An Old Sports Cliche: The Roof Caved In

MRO 40 Roof Caved InHere’s an old, but scary sports cliche – the roof caved in!

Can you imagine how tragic it would be if the roof actually did cave in on the rink with hockey players still on the ice?

Frightened hockey players would flee for their safety while incredulous fans would helplessly look on from the stands if the roof ever physically caved in during a game.

However, this scary scene could metaphorically happen in any NHL game or any NFL, NBA, MLB or FIFA event for that matter if a team isn’t adequately prepared to face its opponent.

The comic’s literal depiction of the caved in roof mirrors the figurative roof caving in on the Vikings team which finds itself trailing 6 – 1 in only the second period. Ouch!

This exaggerated comic cleverly captures the story of how one team was not the least bit ready for its game.

Helpless Vikings fans in attendance literally and figuratively witness the roof caving in on their beleaguered team in this poorly contested hockey game.

But, the metaphorical roof caved in badly for a couple teams that experienced the worst defeats in NHL history.

Here are two sad examples:

On March 3, 1920 the Montreal Canadiens scored the most goals ever in HHL play when they throttled the Quebec Bulldogs 16 – 3.

Well, at least the Bulldogs found the back of the net.

On January 23, 1944 the Detroit Red Wings shut out the New York Rangers 15 – 0 in the worst blanking in NHL history.

Now, that’s ugly and scary, too, and not just an old sports cliche.

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Read other great “scary” sports stories in my FREE sports comic book by clicking on the purple image above to safely download the book.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: The Old Boston Garden

MIKE Comic Old Boston Garden

Today’s #TBT sports blog remembers the original Boston Garden which easily earns the #2 spot in my new FREE sports comic book Boston Sports Icons.

Though the arena was demolished in 1998, its lore lives on and remains a beloved part of Boston sports history.

In addition to playing host to Stanley Cup Finals and multiple NBA Championships, the old Boston Garden may best be remembered for the incredible sports atmosphere it evoked.

The old brick building provided a huge home court advantage. The venue created an energized and cramped atmosphere that housed raucous spectators rooting from boisterous balconies. Some fans even had to crane their around obstructed views to see what hey paid for.

In addition, the arena’s lack of air conditioning further contributed to the home court edge and legendary mystique of the arena. Melting ice and fog during spring hockey games and exhausted, wilted players during NBA Playoff Games combined for perhaps the most unique and antiquated venue in sports.

Initially designed in the late 1920’s by boxing promoter Tex Rickard, the old Boston Garden was originally called the Boston Madison Square Garden. Named after New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, it cost $10 million to construct. The arena was the third in what Rickard hoped would become a chain of seven Madison Square Gardens located in major cities around the US.

Like its New York City namesake, Boston’s Madison Square Garden was developed as a then state-of-the-art, multi-use entertainment complex constructed over the city’s vibrant rail transportation hub.

The Boston Madison Square Garden stood above Boston’s northern bound train terminal, also known as North Station, which serviced the city’s Amtrak and Massachusetts Transportation Authority’s needs for destinations as far away as Maine.

Few would have imagined how popular the arena would eventually become. The original Boston Madison Square Garden lived through several name changes and played host to concerts, prize fights, ice shows, professional and collegiate hockey and basketball games and even the circus.

Elvis, the Beatles, the Jackson 5, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead are just a few of the popular acts which performed in New England’s premier sports and entertainment arena.

The original Boston Garden’s first ever event pitted prize fighters Dick Finnegan and Andre Routis on its November 17, 1928 card. The fight drew a great opening night crowd which raved about their proximity to the actual ring.

Rickard bragged that there would be no bad seats in his house because the Boston Madison Square Garden “was built to see the sweat on boxers’ brows.”

Ironically, the fight’s attendance paled in comparison to the first hockey game ever played in the new arena only a few days later.

An exciting 1 – 0 Montreal Canadiens victory over the Boston Bruins shoe horned more than 17,000 spectators into the old Garden. The game unwittingly set a precedent that the Boston Garden would not only play host to premier boxing bouts. Hockey would also be right at home in this sparkling new showplace.

More than hockey found its way into this historic venue. Following its name change in 1936 to simply The Boston Garden, it became home to both the Boston Bruins and eventually the Boston Celtics.

In 1952 the arena unveiled its famed parquet floor. This uniquely identifiable playing surface differentiated the Boston Garden from all other NBA arenas. Plus, while sitting so close to the gorgeous floor, rabid Celtics fans for many years provided a huge home court advantage for the team.

Fortunately today in the gleaming new TD Garden, the same NHL and NBA championship banners hang as proudly as they did for years from the creaking rafters of the antiquated, original Boston Garden.

Boston Sports Stars and Landmarks

To read more about the Old Boston Garden and other Boston Sports Icons, click on the purple cover above to safely download my new FREE sports comic book.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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R.I.P. Tony Verna: Thanks for Creating Instant Replay

NFL instant replay

Football’s instant replay is anything but instant!

