FREE Sports Comic Book on the “Beautiful Game” of Soccer

MIKE FREE Sports Comic BooksCheck out this FREE sports comic book on the “Beautiful Game” of soccer.

Known as football throughout the non-American sports universe, soccer boasts its own unique language, eccentric expressions and unparalleled personalities.

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport by a long shot, in spite of its peculiarities.

For example, soccer inexplicably keeps time in the exact opposite direction of every other sport on the planet.

Secondly, soccer matches, not games, are played by men wearing boots rather than cleats atop a pitch instead of a field.

When overdone, soccer’s inexcusably melodramatic flopping may sully spectators’ enjoyment.

Soccer fans also get flummoxed by the confusing calculation of stoppage time and anti-climactic penalty kick shootouts that decide championship games.

However, this international sport has flourished for generations.

Incredible athletes, iconic coaches and passionate fans cause both the wealthiest and poorest nations of the world to bask in the brilliance of the Beautiful Game.

In this FREE soccer book, you won’t need to fear the sport’s most frightening characters, aptly nicknamed Scarface and The Cannibal.

FIFA football star Franck Ribery

You’ll enjoy reading about the cleverly named and highly entertaining former British soccer players Spice Boy and Calamity James.

England's David Calamity James

You’ll even discover there really was a Fifth Beatle, sort of.

FIFA footballer George Best

You’ll look up to the goal scoring exploits of taller, long-necked stars The Giraffe and Two Meter Peter.

The Giraffe Jack Charlton

You’ll relish in the allure of the Beautiful Game, the cleanliness of a goalie’s extra-tidy clean sheet and the “joie de vie” that a Frenchman named Va Va Voom exudes.

soccer star thierry henry

References to monarchs, leaders and twentieth century politics are captured by this sport. Expect to meet a Kaiser, a Child of the King and come face to face with soccer’s impenetrable Berlin Wall.

You’ll be impressed by a Genius, dazzled by a Magic Dwarf and enchanted by a pony tailed Princess named Mia.

Finally, after a little assistance from soccer’s most debated Hand of God, you’ll finish this FREE read by paying homage to the sport’s most sacred celestial star – Pele.

Kick this book around on your own or flick it to a friend.

If you love the Beautiful Game, please share these clever comics and the appealing history of the sport with fellow soccer fans.

And, best yet, the book is FREE! Click HERE to safely download.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Friday Sports Funny: Keep Politics Out of Sports

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Today’s Friday Sports Funny dusts off one of my original MIKE on Sports! iTunes podcasts.

It’s titled: Keep Politics Out of Sports!

You see. I’m a sports guy, not a political pundit.

I’m also a firm believer that it’s our responsibility as fans to keep politics out of the sports world.

Sports should always be fun and should never involve political talk. Otherwise, it just gets ugly fast.

Watching great athletes and big games we love must remain an escape from our daily grind.

There must never be any meddling from muckrakers or well intentioned athletes lobbying for our vote or public sentiment.

I deplore protests, prepared statements and any kind of political platform at sports events. And, I consider the American flag a unifier of our great nation, never to be trod upon, defamed, burned or disrespected.

As a Sports Fan I Just Want to Watch the Game

As a sports fan, I just want to watch players play and not witness them plead, pimp or pander to my emotions or sense of duty.

Sports should always evoke passion directed at our favorite team, and NOT instigate angst toward a pompous politician or a controversial social issue.

That’s why prognosticating on politics makes me a little persnickety.

MIKE on sports podcastClick on the yellow cover to listen to this podcast.

I’m passionate about keeping sports fun and that means keeping politics out of the games. That’s why I recorded this cheeky podcast on iTunes.

It’s meant to be clever and light-hearted and aimed at directing our attention away from this month’s election and refocusing our energy on the games we love.

Let’s leave politics to the Republicans and Democrats to duke it out.

Then, an Independent Republicrat like me can focus on college basketball and football polls (chuckling) instead of the latest political straw poll.

So, subscribe to the podcast. Share it with a friend. Then, rate and review me.

