Happy Independence Day: A Sports Fan’s Perspective

Happy Independence DayFrom a sports fan’s perspective, I am especially happy to celebrate Independence Day.

Certainly, I am grateful for the foresight of our nation’s forefathers who envisioned, more than two hundred years ago, a land of the brave and free.

Their courage and vision enabled Americans to now enjoy and prosper in the greatest country that the world has ever witnessed.

Their bold actions in the late 1700’s birthed a country that served as a beacon of hope for the downtrodden, a country that afforded infinite opportunity to the industrious and a country (though our founding fathers could never have envisioned it) that provided the perfect opiate for the people – sports!

Since our nation’s inception, sports has grown into a universal phenomena and Americans have vigorously supported a diverse offering of individual and competitive sports at every conceivable level.

That’s because sports transcends religion, cuts through cultural ties, eludes ethnicity, ignores bank accounts and fails to distinguish between sex, weight, age and even familial bonds.

And, even when it comes to sports, we have our forefathers to thank for the freedom to cheer on and support our favorite player, team or sport on this festive 4th of July.

Simply, our favorite team is our favorite team – not our dad’s, our sister’s or even that of our spouse. Our inalienable right as a sports fan is to root for whomever we want.

It’s constitutionally protected, but not in those exact words!

Sure, our choice may defy logic, strain family ties, break stereotypes and shatter urban myths. But it’s still our choice, one that should never be forced upon us at any time.

The right to root for our team and our favorite player is buried deep down in our DNA. It’s our privilege, our prerogative in spite of what others think or say and cannot be taken away.

Not only is it our right to choose our favorite team, but I propose it’s also a God-given sports right to cheer against another team.

It’s healthy and even cathartic to vent our sports fan frustration toward bitter rivals who have beat up on our boys too often in the past or carry themselves in a far too confident manner.

Articulating our angst by deciding “Anybody, but…” is what’s Best About Sports. It’s even a chapter in a FREE sports comic book I penned.

Best About SportsFor example, it’s perfectly OK if the continued, unabated success of college programs like Duke and Kentucky basketball or Alabama and USC football ruffle our feathers.

It’s understandable if the 27 World Series Championships that New York Yankees fans routinely bring up in baseball conversation makes our blood start to boil. Plus, Bronx Bomber fans always seem to reference baseball’s purported greatest team ever – the 1927 Yanks.

It’s alright if the preponderance of championship banners hanging over the courts at Staples Center in Los Angeles or TD Bank North Garden in Boston cause us to grind our teeth.

It’s a part of the game when storied soccer teams like Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid spend boat loads of cash to consistently attract the top talent in the world and make us want to scream as our local club wallows in mediocrity.

Hey, maybe the original America’s Team (the Dallas Cowboys), the wanna-be America’s Team (the New England Patriots) or the most likely choice from Titletown for what should be America’s Team (the Green Bay Packers) give us indigestion at the sound of their names.

America's Team

The Dallas Cowboys – The Original America’s team

No worries, man! Just ease up. Flip on ESPN Sports Center and relax.

It’s OK to blow off some steam. Remember that we’re just fine. Allow that cup of angst to spill over as much and as long as you want.

Remember, it’s our Constitutional sports right to root for – or against – any team from any town at anytime.

In my house, the sports motto has always been, “Anybody but…”

Happy Independence Day! That’s my sports fan’s perspective on this special day. Now, fire up the grill, open a cold one and get ready for some fireworks!

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: 1927 New York Yankees’ Murderers’ Row

1927 New York Yankees RowToday’s #TBT sports blog looks back at baseball’s Murderers’ Row.

Baseball historians have called the legendary 1927 New York Yankees with the frightful nickname the best Major League Baseball team ever.

Yet, back in the 1920s, fans, opposing players and the media that covered this New York Yankees team simply referred to the key members of this frightening, famed squad as Murderers’ Row.

With a name like that, it’s easy to see why I booked these “murderers” in the #1 spot of my sports comic book Deadly Sports Stuff.

Deadly Sports StuffThe first six batters in the Yankees’ line-up (no pun intended) in 1927 posted the most staggering statistics ever witnessed during a single Major League Baseball season.

The Murderers’ Row batters simply killed opposing pitchers. Their dizzying numbers included a remarkable .307 team batting average, a whopping .489 slugging percentage and an incredible 975 total runs scored. That’s 371 more runs than the teams they faced.

The Yankees easily ran away with the American League pennant that year by a 19 game margin with a 110 – 44 record. They also swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series.

As a team, the 1927 New York Yankees were written about in a 1962 book entitled Murderers’ Row and were featured in a 1966 film by the same name.

Plus, the team’s amazing 1927 performance included stellar individual seasons by American League Most Valuable Player Lou Gehrig who hit .373 and drove in an MLB record 175 runs.

That same year Babe Ruth posted similar MVP numbers. Ruth batted an impressive .356, batted in 164 runs, belted a league record 60 home runs and recorded the highest slugging percentage ever at .772.

League rules barred him from being included in the 1927 MVP voting because he had won the same award the previous year.

A list of other “murderers” in the 1927 New York Yankees line-up contributed mightily to the team’s overpowering success. These players also had eye-popping batting averages. Earle Combs batted .356, Mark Koenig .285, Tony Lazzeri .309 and Bob Muesel .337.

Along with their manager Miller Huggins and pitchers Herb Pennock and Waite Hoyt, Ruth, Gehrig, Combs and Lazzeri were all inducted into Cooperstown.

The 1927 New York Yankees’ Murderers’ Row continued their tormenting ways for a second season. It resulted in their sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1928 World Series.

In 1927, the death knell may have come quickly on the baseball diamond to those pitchers who faced them. However, this super team of New York Yankees lives on in baseball lore.

It’s arguably the best team ever.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Hey, Sports Fans, Happy National Hot Dog Month!

Racing Weenies at Miller Park in MilwaukeeOK, sports fans! Get out your mustard, ketchup and relish.

It’s time to celebrate.