In today’s blog, allow me to pay respect to Tony Verna who passed away this week at age 81.

Thanks to this decorated CBS Sports television producer, instant replay was first utilized in sports.

Because of his simply brilliant idea, December 7, 1963 changed sports viewing forever.

On that day, CBS Sports introduced Verna’s instant replay concept during the Army / Navy football game at the old Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia, PA.

Verna’s creation initially confused some Army / Navy game viewers who humorously thought they were witnessing their team scoring again in the exact same way.

However, the instant replay concept quickly caught on and has been forever embraced by fans in every conceivable sport.

The Directors Guild of America presented Verna with its Lifetime Achievement Award and named his instant replay creation as #33 in the greatest moments on television.

Since 1963, Verna’s legacy has flourished and today’s sports fans probably could never imagine watching a game without it.

Ironically, highly impatient NFL fans now mutter that Verna’s football instant replay is anything but instant anymore.

Complaining about booth reviews and the seemingly endless time NFL refs spend under the hood, football fans claim they can read thousands of pages of Congressional legislation – twice – faster than a ref can sort out the very same play that he and his NFL officiating crew just witnessed live only a few minutes before.

Ironically, fans at home moan too. They believe they can raid the refrigerator, hit the head and update their fantasy picks, then find themselves stewing on the sofa as the zebra clad man slowly and seriously studies replays from every conceivable angle.

A ref’s decision should be easy, but it’s NOT. The implications of instant replay are too far reaching to get the call wrong.

The actions of the main man in stripes always seems slower than that of a slug’s. But, in spite of the painful waiting time, the officials’ calls are preponderantly correct.

And, fidgety sports fans have Tony Verna to thank.

R.I.P. Tony Verna.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#19 in Best Sports Quotes: NBA on TNT’s Charles Barkley

tnt's sir Charles Barkley

NBA on TNT Announcer Sir Charles Barkley

“I may not be perfect, but I doubt it.” ~ Charles Barkley’s title for his memoir, written in 2002 with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon

Known as Sir Charles on TNT’s Inside the NBA television coverage, this sports broadcasting royal has cleverly and, often times, brazenly reported as a highly colorful sports commentator.

Sir Charles has broken the stereotype that only eloquent, highly articulate individuals can excel as respected studio analysts on a major sports network. A two-time Sports Emmy award winner, Charles is anything but “terr-ble” as a talking head on television.

The former Round Mound of Rebound doesn’t need to play the game of basketball to throw his weight around in the court of public opinion while delivering princely pontification from the broadcast booth.

Basketball fans can’t get enough of what NBA Hall of Famer Sir Charles has to say.

No matter how unabashedly or irreverently he delivers his commentary, Barkley’s transparent voice speaks right from the heart.

Favorite sports quotes ever

Click on the purple cover above to safely download my new FREE sports comic book Best Sports Quotes.

Read about my #19 pick Sir Charles Barkley and 24 other famous sports quotes and feel free to share the book with your friends.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#15 in Best Sports Quotes: Isaiah Thomas on Bill Laimbeer

His Heinous Bill Laimbeer

Former NBA center Bill Laimbeer

“If I didn’t know Bill Laimbeer, I wouldn’t like him either.” ~ Isaiah Thomas

Teammate and friend Isaiah Thomas said this of his two-time NBA title winning teammate Bill Laimbeer, aptly known as His Heinous, in my new sports comic book Best About Sports.

The mention of the name Bill Laimbeer instantly ignited heated basketball debates. Fans and opposing players cringed upon hearing Laimbeer’s name and quickly vented their disdain toward him.

Yes, the nickname His Heinous – meaning scary, evil, rotten, awful and beastly – expertly described Bill Laimbeer for his nasty play on the basketball court.

That NBA player most fans loved to hate, Laimbeer’s name comes up regularly as one of the league’s all time dirtiest players.

Isaiah Thomas’ remark about Laimbeer and 24 other famous sports quotes are brought to life in my new FREE sports comic book.

Favorite sports quotes ever

Just click on the purple cover above to safely download Best Sports Quotes. Enjoy the read and feel free to share the book with others.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#8 in Best Sports Quotes: TNT Announcer Marv Albert’s Yes!

Marv Albert

“Yes!” ~ TNT Announcer Marv Albert

Thanks to Marv Albert, NBA announcer on TNT, we recite, “yes!” whenever we passionately affirm something.

That’s because Albert vocalized “yes!” at key times in big games during his 30 year broadcasting career.

Albert’s famous “yes!” is as famous as Univision announcer Andres Cantor’s emphatic “Gooooooooooooal” whenever a soccer goal is cored or ESPN’s Chris Berman’s methodical and punctuated, “He…could…go…all…the…way!”

