My Book Is Out! “Upsets, Comebacks & Turnarounds” Coming Soon

UCT Cover

Hey Everybody! I birthed a book!

After years of writing and editing and kneading and massaging this baby of an idea inside of me, voila, my book is here!  It will be available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com soon so stay tuned! I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a pick me upper and a shot in the arm for all who love the little guy and the also-rans in sports and in life. 

Here a few excerpts from the back cover:

In the World of Sports, there’s nothing like an upset win, a comeback from way back, and a complete turnaround. The same is true in life. In sports, we celebrate the underdogs, both the teams and the players who are at a distinct disadvantage and are expected to lose. Yet some way, somehow, these teams and players  find a way to triumph in spite of adversity.

Upsets, Comebacks and Turnarounds looks back to those who have alreadly overcome and looks forward to those facing overwhelming obstacles yet to be overcome.

This book examines the intersection of God and sports . . . and is a tribute to all of the biblical long-shots; to all of those who, in sports and in life, “didn’t stand a chance.”

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Can Jake Arrieta Get It Done in Philly?

Arietta in Philies Uniform

The Phillies are doing their part. Just two months after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, the Sixers and Flyers are in the playoffs and the Phillies are off to a great start, so all of the Philly franchises have jumped on the winning wagon and are contenders in their sport. The Phillies have won five straight behind their new ace pitcher Jake Arrieta. The Phils stand at 8-5 and are currently in second place behind the surprising 11-2 Miracle Mets. Go figure. On the other hand The Washington Nationals, picked to win it all (again), are 7-8 and sit in fourth place in the National League East.

The Phillies are doing their part because they signed Jake Arrieta to a multi-year deal, gaining a proven, star free-agent pitcher just prior to the beginning of the season. 

And while Arietta’s stats are inching in the wrong directions, there’s still hope that the veteran will add value to a team full of rookies and unproven players. Over the past few years with the Cubs (thanks Chi-Town!), the velocity of his payoff pitch as inched down while his ERA has inched up. But let’s focus on the positives, shall we?

We all need to do our part. Yes we all have negative traits and tendencies and bad habits and hiccups. Yes we need to work on them, but we really need to bolster and boost up the positive, attractive and affirmative side of our character. Since no one is perfect, we will never fully eradicate all of our bad habits. So men will still fart in public and teenagers will still do things their parents will never know about in private.

It’s called life. So do what you do well, and focus on the good outweighing the bad. And if you do more good than what you do bad (it’s supposed to be badly, but you know what  I mean), at the end of the day, you should come out on top.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=Jake+Arietta#id=4&vid=feab3ff31b6ce36499a130f1b2d477d2&action=click

What’s Up With Sports in Philly? — Spring 2018 Edition

Philly Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are in Fourth place, that’s fourth with a FOUR, in the Eastern Conference. Not eighth or seventh or even sixth. Fourth Place, just one half game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Not only did they make the playoffs this year, they look to make a push past the first round.  Not too shabby, huh?  As Joel Embiid said, “Trust the Process!”

And of course the Eagles just won the Super Bowl. And the Phillies are adding to their roster like there’s no tomorrow. “Win Now!” right! And the Flyers are in the running for a wild card berth in the NHL playoffs. So if you’re a Philly fan, what’s not to like?

As wonderful and as astonishing as the Eagles Super Bowl win was, the Sixers are looking better and better with every successive win as they try to keep up with their football brothers in the miracle winning season category. How far can the Sixers go in the post season? Just how good are these guys, namely Embiid, Simmons and now Markelle Fultz? Did I mention that Fultz is back? Whoa Baby!

I am a student of winning teams. After years of study, I have concluded that what highly successful team possess that marginally productive teams lack is chemistry. The  Eagles definitely had it. And we see where that got them, right? And the Sixers have it too. They absolutely have “IT”.

And so the conclusion is this; dare we say that sports in Philly is trending the right way?

Majoring In The Minors

Braves Acuna
Atlanta Braves Outfielder Ronald Acuna

With everything that’s wrong, there’s still a lot in sports that’s right. Yes there’s a lot of improper and inappropriate and immoral (not to mention illegal) stuff going on in sports these days, but there’s still a lot of positives going on too.

With everything that’s wrong, how a young kid wears his baseball cap is not one of them. The Braves organization can’t be serious. I mean, the way Ronald Acuna wears his cap CAN’T be the thing a team focuses on in this young spring training season. It just can’t be. 

Right now in America we’re wrestling with politicians who favor less gun control and we have high school students marching for more gun control. We’ve had the Russians hacking our election process and we have coaches who’ve been accused of taking bribes. And that’s just for starters. So you see, there’s so much more important stuff going on in our Country and in our world; so focusing on the pitch angle of a kid’s cap is borderline ridiculous. You mean to tell me that a team is concerned about how a kid wears his hat?  Please.

We need to keep the main thing the main thing, and stop majoring in the minors. The sports fathers need to understand that they were young once too. The fact that the Braves organization is upset that their top prospect, Ronald Acuna, wears his cap slightly tilted to the side tells you everything that is wrong with MLB.

I say leave the kid alone. Let him wear his hat to the side. Let him live life and play ball without meddling and mucking with his head.  It’s not illegal and he’s not breaking any written rules. And herein lies the lesson: sometimes we major in the minors. Sometimes we focus on the twig in someone else’s eye instead of working on removing the tree trunk in our own eye. Sometimes, we lose sight of the forest to spite the trees.

And besides, the cap looks better on his head his way.

All I Want For Christmas

Philly Sports 2 

Here’s a little lullaby from every Philly fan everywhere to the Eagles and the Sixers, and to the Flyers and Phillies, if they’re listening. All we want for Christmas is for you to win the last game of the season – the playoff season. That means winning a championship in football and basketball, please.