Today, July 1st, begins annual National Hot Dog Month.

That’s right! Sports fans get to lift their glasses of iced tea and lemonade or even raise a bottle of their favorite adult beverage and toast the undisputed king of packaged meats – the hot dog.

Sure, it’s self-serving that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council originally spearheaded this annual monthly celebration. But, what sports fan, or non-vegetarian American can’t applaud the council’s ambitious yearly promotion and prudent market awareness campaign?

Not just sports fans, but Americans of every shape, size, color and creed love their tube steaks. From time to time, even ultra health conscious individuals can;t resist 100% natural hot dogs with zero preservatives and no nitrates.

According to www.hot-dog.org , Americans typically consume 7 billion, yes 7 billion, hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. That’s 818 hot dogs every second!

Dating back hundreds of years, Vienna and Frankfurt may still dispute the genesis of the beloved hot dog.

However, these famous franks have undoubtedly become the American sports fan’s favorite food at the ballpark for more than a century.

And, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council boast the numbers prove it.

Major League Baseball alone sold a staggering 21 million hot dogs in 2014, while Los Angeles surpassed all other US cities with a total consumption of 39 million hot dogs.

Whether consuming a chili dog, corn dog, cheese dog or foot long ball park hot dog with other toppings, the average America noshes on 60 frankfurters per year, making condiment companies French’s and Heinz happy, too!

The hot dog has always ranked as the top food choice at ball park concession stands across America since introduced in 1901 at a baseball game at the old New York Polo Grounds. Sports cartoonist Tad Morgan called the then hot dachshund sausage a hot dog and the name stuck.

Now, undoubtedly one of America’s most cherished comfort foods, the former hot dachshund sausage spawned a burgeoning industry of packaged meat brands; namely, Nathan’s, Hebrew National, Ball Park Franks, Dietz and Watson and arguably everybody’s favorite – Oscar Meyer Wieners.

You may prefer Nathan’s over Hebrew National, but you’re a liar if you don’t admit you, too, once sang along to, “I’d love to be an Oscar Meyer Wiener!”

Come on’ how can you not love the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile?

A big shout out to sports marketing maverick, and hot dog extraordinaire Mike Rudd, for serving as inspiration to pen this blog as well as drawing attention to America’s love affair with the hot dog. The guy’s not only clever, but a brave man to don a hot dog suit during promotions as pictured below.

Savvy sports marketer Mike Rudd

Savvy sports marketer Mike Rudd

Also, here’s a popular blog I wrote a while ago about my favorite packaged meat mascots racing around the baseball field at Miller Park in Milwaukee. I refer to these in-game entertainers as “real wieners!”

MIKE on sports podcastSo, pass me the Heinz ketchup and hold the mustard and relish!

And, Happy National Hot Dog Month to you!

MIKE on sports!

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NBA News: Guess Who’s Now Opting Out?

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog


Hey, NBA fans!

Guess who’s now opting out?


That’s right! I’m opting out of all news reports and discussions involving speculation, impassioned predictions and muckraking melodrama surrounding pending NBA free agency.

I’ve had enough of the non-stop media coverage concerning 2015 free agents.

Most of the marquee announcements have been expected, yet ESPN, Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, FOX Sports and other outlets report on them as if they just broke Pulitzer Prize winning stories.

Gee, never would have guessed LeBron James and Kevin Love would opt out in Cleveland.

Never would have expected LaMarcus Alridge would test the free agent waters outside Portland.

And, never would have anticipated Dwyane Wade would pack his bag, while pouting of course, and sought to take his talents out of Miami.

These highly anticipated moves were about as predictable as Draymond Green whining after a call, Manu Ginobli flopping after contact and DeAndre Jordan bricking most of his free throws.

Give me real NBA news and not soap opera nonsense.

NBA “news coverage” now resembles TMZ reports and sophomoric tabloid fodder. Sports media outlets now seem to be wallowing in innuendo and high school gossip with the same vigor as Entertainment Tonight.

Why can I envision Perez Hilton smiling and laughing loudly about the mindless murmurings that NBA fans are now exposed?

It’s easy to understand why I’m opting out of their reports.

I just don’t care if LeBron James and Kevin Love met poolside at some hotel.

It doesn’t bother me that Dwyane Wade surreptitiously convened with his former teammate about playing together again.

And, I choose not to follow the Kim Kardashian type sage in which DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl have become embroiled.

Tiresome free agent speculation has made me weary.

Media reports about incessant player tweeting have nauseated me.

Sadly, some franchises will foolishly pay exorbitant amounts to players past their prime for previous performance (can you say, Kobe?) and subsequently jettison away their team’s future success.

Unfortunately, petty accusations will flourish, veiled threats will surface and conspiratorial theories will abound.

However, the ineviatbel will happen. LeBron James, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol will enjoy huge pay days. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and DeAndre Jordan will be over joyed with their new jack.

All the while, ticket prices will certainly soar in the new season in which David Lee finds a new team, Carmelo Anthony remains stuck with a stinky team and the Spurs, oh the Spurs, reload, upgrade, improve and enter the next campaign with another opportunity to compete for a crown.

I don’t care what ESPN writes, Bleacher Report bloviates or even tiny SB Nation shares in their kindergarten length short paragraph length articles.

That’s because I’m opting out! And, that’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on sports!

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Bolt Featured in MIKE Sports Comic Book: Favorite Single Named Athletes

The Lightning Bolt

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt

This Jamaican born sprinter bolted out of his starting block with the raw power and fury of his nickname, The Lightning Bolt.

Universally known by his fitting last name Bolt, this dynamic sprinter effortlessly jogs into the #23 spot in the recently released second edition of my sports comic book Favorite Single Named Athletes.

Favorite Single Named AthletesHere’s a sample chapter from the book.

Usain Bolt first became a world champion when he won the 200 meter dash at age 15 during the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica.

