I played Eric Clapton as today’s Friday Featured Artist and chose the song “Hello Old Friend” to start the show.
While that song isn’t actually about the return of football, I figured it was appropriate for those of us in Baltimore who suffered through a football-less Sunday a week ago.
“Hello old friend…it’s really good to see you once again.”
Indeed it will be good to see that ball get kicked in the air this Sunday just after 4pm at M&T Bank.
Football is like an old friend in these parts. Some of that is because we love football, some of that is because we love the Ravens and some of that is because the baseball team stinks.
Friday Mud is like an old friend too. Always here for you. No bye weeks, either. Well, OK, Friday Mud does get two vacation weeks per-year…but in the football season, starting in September, Friday Mud is always here for you.
Hello old friend.
Enjoy your Mud.
> For starters, I offer you a unique look at Fenway Park last night. Hey, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I say the place looked very pretty last night, don’t you? THIS was taken just before sunset last night in Boston.
> I had to LOL earlier this week when I heard a national radio ad that went like this: “Be sure and tune in this weekend as racing superstar Danica Patrick ends her IRL career…” Racing SUPERSTAR? She won one friggin’ race. And it was in Japan. Now I definitely understand that driving that car around a track at those speeds is death-defying to say the least. And maybe, just maybe, actually completing the whole season “still alive” qualifies one as a superstar. But really…was that best word for her — superstar? We know why Danica Patrick is a big deal. It’s because of THIS RIGHT HERE. We also know the truth. If she looked like THIS WOMAN when she took off her helmet, she’d just be “some loser skank who can’t win a race”.
> In last Friday’s second round of the Frys.Com open, Tiger Woods hit a 160 yard pop-fly drive off the 1st hole (his 10th hole of the day). That Woods finished the tournament 73-68-68-68 might be proof positive that he’s slowly working his way back to respectability, but I can’t emphasize enough how horrible a 160-yard drive is for a PGA TOUR member, let alone the greatest player to ever play the game. Hell, THIS GUY once hit a 185 yard shot over water at Pine Ridge during our charity golf outing and he has absolutely zero golfing ability.
> I’ll jump the gun and hand out my American League and National League MVP awards this week. I think you can make a case for several players in each league, but in the end, the vote – at least mine, anyway – was relatively to easy to make. In the AL, THIS GUY had a remarkable season for a team that didn’t even make the playoffs. And in the National League, you have to go with THIS MAN right here.
> OK, now on to the important stuff. For years in sports, we’ve labeled guys “winners” and “losers”. I’ve done it a lot with Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer, for example, calling those two “losers” who just don’t add any sort of winning ingredient to their team in Cincinnati. Johnson is now playing a bit-role in New England after the Patriots decided to take a chance on him while Palmer is sitting out this season after begging the Bengals for a trade and not getting one. LOSERS. There are others, obviously, but I don’t want to spend any more time on the ones who lose. Starting today, we’re going to spend the next 10 weeks identifying the greatest WINNERS of the last 30 years in professional team sports. Yes, there’s some fine print there. Tiger Woods – perhaps the greatest winner of the last 30 years – isn’t eligible. Neither is Pete Sampras. Floyd Mayweather isn’t an option, either. Someday down the road, we’ll do the individual sport review of winners. This effort focuses on team sports and asks the question, “Who’s the greatest winner over the last 30 years?”. I’ve compiled my own top 10 list and each Friday for the next 10 weeks, I’ll reveal a great winner until we’ve reached #1. So who is it? Who could you remove from their current team on a Friday, drop them off a new stadium with a new team on Saturday, and have them play in the championship game on a Sunday…and then have them be the difference in the game? I didn’t just say “so and so won the most championships so he’s the greatest winner”. Character, leadership, intensity…a guy who makes his teammates better, etc. — I added it all in there. Winning championships certainly mattered in my evaluation and selection of my top 10, that’s for sure. But I’ll have a player or two in my list that might surprise you. And a few that won’t. With that, let’s get to week #1 and the 10th greatest winner over the last 30 years. Quarterbacks are so easy to put on the list because they’re always in the middle of the action and when their team wins – particularly if it’s done with an effective offense – they’re labeled “a winner”. The guy at #10 on my list is absolutely a winner and he only owns one championship ring. If you picked him up today and dropped him off in Detroit this Sunday morning and he faced the Lions, for example, there’s a really good chance the 49’ers would win the game. If you put him in Indianapolis right now in place of Peyton Manning, there’s zero chance the Colts are 0-5. His play over the last 5 years has been sensational and it’s the main reason why his team has risen from the ashes. They’ve gone from league laughingstock to title contender because of THIS MAN right here. Check out HIS STATS. Pay particular attention to the little things (no pun intended) like his height. He’s always figured out a way to win in New Orleans, despite never having a plethora of high-quality, All Pro-caliber receivers and running backs to work with. So, you ask, how is it that he’s had so much success? I can tell you how — he’s a winner.
> Who gets the managerial job in Boston? Terry Francona…OUT. Who then…is IN? It’s a high-level, high-pressure job, designed to test the character of any man. I’m glad I’m not doing the hiring. Anyway, just for kicks, I went around the Ravens media lounge on Wednesday and asked a few folks who they thought should get the gig. There were some surprising answers, but upon further review, I guess I can understand the logic. Brent Harris of Comcast SportsNet thinks it should be someone with championship experience…someone who can deal with pressure of going head-to-head with the Yankees. I think that’s smart. So I think BRENT’S CHOICE is a good one. Peter Schmuck of The Sun thinks the Red Sox need someone young that can identify with the players. He didn’t quite go “Robin Ventura” with his selection, but his assessment is that THIS GUY is ready to be a leader of men…and since he’s a former Red Sox player — I don’t know, I’m thinking he might be on to something. I can’t do any kind of informal poll without including the sports leader, so I threw the question at WNST’s own Glenn Clark and asked him which man would be the best fit for the job of managing the Red Sox. Glenn immediately chirped, “Dude, if THIS MAN isn’t the manager, everyone in Boston is absolutely insane.” (Admit it, you thought there was going to be a picture of Gary Williams there…)
> Someone just told me the NBA pulled the plug on the first two weeks of their season? I had no idea. Now what do we do on a Tuesday night in early November? Oh, I know, we watch re-runs of THE GREATEST SHOW in the history of TV. Four straight episodes of that show beats a Tuesday night NBA game any time.
The Shoot Section (where I tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…)
In a few weeks, we’re going to launch our annual “Coats and Cans” drive here at WNST. Last year was our first official “toe in the water” effort with those two programs and thanks to all of you who donated, we were able to provide the Canton Baptist Church with 2,400 cans of food just prior to Thanksgiving and 400 coats/jackets/sweaters to Helping Up Mission in downtown Baltimore. We’re going to start this year’s drive in a few weeks. Once again, we need your help. I’m writing this today to ask that you not only chip in with your own coats and cans, but I’d ask that you talk to some friends at work and see if you can’t help us do 3,500 cans and 600 coats this year. The people we help with this two endeavors really DO appreciate the assistance and the thought we all put in to helping them out. I saw that firsthand last winter when we dropped the stuff off. They NEED our help. I’ll be back in a few weeks to “officially” launch the 2011 campaign, but I wanted to put a little bug in your ear now to please start looking through your closet and your pantry for stuff you’d be willing to part company with for our respective campaigns.