2 Cent Tuesday: Sports Needs a Reincarnation of Yogi Berra

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog articulates my very own personal plea for a reincarnation of Yogi Berra of sorts in sports.

While watching both the NBA and NHL Playoffs this past weekend, I yearned for a star player to step up and utter something brazenly entertaining and totally unpredictable.

Like so many fans, I’ve grown weary of mundane responses at press conferences and tepid soundbites in the media.

Instead of listening to carefully measured responses to interviewers, I yearn for an athlete to be more bold and audacious and captivate fans with clever quips and an infectious personality.

After all, sports is entertainment!

In the individual brand conscious world of today’s professional athlete, no one in any sport currently fits that bill. Pro athletes have become automatons.

From the NBA’s LeBron James and Steph Curry to the NHL’s Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane, sports fans are regularly fed a steady diet of calculated and boring media clips emanating from these guys’ lips.

Fans get predictable sound bites, careful comments and rudimentary responses, thus leaving the sports world wanting more.

That’s why today’s post serves as a clarion call for a new Yogi Berra of sorts in the world of sports. Fans must demand someone who can entertain us, like Berra did, with athletic excellence as well as with wit and wisdom.

Sports Needs a Reincarnation of Yogi Berra

MLB Hall of Famer Yogi BerraDuring his lengthy career in Major League Baseball as both player and manager, New York Yankees great Yogi Berra regularly charmed American baseball fans. The 15-time Major League Baseball all-star’s performance on the baseball field has always marveled baseball fans.

From his rookie season in 1949 until today, more than forty years after his retirement, baseball fans still love Yogi.

Inducted into Cooperstown in 1972, Berra may be the game’s greatest catcher as well as one of baseball’s most colorful and irritating trash talkers.

Berra was equally famous for his funny expressions. He butchered the English language by misusing similar sounding words. He also said some things that didn’t really make sense.

The iconic Yogi Berra’s expressions or Yogi-isms like, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over,” “a nickle ain’t worth a dime anymore,” “ I really didn’t say everything I said,” and “baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical,” made him one of the sport’s most endearing players.

Yogi Berra Head Scratching Quotes

Berra coined some of the funniest and biggest head scratching sports quotes of all-time, leading many sports fans to question if he ever really said all that was attributed to him. Here’s a bunch of them:

“Pair up in threes.”

“The other team could make trouble for us if they win.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again.” (spoken after Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris batted consecutive home runs again).

“I usually take a two hour nap from one to four.”

“If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”

“You can observe a lot by watching.”

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t go to yours.”

One of Berra’s most memorable Yogi-isms, “The future ain’t what it used to be,” is partially correct. Because, when fans look back on #8’s career, Yogi Berra’s remarkable playing past and playful nature may never be duplicated by any future Major League Baseball catcher.

I love Berra. I loved his crazy quotes. And, I now long for someone in any sports to revive what he did so many years both on and off the field.

So, let’s bring back the spirit of Yogi Berra in today’s world of sports!

And, that’s my 2 cents!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Wicked Good Sports Comic Book: Boston Sports Icons

Boston Sports Stars and LandmarksOver 200 years ago, the city of Boston boasted its place as the cradle of American liberty.

But today, the city is celebrated as an American sports capitol.

And, this FREE sports comic book on Boston sports icons is wicked good.

To many sports fans, Boston is considered the greatest sports town in the United States.

It has earned the enviable moniker by emerging as a sports mecca that produces Hall of Fame athletes and championship professional teams.

Once renowned for the revolutionary site of the Boston Tea Party and the courageous midnight ride of Paul Revere, Boston’s current popularity is rivaled by its retinue of noteworthy athletic accomplishments.

Boston sports fans proudly rave about title winning home town teams like the Celtics, the Bruins, the Red Sox and the Patriots.

Also rich in academia, this vibrant New England city lays claim to some of the most prestigious halls of higher learning. It has fathered Heads of State, Nobel Laureates and Captains of Industry.