At age 16, Bolt broke Jamaican high school records in the 200 meter and 400 meter races. A year later, Usain set a world junior record of 19.93 seconds in the 200 meters while competing in his first professional event at the CARFITA games in Bermuda.

Bolt’s surging popularity as a teenager prompted huge expectations among his native Caribbean island’s track and field fan base. He never fizzled in his electrifying career.

Now an international track and field superstar, Usain Bolt is named Lightning Bolt for his uncanny speed. This Jamaican lays claim to the title World’s Fastest Man.

Bolt debuted on the international track and field scene in 2008 in the same awe inspiring way a lightning bolt crackles across a dark sky with a roaring clap of thunder.

On May 31, 2008 Bolt set a new world record at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City. He ran the 100 meters in 9.72 seconds.

The, during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he broke his earlier record in the 100 meter dash by clocking in at 9.69 seconds. Bolt jogged across the finish line pounding his chest and stretching his arms out wide. Many critics believed his record time would have been even better if it weren’t for this showboating finish.

After winning three gold medals and setting three world records in each event in the 2008 Olympics, Bolt faced more pressure to perform.

At the Berlin World Championships in 2009, this Lightning Bolt startled fans once again. Bolt improved his earlier world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes. He finished with times of 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds.

Bolt surpassed the goals he set for himself in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He became the first Olympian ever to repeat as champion of the both the 100 and 200 meter races.

Amazingly, Bolt continued his international success a year later. He easily replicated his Olympic gold medal successes in both the 100 and 200 meter sprints at the 2013 World Championships in Russia.

Adoring Jamaicans and international track and field fans were not surprised by Bolt’s most recent performances.

They counted on Usain Bolt to light up both the London and Moscow skies with the same raw power and fury they’ve always come to expect from this Jamaican bred Lightning Bolt.

Now, Usain Bolt leaves all track and field fans wondering if this amazing athlete can possibly sprint away from the field again in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2nd Edition of Favorite Single Named Athletes Now Available

Favorite Single Named Athletes

Amazon just released the 2nd edition of a sports comic book featuring my top 25 Favorite Single Named Athletes.

Here’s the book intro…

Throughout history, singers, politicians, philosophers and spiritual leaders impacted societies to such a degree that a single name identified their fame.

These single named icons were instantly known by a reference to their first or last name. A full name became unnecessary.

Spiritual leaders like Jesus and Mohammad never required a last name. Neither did famous philosophers like Plato and Aristotle or a pacifist like Gandhi.

Similarly, political dictators like Stalin and Hitler never needed a first name. Last names were all we needed to identify them with the atrocities they committed.

Modern day entertainers reach the pinnacle of success when only one name is necessary for fans to equate them with their talent.

For example, hardly anyone can recall their last names, but everyone knows that the beautiful Shakira can make you dance and the likeable Cedric can make you laugh.

And when it comes to Elvis, Madonna, Beyonce or Bono, all we need is one name. We can instantaneously identify these entertainers and belt out a few bars from one of their hits.

In the world of sports, it’s no different. A simple name, first or last, constitutes celebrity. A single name signals to sports fans everywhere that an athlete has arrived.

Mention his or her name and people will start to rattle off statistics, count off career highlights and recall favorite all-time performances of the lone named individual.

For example, say Serena or Marta, and talk of women’s tennis and soccer will surface.

Reference last names Tebow and Bolt, and fans will likely break out into a Tebowing stance or Lighting Bolt pose.

Sports fans know that Sweetness is not a candy bar, Magic is not a trick, Babe’s not a cute girl. They also know that Bird’s not a winged creature and Kobe is not Japanese beef.

You don’t need to audible like Peyton or get locked in a double-choke hold by Hulk to enjoy this book.

Like the previous athletes mentioned, we all know the drill. There is only one Shaq, LeBron, Kareem, Wilt, Yogi, Messi, Tiger and Pele.

Their personal stories and clever comics are found in this book Favorite Single Named Athletes . Sports fans of all ages will enjoy.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: MLB HOF Pitcher Randy Johnson

MLB pitcher Big Unit Randy Johnson

The Big Unit Randy Johnson

Today’s #TBT sports blog looks back at Major League Baseball’s Big Unit.

At 6’10” and 230 lbs. MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson personified the Big Unit name given him during his rookie season in Montreal.

When astonished teammate Tim Raines first saw Johnson pitch, he shouted, “Wow, that’s one Big Unit!”

During his 21-year career with the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Giants and Expos, Johnson’s physical size and on field performance towered above all other Major League Baseball pitchers.

Hitters facing Johnson feared his blazing 100 mph fastball and hard, wicked slider. Both pitches were instrumental in his leading the majors in strikeouts nine times and overall ERA four times.

A ten-time MLB all-star and five-time Cy Young Award winner, the dominating lefty retired in 2009 as one of the most decorated pitchers in baseball history. In addition to winning a World Series in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Big Unit was named Co-MVP of the series with his Diamondbacks’ teammate Curt Schilling.

Other career accomplishments include the perfect game Johnson tossed on May 18, 2004 against the Atlanta Braves. He also claims a no-hitter that he pitched on June 2, 1990 versus the Detroit Tigers.

Johnson’s fabulous pitching career became even more impressive. This non-performance enhanced fire-baller dominated from the mound during the infamous Major League Baseball era which was sullied by widespread steroid usage.

This big time baseball talent finished his pitching days with 300+ career wins. He ranks second in career strikeouts and holds the record for baseball’s best ever strikeouts per innings pitched.

No Cooperstown voter came close to whiffing when electing Randy Johnson as a first time Hall of Fame ballot selection in 2015.

A well-deserved big honor for this Big Unit!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2nd Release Now Available: MIKE Favorite Sports Nicknames

Favorite Sports Nicknames

It’s back!

My popular sports comic book – Favorite Sports Nicknames – is now available in its updated, second printing on Amazon.

Click on the yellow cover above to safely download the book from Amazon.

Here’s the book’s intro…

I’m absolutely crazy about clever nicknames! Who isn’t?

I grew up with Tiny – ironically the biggest kid in class.

