET LIST SHOULD BE LEGITIMATE AND NOT SOMETHING THAT IS FAR FETCHED AND NEAR IMPOSSIBLE.  SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADUE…HERE IS MY OWN PERSONAL BUCKET LIST:

1) GET AT LEAST ONE TATTO  

2) GO SKYDIVING

3) FLY A PLANE

4) TRAVEL TO EUROPE (GERMANY, ITALY, IRELAND, CHINA, JAPAN)

5) START A BAND (EXCEL AT THE GUITAR)

6) VISIT LAS VEGAS/CALIFORNIA

7) GO TO THE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME (ALREADY WENT TO NHL/MLB HOF)

8) VISIT THE ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME

9) OWN A CORVETTE

10) GET MARRIED

11) HAVE AT LEAST ONE CHILD

12) VISIT THE ROLLER COASTER THEME PARK IN OHIO

13) MEET AL PACINO

14) MEET DAVE MUSTAINE 

15) VISIT THE WHITE HOUSE

16) SHOOT A BOONE/CROCKET WHITE TAIL DEER

17) GO HUNTING OUT WEST

18) RUN A MARATHON

19) BOWL A 200

20) WIN A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF MONEY IN LOTTERY

21) DRIVE A NASCAR

22) EAT 50 WINGS IN 1 SETTING

23) BE AN EXTRA IN A MOVIE

24) WRITE A NOVEL

25) BECOME THE BOSS OF A FORMER BOSS THAT TREATED ME BAD

26) SWIM ACROSS THE DELAWARE RIVER

27) ATTEND THE SUPER BOWL

28) SEE THE EAGLES WIN A SUPERBOWL

29) SEE THE FLYERS WIN A STANLEY CUP

30) RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE

***OK…SO THIS IS MY OWN UNIQUE BUCKET LIST.  I TRIED TO KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET AND IN MY OPINION ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE REASONABLY ATTAINABLE.  

SO I AM LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK FROM MY READERS…WHAT IS SOMETHING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?????????????????????Image

 

THE MEDIA MONSTER

    AFTER THE EVENTS OF THIS PAST WEEK…I COULD NOT HELP BUT REFLECT BACK ON THE PAST.  EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO AN OPINION AND YES THERE IS ALWAYS FREEDOM OF SPEECH.  HOWEVER, WHEN WE SPEAK DO WE ACTUALLY THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT WE SAY?  HOW WILL IT BE RECEIVED BY THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE?  DOES WHAT I SAY CAUSE A TRIGGER OR CAUSE TENSION AMONG PEOPLE THAT MAY NOT AGREE?  WELL, I THINK THE MEDIA KNEW WHAT IT WAS DOING WHEN COVERING THE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN/TRAYVON MARTIN CASE.  THE MEDIA USED THIS CASE TO START AN ALL OUT RACE WAR.  ON ONE SIDE…THERE ARE MANY BLACK PEOPLE WHO FEEL THAT THE VERDICT WAS A RACIAL INJUSTICE.  ON THE OTHER SIDE…WE HAVE THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO ARE SAYING TO THEMSELVES “HERE WE GO AGAIN PLAYING THE RACE CARD.”  THEN IN THE MIDDLE…WHICH APPEARS TO BE THE MINORITY ARE PEOPLE WHO SEE THINGS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE EQUATION.

     I MUST ADMIT…I WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE SAYING “OH NO…NOT AGAIN.”  AS A 37 YEAR OLD WHITE MALE, I HAVE LIVED THROUGH A PERIOD OF TRANSITION AND SAW MANY CHANGES AS FAR AS RACIAL EQUALITY.  I HAVE SAW THE BARRIERS FALL THAT ONCE WERE PILLARS OF INEQUALITY IN THIS COUNTRY.  LIKEWISE, I HAVE WITNESSED THE ELECTION OF THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  I MUST SAY…I DO NOT AGREE WITH EVERYTHING THAT OBAMA HAS DONE, BUT HE HAS CERTAINLY BEEN A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN MANY BEFORE HIM.  I THINK ANYONE THAT SAYS THAT THEY HAVE NO TYPE OF PREJUDICED AND THAT THEY DO NOT STERO TYPE OR PROFILE IS A LIAR.  WE ALL FALL SHORT IN THIS AREA…WHITE, BLACK, HISPANIC, MEXICAN, FOREIGN, WHATEVER RACE, CULTURE, OR CREED WE ARE.  THE KEY TO GETTING PAST THESE BELIEFS IS TO TRULY UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS.