Despite its historic, academic, political and business laurels, today’s Boston may still be better loved for its sports-centric culture.

The Hub City cherishes not only historic Faneuil Hall and the legendary Old North Church. With a regional pride that runs deep in athletics, it also venerates the hallowed sports venues of Fenway Park and the old Boston Garden.

FREE Sports Comic Book on Boston Sports

To honor its rich sports heritage, I’ve penned this FREE sports comic book to acknowledge my top Boston Sports Icons.

The FREE book recognizes Boston’s most famous jocks as well as its most revered sports landmarks.

As a Boston sports lover, you will:

Remember the championship banners hanging from the rafters at the old Boston Garden and never forget the amazingly preserved environs of fabulous Fenway Park.

MIKE Comic 216 Fenway Park

Read about the quick, diminutive Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and the big, beefy Dominican slugger who corned the market on DH awards in baseball.

MIKE Comic Big Papi

Reminisce about the Beanpot, the most storied college hockey tournament of all-time, and ruminate over Heartbreak Hill, the running world’s most daunting and rarefied piece of real estate.

MIKE Comic The Beanpot

Recite the incredible football feats of a brilliant Ugg wearing QB named Brady who sports movie star looks and a supermodel wife.

MIKE sports comic - New England Patriots QB Tom Brady

Revel in the extraordinary feats of Red Sox immortal Carl Yastrzemski.

MIKE Comic Yaz

Relive the glory days of the Celtics’ beloved basketball playing Bird.

And, remember the Bruins’ incomparable Bobby Orr – the best professional hockey player Boston has ever produced.

Lastly, as a bonus, you’ll recall the self-serving antics of Boston’s most famous fictional athlete, Sam Malone, who surprisingly transformed into a national television celebrity.

Boston Sports Icons: A Wicked Good Read

Populated with clever comics and informative commentary, Boston Sports Icons is a wicked good read for every Boston sports lover.

Click on the purple cover image above to safely download the book.

Enjoy the FREE book, then, pass it along to a friend.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Sitting in Pigeon Heaven at a Major League Baseball Game

Seats in Pigeon HeavenToday’s Friday Sports Funny cites a not-so-heavenly place to sit at a Major League Baseball game.

It may not be the best location in a baseball stadium. However, any seat in Pigeon Heaven is worth the price of admission to some fans.

Whether you look upon Pigeon Heaven as a heavenly blessing or a hellish curse, the 300 and above levels in baseball stadiums are still desirable seats.

Fans who really want to attend a game and can’t afford a pricey ticket closer to the field consider these seats manna from heaven.

Their butts may be located a half-mile from home plate.

And, their bodies may be fighting off high altitude sickness.

But, they understand the brighter side of these seats – not just because they’re closer to the sun. For a lot less money, fans can cheer on the same players and teams as higher-rollers occupying box seats below.

Download My FREE Comic Book for More on Pigeon Heaven & Other Baseball Observations

MIKE FREE Vol 2 Baseball ComicsRead more about Pigeon Heaven and many other unique baseball observations by safely downloading my FREE Baseball Comics book by clicking HERE.

Fans sitting way up there just need to remember to bring their binoculars.

Pigeons or not, being part of the action at a Major League Baseball game is still heaven to any true baseball fan.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: In Game Entertainment & Music by DeMonae

chat MIKE: 

Attending a big game is always exciting.

Experiencing the pulsating pressure of a close contest only steps away from the court, field, pitch or ice are reasons to celebrate.

Both professional and big time college sporting venues are rapidly evolving into modern day versions of the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Lots of time, talent, creativity and money are invested to ensure fans at the big game enjoy the dunking gorillas, kiss cam, tee shirt canon, adorable team mascots and especially the music.

#TBT Sports Blog Recalls the Music

Today’s #TBT sports blog recalls one my favorite things about in game entertainment at a sporting event.

And, that’s the music.

