On a Delayed Monday

Given I substituted the regular Monday Morning Entertainment for a bunch of trivia threw some for a loop, but sometimes it’s all about timing. Therefore, this is the Tuesday edition of Monday Morning Entertainment.

Cincinnati is getting a dose of warmer weather this week, so it looks as if the upcoming rain will melt much of the snow. Although I can’t imagine that winter is over, the upcoming muddy and slushy mess will be a welcomed change.

Celebrations for your calendar

  • (Week) Wildlife Week, Nestbox Week, Poison Prevention Week, Condom Week, Through with the Chew Week, Date Week (the fruit)
  • (Tues) Thumb Appreciation Day, Battery Day, Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day, Pluto Day, Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day
  • (Wed) Chocolate Mint Day (thus a trip to Graeter’s),  Single Tasking Day, Cherry Coke Day
  • (Thurs) Love Your Pet Day, Hoodie Hoo Day (northern hemisphere), Day for Social Justice, Clean Out Your Bookcases Day, Toothpick Day, Cherry Pie Day

I know gymnastics and basketball are Summer Olympic competitions, but with the Winter Olympics from Sochi currently in progress, here’s a head-shaker to start your week. Have a good rest of the week.

On to College Basketball

Now with the college football now over, basketball takes the spotlight for the next few months. Although one thing the two have in common is  both polls are both are full of bias and favoritism, at least college basketball ends the season crowning a legitimate national champion – none of this mythical B(C)S.

Here in Cincinnati, the years when Bob Huggins coached the Bearcats were wonderful. Although I recognize that Huggs is no longer here and Coach Cronin’s teams are improving, this moment below is still one of my favorites.

Because the audio is so lousy on this clip, let me set the stage. ESPN was in town to broadcast the first practice of the season known as Midnight Madness. Robin Roberts was in the booth and Dick Vitale on the floor introducing Cory Clouse – a UC student shooting for a one year scholarship of tuition, room, and board … and the ever-animated Vitale offers to thrown in free books. Enjoy!

On Unbreakable Records

Sports are a treasure trove of statistics. I’ve been a sports fan for a long time, thus know that records are meant to be broken. In baseball alone I’ve seen Maris and Aaron pass Ruth; and then McGuire and Bonds pass Maris and Aaron. Orel Hershiser’s 59 consecutive scoreless innings were amazing. As a Reds fan I lived Pete Rose passing Ty Cobb and attended the game the night before.

I think Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak can be passed someday, as well as marks by Hershiser’s and Bonds. Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-no’s? – Nada. Given so many stats, it’s hard to imagine anyone hitting 37 triples in a season to pass Chief Wilson’s 1912 standard. Most pitchers today don’t even start 41 games, let alone win 41 as did Jack Chesbro; so some records stand because of a different era.

Records are not limited to baseball. No horse has come with 2 seconds of Secretariat’s amazing win at the Belmont Stakes. I even attended the coldest NFL game on record. Golfers breaking 60 at a PGA event can be counted on one hand.

Meanwhile, listed below are the 7 records I see as not to be broken. Sure there are others, but that’s why I selected only 7. Below are also some resources for readers to enjoy, and feel free to add yours as a comment.

My Lucky 7

  • Cy Young 511 career wins
  • Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no hitters
  • Ty Cobb’s career .366 batting average
  • Richard Petty 27 NASCAR wins in one season
  • Wilt Chamberlin’s 100 point game
  • Byron Nelson 11 consecutive PGA tour wins
  • Most wins by any professional athlete – 1,972 Pete Rose



Bleacher Report

On Basketball Brackets 2009

The conference tournaments are the opening act to March Madness. Now that they are over, many workders will have their bracket handy in their office cubicle to record that vision of the grand upset and ultimate winner. More enthusiastic fans will argue about seeds and who didn’t get invited.

I’m sure being on the committee is both rewarding and difficult. Given the 347 teams, the committee must narrow the field to 65 while working within their established rules – let alone create the actual bracket.

College sports are big … not only high interest, but also big dollar. Unlike their BCS counterparts, at least basketball produces a legitimate champion who is unquestionably recognized. However, like its gridiron counterparts, the power schools dominate the scene at the expense of the mid-majors. Basketball teams are also following football’s recipe of out-of-conference scheduling involving more home games against mid-majors in order to reach that 20-win mark.

Let’s see – How many teams outside of the non-BCS conferences received at-large invitations? Four: Xavier, Butler, Dayton, and BYU.

How many at-large teams had conference records of .500 or less? Five: Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and USC. Sorry, if you can’t finish with a winning record in the conference, no big dance for you! Besides, are their at least five more-deserving teams?