NBA fans will never forget the velvet voiced sportscaster’s reporting of some iconic moments in league playoff history. For example:

Patrick Ewing’s game tying missed lay-up as time expired in Game 7 of the 19995 Eastern Conference Finals;

Michael Jordan’s cocky shoulder shrug during his 35 first half point performance in Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals;

LeBron James’ buzzer beater in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals;

Spike Lee’s jawing with Reggie Miller during Game 5 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals; and Robert Horry’s game winning three point shot during Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Though basketball fans enjoy Albert’s play-by-play analysis and insightful commentary on NBA action, they’ll always remember him for his simple, three word affirmative remark.

“Yes!” Marv Albert has been really good in the broadcast booth!

Favorite sports quotes ever

Click on the purple cover above to safely download my new FREE sports comic book on Best Sports Quotes.

Enjoy reading about NBA on TNT announcer Marv Albert and 24 other famous sports quotes and feel free to share the book with others.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Retired NBA Guard Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues

Former NBA star Tyrone Muggsy Bogues

Former Wake Forest guard Tyrone Muggsy Bogues

Today’s #TBT sports blogs looks back on a tremendously undersized point guard who enjoyed a brilliant NBA career.

Celebrating his 50th birthday this week, this tiny playmaker made a huge difference every time he set foot on the basketball court.

Standing just 5’3” tall, Tyrone Muggsy Bogues had to be tough, too, to excel in a sport dominated by much larger athletes.

That’s why the pint sized point guard also makes my list at #8 in my sports comic book Favorite Undersized Athletes.

Favorite Undersized Athletes

Bogues was a great ball handler, a terrific passer and a fantastic defender. His aggressive, mugging style of defense led to this tiny player’s tough guy nickname, Muggsy.

Plus, Bogue’s speed and quickness while defending opposing guards resulted in steals or in a complete disruption of the other teams’ plays.

Muggsy starred on the Dunbar High School basketball team in Baltimore, MD in the early 1980s. He teamed with fellow future NBA players Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams and David Wingate to lead the Poets to back-to-back unbeaten seasons. Dunbar was voted the nation’s best high school squad in both the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.

Recruited by Wake Forest University, Bogues enjoyed a fantastic ACC career at the North Carolina school. During his senior season, Muggsy averaged an impressive 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game. When he graduated from Wake Forest, he held seven school basketball records.

His terrific senior season resulted in Bogues receiving the 1987 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the best NCAA college basketball player in the nation shorter than six feet tall.

Bogues’ success with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons did not stop in the college ranks. He became the first round pick of the then Washington Bullets and went on to play 14 seasons in the NBA. He was the NBA’s shortest player ever.

The tiny and clever Muggsy just didn’t make a lot of steals and dish out a bunch of assists as a player. Bogues was a fan favorite. His ever-present smile and very tough, energetic style of play captured the hearts of NBA followers.

The guard also is remembered as one of Wake Forest’s best players ever. The school even retired the undersized Bogues’ extra small number 14 jersey in 1987 because of Muggsy’s super-sized reputation and contributions to the university.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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The Electric Company Turned on the Juice: #23 in Best Sports Quotes

NFL Electric Company

Buffalo Bills Offensive Line

“The Electric Company turned on the Juice!” ~ said Buffalo Bills fans and NFL media 40 years ago.

At #23 in Best Sports Quotes, the Buffalo Bills’ The Electric Company credits its genesis of “turning on the Juice” from their city’s incandescent lighting history and hydro-electric power plants.

As a testament to the city’s industrial might, the Bills’ famous and talented NFL offensive line of the early 1970’s was widely celebrated as The Electric Company.

Sportswriters credited The Electric Company with “turning on the Juice;” i.e. NFL Hall of Fame running back OJ Simpson.

Ironically, in a city known for its power plants, the Buffalo Bills became the first NFL franchise to turn on the proverbial Juice.

The star running back recognized the power of the team’s offensive line and attributed his amazing rushing success to the massive guys who blocked for him.

Read about how The Electric Company literally “turned on the juice” on the football field and other notable sports quotes in my new FREE sports comic book – Best Sports Quotes.

Favorite sports quotes ever

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Denver Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning Loses to Father Time

MIKE on Sports Badge

Yesterday, the surprising Indianapolis Colts upset the favored Denver Broncos 24 – 13 to advance to next weekend’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots.

However, to many unbiased sports fans, the clear cut winner in last night’s game was neither emerging young QB Andrew Luck nor the surging NFL Wild Card qualifying Colts.

It was Father Time.

To keep his perfect record intact, the old codger reared his hoary head again and scored another major victory.

On this occasion, Father Time’s vanquished was soon-to-be-39 year-old Peyton Manning.

Denver’s defeat is destined to doom the certain Hall of Fame QB’s immediate future in the Mile High City.