     WHAT HAS HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEK HAS SAW THE MEDIA TAKE A CRIMINAL TRIAL AND USE IT FOR THEIR BENEFIT.  ANYONE THAT DOES NOT THINK THE MEDIA HAD PREMEDITATION IN THEIR ACTIONS OBVIOUSLY CANNOT READ THROUGH THE LINES.  I HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE ABOUT THE MEDIA…WHETHER IT BE THE SOCIAL MEDIA, CYBER MEDIA, AND NEWS OUTLETS.  THINK LOGICALLY AND YOU WILL SEE RIGHT THROUGH THEIR AGENDA.  THE PLAN WAS SIMPLE.  TAKE A CASE THAT HAD OPPOSITE RACES INVOLVED, SHOVE IT DOWN THE PUBLICS THROAT, AND HOPE FOR A CONTROVERSIAL VERDICT.  WELL, THEIR PLAN HAS WORKED.  IN FACT…IT SEEMS THAT THE RESULTS ARE EVEN BETTER THAN THE MEDIA HAD EXPECTED.  AND UNFORTUNATELY, SO MANY OF US HAVE BEEN SUCKED IN AND ARE NOW SEETHING WITH ANGER…WHETHER IT BE ANGER THAT THIS VERDICT WAS RACIALLY DRIVEN…ANGER THAT THE “RACE CARD” IS BEING PLAYED…ANGER THAT OUR FRIENDS WONT GET INVOLVED IN THE HOOPLA THE WAY WE ARE…ETC.  NO MATTER WHERE YOU FIT INTO THIS DEBATE, ONE THING REMAINS CONSTANT.  THERE IS STILL A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHY PEOPLE FEEL THE WAY THEY DO.

     TODAY I WAS ABLE TO TALK TO SOMEONE REGARDING THESE ISSUES.  I HAD BEEN POSTING ON FACE BOOK AND UNKNOWINGLY MADE A COMMENT THAT TRULY OFFENDED SOMEONE.  THIS PERSON CALLED ME OUT ON IT AND AT FIRST I BECAME ANGRY AND DISAGREED.  HOWEVER, WHEN I ACTUALLY LOOKED AT WHAT WAS SAID AND PUT MYSELF IN THAT PERSON’S SHOES, I WAS TOTALLY ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MADE THEM SO MAD.  CERTAIN STATEMENTS AND WORDS CAN BE TRIGGERS.  THE STATEMENTS OR WORDS MAY BE USED WITH NO PURPOSE TO HURT OR INJURE THE OTHER PERSON, BUT IN THEIR WORLD THESE WORDS CAUSE ANGER AND TURMOIL AND SO GOES UP THE DEFENSE SYSTEM.

     WELL, I AM HAPPY TO SAY THAT NOW I HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE RACIAL DIVIDE AND WHY CERTAIN THINGS REMAIN UNCHANGED.  IN MY OPINION, THE MEDIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF ITSELF FOR CAUSING ALL OF THIS UNNECESSARY DRAMA AND CHAOS.  NONETHELESS, WHAT’S IN THE PAST IS IN THE PAST AND CANNOT BE CHANGED.  HOWEVER, WE AS A SOCIETY CAN MAKE THE EFFORT TO TRULY “LISTEN” AND UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER’S POINT OF VIEWS INSTEAD OF HAVING UGLY DEBATES THAT SPARK ANGER AND HATRED.  FOR THE RECORD…I FEEL THAT GEORGE ZIMMERMAN WAS TOTALLY IN THE WRONG AS HE SHOULD HAVE NEVER PUT HIMSELF IN THAT PLACE IN THE FIRST PLACE.  HE SHOULD HAVE AT THE VERY LEAST BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER.  I HAD THIS SAME OPINION FOUR DAYS AGO.  WHAT HAS CHANGED IS MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PEOPLE THAT ARE CLAIMING RACIAL INEQUALITY.  ALTHOUGH I MYSELF DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE TRIAL WAS RACIALLY DRIVEN, I DO UNDERSTAND HOW THE NOT GUILTY VERDICT HAS ANGERED MANY PEOPLE, MOSTLY BLACK PEOPLE.