I played sports with Frankie “K” – short for his Polish last name Konstantynowicz – which no one could pronounce or spell.

I sought help on my math home work from Digits – who obviously was great with numbers.

I could never muster the courage to kiss Cali, short for Caliente, the hottest girl in school.

And, I refused to allow Booger, for obvious reasons, to ever touch me.

Clever, unique nicknames say so much about people. They capture the essence of a person, a moment, a movement or even a city.

Nicknames can make no sense at all, except when placed in context.

For example, no one ever really saw the former Soviet Union’s feared Iron Curtain and no one I know actually heard the sound of the original Big Bang. But, we all understand what the names mean.

Reference places like Little Havana, The Big Easy or The Windy City and our mental GPS coordinates are set.

Mention the Brits, Aussies and Yanks, and different English accents come to mind.

Here in the United States, Americans reference former presidents by numbers like 42 and 44 or by initials like F.D.R., J.F.K. and L.B.J.

And, if Presidents misbehave, they’re assigned cheeky monikers like Tricky Dicky and Slick Willie, and everyone knows who and what we’re talking about.

In the world of entertainment, pop icons like Madonna and Gaga will more than likely get your groove on.

Other curious cultural luminaries like Snooki and Snoop might quickly turn it right off.

Nicknames are especially defining in sports, and there’s no shortage of them here in this book on my top 25 Favorite Sports Nicknames.

I spotlight the storied careers of a Helicopter and a Thorpedo and cater to food fans with references to chocolate, spices and cheese.

I entertain with recollections about basketball’s Human Highlight Reel and baseball’s Wizard of Oz.

In addition, I delve into size differences and contrast a Big Unit with a Pocket Hercules.

I appeal to those “spiritual” sports fans among you by recalling the prowess of the Minister of Defense.

And, I write about our favorite appliances like a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner and a microwave.

Plus, I cover some not-so-well-behaved basketball players as well as hockey’s undisputed Great One. His unfathomable resume on the ice trumps all other great ones in all other sports.

Remember, these are my top 25 Favorite Sports Nicknames.

Enjoy them.

Yes, this is my list with my opinions and my personal picks.

The players may have retired long ago, and some may have even passed away. However, their legacies have lived on, even flourished, because of their clever and unique nicknames.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Set Up the Octagon & Let Sean “Diddy” Combs Fight

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogHere’s my 2 cents on Sean “Diddy” Combs and his most recent brush with the law stemming from an inability to control his temper.

I say, “Set up the octagon and let Combs fight!”

That’s right. Pick a date and schedule the fight.

Hopefully, in this case, squaring off against him would be the same UCLA Assistant Football Coach Sal Alosi.

Combs allegedly attacked Alosi in the UCLA weight training room with a kettle bell after the coach yelled at and suspended Combs’ son, a substitute receiver on the Bruins squad.

The rapper, actor, music producer, record label mogul and Sean John clothing line owner was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making a terrorist threat and one count of battery.

However, it’s not Combs’ first encounter with the law for failing to control his violent anger.

Now known simply as Diddy, the former Puff Daddy and P-Diddy still carries the same rage and arrogant expectation that things always need to go his way in life.

The Bad Boy Records exec once plead guilty to a reduced charge, a harassment violation, in 1999 after assaulting an Interscope Records executive.

In 2001, a New York jury acquitted Combs of a weapons charge and attempted bribery surrounding a 1999 shooting in a New York City nightclub.

Even last December, Combs was purportedly involved in a fight with Toronto rapper Drake outside a Miami club. Would have loved to seen that cat fight.

It seems if Combs regularly wants to fight. So, let him.

However, my 2 cents is that we select a formidable opponent, so that not only Combs, but also his son, fellow UCLA football players and young men everywhere learn a valuable lesson of keeping your emotions in check.

Bring on the octagon. Diddy would be done in seconds!

That’s my 2 cents.

MIKE on sports!

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New MIKE on Sports Podcast on Trash Talk

MIKE Comic 102 Trash TalkTough athletes play hard and talk just as tough.

My own personal Hall of Fame of tough talking athletes probably figures prominently on your trash talkers list, too.

They’re legends Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Larry Bird and Babe Ruth.

They were not only incredible athletes, but they were smart.

Real smart.

These sports icons used their own smattering of smack to gain a psychological edge over opponents.

Their brash babble not only gave them an advantage over rivals, but it added to their lore as tough, confident competitors.

These Hall of Famers backed up their bark, and they set the standard for hubris, creativity and an ability to back up whatever they spoke.

They weren’t like today’s corporate minded modern day athletes like LeBron James, Russell Wilson, Mike Trout, Chris Paul, Sidney Crosby and others.

These new guys choose every word and measure every sound bite to protect their own personal brands.

They’re completely unlike the old guys.

That’s because the old guys Ali, Jordan, Bird and company never worried if they’d lose a State Farm, Samsung or Chunky Soup commercial.

Plus, they didn’t fret about seeing their Adidas or Nike sales slip.

And, they certainly didn’t worry about failing to get a new endorsement deal because of what they said in the moment on the field or in the arena or at a news conference.

MJ, Ali, Bird, Broadway Joe and Babe backed up their bark with bite.

My new sports podcast on iTunes and Stitcher acknowledges those whom I believe were the best trash talkers in sports.

MIKE on sports podcastClick on yellow cover above to listen.

These retired superstars performed their best when under pressure.

Their silver tongues cemented their legacies and catapulted Trash Talk into a category all of its own.

Few fans will ever forget Babe Ruth’s called shot or Joe Willie Namath’s Super Bowl guarantee.

All sports fans remember the audacity of Muhammad Ali calling himself “the greatest” – and then becoming it.

And, no modern day athlete can ever emulate the creative, cock sure confidence of Bird and MJ.

From prideful proclamations to inventive insults and from timely taunts to endless yakking, MJ and Bird established Trash Talk as an acceptable and expected element in sports.