With another lackluster performance during the NFL post-season, Manning looked tired and old. He knew it. His teammates saw it.

And, the Broncos’ franchise will now need to deal with it.

Sluggish and uncertain, the five-time NFL MVP was a shell of the player football fans had always expected him to be whenever he set foot on the gridiron.

Yesterday, #18 lacked the normal zip to his throws. His expert marksmanship was way off and his normal comprehensive command seemed to be on injured reserve.

Less than a year after Manning posted the gaudiest numbers in NFL history, Father Time stepped in and caught up with the QB legend about as quickly as Darrelle Revis closes on an open receiver.

Viewers witnessed an older, struggling Peyton. He not only lacked the fire, but he also lost the ability to rally his team back from his 13th overall and ninth first game playoff exit – a dubious NFL record.

It was evident, almost painful, to watch the once elite player football fans call The Sheriff as the cameras panned the Denver Broncos’ sidelines. Manning looked lost, beaten and old, bereft of his metaphorical spurs and badge.

Manning will shortly face the biggest challenge of his career as he goes toe-to-toe with an opponent who’s posted an unrivaled, unbeaten record against an athlete in any sport.

NFL QB Peyton Manning

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning

“My mindset right now is just disappointment after (Sunday’s) game,” Manning said following the loss. “I’m disappointed, I kind of need to process this game, we’ll meet (Monday). I’m disappointed I need to process this game.”

Here’s hoping Peyton will process things quickly and do what football fans expect him to do.

Sadly, our sports heroes eventually display their humanity as Peyton portrayed last night. Living on athletic borrowed time, these proven athletes can no longer outrace their fleeting mortality.

Tomfoolery beckons many to continue. It constantly woos them into believing they will be the first to defeat Father Time.

They may be confused to believe the endless adulation from fans as well as the poppycock of their own purported immortality in sports.

But, they’re even more foolish to think they can prevail against undefeated and universally unchallenged Father Time.

Please retire, Peyton. It’s time.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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“Spiritual” NCAA Nicknames in Best About Sports

MIKE Comic 105 NCAA Mascots“Spiritual” nicknames are especially defining in NCAA sports, and there’s certainly no shortage of them.

Out of 300+ NCAA Division I and hundreds of Division II and III athletic programs, many boast spiritual type nicknames and mascots and not just those of Gators, Ducks, Eagles, Tigers, Bulldogs, etc.

Clever “spiritual” nicknames and mascots capture the essence of a team, and they also personify a school’s history, geography, tradition or playing style or, in this case, its religious affiliation.

This unique group of divinely inspired college sports nicknames flies in to the #7 spot in my FREE sports comic book Best About Sports.

FREE Best About Sports

This “spiritually” themed assortment of nicknames covers everything from spirits in the sky to demonic entities of the underworld.

Perhaps the greatest singular “spiritual” college nickname of all-time belongs to the University of Illinois’ legendary Galloping Ghost, a phantom-like figure on the football field.

Fomer Illinois running back Red Grange

Red Grange The Galloping Ghost

In addition to Red Grange, college sports boast a much broader collection of team oriented “spiritual” nicknames, covering the gamut from heavenly emissaries to dastardly hellions from the underworld.

The Friars (Dominican order of Catholic priests) from Providence College, the Battlin’ Bishops (honored leaders in the United Methodist Church) from Ohio Wesleyan University and the Dons (esteemed nobles in church hierarchy) from the University of San Francisco serve as both ambassadors of their faiths and noble nicknames for their respective schools.

Spiritual protectors also figure prominently in my collection. The Maccabees (Old Testament Jewish rebels) from Yeshiva University, the Griffins (Biblical winged lions) from Canisius College, the Threshers (Old Testament temple laborers) from Bethel College and the Crusaders from Holy Cross College and Valparaiso University all preside vigilantly over their respective campuses.

The spiritual references don’t stop at the campus gates.

The Quakers from the University of Pennsylvania, the Fighting Saints from St. Lawrence University and the Angels from Meredith College add to the spiritual collegiate atmosphere, making proud biblical scholars and church historians alike.

Because we’re talking college sports here, godly emissaries and fighters for their faith need to be particularly strong every time they suit up for their college or university.

These spiritual mascots do figurative battle against more than just fleshly competitors. As the Bible suggests, they war against principalities with equally strong and talented teams sporting different kinds of spiritual nicknames.

The university landscape is littered not merely with heavenly representation, but with demonic entities that challenge their authority.

For example, demons and devils of every color, size and shape line up on the other side of the ball against righteous Friars, Dons, Bishops, Crusaders and Saints.

In addition, demons of the underworld try their talons against one another. Blue Devils from both Duke University and DePaul University may be the most famous nicknamed scoundrels in college sports.

However, scores of other imps and villains ply their devilish trade in college sports.