    IN CONCLUSION…THE MEDIA IS AT FAULT FOR CAUSING THIS LATEST RACIAL WAR.  I GUESS MY HOPE AND PRAYER IS THAT WE WILL ALL LOOK DEEPLY AT THE FACTS OF THIS CASE AND BE UNDERSTANDING OF WHY MANY OTHERS MAY NOT SHARE THE SAME OPINION AS OURSELVES.  I URGE EVERYONE TO LOOK AT BOTH SIDES OF THE EQUATION.  THERE IS NEVER JUST ONE RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER.  ONLY GOD AND GEORGE ZIMMERMAN KNOW THE TRUTH.  AND GEORGE ZIMMERMAN WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO GOD SOMEDAY.  IN THE MEANTIME…MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE MARTIN FAMILY AND I PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND PEACE AND HOPEFULLY FORGIVENESS.  TO YOU THE MEDIA…I SAY THAT YOU ARE A TOOL OF THE DEVIL.  YOU ARE A MONSTER.  TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THIS SOCIETY.  ITS HARD ENOUGH THAT IT HAS TAKEN US SO MUCH TIME TO GET WHERE WE ARE…AND NOW YOU HAVE SET US BACK.  PLEASE AMERICA…SEE PAST THIS MEDIA STUNT AND UNITE AND LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES.  WE WILL ALL BE BETTER PEOPLE FOR IT.

ROLLING STONE DEBACLE

    Dzokar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Bombing Criminals, has appeared on the front page of the Billion Dollar Magazine, Rolling Stone.  His Face is the Front Page Cover model.  This is an absolute travesty and disrespectful stunt by the very popular magazine that generally covers music, but also portrays various current events and other entertainment.  His face looks eerily similar to a prior addition that had Jim Morrison (The Doors) Face on the Front Cover.  Are you FN KIDDING ME??!!!!!!!!  Has Rolling Stone went off the deep end.  Are they smoking crack?!!  This #%$$$^^$^ Terrorist is getting “Rock Star” treatment.

     Well I cannot say that this surprises me because Rolling Stone has always been known to push the envelope.  However…this is borderline criminal.  This killer has no right to be made into a hero of any kind and should not be praised in the Media Realms.  Think about all of the people that were effected by this tragedy including, the victims, their families and friends, the entire Boston Community, all of the First Responders, Police, Rescue, and the military that was involved in the capture of this GRADE A Terrorist!  Think about the pain they have already suffered!!!!  This is an absolute slap in the face to all of these people as well as all Americans including you and I.  

     There have been reports of a social media craze that has sprung up with many girls liking a page on Facebook that is dedicated to Dzokar!  These girls are all saying that they think the “guy” is hot and they have school girl crushes on this douche bag.  Well, I am here to tell you that I have been a loyal fan and customer of Rolling Stone Magazine for years.  However, After seeing this stunt, I will never read nor purchase another copy of this magazine!!  Not to mention, I will burn every copy that I own.  I will also boycott the magazine and everybody should get together and sign a petition to ban future issues of Rolling Stone.  

     The Magazine has come out with a statement saying that “no harm” was meant by the new release and that they always try and cover current events with an interesting story.  This to me is totally sick.  Whats the difference of this and putting Osama Bin Laden on the front page of People Magazine?!!!  Outrage is an understatement.  Many retail chains have already made a promise to pull this issue from its shelves.  Honestly, what were they thinking with this?!!!!  RockStars are even pissed off.  Tommy Lee tweeted earlier, “C’MON Rolling Stone…Seriously?!”  

    This is just so irrational by a company that has always had a high standard in its ethical and loyal transcripts.  I mean…just like George Zimmerman…I am pretty sure that if seventy percent of the American Public saw these men on the streets…they would kill them with no regret.  So…what do we do…we put a Terrorist on the Front Page of a classic magazine that is one of the more popular subscriptions on a monthly basis.  Well, I guess this is a case of somebody having a brain failure when coming up with publishing ideas.  Decisions such as what goes on the front of any media outlet usually require the agreement of more than one person.  So, the fact that this went forward means there is more than one idiot working at Rolling Stone Magazine.

*****STAY TUNED….MORE TO COME ON THIS ISSUE*********

GIGANTOUR GIANT SUCCESS

Dave Mustaine has always been a great talent evaluator, but this year he really has hit a grand slam. Megadeth, who has once again revived the Gigantour “Tour” a few years back after a hiatus are taking the world by storm. After releasing End Game a few years back…they followed that album with Thirteen…which was a HUGE success. Then in early June…they released their brand new album Super Collider.