And, let’s keep politics out of 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 the 1927 New York Yankees championship team known as baseball’s Murderers’ Row.

Baseball historians have called the legendary 1927 Yankees 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 such a chilling nickname, it’s easy to see why I booked these so-called “murderers” in the #1 spot of my sports comic book Deadly Sports Stuff.

Click HERE to safely download the book for 99 cents from Amazon.

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

Yankees’ Murderers’ Row Batters “Killed” Pitchers

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.

The Other 1927 New York Yankees “Murderers”

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 Major League Baseball team ever assembled and a terrific post for my weekly #TBT sports blog.

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Labor Day: No Rest for Refs, Officials & Umpires

NFL instant replay

Labor Day is traditionally a national day of rest for American workers.

But, refs, umpires and hard working sports officials who oversee all the action on the playing field, basketball court, hockey ice, soccer pitch, etc. never seem to get the day off.

Today’s sports blog asks fans to take a moment and appreciate refs, officials and umpires.

That’s right. I am asking you to show some love for the guys wearing the stripes and squatting behind the plate.

After all, it is Labor Day today. We’re all probably resting while the guys and gals in stripes are probably working somewhere in the heat or rain and taking their share of non-stop, unmitigated abuse.

Fans Don’t Appreciate Refs

Sports fans usually don’t appreciate refs. And, that includes me!

Refs normally work every holiday. Not just Labor Day, but Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Flag Day, ML King Day, National Grandparents Day, Ground Hog Day and every other holiday. In doing so, they allow fans to enjoy their sports while lounging on the sofa in front of a big screen or relaxing at a bar with friends while devouring a basket of chicken wings.

Every sports fan sees refs, officials and umpires at every game in every sport at every level. The guys and gals with the whistles never actually play in a game, but they’re most deserving of our appreciation; otherwise, there wouldn’t be any games at all.

Their presence is absolutely essential. These invaluable people who preside over games, blow the whistles, make the calls, enforce the rules and enact all the penalties.

They work tirelessly both indoors and out, in both good weather and bad, and during all hours of the day.

Refs Get No Rest

They never get to rest, but remain on their feet or skates for the entire length of their respective assignments.

In the blink of an eye, these under-appreciated, but essential participants in every game make critical decisions that can be carefully reviewed and callously criticized countless times on national television – often with the benefit of super slow motion and high definition cameras.

indisputable video evidence

Acting as both judge and jury, they make crucial calls that can effect legacies, decide championships and even determine the future worth of player contracts. Yes, they’re the guys under the hood on NFL sidelines.

Plus, their hazardous professions go completely unnoticed by the average sports fan. When working behind the plate, these non-players take fastballs off their shins. Also, they occasionally get steamrolled on the football field by 300 lb. linemen.

Too often, they find themselves checked into the boards by overly aggressive defense men and struggle to keep up with gazelles on both the basketball court and soccer pitch.

Few ever know their names. They’re mocked, yelled at, glared upon, ridiculed and cursed.

Only referenced at sports events when their judgment is brought into question, these non-athletes never receive the credit they deserve.

Zebras, Blind Mice and Dastardly Devils

Yes, they’re the zebras, the blind mice and the dastardly devils that may – or may not – blow their whistles in your team’s favor.

These officials, umpires or refs, maintain order on the hardwood, the ice, the pitch, the gridiron and the baseball diamond.

Without them, there would be no games at all. Let’s all try appreciating refs, officials and umpires. Go on, sports fans, you can do it, too!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: R.I.P. Former Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino

MIKE sports comic - Villanova 1985 NCAA ChampsToday’s #TBT sports blog honors legendary Villanova basketball coach Rollie Massimino who passed away yesterday at age 82.

Still actively coaching at NAIA school Keiser University in West Palm Beach, FL, the “basketball lifer” is best remembered for guiding the Villanova Wildcats to the 1985 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

College basketball players, fans, coaches and pundits have claimed that on that memorable day the Villanova Wildcats emerged as the closest a college hoops team has ever come to playing a perfect game.