An infectious beat, catchy lyrics and the raw energy of a song will make you move and groove to a song. At times, the song’s beat will stay with you for decades.

Much like the way Hip Hop Group DeMonae’s hit single did back in 1997 when it launched the old Charlotte Hornets theme song Hardball.

The catchy tune became synonymous with the NBA’s exciting Hornets and grew as popular as a barbeque sandwich with beans and slaw in the Queen City.

Hardball may not have gained the same universal acclaim of 90’s mega sports hits by Queen: We Will Rock You, Ray Charles: Hit the Road Jack and Journey: Don’t Stop Believein’.

Yet, the song resonated with fans who now eagerly await DeMonae’s latest news.

DeMonae Set to Re-release Hardball Song

The group is re-releasing the high octane Hardball today. That’s 20 years after it debuted for NBA fans in Carolinas in 1997.

Sure, DeMonae may be rewinding the clock by bringing back Hardball.

But, music fans will agree that the group is fast forwarding the energy when they re-release this song and its 2Phat2Drive album on iTunes and Pandora.

There’s no denying the popularity of music. It makes awesome in game entertainment at any sporting event.

And, DeMonae’s Hardball, even 20 years after its debut, is proof!

To download DeMonae’s 2Phat2Drive, simply click on the image above. And, to listen to my #TBT sports blog pick Hardball, just click HERE.

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2 Cent Tuesday: Bigger NOT Always Better in Sports

MIKE Comic 3 Pocket HerculesToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog allows me to refute a common misconception in sports that “bigger is always better.

It’s simply not always true.

That’s why I not only penned this post, but I also wrote a sports comic book specifically touting my all-time favorite Undersized Athletes.

The undersized athletes that I feature in my book easily support my claim that bigger is NOT always better in sports!

You see, if we used the same logic that “bigger is always better,” then we’d want bigger headaches, bigger holes in our pockets and even bigger cases of jock rash. Follow me? That’s why I say, Bigger is NOT always better in sports!”

Always a fan of the little guy, I can relate to shorter, smaller athletes. These mighty mites were probably overlooked as kids every time teams were picked on the asphalt, soccer pitch or football field.

Being spurned when you know you can play becomes a tremendous impetus to improve and play really big – in spite of your shorter stature.

As a little guy myself, I’ve personally been called a pipsqueak, a squirt and an ankle biter. But, I never allowed those names to squash my drive. They only propelled me to do what others thought I couldn’t.

My Undersized Athletes Sports Comic Book Proves That Bigger is NOT Always Better in Sports

My book about Undersized Athletes features a diverse collection of stories chronicling my all-time ten best little tikes whom others may have once overlooked because of their smallish size.

Favorite Undersized AthletesYou’ll admire the strength of a pocket-sized weightlifter (pictured above) with Herculean strength and marvel at the speed, quickness and basketball skills of the NBA’s shortest player ever.

You’ll get a kick out of the “dwarfish” size soccer player’s magical skills and respect the brilliant career of an undrafted, undersized slot receiver who’s become a huge NFL star.

You’ll be awed by the dangerous acrobatic move of a barely five foot tall Russian gymnast and smile at the hitting mastery of Major League Baseball’s tiniest player ever.

You’ll enjoy Heisman Trophy success stories of two outstanding, but undersized, college football players who stood only 5’9” tall.

Finally, you’ll applaud the sterling careers of two smallish athletes who’ve dominated their respective sports inside the ropes and outside on the soccer pitch.

The stories in my Undersized Athletes book confirm that you can never measure the heart, will or desire of the vertically challenged – because “bigger is NOT always better.”

Champions come in all sizes, shapes and colors and these Undersized Athletes prove they stand very tall in a class all their own – no matter what size they actually are.

Enjoy the read and write me if I unintentionally left out one of your undersized  favorites that you think should have made it into my book.

And, that’s my 2 cents!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill Represents Boston Strong

Boston Marathon landmark

Since 1897, the Boston Marathon has been recognized as the world’s oldest and most respected long distance running race.