Sun Devils from Arizona State University, Dust Devils from Texas A & M International, Sea Devils from Cape Fear College, Red Devils from Dickinson College and Devils and Devilettes from Mississippi Valley State University wreak their havoc on the hardwood, track, football field and baseball diamond.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, you’ve got to love the diversity of “spiritual” nicknames that pervade the landscape of college sports.

That’s why as a group, “spiritual” NCAA nicknames rank as my #7 pick in my FREE sports comic book Best About Sports.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Boston Celtics Larry Bird

Former Boston Celtic Larry Bird

NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird

Today’s #TBT sports blog focuses on former Boston Celtics great Larry Bird, a Hall of Fame player who regularly soared above his competitors on the basketball court.

This Boston legend is revered in the same breath as other Boston sports heroes like Carl Yastzremski, Bobby Orr, David Ortiz, Doug Flutie and Tom Brady.

Larry Bird is also a slam dunk entry into the #3 spot into my new FREE sports comic book titled Boston Sports Icons.

Click on purple cover below to safely download the book.

Boston Sports Stars and Landmarks

Fondly remembered for step back jumpers, swishing nets, non-stop jabbering and long white legs in short green shorts, Bird is best known for winning basketball championships in Boston.

Most notably, his single name recalls multiple NBA banners hanging above the parquet wood basketball court in Boston. And, his #33 jersey hangs proudly over center court with other Boston Celtics greats like Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones, JoJo White, Cedric Maxwell, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish and Dave Cowens.

Larry Legend, the Hick from French Lick (IN) or simply Bird ranks as one of the most beloved basketball players in history. No first name or explanation is needed to identify the species of this once brilliant basketball playing Bird.

There’s no doubt this immediately recognizable, single named athlete has left an indelible mark on the city of Boston and the sport of basketball. He continues in the game today as an executive with the Indiana Pacers organization.

Read more about this NBA Hall of Fame great in Boston Sports Icons.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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The Big Unit Randy Johnson Elected in 2015 Baseball HOF

MLB pitcher Big Unit Randy Johnson

The Big Unit Randy Johnson

Along with Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio, The Big Unit Randy Johnson was elected yesterday into Baseball’s Class of 2015 Hall of Fame.

With 534 out of a possible 549, or 97.3% of the Baseball Writers Association of America votes, Johnson earned his place among baseball’s elite.

Johnson’s expected overwhelming accumulation was certainly deserved. However, many baseball purists were left to wonder what prevented this dominating pitcher from capturing the remaining 2.7% of the votes.

Did Johnson once plunk with a 100mph fastball the 15 writers who incredulously did not vote for this first time ballot inductee?

During his 22 year Major League Baseball career, the Big Unit immediately instilled big fears in hitters who faced this imposing figure on the mound.

At 6’10” and 230 lbs. pitcher Randy Johnson personified the 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 stints with the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Giants and Expos, Johnson’s physical size and on field performance towered above all other Major League Baseball pitchers.

MLB 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 significant career accomplishments include the perfect game Johnson tossed on May 18, 2004 against the Atlanta Braves and the no-hitter 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 303 career wins. Johnson also ranks second in career strikeouts with 4,875 K’s and holds the record for baseball’s best ever strikeouts per innings pitched.

534 eligible Cooperstown voters didn’t whiff when electing Randy Johnson as a first time Hall of Fame ballot selection yesterday.

That’s because voting for the Big Unit was as quick and easy as one of the fire baller’s three pitch strikeouts.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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R.I.P. ESPN Sports Center Host Stuart Scott

Photo by Tamara Lackey

Photo by Tamara Lackey

R.I.P. ESPN Sports Center host Stuart Scott.

I may be a day late, but I am moved today to share Tamara Lackey’s incredible portrait of the late Stuart Scott circulating on the web.

Sadly, the extremely popular ESPN Sports Center host passed away this past weekend at age 49.

The words accompanying Lackey’s photo capture what USA Today columnist Nick Schwartz called Scott’s finest moment on television.

Not only has Scott’s passing touched the hearts of millions of sports fans across our nation for the heroic and graceful manner in which he battled cancer over the past few years.

But, Stuart Scott’s poignant words have also inspired millions to live their lives the way the late Sports Center host implored as part of his unforgettable 2014 speech.

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner you live.”

Scott shared these extraordinary words when receiving the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 22nd 2014 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.

The ESPN award, appropriately named after and unquestionably inspired by, the late Jimmy Valvano is presented each year to a deserving person in sports who has overcome great personal struggles through dogged determination and remarkable individual perseverance.

Other recipients have included NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, former NBA coach George Karl and former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand.

All previous winners were worthy of receiving the award.

And, Stuart Scott is no different.

Likeable, trustworthy and uniquely entertaining, Scott was always welcome in our living rooms, bars or public places anytime he reported the scores and stories on ESPN.