Today, thanks to these NBA greats and notable athletes, the jabbering of junk can be found in any sport and at any level.

But, this verbal sparring is most entertaining when uttered by multi-millionaire athletes behaving like 11-year-olds squabbling and squawking in the schoolyard.

And, if asked to comment, Larry and Michael would still have something witty and clever to say today.

Straight talk. No static.

This is MIKE!

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Brazil’s Marta: Greatest FIFA Women’s Player Ever

FIFA soccer star Marta

Brazil’s Marta Vieira da Silva

The soccer crazed country of Brazil has generously exported its Beautiful Game around the globe. The world adores the deft touches, brilliant runs and spectacular finishes of Brazil’s iconic players.

For decades celestial soccer talents like Pele, Garrincha, Ronaldo, Kaka and Ronaldinho have showcased their scintillating skills in World Cups, European leagues and international friendlies.

Another Brazilian export, Marta Viera da Silva, or simply Marta, carries on her country’s Beautiful Game tradition by dominating the women’s game. She’s celebrated for unrivaled athleticism and panache.

And, she’s arguably one of the greatest athlete’s in the world that hardly anyone, except soccer junkies, knows about.

Soccer purists regard Marta as the female version of the great Pele, who coincidentally hails from the same soccer adoring nation of Brazil.

She’ll take the pitch tomorrow as her Brazilian side squares off against Australia in the Round of 16 in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Sporting the #10 jersey as her male counterpart Pele, Marta has effortlessly reigned over the women’s game just as Pele prevailed over the men’s.

The 5’4″ Brazilian’s dazzling play earned her the coveted FIFA World Player of the Year. She’s earned this honor an unheard of five years in a row- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. She’s also been voted runner-up for the same award twice.

This supremely skilled and relentlessly attacking midfielder has starred everywhere she’s played. A 2009 and 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer league MVP, Marta has excelled in the Olympics as well as the Women’s World Cup.

Marta led her Brazilian side to silver medals in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Thanks to Marta’s superlative play, Brazil placed second in the 2007 World Cup in China. At the 2007 event, Marta was awarded both the Golden Ball Trophy for best player and the Golden Boot Trophy as the tournament’s top scorer.

At age 29, Marta will continue enrapturing women’s soccer fans for years to come. She just surpassed Germany’s Brigit Prinz in the 2015 Women’s World Cup as the tournament’s all-time leading scorer.

This Brazilian’s amazing scoring ability, coupled with clever passes, flicks and tricks with the ball, have magnetized fans wherever she’s played.

It’s easy to understand why Marta’s female version of the Beautiful Game has made her the best women’s soccer player ever.

MIKE on sports!

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Why The Sport of Baseball Confuses Me

confusing baseball terms

Confusing Baseball Language

There are times when the sport of baseball totally confuses me.

I even compiled a list of befuddling bits of baseball banalities that probably confound you, too.

My list ranges from confusing baseball language to well known idiosyncrasies that comprise our country’s favorite past time.

Here’s my top 10 list of quirky baseball peculiarities:

10. Why call baseball’s foul pole a foul pole when it’s located in fair territory? The reference reminds me of the late George Carlin’s comedic line about driving on a parkway and parking on a driveway.

9. Why’s a stolen base called a stolen base when the base runner never gets to take it home or even pawn what he just pilfered? Just call it a newly occupied base instead.

8. Why doesn’t Major League Baseball completely eliminate the on deck circle? Have you ever seen an on deck batter actually stand in the on deck circle? Grounds crews should just ignore the area completely and save their white chalk for something worthwhile.

7. Why do fans tolerate the heckler who’s got a real bull horn for a voice box with no off switch? Why does this bloviating fan think that behaving like a jerk is a good thing?

the heckler

Baseball’s rowdy fan – the Heckler.

6. Why do rotund baseball managers insist on wearing team uniforms that look like spray-on Halloween costumes? You never saw Phil Jackson wearing his old Knicks short shorts on the Lakers bench?

5. Why do players insist on poking their packages and adjusting their private parts when every fan is watching the action on their over sized high def TV in the comfort of their living room?

4. At a unit cost of 75 cents a dot, why do TINY frozen Dippin’ Dots you can only get at a game put such a HUGE hole in your wallet?

3. Stupid baseball statistics. Who cares how many times lefties born in Midwestern states to blond haired mothers whose brother’s uncle’s neighbor’s insurance salesman’s sister played AAA for the Yankees in 1997 whiff during rain delayed night games in August?

2. Why do clueless fans always stand in the 7th inning belting out the tune “Take Me out to the Ball Game” when we all know they’ve been there in the park for the previous six innings?

1. Why call a catcher’s testicular protector a cup when no sane person would EVER consider drinking from it?

I’m certain there’s more readers can add to my list.

I’d love to hear about some of the befuddling bits of baseball banalities that confound and confuse you, too.

Email me at mikeonsports@yahoo.com.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: US Soccer’s Mia Hamm

Ponytail Princess Mia Hamm

Former USA soccer star Mia Hamm

During the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it’s only fitting that today’s #TBT sports blog features one of the sport’s best players ever.

Arguably the greatest female soccer player ever, Mariel Margaret “Mia” Hamm was named one of FIFA’s top 125 international football (soccer) players of all-time in 2006. She remains the lone female and only American on this distinguished list.

A 2001 and 2002 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, Hamm impacted the women’s sport like no other soccer player before or since.

Because of her dominance on the pitch, she served as an undisputed pied piper for the sport during the 1990s and was primarily responsible for the surging popularity of women’s soccer.

Legions of pony-tailed young girls across the globe, especially in the United States, enthusiastically embraced the sport of soccer to emulate this American sports icon’s breathtaking soccer talent and wholesome good looks.

Unwittingly, Hamm and US Soccer teammates Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Michelle Akers and Kristine Lily became international superstars. Their success on the field enabled them to capture global media attention that this exciting women’s sport had not previously received in the United States.