As New Englanders officially celebrate Patriots Day today, the revered race returns to a once shaken city that suffered through two horrific finish line bombings just four years ago.

The tragic events took lives, maimed victims and shed an unwelcome, ponderous pall over a proud and marvelous city.

However, the dastardly event not only galvanized a shaken city, but it enervated a hurting American public.

This morning 30,000 runners will embark upon the race’s 26.2 mile journey from the Boston suburb of Hopkinton to the downtown finish line at Copley Square.

At the same time, Americans will once again adopt a Boston Strong spirit to honor the victims stricken in the 2013 tragedy.

Today, I’ve chosen to feature the race’s famous Heartbreak Hill in my sports blog to pay tribute to those affected by the horrible event.

Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill is no longer just a piece of real estate that separates excellent long distance runners from the truly elite.

That’s because Heartbreak Hill now unwittingly stands as a universal symbol of indomitable strength and immovable belief for the better in all of us.

The hill no longer just represents triumph for exhausted runners racing in Boston.

But, it also serves as a beacon for every hurting American seeking to overcome death or despair in order to emerge victoriously.

Allow me to take a look back at this sleepy suburban real estate.

Boston Marathon: A Patriots Day Tradition

On Patriots Day each spring, Heartbreak Hill entertains teeming crowds of New England spectators who watch thousands of runners courageous enough to scale it. The surprising hill appears after Boston marathoners complete their first 20 miles of the race.

Amateur and professional runners who complete the 26.2 mile course each year suffer from more than dehydration, sore knees and blistered feet. Boston Marathon runners can get their hearts broken at this spot on the hilly course where they first catch glimpse of the finish line.

Located along Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, an affluent suburb of Boston, Heartbreak Hill is the fourth in a series of shorter rolling hills, none rising more than 90 feet in elevation. Heartbreak Hill’s peak stands at only 236 feet above sea level, but its unexpected, 800 feet gradual scale surprises participants with another late climb.

Around the 20 mile mark, marathoners typically find themselves warding off the physical challenge of “hitting the wall.” In the case of the Boston Marathon, runners hit Heartbreak Hill.

Origin of the Name Heartbreak Hill

The nickname originated in 1936 during a surprise lead change at the 21st mile mark of the race. Boston Globe’s Jerry Nason reported that eventual champion Ellison Brown streaked past front-runner and reigning champion John Kelley.

This lead change took place after Kelley already passed him on one of the previous hills and extended an encouraging tap on his shoulder.

Brown’s sudden surge supposedly broke Kelley’s heart and the Heartbreak Hill nickname was thus born. The name captured this legendary location. It also marked the exchange of fate it signaled for a former, reigning champion.

Many broken heart runners have succumbed to Boston Marathon’s biggest challenge over the years.

Despite its daunting presence, serious runners from around the world prepare annually to scale it.

That’s why today a myriad of resilient runners and afflicted fans will both physically and metaphorically ascend Heartbreak Hill.

They’ll remember the painful memories of 2013’s marathon bombings, but they’ll all emerge stronger than ever – Boston Strong!

Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comAlso, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Major League Baseball Celebrates Jackie Robinson Day

MLB great #42 Jackie RobinsonToday, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

That’s because on April 15, 1997 former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig mandated an unprecedented edict.

It was never before witnessed in any American professional sport.

Selig ordered all Major League Baseball teams to officially retire the #42 jersey in honor of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson.

Selig’s historic move recognized Jackie Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his 1947 debut.

On that day in 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first black baseball player in the modern era to cross the color barrier that existed in the sport.

Its hard for us to image today, but Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson’s bold, courageous decision to break the color line in 1947 opened the gates for other worthy, yet unfairly discriminated against, black baseball players.

Thanks to Robinson, other talented black baseball players quickly followed and begun playing on other previously all white teams in Major League Baseball.

As a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, #42’s fortitude also kindled dialogue beyond the baseball diamond when it came to our country’s ugly segregation policies.