The Eagles are almost there. No Wentz? No Problem!  Nick Foles and the Eagle Offense kept right on humming along. And the Sixers? Well, while we thought they were well on their way, they may in fact be a season or two from making that Christmas wish come true.

So Philly fans, let’s hope that Nick Foles has it him for one, and that our winning wonder Carson Wentz will be back next fall for a few more. As for the Sixers; well, Ebmiid and Simmons, at lease WIN on Christmas Day! Please?!

Santa, are you listening?

I just want you (the Eagles) for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is (for) you … TO WIN!

Hooray For Houston!

 Houston Astros Sports_Illustrated 2017

The Houston Astros just won their first ever World Series, the first and only in the 56 year history of the team. Good for them. They made it through a topsy, turvy seven game series with the LA Dodgers, and came out on top.  And the City of Houston made it through Hurricane Harvey, and it coming out on top of that tough time too. The Astros have many ties to Puerto Rico as well, beginning with Correa and Beltran, and World Series MVP George Springer is half Puerto Rican. So the Astros won not only Houston, but for Puerto Rico,  which was devastated by another powerful Hurricane, Irma. 

I’m not a Houston fan, but I’m glad for them. So I’m not going to hate. Yes I was rooting for the Dodgers, but the Astros won it fair and square.  And they won it for the City of Houston, and that’s pretty special. AND Sports Illustrated called it (albeit 3 years ago, but they called it! How about that!

Never mind Dodger pitcher Yu Darvish got chased out of) his second horrific World Series outing. Never mind Darvish shouldn’t even have been in the game (because of his poor previous play), much less start the Seventh Game of the World Series!  Never mind the game was lost in the dugout by the Dodgers Skipper, Dave Roberts who started Darvish. And never mind the Dodgers still had chance after chance to get back into the game, even after digging a five run hole for themselves. In the bottom of the second, they had the bases loaded with their hottest hitter, Joc Pederson, at the plate, but came up empty and left all three base runners stranded. Oh well.

So Houston won the World Series. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, there’s bad sports news coming out of Houston as well. Houston fans had to go from World Series celebration to losing their star QB, Deshaun Watson because of a torn ACL in practice. Michael Wilbon said “the feel good” from the Astros’ World Series title didn’t last as long as it should have because of Watson’s injury.

In sports and in life, we rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep, and mourn with them that mourn.

God Loves Sports! Another World Series Game 7

 Joc Pederson

Whoever said that God doesn’t like sports hasn’t been watching the 2017 World Series. There’ve been enough plot twists and script flips and stories of redemption to fill up every stadium from Boston to Baltimore and from Seattle to San Diego, and every Midwestern city in between. There have been walk offs and pitching duels, batting slumps and more home runs that ever before. Ever.  

This will be the third World Series Game 7 in four years. The home team had won nine straight since 1979 before San Francisco triumphed at Kansas City in 2014 and the Chicago Cubs captured their first title since 1908 at Cleveland last year.

There is something mystical and even mysterious about Game a 7. When a seven game series boils down to a one game, no holds barred, winner take all contest, it seems as if anything is possible. Anything.  And that’s why we love sports, and that’s why we believe God loves sports too.

A Game 7 is special because the number seven is special.” Did you know that there are 7 layers of skin (2 outer and 5 inner), that ocean waves roll in sevens, the rainbow has 7 colors, sound has 7 notes, there are 7 directions, and that the Jewish Menorah has 7 candles? There are 7 holes in your head (go ahead and count them), the earth was created in 7 days (including a day of rest), a cube has 7 dimensions (including the inside), the male body has 7 parts, and the number 7 is used 735 times in the Bible.” Wow.

“Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. According to Jewish tradition, the creation of Adam occurred on October 7th, 3761 B.C. (or the first day of Tishri, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar).  The word ‘created’ is used 7 times describing God’s creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4).

There are 7 days in a week and the Sabbath is on the 7th day. There are 7 deadly sins, 7 virtues, 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, 7 classical planets, 7 numbers in a N/A phone number (after the area code), 7 hills in Istanbul, Rome and Jerusalem, 7 liberal arts, and 7 wonders of the ancient world.  AND, 7 is the number of games in the playoffs for NHL, NBA and MLB  The number 7 is also important in Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.”  http://www.kitco.com/commentaries/2015-08-13/-7-What-s-so-special-about-the-number-7.html

And this brings us to this year’s World Series comeback hero and new Mr. Joctober, Joc Pederson. Pederson, still only 25, is hitting .357, has hit three home runs and has five RBIs in the 2017 World Series.

“Two years after nearly winning the Home Run Derby, LA Dodgers Joc Pederson spent the end of this summer in purgatory, triple-A Oklahoma City, where hit .143. The once-firm premise that he could contribute to the Dodgers’ championship aspirations became preposterous. The team elected to carry struggling reliever Pedro Baez instead of him during the National League division series.

But that was then and this is now. Now The last Dodger to hit three home runs in one World Series was Davey Lopes, in 1978. The last Dodger to hit more was Duke Snider, in 1955. In World Series history, only three players have ever managed five or more extra-base hits and no singles in one series. Pederson is one, as is his teammate, Chase Utley.” http://www.latimes.com/sports/mlb/la-sp-dodgers-joc-pederson-20171031-story.html

After the come from behind Game 6 win which forced a Game 7, Pederson sat in the interview room with his older brother, Champ, who has Down Syndrome. “I have a feeling that everything is possible,” Champ said. “I’m not going to say they have it, but I’m just going to say they will find a way.”

 

This is why we love sports and Game 7s.