Others have cited that April 1, 1985 marked the greatest upset victory in the history of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship Games.

The iconic win captivated college basketball fans. At Lexington, Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, Villanova captured its first ever NCAA men’s tournament crown under its likeable chubby coach Rollie Massimino.

Massimino Will Never Be Forgotten

However, away from the hardwood, Rollie Massimino will never be forgotten for the man and mentor he became. Apart from his watershed moment in 1985, his legacy will remain for the indelible positive impact he personally made on others.

Colorful, energetic and fiery at times, Massimino was totally authentic. The New Jersey native embodied the college coach basketball fans loved to love!

Fans won’t easily forget images of the man’s messed hair, askew tie and un-tucked buttoned down shirt that just could never remain inside his trousers.

Winner of 816 college games, Massimino had few distractors.

Even Big East coaching adversaries Jim Boeheim, Lou Carneseca, Jim Calhoun, Bill Raftery and John Thompson, Jr. failed to find fault with the exuberant little guy incapable of sitting quietly on the Wildcats bench.

And, his former players and assistant coaches adored him.

Known for his fatherly familiarity, Massimino was widely regarded for gathering former players and colleagues, even protege Jay Wright, at dinners and get togethers in order to offer insight, guidance and lots of laughs.

The kind of college coach for whom most parents would want their son to play, Massimino will always be remembered for Villanova’s epic run to the title in the 1985 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

However, those who knew him best will forever praise him for being a role model as father, mentor and coach.

R.I.P. Rollie Massimino.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford’s $135 Million Contract Extension

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog questions the enormity – and absurdity – of Matthew Stafford’s whopping five-year $135 million contract extension with the Detroit Lions.

Wow, a $135 million contract extension!

That’s a lot of jack for an NFL player!

The Ford Family, owners of the Detroit Lions football franchise, awarded the monstrous, record setting contract yesterday to a good, but not great NFL QB.

More Than Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers & Russell Wilson Earn

At $27 million per year, Matthew Stafford’s contract ranks as the most lucrative deal in league history. It’s enormous and absurd all at the same time. And, it’s more than Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson earn each season.

I don’t believe that I’m the only incredulous football fan who has guffawed at the Detroit Lions’ king’s ransom given to a guy who’s never won an NFL Playoff Game let alone compete for a Super Bowl ring.

Plus, he plays a brutal sport, beset by ever growing horror stories surrounding players’ long-term health, where the inevitability of injury is far greater than that of professional basketball, baseball and soccer players.

Detroit Lions management argues that the franchise is just offering market value, while NFL pundits are claiming that Matthew Stafford’s deal establishes a new level on the value of elite QB contracts and fans should expect an even higher bar to be set in the future.

However, how much longer until many fans, struggling to make ends meet and upset with the league’s handling of the Colin Kaepernick inspired protests, say enough?

In addition, will Billionaire owners say “no mas” when their star QB’s contract comes up for renewal?

Or, will these same owners finally negotiate performance based incentives in future contract extensions instead of spending like drunken sailors on shore leave?

$27 million per year for Matthew Stafford!

It seems unfathomable and irresponsible and places an impossible weight on Stafford to perform and quickly deliver championships to one of the last remaining NFL cities without a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Certainly, the overall number one selection in the 2009 NFL Draft has become an admired professional as he was named to the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl. Plus, the former Georgia Bulldog has amassed an impressive 278 yards-per-game passing average to date that rates as the best ever in the NFL after eight seasons.

Matthew Stafford’s Pedestrian 51 – 58 Winning Record

However, Matthew Stafford’s pedestrian 51 – 58 career winning record begs football fans to question the absurdity of Stafford’s contract.

To break down Stafford’s mega deal in simplified terms, let’s do the math after analyzing Lions’ 16 games in 2016 along with the 64 average number of passing plays per game Matthew Stafford attempted in 2016.

$27 million annual contract divided by 16 games equals $1,687,500 per contest divided by 64 average passing play per game equals $26,367 per pass lasting an average length of 7 seconds per play. Yowza!

