Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Jackie Robinson Day Celebrates Liberty

April 15, 1947 may be the beginning.

It was seven years before Brown v Board of Education overturned government sanctioned segregation.

It was eight years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and the Montgomery Bus Boycott put a local reverend into the national civil rights spotlight.

And it was 10 years until nine students desegregated Central High School in Little Rock.

Yes, today is the 65th anniversary of when Jackie Robinson took his position on the field as the first black man to play Major League Baseball since 1880.

The color barrier was broken.

But the sad thing about this celebration is that it seems to be only celebrated by baseball itself.

The reason for this in this blogger’s mind is because the Brooklyn Dodgers did it on their own. There were no groups protesting, no government agencies defining acceptable numbers that equal diversity, no lawsuits demanding a court ordered solution. No shakedowns.

It was because one courageous white man, Branch Rickey, convinced his team of the importance of giving black ballplayers a chance. So, years before this date, he began searching for the right black man with the baseball skills and temperament to handle the naked hatred of racism; he found his man in Robinson.

Baseball is a team sport and breaking color barriers is a team effort. Rickey and Robinson were that courageous team.

They changed baseball first. Larry Doby followed later that year as the first black player in the American League when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians in July.

They changed the fortunes of the Dodgers next. The Dodgers had not been in a World Series since 1941. But the very year they added Robinson they went to the Series. Off and on throughout the 1950′s the Dodgers went.

The Indians won the World Series in 1948 the following year after adding Doby.

In fact teams who broke the color barrier had greater success than those who refused.

This is not surprising to those of us who believe in removing the barriers holding back individuals. It is sad that our nation founded in liberty took so long to remove them.

And most importantly it changed society. Not completely because it is on the surface just a game. But black ballplayers were voted into All Star Games starting in 1949. Fans voted for their favorites, for the best players regardless of skin color or ethnicity.

Think about it. Think about how accepting, cheering, rooting for your team and your player who is black and how profoundly it can change some minds and hearts. And how much bolder it made those white people who did not have racial prejudice become. Remember it takes those from the inside to work on removing racial barricades as much as it takes those trying to break through to create real individual liberty.

That is what is so important about today.

One man, Branch Rickey, opened a previously barred entry-way and said welcome in to do your best.

Another man, Jackie Robinson, walked in and made himself belong as he should.

And one nation is all the better for it.

Remember Rickey and Robinson.

Play ball!

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UK KO’s KU: Kentucky Wins National Championship 67-59

March Madness has come to a close.

Kentucky Wildcats dominated Kansas Jayhawks for most of the game and held double-digit leads until the last few minutes.

The Jayhawks showed the tenacity they had in coming back to defeat The Ohio State Buckeyes; but it was not to happen this night. Kansas outscored Kentucky in the 2nd half but it was not enough to overcome what Kentucky did in the first 20.

Kentucky was the over-all number one seed and played like it in the championship game.

Congrats to the Wildcats!

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March Madness: Buckeyes Bounced. Kansas v Kentucky Monday Night

Ohio State blew the lead they held for most of the game and Kansas pulled out the victory.

My bracket was busted during the Sweet 16 round.

All I can say is Go Blue!

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Final Four: Wildcats In; Buckeyes v Jayhawks Up Next

Kentucky Wildcats just defeated Louisville Cardinals 69-61 and are in Monday’s National Championship game.

They will play the winner of THE Ohio State Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks.

Go Buckeyes.

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March Madness Final Four: Kentucky v Louisville

Yes, I know my bracket is hosed.

But soon Kentucky v Louisville tip-off will happen.

This is a big game between two intrastate rivals.

Even bigger than a regular season game.

These are the two dominant teams in the two major cities in Kentucky.

Make no mistake they are rivals in all ways.

Louisville home of Church Hill Downs and host of the Kentucky Derby.

Lexington home of Keeneland Race Track and the Blue Grass Stakes.