Unquestionably, Hamm emerged as the rock star of the group. Her remarkable athleticism, amazing goal scoring ability, endearing approachability, fresh face looks and flowing pony-tailed hair captivated not only young girls, but male and female sports fans of all shapes, sizes and types.

Mia’s on-field success immediately translated into numerous off-field endorsements. She touted shampoo and other consumer products in television commercials and even sparred against basketball great Michael Jordan in Gatorade ads.

The overwhelming success of women’s soccer over the past two decades can be attributed to Hamm’s unprecedented individual play. She’s been named USA Female Athlete of the Year an astonishing five times, and ESPN awarded her ESPYs on three separate occasions.

During her 18 years as a US Soccer National Team striker, she amassed 158 career goals – the most ever in international play until friend and former teammate Abby Wambauch broke her record in June 2013. In addition, Hamm assisted on 144 other scores.

Her unmatched resume lists team success at all levels of collegiate, World Cup and Olympic play.

Mia led the University of North Carolina Tar Heels to four consecutive NCAA women’s soccer championships from 1994 – 1997. Her coach, Anson Dorrance, once remarked about his electric star player, “When Mia Hamm gets the ball, you hold your breath.”

The youngest member ever of the US Soccer National Team at age 15, Hamm’s speed, skill and incredible feel for the game were immediately recognized. She quickly matured into the most valuable player and fiery leader on the American squad that captured FIFA World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999 and Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.

Now in her post soccer days, Hamm is still kickin’ it. In honor of her deceased brother Garrett, Hamm started the Mia Hamm Foundation for bone marrow research. She also serves as an unofficial ambassador for women’s soccer that she effortlessly dominated during her illustrious career.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2015 NBA Finals: LeBron James Still The Game’s Best


After last night’s painful elimination from the NBA Finals, basketball’s king may have missed out on another BIG opportunity to wear an NBA crown.

However, Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James proved that he’s still the game’s best and his basketball brilliance needs to recognized.

For the fourth time in six trips to the NBA Finals, LeBron James finished his season as runner-up. The self-proclaimed best player in the world could not also profess that he suited up for the best team in the world.

After last night’s NBA Finals Game 6 in Cleveland, the moniker “2015 World Champs” belonged to a deserving Golden State Warriors team.

However, the Warriors hoisted the NBA Larry O’Brien Trophy in spite of an historic yeoman’s effort from yes – now it’s my turn to proclaim it – the world’s greatest basketball player.

James was simply remarkable at all turns in the series. The four-time NBA MVP and two-time NBA Champion posted staggering individual statistics in the series. His 35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg and 8.8 apg comprised the best stat sheet ever recorded in an NBA Finals.

Though some fans will mock him and others will unnecessarily hate him for his Cavaliers not winning this year’s title, I will unabashedly applaud him. And, so should you!

Over and above the eye-popping personal numbers, James needs to be recognized, no lionized, for the incredible poise and leadership he demonstrated during the series.

Though severely over matched, his Cavs teammates relied solely on him. And, he delivered by not only performing at the highest level, but also by leading by example – like a monarch.

Totally spent at the end of each game, James unquestionably gave it his all and never uttered a complaint, made an excuse or sought sympathy from fans for being without two other NBA all-stars (Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) when he needed them most.

Certainly, the championship starved fans in Cleveland deserve better. But, unfortunately, their team wasn’t better than the new 2015 NBA Champs.

Even though he lost for the fourth time in six trips to the NBA Finals, kudos to LeBron James for making this NBA Finals one of the best in recent memory.

He may not be wearing an NBA crown this morning. However, James’ excellence on the court, extraordinary personal effort and admirable sportsmanship in the midst of another internationally televised disappointment truly make him today’s basketball king.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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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 Finals and the Stanley Cup Final this past week, I yearned for a star player in either series 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.

Yes, we need a reincarnation of Yogi Berra.

MLB Hall of Famer Yogi Berra

New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra

During 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.

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.

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!

That’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on Sports!

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Warriors Dominate Cavs in Ugly, Underwhelming NBA Finals Game 4

NBA FinalsLast night the Golden State Warriors dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers to even the NBA Finals at two games apiece.

Though the Warriors won by 21 points, the final outcome could have been much worse in this plodding basketball game.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was both underwhelming and ugly on a number of fronts. Here are my observations.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Overall Effort – It just wasn’t there. Even ESPN footage of Cav’s coach David Blatt’s halftime speech confirmed it. The Cavs looked tired and played poorly on both ends of the floor.

Matthew Dellavedova’s Performance – Whoa Delly! The Cavaliers guard tried to do too much and looked pedestrian at best. At times, his performance was painful to watch. He was noticeably overmatched by a taller, more athletic Shawn Livingston. By every account, Delly will NOT be a factor going forward. Ugly and underwhelming!

LeBron James’ Humanity – On the other hand, the weary looking four-time NBA MVP didn’t do enough last night. The King actually looked human. He seemed to be forcing shots (7 of 22 attempts) and leaving his feet unnecessarily to throw bullet passes to unexpected teammates on the perimeter. His stat line reflected a rare sub-par performance. Underwhelming! However, his collision with the cameraman was ugly, though it did not seem to effect his ability to play!

J.R. Smith’s Poor Play – Yikes! Really bad shooting (0-7 from behind the arc), ill-advised fouls and an apparent aloofness instead of toughness were evident to me as I watched him struggle against the Warriors. Underwhelming and very ugly!

Draymon Green’s Incessant Whining – Haven’t you also had enough of this cry baby? He whines and flails his arms after every ref call. It’s hard to fathom how he hasn’t gotten a tech yet. Plus, it’s obvious to any elementary lip reader what Green says after getting whistled on a foul. Someone get Draymon a binky! Extremely ugly!

Stephen Curry’s Foot Stomp – The NBA MVP has surprisingly exhibited his share of belly aching, too. Curry’s immature double foot stomp early in the second half was babyish, yet none of the commentators picked up on it. Unnecessarily ugly for the league MVP!