$26,367 per pass is a passer efficiency rating to write home about.

It sure is enormous, but to the working guy with a growing discontent with the NFL, it’s absolutely absurd!

And, that’s my 2 cents!

Anxious to hear your opinion on the new Matthew Stafford contract.

Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com

Also, for football fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Former FIFA & MLS Star Thierry Henry

soccer star thierry henryToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls the lauded former MLS All-Star and once FIFA great and French World Cup champion Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry’s breakaway speed, splendid soccer skill and passion for life (popularized by Renault Clio television commercials in Europe) spawned his nickname Va Va Voom.

It’s no surprise that this electrifying, handsome Frenchman was widely regarded as one of the world’s top strikers and a global fan favorite.

Henry’s storied career included stints with the world’s top football clubs.

The dazzling striker played for Juventus in Italy’s Serie A, Arsenal in the English Premier League and FC Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga.

In addition to his coveted World Cup Championship with France, Henry’s trophy case comprises two EPL titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal and an astounding six total titles with FC Barcelona.

FIFA Fans Chanted Va Va Voom!

It’s easy to understand why soccer fans have shown their love for the highly accomplished and immensely popular Henry whenever and wherever he hit the pitch by showering him with chants of Va Va Voom!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

 

Friday Sports Funny: Pa-role Models in Sports

MIKE Comic 73 JailblazersToday’s Friday Sports Funny warrants (pun intended) a premier spot in my comic book Worst About Sports.

Entries on this blotter, I mean list, are obvious to most sports fans.

Instead of reciting names of the accused, I’ll just focus on the knuckleheaded behavior that earned these athletes a spot, or should I say time, in a chapter all their own in my comic book Worst About Sports.

My collection of pa-role models includes wayward athletes of all races, sizes and sports.

Pa-role models are athletes who should be locked up rather than paid millions to run, block, skate, pass, hit, or shoot – a ball, that is.

They’re the foolish football, basketball, baseball and hockey felons who think they’re above the law and fail to exhibit respect or regard for it.

They’re the reckless renegades who endanger the lives of others with guns, alcohol, drugs and other rebellious endeavors.

They’re the hormone charged guys who sneak far too many past the goalie in far too many NFL, NBA and MLB cities. They don’t understand that any male can father a child, but raising a child takes a real man.

Totally dedicated on the field, these athletes lose all personal discipline when they leave it.

They’re the louts, cheats, drinkers, druggies and batterers.  They believe their athletic prowess gives them immunity from the laws that bind those not as fortunate to be paid to play professionally.

Pursuing their errant ways, these jailhouse jocks give their fellow law abiding athletes black eyes and cause their loyal sports fans to see red.

Idolized for far too long, these famous, yet foolish felons need to be locked up.

Instead of serving as role models in arenas and stadiums, they should be serving time behind bars.

Lock ‘em up and throw away the key until these pa-role models understand and appreciate the burden, unwanted or not, of being a role model in sports. Case closed. That’s why pa-role models warrant (lol) a spot in Worst About Sports.

Read what else is Worst About Sports in MIKE’s FREE book!

Worst About SportsClick on the yellow image above and download the book for FREE.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Chicago Cubs’ Mordecai Three Finger Brown

Former MLB Pitcher Three Finger Mordecai BrownToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown of the Chicago Cubs. He’s one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history.

In the book Three Finger:The Mordecai Brown Story, Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins comments on a fellow Chicago Cub Hall of Fame pitcher who played 50 years before him. “When you start out with a disadvantage, you have to work harder to do what others take for granted. In the end, that gives you an advantage.”

Jenkins was talking about Mordecai Brown, who was missing parts of two fingers on his throwing hand due to a farm injury suffered as a youth. The noticeable missing fingers on his right pitching hand led to his Three Finger nickname.

Oddly, Brown’s missing fingers served him extremely well. He overcame his physical limitation to become one of Major League Baseball’s best pitchers ever.