Keeneland wins on the pure beauty; the dogwoods bloom in Spring and are ablaze in Autumn.

Keeneland hosts thoroughbred horse auctions that are attended by the some of the richest people in the world.

We have attended (we are among the non-richest) and witnessed millions of dollars figuratively fly through the air as bids are made on juvenile horses known for their pedigree and promise.

A mere 75 miles separate the two cities and team.

Imagine…really close you eyes and imagine…the Browns and Steelers playing in the AFC Championship game with a Super Bowl birth on the line–then multiply it.

This is how big this game is.

Tip in a few.

Go Blue.

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Sweet Mayhem Wrecks Bracket

This year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament is called March Mayhem because it’s sponsored by an insurance company that has those Jackass inspired commercials where Dean Winters wreaks mayhem and damage where ever he goes.  He tells us to be “better protected from mayhem, like me.”

There was nothing to protect my bracket from mayhem.

Michigan State’s lost to Louisville Thursday night knocked me out of the Championship.

For this upcoming Elite Eight round only four teams in it are teams I picked to get there: Baylor, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse.

Cinderellas have left the ball and no one cares about their broken glass sneakers.

Ohio had a good run and played North Carolina tough in the 2nd half; tough enough to force overtime. But the Tar Heels prevailed and won.

Florida is the lowest seeded team in the Elite Eight.

Mr. Gray-glo’s ranking has dropped to 74024 and will drop further as I cannot add too much more to my score and cannot do any better than 70 points total even if all my remaining picks win out.

Here is the bracket that mayhem whacked:

Sweet Mayhem

Sweet Mayhem Wrecks Bracket

Brackets are not like Etch-A-Sketches.

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Marching To Madness 2012 (Not About The Presidential Election)

It’s that time of year when even the most disinterested non-sports fan creates a bracket.

Mr. Gray-glo realizes he is a bit late blogging about this since we have had the First Four that are four play-in games in an attempt to slightly expand the dance card by eight teams. We had the first real round now re-marketed as Round 2.

Well, this has been one long week of being on call and working nights and weekends.

Tonight we finished the 2nd round (now called round 3 –and you thought understanding the GOP primary and delegate delegations was difficult). Round 2 is sometimes re-branded as the Round of 32.

Winners in the Round of 32 now go the Sweet 16 Round. We are now at the point of the NCAA Tournament where the naming the rounds makes returns to their traditional nomenclature.

Sweet 16 Set

Four Ohio teams are in the Sweet 16 round: Cincinnati Bearcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Ohio University Bobcats, and Xavier Musketeers. They make up one quarter of the teams vying in this round.

Only Ohio State and Cincinnati will play each other in this round. Possibly three Ohioan teams could win and move into the Elite Eight.

The Buckeyes have to be the favorite to advance.

OU has drawn perhaps the greatest challenge as a 13 seed playing number one seeded North Carolina.

Xavier plays Baylor pitting a 10th seed against a three seed.

But this year has been a year of upsets. Two, TWO!, 15 seeds crashed into the next round where they usually are not ever by defeating their two seeded opponents.

So, watch out for the Bobcats, this year’s Cinderella team.

Could the state of Ohio send three teams into the next round?

Mr. Gray-glo’s Score

This year’s bracket is doing better than last year’s.

My ranking on CBS Sports Bracket Challenge is 57501. I have never been that highly ranked before. Better still, my bracket is only 11 points behind the leaders. Only one leader is perfect with his or hers Sweet 16 teams.

My Bracket

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NCAA: From First Four to Final Four! Cinderella’s Laughing at The Dance!

Midnight came and went and the bells do not toll for Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU is going to the after-hours, after-prom party.

Mid-major’s schools and their teams are serving notice this year. One half of the Final Four are mid-majors. One school was derided as not being deserving of even inclusion in the inaugural ”First Four” play in round. VCU was and is that team. The first expansion team to make it all the way to the Final Four.