We all grew to mimic expressions like “booyah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow” while both admiring and respecting his highly colorful, but always professional delivery.

Sports fans will remember him for the great sportscaster he was, while others will never forget the lasting legacy of the powerful words uttered by the even greater man Stuart Scott grew to become.

R.I.P. ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: All Sports Footer

 

Boston Sports Icons #5: Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr

MIKE Comic 219 Bobby Orr

In 1964 the Boston Bruins boldly gambled when signing a fresh freckle-faced 14 year-old from Parry Sound, Ontario.

The Bruins’ pick is my #5 choice in my new FREE sports comic book Boston Sports Icons.

Undersized at just 5’6” and weighing in at only 135 lbs., Bobby Orr lived with his parents during his first season with the Bruins’ Junior A hockey team, the Oshawa Generals.

Despite his small size, Orr’s incredible speed and amazing skill at such a young age failed to disappoint. The phenomenal prospect not only grew taller, gained strength and developed a keen awareness for the game. He also demonstrated a superb hockey ability that prompted the Boston Bruins to promote him just four years later. As an 18 year-old, he had matured into an immensely talented 6’ tall and 200 lb. defense man.

Bobby Orr quickly flourished in Boston, becoming a fan favorite and earning the respect of both teammates and Bruins competitors. Whenever he took the ice, #4 distinguished himself with an enviable all-around game. In addition to making hard checks and blocking slap shots, he showed his strength and toughness by moving opponents away from the net and even fighting when needed.

Although his career was shortened due to nagging knee injuries, Bobby Orr’s name is immediately mentioned when fans discuss all-time NHL greats like Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.

Throughout his 12 year career, Orr displayed excellence on the ice. A speedy defense man with exceptional puck skills, Orr collected a closet full of NHL hardware during his days as a Boston Bruin.

Bobby Orr earned just about every regular season NHL award a player could receive: the Colder Trophy as the 1968 Rookie-of-the-Year; two-time Ross Trophy winner for total points in a season; three-time Hart Trophy recipient for MVP and eight Norris Trophy selections as the league’s best defense man.

Orr rightfully belongs in any conversation involving NHL’s all-time best players. His career highlights came in 1970 and again in 1972. In both years, he led the Bruins to Stanley Cup Championships and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Finals MVP.

Click on image to visit Life Is Sports store.

Perhaps Orr’s most memorable career highlight is his overtime goal during Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals. An iconic picture of an air born Orr with his stick raised in front of the St. Louis Blues’ goal after scoring the series winning goal is widely regarded as one of the top photos in sports history.

The Bruins rewarded their star by signing him in 1971 to the most lucrative hockey contract ever. Orr inked the first $1 million deal in hockey history by agreeing to play for five years at $200K per season.

Unfortunately, Orr’s hard charging style of play caught up with him. His fabulous career eventually succumbed to knee injuries and this incredible defense man retired in 1978.

The Hockey Hall of Fame wasted no time in recognizing this amazing athlete. It enshrined him into their illustrious family a year later.

A once small and undersized prospect, Bobby Orr became a force on the ice and a huge star for the Boston Bruins.

It’s no surprise that #4 easily skates into the #5 spot in my book Boston Sports Icons.

Boston Sports Stars and Landmarks

Click on the purple cover above to safely download my free sports comic book Boston Sports Icons.

Enjoy the read and feel free to share the ebook with others.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Sportscaster Tank McNamara’s “Spews Norts” in Best Sports Quotes

Tank McNamara

Cartoon Character Tank McNamara

“Spews norts” ~ cartoon sportscaster Tank McNamara

Since 1974, the overly confident fictional sportscaster Tank McNamara has lampooned the absurdity of sports in a syndicated comic strip.

One of Tank’s bumbled expressions is an easy choice to be featured in my new FREE sports comic book Best Sports Quotes.

The square jawed reporter, famous for his fumble mouth pronunciations like “spews norts” instead of sports news, quickly and frequently got cut down to size.

During his lengthy career, he’s said enough ridiculous things to fill an entire book.

However, Tank’s famous “spews norts” mispronunciation is my favorite. His blathering makes it into the 21st spot in my FREE sports comic book Best Sports Quotes.

Favorite sports quotes ever

Click on the book’s purple cover above to safely download the FREE sports comic book.

In spite of his warts and easily deflated bravado, Tank McNamara remains a fan favorite.

Loyal readers can easily recite the brute’s football bio from his fictional alma mater – Enormous State University – to the same #55 jersey number he wore as a college Sandcrab player and later as an NFL defensive lineman.

And, yes, fans also celebrated Tank’s career as they followed his regularly rumblings or “spews norts” on which he reports.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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FSU Seminoles’ Lack of Discipline in Rose Bowl Loss to Oregon

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A college football team known for its players’ purported lack of self-restraint away from the field, the Florida State University Seminoles demonstrated last night that its squad could be equally as negligent in maintaining its discipline on the gridiron, too.