Many attribute that Robinson’s brazen baseball move of crossing the color barrier helped propel the long overdue and ultimately successful Civil Rights Movement.

The Movie 42 Tells Jackie Robinson’s Story

Robinson’s heroic and individually spectacular personal life story was told in the motion picture 42 (release date: April 2013). It chronicled Robinson’s struggles and success as one of America’s most respected athletes ever.

When he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as a 28 year-old rookie, #42 overcame significant public scrutiny as well as regular cruel and unnecessary racial abuse. He was the target of ugly taunts, knock-down pitches and hateful insensitivity directed at him because of his skin color.

However, the Dodgers’ tough talking manager Leo Durocher took a firm stand in defense of Robinson. Also, legendary Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reece’s comment in support of Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten. While standing with his arm draped around Robinson’s shoulders, Reece said, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”

The son of a Georgia sharecropper and a Southern California domestic laborer, Jackie Robinson immediately proved his mettle and demonstrated his athletic excellence. Despite the racial abuse he suffered, Robinson rose above the fray.

Instead of fighting back on the low ground, he immediately made an impact on Major League Baseball and quickly became a rising star.

Robinson was voted Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year in 1947. Soon after, he won both the National League batting title and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949.

Jackie Robinson Played Entire Career with Brooklyn Dodgers

Jackie played his entire ten year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A first-time ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson’s career accomplishments included six all-star games, a World Series Championship in 1955 and impressive lifetime stats of a .311 batting average, 1,518 hits, 137 home-runs, 734 runs batted in and 197 steals.

In addition to being selected to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team, Jackie Robinson was named #44 on The Sporting News’ list of top 100 baseball players ever.

As a result of what he accomplished after formally hanging up his baseball cleats in 1956, this remarkable athlete became a cultural icon.

Robinson is widely admired and credited for overcoming other barriers beyond the baseball diamond. He broke additional color lines that existed in mainstream America at the time.

Jackie Robinson Broke Through Other Racial Barriers

ABC Sports hired Jackie Robinson as the first ever black sportscaster ever to cover Major League Baseball. In the late 50s, Robinson crossed a business barrier and became the first ever black Vice President of a major United States corporation when appointed by Chock full ‘o Nuts Coffee.

Before his death in 1972, Robinson accumulated a never-to-be duplicated resume as a distinguished retired athlete.

Besides his Major League Baseball Hall of Fame induction, Robinson chaired the NAACP.

Plus, he received our country’s two single greatest non-sports related individual honors; i.e. the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

TIME Magazine named Jackie Robinson among the top 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.

TIME Magazine’s ranking not only honored a most worthy athlete, but also a courageous American who helped transition our country away from its ugly discriminatory past.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: The NHL Golden Jet Bobby Hull

Chicago Blackhawks Bobby HullLike an easy open net goal, former Chicago Blackhawks great Bobby Hull effortlessly skates into today’s #TBT sports blog.

If you’ve ever visited Chicago’s United Center, you’ve seen his bronze statue standing proudly beside Bulls legend Michael Jordan and fellow Blackhawk great Stan Mikita.

Though he never actually skated inside this cavernous arena, Bobby Hull will always be remembered for what he accomplished as a Chicago Blackhawk, long before the team moved from the Old Chicago Stadium to its gleaming new home.

During his 23 year career, this legendary left winger played in both the established NHL as well as the then fledgling WHA.

Hull will always be wedded to the franchise that originally drafted him and ultimately lionized him with his life-sized likeness.

Bobby Hull Epitomized His Golden Jet Nickname

Between 1952 and 1980, Hull epitomized his Golden Jet nickname in more ways than one. The brilliant, blond haired Hockey Hall of Famer skated at an astounding 29.7 mph. In addition to his amazing speed on the ice, Hull recorded a 118.3 mph slap shot, making him the most physically gifted – and feared – hockey player of his generation.