Many people (I call these the unknowing and non intelligent Megadeth Fans) have given this album bad reviews. I have heard many people saying…oh it’s a great album and all but it’s NOT Megadeth. Well, I am very critical of this band since they have always been one of my FAVS! I totally disagree with these bad reviews. In my opinion…Super Collider may be the best “all around” album since “The World Needs a Hero”. By this I am not judging the album on how heavy it is. I am judging it by the production, the variety, and the tightness of the sound.

Anyways, As Megadeth comes back with a vengeance, they have brought back Gigantour. The 2013 version may be the best yet. On the bill, Death Division, Jason Newstead, Device, Black Label Society, Hell Yeah, and of course Megadeth. Now there are also a few stops on this tour that include even more bands but that is for the lucky ones.

I must say, the only band on this list that I have a ton of knowledge and listening minutes under my belt about is Black Label Society, who I have always been a huge fan due to Zack Wylde. However, as I have begun to listen to these other bands…they all have one thing in common. They are all “BAD ASS!” By this, I mean great Guitarists, star drummers and bassists, and kick ass vocalists.

Let us do a quick review of each band. First we have Death Division…a new up and coming Metal band. They combine all types of metal into one great sound. Their lead singer, Sean De La Tour, hits many ranges! Then we have Jason Newstead. Everyone recognizes this name right? Yes the former bassist of Metallica! Wow! Well he has now put together his own band and they have become very successful. I highly recommend them for any Metal Head!

Device is a band that is made up of a few pieces from other bands, most notably the singer David Draiman from Disturbed. Device has mostly new material but they also do a “Kick Ass” cover of Ozzy/Lita Ford’s If I Close My Eyes Forever! Draiman has also teamed up with Dave Mustaine on Megadeth’s new album on two songs…”Forget to Remember and Dance in the Rain.” Draiman has definitely grown as an artist as well as a lead vocalist. It’s actually cool to see him doing background vocals with his Original sound.

Then we have Black Label Society! For those of you who have never heard BLS…be prepared to be blown away. Zack Wylde is probably in the Top Five Guitarists in the past 20 years if you want my opinion. Some of the material he puts out is utterly amazing! In fact, I keep hoping he will join forces with PANTERA and reunite the Star Band! Anyways, Black Label Society is an in YOUR FACE metal band that keeps it simple!

Then, we have Hell Yeah! Hell Yeah consists of Chad Gray and Gregg Tribbett from Mudvayne, Damage Plan and Pantera’s drummer Vinnie Paul and Bassist Bob Zilla and Nothingface Guitarist Tom Maxwell. Any PANTERA fan will love this band. Of course Tribbett and Maxwell are not DIMEBAG Darrell, but they play similar styles. Chad Grey provides phenomenal vocals!

Finally, we have the Headliners Megadeth! They don’t need any introduction as you all know them! In that note…go see the TOUR! You may be lucky and get them on a night where they all join forces. So far, on 3 of their stops all of the bands joined forces on Megadeth’s cover of the Thin Lizzy classic “Cold Sweat”! Look it up on YOU TUBe!!! Stellar! Epic! See you at the show!

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MID SUMMER CLASSIC MEANS DECISION TIME FOR PHILLIES

 

    So here we are…July 15th, 2013…and another All Star Game on a very hot tuesday evening.  This has been an eventful night with Tom Seaver throwing out the first pitch, Matt Harvey (The New York Mets Phenom) starting on the mound and going two innings, while striking out the side in the first inning.  He also baited Robinson Cano to foul a pitch off of his knee, knocking out the cross town rival Yankee’s second baseman.  And as the eighth inning begins…the legend Mariano Rivera begins to loosen up in the bullpen in what will be his final all star appearance in a slam dunk Hall of Fame career.

Whoever wins this all star game will get home field advantage in the World Series.  The American League is trying to preserve a 2-0 lead.  As this game closes out…the second half of the season fast approaches.  These next three weeks before the trade deadline will most likely effect the Phillie’s short and long term future.  At 48-48, the Phillies are tied for second with the Washington Nationals behind the Division leading Atlanta Braves.  This is the time when contenders become buyers and nontenders become sellers.  This is a very difficult time for the Phillies immediate future as well as their future beyond 2013.  Even if the Phillies do become buyers…do they really have a shot to contend for the playoffs and Red October???  That is the million dollar question.

