Saturday, September 23, 2017

The best sports in town...revisited

Quoting from my post four years ago or so...

There were 21 metro areas in the USA that have 3 or more major league sports teams.
Anaheim-LA, the NYC area, the "Bay Area", and the DC-Baltimore area.
Also, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas
Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis
Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa.

Well, now that the Rams moved, St Louis no longer has 3 major league sports teams...

Now there's 20 metro areas.

Points:  So, for each city in this list
    for each sports club in the metro area
        for each of the last five metro seasons
            award points based on finish
            10 for a league title
            6 for runner up
            3 for making conference finals
            1 for making final 8.

Then, for each city, find out which club has the highest score, and declare them "King of the City."

AND...I'm making a rule that a team must have at least 3 points (either a final four appearance, or three final eight appearances).

The four best "Kings of the City"
Boston's Patriots 29 - stealing from the Bruins
Bay Area's Warriors 27 - stealing from the two-time champion Giants
Pittsburgh's Penguins 24 - stealing from the Steelers
Chicago Blackhawks 23 - two titles in last five years puts them ahead of the Cubs

The next six best teams
LA Galaxy 22
Cleveland with Lebron James, 22 points
Seattle Seahawks 19 - stealing by a point from MLS Champion Seattle Sounders
Denver Broncos 18 (steal)
Miami with Lebron James, 17 points (LBJ there for 16)
KC Royals 16 (steal)

The rest of the kings of the city
NY Rangers 11 (steal)
Baltimore Ravens 11
Detroit Tigers 10 (steal)
Atlanta Falcons 9
Houston Dynamo 9
Tampa Lightning 9 (steal)
FC Dallas 5 (steal)
Arizona Cardinals 3

Minnesota didn't have a team that reached three points
Philadelphia didn't have a team that reached even one point.

Of the 18 teams, six of them are NFL teams, four of them are NHL teams, three of them are MLS teams, two of them are MLB teams, one of them is an NBA team, and the other two are Lebron James.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Four years gone...

My father's parents are buried at the VA cemetery in southeast Leavenworth.  I visited them a month ago, on the anniversary of Grandpa's passing.

My father had requested for his ashes to be scattered at his favorite campsite, and places along the Current River in southeast Missouri.
So there's no marker, no gravestone for me to sit down beside.
..and even if there was, it would be three hundred miles away.
So there's no way for me to do like the lines in MM#43 - Grown Men Don't Cry
So many things I want to say to him
I just placed a rose on his grave and I talked to the wind


Today marks four years since his passing. 

And there was a conversation we never had.  Several, actually.

Quoting from Monday's MM#97...Something To Be Proud Of...
Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down
If you're ashamed how I turned out

* the one where he would ask me how things got so ****ed up.  I didn't know that he knew how bad it had gotten...
* the one where he would tell me that he was going to do something *huge* to fix it.  It passed on to my brother to tell me the details.
* the one where I would've had the opportunity to thank him.  For everything.  Not only the huge thing, but for the good things he'd done, the years of working so damn hard so we had a good start.
* the one where I could tell him that everything was alright.  (When it happened, I said "now my father can finally rest in peace.")

* the one where we could talk about the Chiefs FINALLY winning a playoff game for the first time in over 20 years; the one where we could talk about the Royals going to World Series in back-to-back years after over 20 years without.
* the one where I would've introduced my grandson to him.
* the one where I'd talk about the new/old overcrowding issues in the state prisons and say I'm glad you're not working there.
* the one where I would've thanked him for telling me NOT to get in the family business.

I don't know what he would've said.

I miss you, Dad.

Monday, September 11, 2017

As the tears fall down...

I wasn't planning on doing a Monday Melody.  (Even though I had two good excuses to - my wife's birthday and 9/11).

Then I saw the terrible news about Troy Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash on Friday.

I already did MM#83 - My Town, and re-highlighted it about a year ago...

And...well, I might write more on Saturday.


Something To Be Proud Of
Montgomery Gentry

There's a story that my daddy tells religiously
Like clockwork every time he sees an opening
In a conversation about the way things used to be
Well I'd just roll my eyes and make a bee-line for the door
But I'd always wind up starry-eyed, cross-legged on the floor
Hanging on to every word
Man, the things I heard

It was harder times and longer days
Five miles to school, uphill both ways
We were cane switch raised, and dirt floor poor
'Course that was back before the war
Yeah, your uncle and I made quite a pair
Flying F-15's through hostile air
He went down but they missed me by a hair
He'd always stop right there and say...