How many #8 seeds or lower get to play close to home? One: Ohio State – such a possible reward for top-seed Louisville. Hmmm … did the inclusion of Michigan and Minnesota affect OSU’s playing site?

I remain against the conference tournaments as they give less meaning to a season. A mid-major team can dominate their conference during the season, but that one off night could keep them out of the big dance. On the other hand, their conference takes the risk by accepting sponsorship and television money for the event. Keep in mind that since there’s only so much TV time, numerous mid-major conferences adjust their tournament schedule to get the money and additional media exposure.

Meanwhile, the start of the dance is just around the corner. Although mid-majors have minimal chance of landing in the Final Four, let alone becoming a national championship, mid-majors are the ones who capture the hearts of basketball fans. When all is said and done, use the BCS model to figure out the selection process – just follow the money.

All Those Team Nicknames

Think about all the team nicknames in sports. This post examines nicknames and attempts to look at them from a different perspective: taxonomy (classification).

To simplify things, I concentrated on pro and college teams; which are enough because high schools take nicknames to a whole new level. But still, high schools names fit into this scheme as well. Instead of listing all the examples of each category, I’ll include an example or two most of the time.

Nicknames can be grouped into 4 kingdoms: Biology, People, Culture, and (in honor of Jeopardy) Potpourri.

The Biology Kingdom provides Arachnids (Spiders), Aquatic (Seawolves), Birds (Peacocks, Chanticleers), Canines (Salukis), Dog Relatives (Lobos), Den Dwellers (Grizzlies), Equines (Colts, Broncos), Felines (Catamounts), Horned Animals (Stags), Insects (Bollweevils), Reptiles (Terrapins, Rattlers), Ungulates (Longhorns, Bulls, Camels), Trees (Sycamores, Buckeyes, Oaks), Vegetables (Fighting Artichokes, Fighting Okra {an unofficial nickname}), and hordes of other animals as Jackrabbits, Razorbacks, Anteaters, Wombats, and Predators.

The People Kingdom brings us Fighting Groups (Leathernecks, Musketeers), The Daring (Flyers, Racers, Trail Blazers, Claim Jumpers), Government Officials (Presidents, Governors, Statesmen, Senators, Diplomats), Organized Groups (Volunteers, Patriots), Heritage Groups (Ragin’ Cajuns, Nanooks, Flying Dutchmen, Cossacks), Hispanic Themed (Gauchos, Matadors, Toreros), The Influential (Dukes, Barons, Lords), Military (Generals, Colonels, Paladins), Native Americans (a controversy I won’t address), Number-based Groups (49’ners, 76’ers), Occupations (Boilermakers, Brewers, Truckers, Hatters, Poets), Villains (Vandals, Marauders, Privateers), and the Western Frontier (Spurs, Cowboys, Gauchos).

The Culture Kingdom provides many other looks at life as Man-Made Objects (Jets, Hatchets, Wooden Shoes), Music (Blues, Jazz), Mythical (Billikens, Wizards, Titans), Regional Features (Hokies, Hilltoppers, Twins), Religion (Battling Bishops, Quakers, Padres), and Themselves (Phillies and yes, the Smithies from Smithville).

The Potpourri Kingdom gives us a wild assortment of goodies as Colors (Orange, Crimson, Mean Green), Inanimate Objects (Golden Flashes, Pride, Heat, Magic, Zips, Blue Steaks, Chargers), Space (Astros, Stars), Water (Waves, Tides), and Weather (Thunder, Lightning, Tornadoes).

But even with this classification, there still so much more to discover.

  • Knights is not enough: let there be Black Knights, White Knights, Golden Knights, Scarlet Knights
  • Colors aren’t enough either; thus Golden Eagles, Golden Knights, Golden Falcons, Golden Bears, and the Golden Hurricane
  • Hawks aren’t enough; so bring us Blackhawks, Redhawks, Warharks, Skyhawks, Seahawks, and even Hawkeyes
  • Spelling matters: Bearcats and Bearkats
  • Plurality matters: Hurricane or Hurricanes
  • Pronunciation matters: Rough Riders and Roughriders
  • Gender matters: Lumberjacks and Lumberjills

Minor league baseball has opened up another level of creativity and political correctness with Biscuits, Chukars, Rascals, and Defenders to name a few. But these baseball organizations can’t match the assortment of nicknames our nation’s high schools provide.

Whether the Fighting Porcupines, Winged Beavers, Purple Pounders, Lava Bears or the Skeeters, high schools top them all. High schools include my longtime, all-time personal favorite: Poca Dots (high school in Poca, WV).

It would be fun to examine what names don’t exist; but knowing that the Banana Slugs exist, why wouldn’t anything else. For those who want more about team nicknames, see these links.