The truth is that this would be a no brainer if the Phillies were healthy.  Well, 2013 has been another disaster in the injury department.  First, the Phillies lost their ace Roy Halladay after just six starts, to a shoulder injury.  At 36 Years old, there is no question that Halladay is a gamer and a competitor.  However, after this shoulder surgery will he be healthy enough to help this team down the stretch?  I am going to put my money on Halladay and say yes.  Secondly, the Phillies lost arguably their best reliever and set-up man, Mike Adams for the season, leaving the team extremely thin at the back of the bullpen.  Then, just when Ryan Howard began to get hot, he tore his meniscus in his knee and will be out six to eight weeks.  And then to add insult to injury, Ben Revere the team’s leadoff hitter with the best batting average, most hits, runs, and stolen bases broke a bone and will also be out eight weeks.

Not many teams…let alone the Phillies would be able to overcome these devastating injuries.  However, even with all of the bandages, the Phillies are at .500 and have just as much chance of making the playoffs.  Many people are on the fence whether the Phillies should mortgage the future for one last shot at a title or sell off some talent to become younger and add some much needed prospects.  Well the answer for me is simple.  I say the Phillies should neither buy nor sell and ride out the rest of the season.  If they can somehow stay in this another 6-8 weeks…they will likely get Halladay, Howard, and Revere back which would be better than any trade would be.  There is talk that the Phillies could get a nice return for Michael Young.  I am strongly against this as Young provides an experienced right handed bat that could do some damage should the Phillies make the playoffs.

So if I am Ruben Amaro…I stand pat and hope for the best.  This could be the Phillies last chance at a title with the current core and I feel that they owe it to not only that core, but also the fans to take one last crack.  Roy Halladay is the wild card in my opinion.  If he can even come back at eighty percent of his old self, that once again gives the Phillies three legitimate starters down the stretch.  Cole Hamels has been tremendous and after his next start could lower his ERA under 4.00 after struggling much of the season.  Cliff Lee has once again been a beast, and the other starters have held their own.  With the emergence of Domonic Brown, they still have at least one deep threat and hopefully Howard can come back and have one of his patented Septembers.  If Utley and Rollins can both get hot and Revere can somehow come back…the Phillies remain very much in this.  Only time will tell but I believe they have one last go in them…If not Go Down Fighting!  THE FIGHTING PHILLS!IMG_0018

JUSTICE FOR “ALL”

Well here we go again…another High Profile Criminal case…another controversial verdict…another chance to cause Widespread Public Media Debate. Ok…I am not here to lecture or rehash all of the facts of the case…I’m sure most of you are so sick of the media coverage by now and all of the protests and social media posts etc.

There have been tweets, emails, and posts wishing George Zimmerman bodily harm or even death. And once again…as the Not Guilty verdict has been rendered…RACE has once again come to the forefront. This case is definitely not about race. What if Trayvon Martin had been white…we would not be having these debates and protests and evil words going back and forth.

Anyone that has any knowledge and exposure to the case whether it be media or just people watching the case on TV…can truly see that the Prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt which is the standard that our judicial system is built on. With that being said…George Zimmerman was very irresponsible on that night for putting himself in that position in the first place. And when the police told him to stop pursuit he should have listened. However, we cannot go back in time and change this.

What is a fact is that this was a ridiculous charge in the first place with the second degree murder charge. There is enough evidence that there was a struggle between both parties and that Zimmerman received injuries and that Trayvon Martin lost his life. If the judicial system had done their job better…then maybe Zimmerman would have received some type of punishment which I firmly believe he deserves. Zimmerman was negligent and definitely does not lack responsibility. In fact…him being the adult lacks more responsibility.

Nonetheless…the preponderance of evidence was not there. This is really getting ugly now. The NAACP is getting involved trying to institute protests and riots. This is an absolute travesty. The NAACP needs to concentrate on the real problems in the inner cities across America where Blacks are killing Blacks and Whites killing Whites. However, we never hear about the majority if these cases. Stop making this about Racism…this I not a RACE issue.

Then we have all of these ignorant people…many of whom know nothing about the case…many who don’t even know the facts sending hate mail…death threats and tweets to do bodily harm to George Zimmerman. If you ask me…this is an ACT of RACISM! I mean…these people are just seeing the not guilty verdict if a white man that “reportedly” killed a black man jumping on this band wagon against George Zimmerman. What If a Black Man killed Trayvon…this debate would not be happening!!!! Face It!

It’s very sad…I myself believe that Zimmerman was wrong in his actions and deserved some type of punishment for this case. Now we have a Star NFL Player tweeting that all of the Jurors should “Kill Themselves.” C’MON…what is wrong with people. Using Violence to combat violence is not the answer. And this is just another example of how this case has been blown out of proportion and used as a Racial Ideology.