Steve Kerr’s Constant Harping – The Warriors frequent complaining must stem from their coach. Every time the camera pans in his direction, Kerr’s wincing, wallowing or waving his arms in exasperation. Ugly!

Unwelcome Commercials – Why does the network think we need to see commercials involving NBA players who did not make the playoffs or have already been eliminated? Sorry, but I just don’t need to watch Kevin Durant litigating a Sprint bill in court, Blake Griffin leading the charge in gladiator garb, Anthony Davis battling the original Pac Man or Chris Paul and Damian Lilliard and their hokey imaginary twin brothers assisting someone in distress. Underwhelming!

Jeff Van Gundy’s Reckless Comment –OMG! Did you catch Van Gundy’s silly story about Pat Riley reading a book on parenting, then sharing with his Knicks team that what he learned from it; namely, parents need to teach their kids to strike first in a fight? Really, Jeff? Where has the political correctness outcry on that foolish remark? Don’t think we heard the last about Van Gundy’s remark. Very ugly!

Cleveland Fans – The most disturbing sight of the night was the Cleveland fans, following the same selfish spirit of the 2013 NBA Finals Miami Heat backers, bolting to the exits before the final horn sounded. For a championship starved city, Cleveland gets an extremely ugly mark for its fans’ premature departure from the Q at a time when their basketball team could have used the support. As I wrote, extremely ugly!

Here’s hoping Game 5 of the NBA Finals offers more, much more, for fans and that last’s night’s underwhelming play and ugly behavior, commentary and commercials become a quick, distant memory.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog Remembers The NBA Mailman Karl Malone

NBA Mailman Karl Malone

Karl The Mailman Malone

Today’s #TBT sports blog remembers one of the basketball’s greatest players ever –  The NBA Mailman Karl Malone – whom I am happy to feature especially during this year’s exciting NBA Finals.

This Mailman never deposited letters in a mailbox or drove a United States Postal Service truck. For Utah Jazz fans, however, his delivery was always guaranteed on both ends of the basketball court.

A 2010 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee, The NBA Mailman Karl Malone lived up to his nickname during his 18-year NBA career because of his performance dependability.

Like the picture of the United States Postal Service eagle, the Mailman soared during his playing days. Malone ranked second all-time in NBA history in points (36,928), field goals made (13,528) and minutes played (54,852) before retiring in 2004.

As the top pick of the Utah Jazz in 1985, Malone played 18 seasons with the club. He teamed with fellow NBA Hall of Famer, guard John Stockton, to run the best pick and roll plays in the history of the sport.

The powerfully built 6’9” and 265 lbs. Malone was the complete basketball package. He delivered defensively and ended his career as the NBA’s greatest defensive rebounder. The Mailman also proved his reliability from the free throw line. He still holds the league record for attempts (13,188) and makes (9,787).

This two-time (1997 and 1999) NBA Most Valuable Player also won two Olympic gold medals. The first was awarded in Barcelona as part of the original 1992 Dream Team. He received a second in 1996 in Atlanta. Malone was voted as one of the NBA’s 50 all-time greatest players.

Although this 14-time All-Star never won an NBA Championship, Malone participated in the NBA Playoffs every season he played in the league.

Mailmen deliver in all kinds of weather. In Karl Malone’s case, rain, wind, ice, snow and even talented NBA players could never keep this power forward from succeeding on both ends of the basketball court.

By reading today’s #TBT sports blog, here’s hoping NBA fans will never forget the stamp of basketball excellence The NBA Mailman Karl Malone left behind upon his retirement.

When it comes to NBA basketball, fans should quickly remember that this Mailman always delivered.

MIKE on sports!

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ESPN’s NBA Finals Coverage Needs More Doris Burke

NBA announcer Doris Burke

ESPN’s Doris Burke

ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage simply needs more Doris Burke.

Sure, basketball fans enjoy her periodic sideline reports during the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

However, NBA followers like me want more of her astute commentary during the game. We want more of her questions, more of her insight and, quite frankly, more of her at court side.

For example, when she interviewed LeBron James at the close of last night’s first half, she was poised, articulate and accurate.

It was evident by James’ body language that he felt comfortable answering her inquiries. With an arm around her shoulder to hear her amidst the din in Quicker Loans Arena, the gesture showed that he respected Burke as a basketball journalist and sought to transparently answer her questions.

Without doubt, Burke is an excellent compliment to an experienced broadcast team that simply could be better. For example:

In his 10th year in his role, Mike Breen is outstanding as anchor of the ESPN NBA Finals broadcast.

As color commentator, none come better than the knowledgeable, funny, feisty and self-deprecating Jeff Van Gundy.

But, wooden Mark Jackson needs to be replaced with Burke. It’s not just because Burke is so much better at her craft, but the 13 year NBA vet’s monotone delivery bores viewers and his overuse of the “hand down, man down” cliche and other pedestrian comments have grown tiresome.

Furthermore, I find it unsettling that ESPN gave Jackson a court side broadcasting gig in the first place. The network tip toes around the fact Jackson coached the Warriors last year and has publicly maligned Warrior management for his firing. Wonder what ESPN’s ombudsman oversight has to say about assigning Jackson in this untoward situation.

In the same way the Warriors need to make line-up changes to overcome the stymied style of play they currently find themselves stuck, I propose – even though it’ll never happen – that ESPN makes a line up change of its own in the broadcast booth.

That’s because we need more Doris Borke in this year’s NBA Finals!

For more about Doris Burke, check out my sports comic book entitled Favorite Sportscasters on Amazon.

Here’s an excerpt…

Recognized as a pioneer in the broadcast booth, Doris Burke has risen to the top of her profession as a sportscaster.

This trailblazing woman had made her mark and certainly deserved sharing the court side microphone with respected male counter parts.

Besides smashing through the glass ceiling in college and pro basketball reporting, Burke has emerged as one of the top five overall basketball analysts at ESPN. She covers marquee college hoops match-ups, calls key NBA games and serves as the lead commentator for the WNBA.