Hull’s shot strength and banana bladed hockey stick proved such a lethal combination, especially for maskless goalies, that the NHL minimized the curvature of the sticks to reduce the danger (of his strokes / strikes).

Besides incomparable speed and a killer shot, Hull possessed an uncanny ability to put the puck in the net. In 1966, he became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, a feat he replicated another four times.

Hull led the NHL in scoring an impressive seven times, while accumulating career NHL total numbers of 610 goals and 560 assists in his 1,063 games.

Without doubt, Bobby Hull is best remembered as a Blackhawk for having won the 1961 Stanley Cup, two Hart Memorial trophies and three Art Ross trophies. In deference to the legend, the Hawks retired Hull’s famous #9 jersey, which he originally wore as a tribute to his own idol Gordie Howe.

Hull made hockey history following his earlier accolades and awards. In 1972, he eschewed the Chicago franchise to become the face of the new World Hockey Association. His decision also captured headlines because the Hartford Whalers signed him to the most lucrative hockey contract ever: $1.75 million over 10 years with a then-whopping $1 million signing bonus.

Hull went on to become the WHA’s greatest player ever. He scored a never before seen 77 goals during the 1974 – 75 season and led his squad to three AVCO or WHA championships.

There’s no doubt why The Hockey News named Hull #8 on its list of top 100 hockey players ever.

It’s also why The Golden Jet is revered as the most venerated hockey star in Chicago Blackhawks history.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: FREE Comic Book Titled Best About Sports

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog

Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog gives sports fans the opportunity to safely download the FREE comic book titled Best About Sports.

The book offers 25 comics and chronicles 25 short stories on what I find best about sports.

All sports fans can agree that the subject of sports, any sport, will always trigger debate.

Pick a player, celebrate a team or remember a championship moment and I guarantee that a lively discussion will quickly follow.

Animated, verbal altercations about any athlete and team embroil sports fans everywhere and foster what I believe is Best About Sports.

In a relative’s living room, at a neighborhood bar or around the office water cooler, the mere mention of a certain player or team will instantaneously ignite colorful conversation and more than likely ruffle some one’s feathers.

Reference the Yankees & impassioned Boston Red Sox fans will appear out of thin air eager to engage in an animated verbal altercation.

Criticize Kobe and Lakers lovers will immediately compare the Black mamba to MJ as well as list Bryant along with Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and even Mikan in their long line of NBA titles.

Praise the Pack and surely Steelers, Saints and Patriots faithful will some how seek to metaphorically kick you right in your Cheese Head.

Wear a FC Barcelona jersey in public and you’ll quickly feel the glaring eyes of Manchester United hooligans lurking ominously nearby.

Yes, the subject of sports stirs the embers of conversations from yesterday’s nationally televised game as well as from championship games from several seasons ago. Fans who can’t remember what they ate for lunch have amazing recollection of events on the ice, hardwood, pitch, end zone or home plate from decades back and always seek outlets to share their passion, opinions and angst.

Best About SportsPlus, sports are universal.

Sports transcends religion, cuts through cultural ties, eludes ethnicity, ignores bank account balances and fails to distinguish between sex, weight, age and even familial allegiance.

Your team is your team. Not your dad’s, your sister’s or even that of your spouse. Your inalienable right as a sports fan is to root for whomever you want.

Sure, your choice may defy logic, strain family ties, break stereotypes and shatter urban myths, but it’s your choice, never to be forced upon you at any time.

The right to root for your team and your favorite player is buried deep down in your DNA.

It’s your privilege and your prerogative in spite of what others think. That’s why this book is so important to me. It’s the culmination of the top 25 things I like, no love, about sports.

My top 25 in Best About Sports includes names and teams, stadiums and sports, plus sights, sounds and smells. Click HERE to safely download.

Remember, it’s my book! My opinion. My prerogative. My top 25.

Enjoy Best About Sports and that’s my 2 cents!

Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comAlso, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

Note that if you opt to purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission from each sale. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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The Masters at Augusta National: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Augusta National Golf CourseEach spring, tradition abounds at Augusta National Golf Club.