Embroiled all year in non-stop media discussions concerning its players’ alleged actions and actual misconduct away from the gridiron, FSU finally showed how undisciplined it could be on the turf of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Yesterday’s eagerly anticipated game pitted the fun-to-watch Oregon University Ducks against the most polarizing college football team in the country, the Florida State Seminoles, whom most sports fans have found fun-to-malign.

Surprisingly, the formally unbeaten Seminoles morphed into the long awaited, prized piñata that most college football fans desperately hoped they would become.

And, it happened on one of college football’s biggest stages.

Florida State’s undisciplined lack of proper ball protection bit them badly while most of America was rooting against them in the first ever national semi final game. Oregon forced five key turnovers and quickly converted them into scores.

However, in last night’s humiliating 59 – 20 loss to an extremely talented and physical Oregon Ducks team, the Seminoles embarrassed themselves in the second half in more ways than one.

Normally reliable and resilient players like Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston (the poster child of a pampered college athlete) and gifted freshman RB Dalvin Cook (named in an open aggravated assault investigation in Tallahassee, but not suspended by the university) committed critical mistakes during the tide turning third quarter in last night’s contest.

Their fumbles forced the Seminoles to implode both on the field as well as on the sidelines. Following one giveaway, cameras caught the team’s routinely lenient coach Jimbo Fisher publicly berating his normally mollycoddled star QB.

And, immediately following the game, FSU’s true colors shown the darkest. ESPN announcer Kirk Herbstreit reported that 70% of the shameful Seminole team was slinking off the field without shaking hands with the victorious Oregon team.

FSU’s loss was epic. Their confidence was broken beyond repair. Their swagger shattered beyond recognition. And, their poor sportsmanship was unconscionable.

Ironically, this time there was nothing that neither the Tallahassee Police Department or the university’s morally weak administration could do to restore the luster to the team’s now tarnished reputation.

Despite a fabulous 29 game winning streak, the 2014 college football national champion Seminoles will be remembered as undisciplined players failing to protect the football and as cry babies lacking the common courtesy of congratulating their superior opponent.

And, all I can say is QUACK!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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NCAA Football: Anybody But the FSU Seminoles

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That’s right!

For the past year, I’ve rooted against the FSU Seminoles.

I’ve cheered on each of their opponents on every play in every quarter of every game.

I’ve lampooned the team’s famous Tomahawk Chop.

I’ve even booed Chief Osceola preening on his horse Renegade during pregame festivities.

I’ve vented my angst against their Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston who has demonstrated equal aplomb in avoiding both defensive linemen on the football field and any meaningful university disciplinary action on campus for his well publicized behavior.

I’ve grumbled and complained about their brilliant football coach Jimbo Fisher, who looks like Howdy Doody and sounds like Goober Pyle, but remains resolute, almost defiant, in defending his star QB

And, I’ve grown to dislike Florida State University football even more as they narrowly escaped the jaws of certain defeat with dramatic fourth quarter comeback victories.

However, I’ve come to admit that the root of my disdain rests squarely in the fact that they’re good.

Better yet, the FSU Seminoles are excellent.

Winners of 29 games in a row, their continued, unabated football success has ruffled my feathers. Their winning ways have made my blood boil and added to my indigestion.

And tonight, if you’re like me and most college football fans outside the state of Florida, you’ll also be cheering on the Oregon Ducks in this first ever national semifinal college football game.

At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, 2014 Heisman Trophy winning QB Marcus Mariota leads his Pac10 team against Winston, last year’s Heisman winner, and the defending ACC and national champion Florida State Seminoles.

The eagerly anticipated game pits the exciting, fun-to-watch Ducks against the most polarizing college football team in the country, the FSU Seminoles, whom most fans find fun-to-malign.

Not since the Miami Hurricanes of the late 80’s and early 90’s has there been such a talented, dominant program in college football.

For fans, the proverbial line in the sand may be drawn at the Florida state border when picking sides in tonight’s game.

FSU bashers may believe that their angst is justified. They’ll cite immature behavior and unfounded allegations among star FSU players as well as personal, inalienable rights as sports fans to root for whomever they want.

But, for those Seminole haters mature enough to acknowledge, Florida State University’s football is really, really good!

Forget about Jameis Winston and Jimbo Fisher and the Tallahassee Police Department, FSU’s unrivaled success is the primary reason why I, and so many others, don’t like Florida State football.

And, that’s why my college football motto all season has always been…anybody but the FSU Seminoles!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Borrowing From Boxer Robert Duran: No Mas to 2014!

Former World Champion Roberto Duran

Roberto Duran – famous for the timeless “no mas” quote!

“No mas!” ~ Retired Boxer Roberto Duran

In November 1980, retired boxer Roberto Duran surprisingly uttered these now famous two, simple words – “no mas.”