Doris is substance over style. She radiates smooth over schmaltz. She reveals her worth as far more than an attractive sideline reporter.

She’s shines brightly as an accomplished basketball analyst who’s rendered gender irrelevant in NBA reporting. Without doubt, she’s paved the way for other deserving, talented female sportscasters in an entrenched male dominated profession.

That’s why Doris Burke whisks in as a most welcome addition in the #8 spot in Favorite Sportscasters.

Favorite SportscastersClick on the red cover above to safely download Favorite Sportscasters from Amazon for only 99 cents.

Enjoy the read and let’s all hope for more of Doris Burke in this year’s thrilling ESPN NBA Finals coverage.

MIKE  on sports!

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NBA Finals & NHL Stanley Cup Final Make a Case For New Harris Poll

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday blog brings me back to a story I came across in early 2014. Now, 18 months later, I still have difficulty in believing what I read.

Last year, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell cited a Harris Poll that broke down American sports fans’ favorite sports.

Upon reading Rovell’s article, I was surprised to learn how low the Harris Poll recorded NBA and NHL percentages. It captured my curiosity.

Though not at all moved that the NFL dominated the poll, I found it a stretch to swallow that auto racing, yes auto racing, trumped both the NBA and NHL in American sports preferences.

In recalling Rovell’s piece, it prompted me to voice my invaluable 2 cents!

After polling thousands of Americans across all demographics 18 years and older, the Harris Poll reported that American sports fans’ favorite sports were as follow: NFL at 35%, MLB at 14%, NCAA College Football at 11%, auto racing at 7%, NBA at 6%, NHL at 5% and NCAA College Basketball at 3%.

Fast forward 18 months since Rovell penned his piece, I still find this data hard to fathom – especially in light of what I’m witnessing in this year’s NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Final.

That’s because both series have exceeded my expectation in every way. I’m confident that countless American sports fans agree, and I’m convinced that they would admit likewise if Harris came knocking on their door anytime soon to conduct an updated sports poll.

The NBA Finals pits the league’s most dominant team – the Golden State Warriors – featuring league MVP Stephen Curry against a beleaguered, injury riddled squad – the Cleveland Cavaliers – led by the best basketball player in the world.

This year’s NBA Finals is rich with stories involving a hero returning home (LeBron James), an unfortunate injury to a rising NBA superstar (Kyrie Irving), a scrappy overachieving, undrafted guard (Matthew Dellavedova), rookie coaches (Steve Kerr & David Blatt), hard nose defense (Draymon Green) and nail-biting basketball.

As far as NBA Playoffs basketball goes, this series is tough to top. Plus, few people outside of Northern California aren’t rooting for the championship starved and often maligned city of Cleveland.

The NHL Stanley Cup Final has offered just as much excitement, intrigue and outstanding play for sports crazed Americans to enjoy.

It’s also birthed ample, overcoming stories involving young players from the sun kissed, overlooked hockey market of Tampa, Florida and more wily vets from the storied franchise based in the Windy City.

What sports fan can’t relish the tenacity that the Lightning and Blackhawks have exhibited in this Stanley Cup Final?

Talk about putting it all on the line while playing with such passion and purpose knowing that 6’5” defensemen seek to splatter you into the boards!

Each professional sport’s championship series is a testament to the quality of its sport. The speed, skill and excellence at which each high pressure game in each final has been played warrant a new Harris Poll as well as an updated article from ESPN’s Rovell.

That’s because higher fan favorite figures seem like a breakaway dunk or an open net goal to me.

And, that’s my 2 cents.

MIKE on sports!

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NBA Finals Commercial: The Good Year Blimp

Goodyear BlimpThis year’s NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers has failed to disappoint.

The series’ initial two games have needed to be settled in overtime, making it an NBA Finals first!

Plus, unexpectedly seeing an aerial view of an animated Good Year Blimp hovering over the Warriors’ home court is also an NBA Finals first.

Normally we witness the real airship effortlessly gliding over football stadiums, baseball parks, golf courses and NASCAR tracks. But, sports fans never seen it connected with any indoor competition.

The sight led me to dust off a chapter in a book I wrote called Favorite Flyers in Sports and thought I’d share what I researched about the iconic airship.

Here ya go…

Furnishing amazing aerial views of some of the most recognized outdoor sporting events in the world, this pick hovers way above the ground at approximately 1,000 feet.

At 192 feet long, 55 feet wide and 59.5 feet tall, this iconic air ship weighs in at 12,840 lbs. Filled with 202,700 cubic feet of helium, this high flyer effortlessly floats above the action below and is actually one of three.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company owns and operates a mini fleet of three blimps that are housed across the country.

Calling Pompano Beach, FL home is the Goodyear Spirit of Innovation.
Three thousand miles away, the Spirit of America touches down in
Carson City, CA. In between the two, the Spirit of Goodyear resides in
Akron, OH.

With an ability to cruise at 35 mph in ideal wind conditions and stay aloft for up to 24 hours, these blimps can be seen at most of America’s prestigious sporting events.

Some of the marquee events where the Goodyear Blimps have been showcasing the tire and rubber company brand for the past 70 years include: the Super Bowl, Indy 500, Kentucky Derby, World Series, America’s Cup, NASCAR and the U.S. Open in golf.

It’s estimated that more than 60 million Americans see the messaging advertised by Goodyear’s electronic signs. Half of the ads are Goodyear product related, while the other 50% promote public service causes like the United Way.

The Goodyear air ships generally preside over U.S. airspace; however, they’ve been known to venture as far away as Canada and Mexico.

Goodyear boasts a perfect safety record in managing its fleet, making their blimps the safest form of air travel in the world.

Though several other competitive blimps have been birthed over the years, Goodyear Blimps remain the most iconic.

That’s why they cruise into #5 in Favorite Flyers in Sports in their highly esteemed and lofty position.

Favorite Flyers in SportsJust click on the red cover above to safely download the book from Amazon for only 99 cents. Enjoy the read.

MIKE on sports!

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