Sportscaster Jim Nantz’s instantly recognizable words, “a tradition unlike any other,” eloquently capture the essence of the golf’s most prestigious event.

One of four United States major golf tournaments held each year, the Masters is the only one hosted by the same private course.

Formerly an expansive nursery, Augusta National has flourished as one of golf’s most famous and highly sought out places to play.

The par 72 and 7,435 yard course has been continuously updated over the years to make it more challenging. Bigger bunkers, expanded water hazards and plenty of trees and shrubs have been carefully added.

It’s no surprise that in 2009, Golf Digest ranked Augusta National the top American golf course.

Bobby Jones, famous for winning golf’s grand slam, is primarily responsible for transforming Fruitland Nursery into Augusta National Golf Club. Along with designer Allister MacKenzie and The Masters’ first Chairman Clifford Roberts, Jones set out to build his dream golf course and start a competitive golf tournament that would attract the best golfers in the world. The first Masters teed off in 1934 and has run successfully every year since except during WWII.

By every indication, Jones’ vision succeeded beyond everyone’s expectation. For more than 80 years, Augusta National’s gorgeous, challenging course has been painstakingly maintained and has attracted the best golfers on the planet to compete each year.

During its storied existence, The Masters has maintained many of the traditions that have been cultivated over the years.

The Masters’ Ceremonial Green Jacket

Most notably, each year the tournament winner receives the ceremonial Green Jacket. In keeping with deep rooted Masters’ lore that began in 1949, the previous year’s Masters’ winner presents the emblematic Green Jacket immediately after the tournament to the new champion at the course’s Butler Cabin.

Since 1952, a Masters champions’ dinner is held in the Crow’s Nest Clubhouse. Tradition holds that the defending champion gets to personally select that evening’s menu.

Beginning in 1956, CBS Sports started covering The Masters. It’s the longest standing, uninterrupted television sports programming contract for one network to maintain this lengthy and successful relationship with a premier sporting event.

Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus called the par three, 155 yard 12th hole the toughest short hole in golf. Plus, the unpredictable swirling winds, Rae’s Creek and the overall length of the par four 505 yard 11th hole and par five 510 yard 13th hole contribute to the enormous difficulty of this gorgeous piece of golfing real estate.

In a 1958 Sports Illustrated article, golf writer Herman Warren Wind coined the name Amen Corner after Augusta National’s signature stretch of tough play on its 11th, 12th and 13th holes. He wanted to create a catchy nickname for this glorious combination of beautifully designed, yet extremely challenging holes.

Golf’s Amen Corner

Much like baseball’s Hot Corner and football’s Coffin Corner, golf’s Amen Corner was officially born at Augusta National.

Amen Corner at Masters Golf Tournament

Throughout the years, crystal vases and even larger crystal bowls have been awarded for player excellence. The beautiful glass trophies are awarded to those who score the lowest overall score, make a hole-in-one or demonstrate golfing excellence by recording a double-eagle.

The Masters’ rituals, steeped in the tournament’s unique traditions, differentiate the elite tournament from all others. In addition to being the only major golf tournament to allow for a highly dramatic, sudden death playoff to decide its winner, the Masters field remains the smallest on the circuit with fewer than 100 total participants.

Of the 90+ entries, The Masters invites the top five amateur players in the world to compete. In keeping with the event’s quirky traditions, the amateurs are allowed to spend their nights on the course in the Crow’s Nest Clubhouse.

Every great golfer has played in The Masters. The most successful have included Jack Nicklaus with six Green Jackets, Tigers Woods and Arnold Palmer with four and seven other champions to include Gary Player, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret with three blazers.

Each spring, golf fans around the world look forward to the sport’s most cherished event not just because of the incredible collection of golfers who compete.

But, golf enthusiasts pine for traditions that the annual Masters tournament at Augusta National evokes.

The event is truly “a tradition unlike any other.”

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