They beat Southern Cal 59-46 to earn the #11 seed for the what used to be (and still is called by me) the First Round (Round of 64)and in that round they beat #6 seed Georgetown 74 to 56.

Then VCU won the in the Round of 32 against #3 Big Ten conference Purdue by 18 points, 94-76.

Are you seeing a trend? Either they play phenomenal defense or their much more highly touted opponents completely dismissed them and were looking ahead to the post-game presser and the next round.

Sweet 16 brought a battle of seeding equals for the true Cinderella crown as they beat #10 Florida State 76-71. A much closer game.

Then today, the Elite Eight round, the Regional Finals round, Virginia Commonwealth University knocked off the last true Number One Seed, Kansas University.  Final Score 71-61.

What to make of VCU? I don’t really know. Their tournament run is not filled with fluke-ish tip in or full court heaves at the buzzer for the win. Their only flirtation with Lady Luck was getting picked. Every thing else that followed was solid complete basketball playing. Just ask any of the five teams they vanquished.

So, now the Final Four is set.

#4 Kentucky v #3  Connecticut.

#11 (play in) VCU v #8  Butler.

Butler cannot be considered a Cinderella because they are last year’s runner up to champion Duke. This mid-major is showing they are not an one time fluke. The Horizon League is building solid basketball teams like Cleveland State University and their three seasons of 20 victories each. Maybe next year two HL teams will be deserving.

Connecticut is Big East, Kentucky is SEC; these are the blue blooded royalty of college basketball coming to claim what they and many sports reporters believe belongs to them.

One of them will have to play either Butler or VCU. It won’t be easy for them.  But damn will it be out and out fun.

Madness?

Indeed.

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NCAA: Only One Cinderella Left Standing (And One #1, Too)

Midnight struck for Cinderella and only one survived: Virginian Commonwealth University.

They gained access to the tournament by way of the newly fangled “First Four” round created to give more teams a shot. VCU is taking their shot to the Elite Eight round. Next opponent is Kansas, the only One Seed left standing and the only one seed who actually looks like a true number one seed.

Will this be when the clock finally chimes for VCU?

Ohio State lost. And with that loss ends a great season.

Kentucky now meets North Carolina.

Thursday night Duke fell, and in the previous round so fell Pittsburgh. All One Seeds gone to…don’t say it…seed (sorry).

Butler who toppled Pitt and then Wisconsin looks like they are on a mission to avenge last year’s final where they lost on the last shot.

My bracket is busted. I figured Ohio State would take their great season all the way.

Wildcats have some bite, just ask Duke.

Anyway, here is the body:

With the finals being Ohio State beating Pittsburgh…well there is no way to improve my standings.

Mr. Gray-glo is in 706735 place.

A little sportsmanship on my part here: even though Butler is a pain in Cleveland State’s ass, I am hoping they make the final four. The Horizon League should have had at least two teams in the tournament based on how well Butler did last year, and on how well CSU played this year. The Vikings deserved at least a play-in game in the marketingly named “First Four”. Go Bulldogs and make the HL proud.

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Round of 32: Upset Madness

VCU?

This Cinderella tale includes three straight victories and now they find themselves in the Sweet 16.  My bracket took a huge hit when Butler (last year’s runner up) upset number one seeded Pitt.

VCU meets another upset winner, Florida State.  Some one’s glass slipper is going to break.

Meanwhile, Butler meets up with The Big Ten’s Wisconsin (one of only two team to beat top rated THE Ohio State). Don’t know if Butler hears the tower clock ticking.

Richmond’s victory over Morehead wasn’t really an upset because this was a game between 12 and 13 seeds.  But now they face one seed Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Midnight approaches.

And lastly there is Marquette; number two seed North Carolina awaits them.

One quarter of the Sweet 16 are upsets of which two will face off against each other.

The bracket:

The standings: 491289 place.

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