Parents lose their kids everyday to murder/manslaughter/tragedies and we never hear about those cases. The case is over…and now we must move on. God knows the truth…And George Zimmerman will ultimately have to answer to God one day. The people that are making this a race issue must rethink what they are doing. They are just instituting more violence to react to violence. This is where the Racism comes into it. Stop making this “White and Black”. Move on…there will be many more cases just like this. I mean if you live locally…a young girl was murdered in Clayton, New Jersey by three black boys and the Race card was never put out there. There were no protests. But you never hear about this!

And now we have the Government trying to file Civil Rights Charges and Hate Crime Charges! WTF is wrong with these people! Give it up…you are just prolonging the HATE and I am so sick of hearing that this was racially motivated. It could have been a white boy wearing the same hoodie and Zimmerman would have acted the same way! I am so sick of this!!!! Please!!!! Going Forward we need to be the better person. Stop making this a RACE issue. And once again…no one is denying that Racism exists but lets face it…it exists on all sides of the fence.

Let the Martins move on with their lives. Let Zimmerman and his family move on with their lives. Stop proposing protests and riots. And grow up…stop using your own hate to escalate others. Instead…look at this case as a lesson that everyday citizens need to be more careful and let law enforcement handle situations that seem suspicious.

GROW UP AMERICA!!! NAACP…do something that is truly helpful and help our own communities. Like I said…these murders happen everyday…stop with the RACE ISSUE. It’s getting so OLD!

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PHILLIES: BUYERS OR SELLERS????

   Ok so it is no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies window for another World Series has almost closed.  Contrary to popular belief, I am one of the rare people that still feels that the Phillies have the ability to win a championship.  Although there is tons of evidence that this team is well past its prime, anything is possible in Major League Baseball just like any other sport.  How about a few years ago when the Phillies were the popular pick to win it all each year and then went out and were upstaged by different teams in the playoffs that carried a hot streak into October.  We had the 2009 version of the Phillies that made its second straight trip to the World Series, only to be smacked down by the New York Yankees in six games.

     After 2009, Ruben Amaro turned his attention to Pitching, mainly starting pitching as he tried to assemble a staff that could dominate the league and lead this team to another World Series Championship.  Let’s take a look back at how we got to this point.  In December of 2009, Ruben shocked the majority by trading away Ace Cliff Lee and acquiring Roy Halladay, maybe MLB’s most dominant pitcher of the past ten years.  This gave the Phillies a rotation of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick and a mixture.  But Amaro did not stop there, at the trade deadline the Phillies picked up former CY YOUNG WINNER and perennial all-star Roy Oswalt.  Oswalt gave the Phillies a three man rotation that was the best in the league.  Remember back to the end of that season…the Phillies limped into the playoffs while the San Francisco Giants were the hottest team down the stretch.  The Phillies would face the Giants in the NLCS with an opportunity to earn its third trip in a row to the big dance.  Well…we all know how that season ended…the Phillies were upset by the Giants who went onto win the World Series in a Sweep.

     No one can blame the Phillies for not trying as Ruben Amaro went one step further the following season by acquiring Cliff Lee in the Offseason signing him to a six year contract.  This was an unforgettable time in Philadelphia.  “THE FOUR ACES.”  The Phillies now had a staff of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton.  This was the modern day version of the 1990 Braves, maybe even better.  That Braves team had Gregg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery.  Well, this staff had a chance to upstage that staff and make history.  Well, it was short lived and injuries and other distractions hurt this team.  The Phillies ultimately lost in the NLCS to the Cardinals who went onto win the World Series.  A common denominator of this season to the past season…the Cardinals were the hottest team down the stretch while the Phillies once again struggled on their way to another Division Title.  “The Four Aces” never truly had a chance to take off and the Phillies were once again eliminated from Post-Season Play.

     Then the following season…it happened again.  The Giants once again dominated the league down the stretch and won its second World Series title in three years.  Well here we are now.  After his worst season as a pro last year, Roy Halladay is on the Disabled List after early season surgery.  Cole Hamels is 4-11 so far, and looks nothing like the Pitcher that was signed to a long term contract in the off season.  The funny thing is, Cliff Lee is 11-2 after a stellar season last year with no run support.  I think its safe to say that if it wasn’t for Lee, the Phillies would not even be having this discussion of wether to be buyers or sellers.