I also feature Three Finger in one of my sports books on Amazon named Favorite Overcoming Athletes.Favorite Overcoming AthletesBrown’s childhood injury forced him to grip a baseball differently than all other pitchers. Brown’s unique grasp of the baseball added tremendous spin to all of his pitches. Because of the surprising extra movement on his pitches, batters could not make true contact on any ball Three Finger Brown threw at them.

Brown’s lively fastball, wicked curve and surprising change-up prompted baseball legend Ty Cobb to call Mordecai Brown one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the sport.

Brown excelled on the mound in a Cubs uniform between 1904 and 1912. During that time span, Three Finger won 20 or more games six times in a season. He helped the Cubs win World Series Championships in both 1907 and 1908.

One of the most amazing stories of his career centered on Brown’s rejecting repeated attempts to convince him to purposely lose when he pitched in the 1908 World Series.

As the story goes, Three Finger pitched victoriously in Game 1 of the series against the Detroit Tigers on October 10, 1908. Brown pitched brilliantly even though he carried several notes from the Italian Mob in his baseball uniform’s pants pocket threatening him if he won the World Series game.

Mordecai Three Finger Brown died in 1948 and was inducted into Cooperstown on the first ballot in 1949. He still holds the Major League Baseball record for lowest career ERA at 2.06 for pitchers with 200 or more career wins. His impressive 239 – 130 lifetime record included 55 shutouts and 1,375 strikeouts.

Ferguson Jenkins’s remark couldn’t be any truer for Mordecai Brown or anyone else in life, whether they play a sport or not.

In the case of Three Finger, his disadvantage proved to be a major advantage every time he took the mound. What an overcomer!

And, what a terrific #TBT sports memory!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports

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2 Cent Tuesday: Fighting Father Time in Sports

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog

Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog highlights a chapter excerpt from my sports comic book Confusing Things in Sports.

It’s about athletes foolishly continuing to compete against Father Time.

Here’s Chapter #2 from the book.

His stats are impressive.

From time immemorial, his record remains unblemished.

And, quietly, he’s posted an unrivaled unbeaten record in every sport.

Though many athletes, including Hall of Fame icons, have risen to challenge him, no one has ever emerged victoriously.

Father Time stands undefeated, and this old guy shows no sign of relinquishing his perfect record.

Incredulously, many have tried to defeat him, but none have ever prevailed. Father Time remains resolute. He’s strengthened by the knowledge that no one will ever beat him.

Despite his superiority, some still try.

That’s what confuses me and that’s why Father Time easily settles into the #2 spot in Confusing Stuff in Sports. Click on the red cover below to buy from Amazon.

Confusing Stuff in SportsAs illustrious careers start to dim, some athletes insist on trudging on in a sport that they once so easily dominated. What are these aging athletes thinking when they go toe-to-toe with the ageless man named Father Time?

Are their egos that big? Has overweening pride clouded their thoughts? Did their own limelight disorient them?

Sadly, too many pro athletes lose grasp of reality and continue to play the same sport after enjoying long, injury free, successful careers.

Many sports fans claim that their heroes’ egos always need to be tested.

They argue that these stars possess an overwhelming unction to compete against the best – even if he’s Father Time himself.

That’s why they do what they do even when their actions seem confusing or foolhardy.

Take hockey icon Gordie Howe. He skated admirably against Father Time for five decades. But, he eventually lost, finding himself checked right off the ice at age 52.

Hockey great Gordie Howe

Ageless QB Brett Favre courageously fought Father Time in a brutal sport. Inevitably Favre succumbed to Father Time, suffering from chronic injuries and, more importantly, listening to common sense.

Even the indomitable Michael Jordan took a shot at the undefeated old man known as Father Time. Despite his former prowess, Jordan met the same consequence. Instead of the brilliant basketball player effortlessly rising above the rim, His Airness ultimately looked like a struggling, aging baller tethered to the hardwood floor below.

Former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan

Sadly, our sports heroes eventually display their humanity. 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.

And, that’s my 2 cents!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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