During a much anticipated rematch with fellow lightweight Sugar Ray Leonard whom he defeated by unanimous decision six months earlier, Duran shocked the sports world by quitting.

He unexpectedly walked out of the ring uttering, “no mas,” meaning “no more,” in Spanish.

As a result, the hard-hitting 5’7” and 150 lb. fighter celebrated for his Hands of Stone forfeited his championship belt.

Today, on New Year’s Eve, allow me to borrow Duran’s words as I look back on 2014 and witness another calendar drawing to a close.

In eager anticipation to the 2015 New Year, here are some of my “no mas” moments I’d love to see come to fruition in 2015:

No more blowhard Rex Ryan coaching an NFL team. Sign him up for humility lessons and keep him away from all NFL sidelines.

No more Alex Rodriguez in a Major League Baseball uniform. A-Rod needs to understand that fans don’t want him back.

No more ubiquitous media coverage of LeBron James. Let the man live a normal life instead of the press dissecting his every move.

No more silly Shaq shenanigans on the NBAonTNT. It’s time for the Big Fella to finally grow up because his act is growing tiresome.

No more Dick Vitale beatifications of Rick Pitino and John Calipari during ESPN college basketball telecasts. Both basketball coaches aren’t as wonderfully perfect as he personifies them.

No more sideline photos of the jock sniffing Drake. He needs to get his own life instead of feeding off the lives of real celebrities.

No more batterers and bigots in any professional sport. There’s no room for them and fans simply won’t tolerate them.

No more ridiculous Skip Bayless rants. ESPN needs to stifle this snarky talking head. His non-stop negativity is too hard to hear.

No more media nonsense that a defensive player shouldn’t win the NFL MVP award when you consider J.J. Watt’s incredible season.

No more Kobe Bryant in a Los Angeles Lakers’ uniform to start the 2015 NBA season. His arrogance, salary and selfish play are destroying the lauded Lakers’ franchise.

Here’s hoping my 2015 “no mas” wish list gets knocked out completely like a Roberto Duran Hands of Stone punch.

OK, what’s on your sports fans’ 2015 “no mas” list?

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Boston Sports Icons #4: Patriots QB Tom Brady Reworks Contract

MIKE sports comic - New England Patriots QB Tom Brady

Yesterday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reworked his contract.

According to Schefter, Brady’s contract is now guaranteed only for injury. However, Brady’s new deal affords the Patriots much greater financial flexibility to sign other current players and potential free agents to sustain the franchise’s remarkable winning ways.

But, before New England Patriots fans start calling for Tom Brady’s canonization or knighthood because of his “supposed selfless act,” let’s look at the Brady family’s current balance sheet.

A quick glance at the star QB’s bank account puts the three-time Super Bowl winning QB’s contractual “sacrifice” in greater perspective.

Married to Brazilian supermodel Giselle Buncheon, Tom Terrific isn’t the family’s top bread winner. The QB’s salary actually pails in comparison to his bride’s whopping $47 million yearly income.

The couple actually pocketed a cool $78 million over the past 12 months. Plus, Forbes estimates the Brady couple’s net worth at a staggering $386 million.

Though Brady may be one the NFL’s best quarterbacks of all-time, it’s pretty easy to understand how the Ugg wearing Patriot can be that “total team first” guy so willing to sacrifice $24 million in potential pay.

ESPN NFL analyst Eric Allen gushed over Brady as a quarterback and a leader in the league. He went on to comment that Brady is unlike any other player in the NFL.

Well, duh! Giselle Buncheon is only married to one guy!

For more about Tom Brady and his impressive NFL career accomplishments, check out my new FREE sports comic book titled Boston Sports Icons.

Boston Sports Stars and Landmarks

Simply, click on the purple cover above and safely download the FREE sports comic book.

Along with Tom Brady, other Boston Sports Icons like Bobby Orr, Carl Yaszremski, Doug Flutie, Larry Bird, Fenway Park, Heartbreak Hill, the Old Boston Garden and even Same Malone are featured.

Enjoy the read and feel free to share the ebook with a friend.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Retired FIFA Soccer Star Mia Hamm in Best Sports Quotes

Ponytail Princess Mia Hamm

Former USA soccer star Mia Hamm

“When Mia Hamm touches the ball, you just hold your breath.” ~ Anson Dorrance

Mia Hamm’s college coach, Anson Dorrance, spoke these words when describing his former star player.

Perhaps the greatest female soccer player ever, Mariel Margaret “Mia” Hamm’s 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.

After college, Hamm became one of the top 125 FIFA 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.

Favorite sports quotes ever

Anson Dorrance’s comment about his former electric player is one of 25 in my FREE sports comic book Best Sports Quotes.

Safely download the FREE book by clicking on the purple cover above.

Enjoy the read and feel free to share it with friends.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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