     Here we are, one week away from the All-Star break.  Ryan Howard is on the Disabled List with a torn meniscus.  Roy Halladay remains on the DL recovering from the shoulder surgery.  Chase Utley has just returned from the DL, where he has found himself four seasons in a row.  Adams, the million dollar set-up man is out for the season.  So yes, this team is injury riddled which would be an easy excuse for Phillies management to become sellers at the trade deadline.  Except there is one key stat that stands out.  The Phillies have dominated the Division thus far with a 23-12 record.  I firmly believe that is the most important fact.  Lets forget their inconsistency.  Lets forget their age.  Lets forget all of the injuries.  What has been the common theme the past few seasons in MLB.  It is not the teams that dominate most of the season that are successful in the post season.  It is the teams that battle adversity and become hot down the stretch.

     So with this…I ask the question…are the Phillies capable of one last run with the team they have?  I feel that the answer is definitely yes.  So with that, I believe the Phillies should be buyers at the trade deadline.  We are one game out of second in the NL East and seven games behind the Braves.  One would look at the Braves and wonder how they do not have a double digit lead in the division.  The truth is, the Braves have also been totally inconsistent as well.

     Ryan Howard has saw his best days pass him by and it may be a blessing in disguise that he on the Disabled List at this point.  The main reason being it gives the team a chance to see what his potential replacement Darren Ruf can do.  Secondly, the Phillies supporting cast of starters including Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan, and Jonathan Pettibone have done more than hold their own.  Also, despite his recent struggles, Jonathan Papplebon has the ability to dominate the closer position as he showed earlier with 14 straight saves and an ERA under 2.00.  Domonic Brown continues to shine and is among the League Leaders in Home Runs, RBI, and Runs.  Chase Utley is back and playing like his early days.  Ben Revere has hit safely in eleven of twelve games and has Eighteen Hits in Twenty-One games.

     But more important than any of these things is the awaited return of Roy Halladay.  Now Halladay may never be the Pitcher he was in his prime.  However, no one can question his heart and competitive spirit.  Halladay has never won a World Series so you can bet he will be at his best.  That is why Amaro brought him here in the first place: to win a WORLD SERIES.  Also, Cole Hamels is once again looking like the Cole of old.  So with that, I believe the Phillies should take one last crack at this.  By being buyers, they don’t have to sacrifice the farm.  I feel this team is one bat and one reliever away from contention.  Who knows what the future holds, but I think the Phillies owe their core one last shot at a ring.  By the core, I am talking about Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee.  As seen in previous seasons, anything is possible and I feel they have one last run in them.  Please Amaro…Don’t give up to soon.  This team has been there, up and down, and back again.  Lets try this one more time and at least if we fail…no one can say you didn’t go out trying!!!!!!!!!!ImageImageImage

CRASH COURSE IN METAL: MY HEAVY METAL JOURNEY

     For most of you that know me…Metal Music is a passion for me.  As a 37 Year Old, I have pretty much lived through every Heavy Metal genre besides the very beginning.  Its funny because in my current career…I see many young kids that have once again chose Metal as their passion.  For awhile, it may have seemed that Metal was on its decline…but any sort of thought has been blown up like a bomb in Baghdad.  Heavy Metal is once again on a DRAMATIC rise and there is no sign of this phenomenon going away.  In Fact, although Metal may never reach the peak that it did during the mid eighties to early nineties when different forms of the music grew offspring.

     During the mid seventies to the early eighties, Heavy Metal began to form a pillar of Iron.  Beginning with Black Sabbath, the “God Father’s of Metal” in just about anyone’s opinion…Heavy Metal began to branch out with light speed.  During the late seventies and early eighties…the British wave of Heavy Metal was taking the world by storm.  I was only four years old in 1980…but I can still remember when AC/DC released “Back in Black.”  My father made such a big deal about buying that album.  It marked the return of the band, after parting ways with Bon Scott and the emergence of Brian Johnson as it’s frontman.  At that time, I didn’t know what Heavy Metal was or even had a clue what the different styles of music were.  Bands such as Iron Maiden, KISS, Judas Priest, DIO Motorhead,Van Halen, Def Leppard and many more began to make waves in America as well as Europe.  