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
That's a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin'
Or a newborn baby cryin'
In the arms of the woman that you love
That's something to be proud of

So I'm graduatin' college, that was mama's dream
But I was on my way to anywhere else when I turned 18
'cause when you gotta fast car you think you've got everything
I learned quick those gto's don't run on faith
I ended up broken down in some town north of L. A.
Working maximum hours for minimum wage
Well, I fell in love, next thing I know
The babies came, the car got slow
I sure do miss that old hot rod
But you sure save gas in them foreign jobs
Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down
If you're ashamed how I turned out
Well, he lowered his voice, then he raised his brow
Said, lemme tell ya right now

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
You don't need to make a million
Just be thankful to be workin'
If you're doing what you're able
And putting food there on the table
And providing for the family that you love
That's something to be proud of

And if all you ever really do is the best you can
Well, you did it man

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
That's a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin'
Or a newborn baby cryin'
In the arms of the woman that you love
That's something to be proud of
That's something to be proud of
Yeah, that's something to be proud of
That's something to be proud of
Now that's something to be proud of

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Streaking to the World Cup

4 years ago, I posted a blog talking about the 8 teams who've made each of the last 5 World Cups (94 98 02 06 10) and how they were doing.  All 8 of them would advance to Brazil '14, although Mexico needed San Zusi and a trip to New Zealand to get there.

So, how are they now?

Sorted by length of streak

BrazilSince 1930IN, Clinched 1st Continent
GermanySince 19542 matches left in round; On pace to Qualify
ItalySince 19622 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
ArgentinaSince 19742 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
SpainSince 19782 matches left in round; On pace to Qualify
South KoreaSince 1986IN, Clinched 2nd Group A Asia
USASince 19902 matches left in round; On pace to Reach Playoff
MexicoSince 1994IN, Clinched Top 3 Continent

Brazil and Mexico took care of business, getting their tickets to Russia with at least three games left to play.

Defending World Cup Champion Germany leads their group and should qualify.

Italy and Spain are top two in the same European group.  The winner qualifies, the 2nd place team in the group goes to a playoff.

Argentina is in a 7 team traffic jam of close teams holding places 2-8.   5th place overall in South America (where Argentina is) means a playoff against the Oceania Team, now known to be New Zealand.

South Korea survived a close scare, and would've been forced to win two playoff pairings if Syria had won their final match.  But, since Syria got a draw and didn't overtake South Korea, South Korea has extended their streak to 9 straight World Cups.

The USA is in 4th place by a thread (goal difference), and is still in this position after getting a critical draw in a road match against the 4th place team, Honduras.  We got leapfrogged by Panama, sitting in temporary possession of the last automatic ticket to Russia.

In CONCACAF (region with USA, rest of North & Central America & Caribbean...
  • The 3rd place team gets in. (currently Panama)
  • The 4th place team plays either Syria or Australia to advance. (currently USA)
  • The 5th place team is OUT. (currently Honduras)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Agents of Wrath

There is only one county in the United States in which there are two death chambers, that is, two places where a prisoner condemned to death may meet his fate.  And since I'm blogging about it, my readers would correctly assume that I'm referring to the county I currently reside in, Leavenworth County, Kansas.

Surprisingly, USP Leavenworth (the famous one) isn't one of those places.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons conducts executions in Indiana, most notably the Oklahoma City bomber.  However, military executions and state executions would take place within 10 miles of my house.

Military executions take place at Fort Leavenworth's US Disciplinary Barracks.  Although there hasn't been an execution at Fort Leavenworth since 1961, 6 men are on death row, including the soldier responsible for the Fort Hood attack.

If the state of Kansas chooses to actually execute any of the 9 or 10 men on death row, they'd be transported to Lansing - the prison that my father worked at for 25 years.  The "new" death chamber has never been used.  Also, it's been since the 1960s since Kansas carried out an execution.

Earlier this year, there was conversation that one of the military prisoners, convicted of rape and murder in the late 80s, might finally have his sentence carried out.  It gave me a chance to contemplate the issue of capital punishment.  Another pause for thought occurred when the Charleston shooter unsuccessfully tried to avoid a death sentence earlier this year.

Unfortunately, it can be agreed that the death penalty is not consistently applied in a fair, just, timely manner.  And although I've used the phrase "Needle of Justice™" in regard to lethal injection...justice and the death penalty have a strained relationship in our country.

The problem of crime in our country, the value of human life (used in arguments for and against the death penalty), the inconsistencies, and the delay..,

Even if I remain in favor of the death penalty, I don't have to like it, and I don't have to be comfortable about it.

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. - Rom 13:4