Sunday, October 29, 2006

Red Auerbach 1917-2006

"Red Auerbach was one of the most influential people in my life. Not only was he an inspiration to me throughout my career, he became a close friend as well. There could only be one Red Auerbach and I'll always be grateful for having the opportunity to experience his genius and his dedication to winning through teamwork."
-Larry Bird’s statements regarding Red Auerbach after learning of his death

Red was one of my favorite figures in sports. There was something about the way he handled himself that seemed to ooze confidence. While almost all sports figures have their fare share of confidence Red was one of the few who had accomplished enough to unquestionably justify his self assured disposition. He created the very definition of a basketball dynasty. He also did more than anyone else to break the color barrier in basketball by signing and playing the first black player, Chuck Cooper, in NBA history, being the first coach to have an all black starting 5, and signed Bill Russell to be the NBA’s first black coach when he retired from the Celtics bench.

I’ve often referred to the swagger that I like to see in the UM football team. Of non-Cane sports figures I’ve only seen this swagger in 2 people, one is Joey Porter and the other was Red. One of the best examples of this is how he responded to Chris Wallace asking him “in today’s politically correct climate, with no smoking allowed in the NBA arenas, would you still be able to light up your famous victory cigar at the end of a victory?” Red’s response “of course, who’s going to stop me?”

I’ve always felt it important to try and study successful figures of the past in an effort to understand what they did to achieve this success. This is in large part why, even though I wasn’t even close to being born when he built most of his legacy, Red’s autobiographies are still some of my favorite books. On top of all his accomplishments he came off as a decent person to me in my only interaction with him, he actually took the time to reply to a letter I sent to him when I was 12 years old.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Now That’s Putting a Law Degree to Good Use

Congratulations to Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals on winning the World Series. La Russa, the Cardinals manager, has a law degree from Florida State. Sure, he could have picked a better school, but it’s cool to see a law school graduate making something of himself nonetheless.

The picture is from his 1987 Topps baseball card. At that point in time I was but a small child who loved the Oakland A's because they had Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire. Also the 1987 Topps baseball card series is my favorte series of all time.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Stained Carpet? Try Peroxide.

The only thing that I don’t find all that attractive about the house I’m living in right now is the living room carpet. It’s not terrible, it’s just a little bit old and has a few stains from pets that previous renters had. Fortunately, with a couple of well placed rugs most of these stains are easily hidden. Today I was cleaning up around the house and I decided I’d try to do the seemingly impossible, remove the stains that had been there for who knows how long. Since I had previously tried a few commercial products on the stains I knew I’d have to try something different. After a little online research I settled on giving hydrogen peroxide a shot. So, I soaked the most annoying, and largest, stain with peroxide, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then dabbed the wet area until it was as dry as I could get it. It is now 12 hours later and I am proud to say that the living room carpet has one fewer stain than it did before. Looks like I’ll be spending my weekend dousing my carpet with peroxide.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fire. Coker. NOW.

Update: After I wrote this post I found a quote from Larry Coker that shows he has completely lost his mind. I defy you to make sense of this comment from Larry Coker about the fight: ``I think that it will affect the image of our program greatly, but in a positive way . . . I think that when they see the video and they see how it was handled they will be impressed with our players.'' Here’s the source

Watch any sports program in the next couple days and I’m sure you’ll see yet another reason why it’s time for Larry Coker’s tenure to end at the University of Miami. Miami got into what can only best be described as a street fight with FIU. There’s a lot to say about this so I’ll have to break up my thoughts a little bit.
- There are some player who should never be allowed to play at Miami again because of their actions during the fight. Getting to go to UM on a scholarship is a privilege not to be taken lightly, I know because I did it (although mine was academic, not athletic).
- Why are we fighting with FIU, they’re 0-6? Yeah, I know it’s got a lot to do with it being a cross town rivalry and the players on both teams have been playing each other since high school, but that’ s still no excuse. With a team that’s as bad as FIU once you score there’s no reason to bother with trash talk, just score on them and act like they aren’t even significant enough to evoke a response from you. Back in the day UM would win the fights before, during, and after the game, but these fights were against teams that were great, not some upstart team from across the street that hasn’t even won a game yet this year.
- Larry Coker’s has gotten too much credit for his skill as a coach for years, that for sure. Now, it’s clear that he’s gotten too much credit for running such a clean program also. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’ve lost all discipline as a program, Coker’s suspensions for the FSU game show that, but it’s also really obvious that the character of the guys in the UM uniforms overall is not where it was 5 years ago. I could go on about this for hours, but this post from the blog explains in better detail what I’m talking about.
- I’ve said before on this blog that Miami might as well not even bother running such a squeaky clean program since any time a UM player does anything remotely wrong everyone in the program is branded a thug. So why does this fight bother me? Because we’re out of the top 25 and being thugs. When you’re dominating the nation and being thugs, ala the Canes of the 80s and 90s, it’s called swagger. When you’re out of the top 25 and getting into fights with meaningless opponents it’s called stupid and disgraceful.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Life’s Little Conveniences

So, I bought a box of popsicles the other day when Angelina had a sore throat. The box had 4 different colors, yellow, red, purple, and orange. As it turns out Angelina’s favorite colors of popsicle are yellow and orange, mine happen to be purple and red. Every color in the box gets eaten, it’s so perfect.

Enough with the mushy stuff, on to business:
Google bought Youtube today. I think that it’s a pretty risky move by google given that youtube doesn’t exactly have a product that can’t be duplicated. Sure, youtube is far and away the best site for streaming video, however it’s not like another site, or google themselves, couldn’t have bettered their video streaming capabilities (in google’s case they could have done this without having to shell out over a billion dollars). However, some may say that even if other sites are able to duplicate youtube’s ability to convieniently stream video they couldn’t duplicate the brand loyalty built up in the youtube name. The problem with that argument is that is that there is already some backlash on youtube as they are being seen as owned by “the man” (I personally don’t know when or how google became “the man” but that’s for another post), as an example here’s a comment from msnbc’s discussion board:

“I Can't really fault the folks at YouTube for taking the money — most people would. But I think this deal will probably lead to YouTube becoming irrelevant. That is, it will mostly likely require a user fee that most people won't want to pay, or be covered in splashy ads. Either way, it will turn into just another corporate entity that pretends to be hip. The coolness of YouTube was that it was a maverick and was kind of "for the people," "by the people" without a lot of corporate nonsense. No more.”

For better and more ellequent commentary on this topic (that has probably been proofread at least once, unlike this post) click the Mark Cuban link in the top right corner and read his last couple blogs.