     For the sake of not making this a boring drawn out history lesson, I am not going to get anymore into the definition or roots of metal.  All that I know is, my first Metal album was “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N Roses in 1987.  I was merely an eleven year old kid trying to find my way through this ever changing world.  Guns N Roses quickly became my first “favorite” band.  I quickly began to build a collection of audio cassette tapes, as CD’s were not out yet.  My catalog spread like a disease and I soon had over Forty Tapes.  At that time, I was still in Christian School, so this type of music was frowned upon.  Pretty soon, my mom stumbled upon my collection, and soon my set morphed into a measly five tapes, as my mom threw the other thirty-five out.  I couldn’t believe it…it was like I lost my new best friend.  I would liken it to someone today being an avid face book junkie and then having it stripped away from them like a tornado.

     Anyways, as the years went by, CD’s were invented and became the popular choice for music fans.  Not only did my CD Catalog increase, my tastes in Metal Music filtered out and I was finding all of the traditional sub-genres of metal…British Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Metal, Stoner Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, ETC.  The Sub-Genres continue to evolve to this day and I would not be able to tell you every one nor do I care.  I just know what I like.

     My first love was Glam Rock…beginning with Motley Crue, Poison, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Warrant, RATT, Cinderella, Queensryche, WASP, Winger, Autograph, White Snake, Bon Jovi…the list is too long.  These were the bands that I could not get enough of.  I was mostly a Motley Crue and Poison fan but I developed a natural love for all of these bands as well as their CD’s.  During the same time, I was heavy into Van Halen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC, Skid Row.  

     Then it happened…my neighborhood buddy introduced me to a band that I had never heard of and from there it was all over.  The band was Anthrax.  The CD was an EP “I’m the Man.”  And the song was “Im the Man”.  I can remember it like it was yesterday in his back yard.  We blared that CD over and over again.  After this, I became a THRASH METAL MANIAC.  I went out and bought every CD I could get my hands on.  I started with Megadeth “Countdown to Extinction.” and Metallica “Black Album.”  After this it was every Thrash Band…Testament, Slayer, Metal Church, OverKill, and like wise this list began to grow.  Then as the music continued to evolve…so did I.  Now I was listening to Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Slipknot, Seven Dust.  I loved “everything” metal.  YES… I am and always will be a METAL HEAD as my friend Cheryl always reminds me.  However, this does not mean that I do not like other music.  I enjoy all types, including RAP, Classic, Blues, Country, basically anything that I can jam to.  But it always goes back to Metal.

     Then it was Nirvana, Pantera, God Smack, Hate Breed, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Typonegative, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Disturbed, Death Angel, and Linkin Park.  Every year, I have developed new likes and dislikes as far as Metal Music.  However, I still traditionally am pulled to the Eighties/Nineties Glam/Speed/Thrash/Alternative categories.  Like today, I really enjoy the band VOLBEAT.  I also like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Hell Yeah, Lacuna Coil, Black Label Society and many others.  However, its not a secret that “Early” metal is back on the rise.  I mean, Black Sabbath just released a brand new studio album “Thirteen” with three of the original members Ozzy, Geezer, and Iommi.  WOW!!! In case you have not heard this album…go get it now!  AWESOME!  KICK ASS!  BAD ASS!  These would be the adjectives I use to describe this new album.

     As of today, my CD collection stands at 545 CD’s and Counting.  I have another 3,000 songs on my IPOD/IPHONE.  Yes, I am a music junkie.  Although music is available at the touch of a button, I still enjoy purchasing CD’s because I like the artwork and reading the lyrics and credits…call me old fashioned.  I have started sets consisting of my favorite bands.  Right now, today I own every CD for the following bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Slipknot, Testament, Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Lamb of God.  I am always continuing to build on my sets.  The next set that I will have complete is Black Sabbath including all Ozzy and Dio releases.  I always forget bands when mentioning my favorites.  My all time favorite band is Megadeth for my own personal reasons.  However, I am a huge fan of all The Big Four Bands, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Guns N Roses.  I hold these bands at my highest standard.  The next would be on a step down.  I am loving all of these comeback tours and new studio albums.  Metal is alive and well Folks!  I see it out in the neighborhood.  I see it in the workplace.  Its showing in the schools.  Its everywhere!!!!!!  I also attribute the re emergence to Guitar Hero…the popular video game…MTV, VH1, Facebook, Pandora and all of the other music social media outlets.  Well, this was a quick path through my Heavy Metal journey.  I am sure we all have our own tales and war stories.  All of the albums, concerts, tours, festivals, etc.  Heavy Metal will always be one of my passions and music is one of my defining attributes.  Besides listening to music, I have this blog which I write about metal, I read all kinds of books, and I am even currently taking Guitar lessons.  I also write Lyrics.  Maybe I did miss my passion……..ImageImageImage