Friday, September 17, 2010


There is a commercial out currently showing two High School Basketball teams playing in a championship game. There is a play where the ball goes off a player, but the ref misses it and gives the ball to that player's team. The coach calls time-out (it's near the end of the game and the team is losing) and starts to setup a play. The player whose hand the ball went off pipes up and tells the coach that the ball went off of him. The players start to give him a hard time. The coach to his credit tells his team to foul when the ball is put into play. As the team heads out the coach calls out to the player who is being honest and gives him the approval nod. The player then goes over to the referee and admits to the ball being out. The tag line is "Integrity. Pass it on."

Two days ago an incident happened in the Yankees - Rays game where integrity should have been shown. Derek Jeter with no one on turned to try and bunt for a hit. The pitch came inside. Jeter let go of the bat with his left hand (closest to the ball) and the ball hit the end of the bat. Jeter turns away and shakes his hand as if it's been hit and the umpire awards him first base. Now I won't go into the fact that the first base umpire should have seen the ball hit the bat and help the home plate umpire nor the fact that the sound of the ball hitting the bat was distinct from it hitting a gloved hand. What I want to focus on is the post game remarks of Jeter. When asked he stated that the ball hit the bat. Then he was asked about shaking his hand and admitted that it was vibration and "acting". Here is where Jeter damaged the integrity of baseball. Basically he cheated to win.

MLB has always talked about "the integrity of the game". Keeping that in mind, MLB should fine Derek Jeter for damaging that integrity. Also, in my opinion, they should suspend him for 2 games. MLB should send the message that its players need to have integrity. Jeter was also quoted as saying he wasn't going to tell the umpire about it because he didn't want to "change the call". To me it's one of the things that drives me nuts about professional athletes. The lack of integrity, the lack of admitting that something happened just so the call can go their way.

A better example is the PGA tour. The players call fouls on themselves. They also make sure that they do everything possible to have a game that is true to its core. It may cost them a championship, but we see it often. Imagine if this was true in the "major" sports.

I could go on about areas other than sports where we don't see integrity. However, I believe I will save those for another day.

MLB should punish Jeter for his behavior and serve notice that this type of behavior endangers the integrity of the game and won't be stood for.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Today marks the 9th anniversary of 9/11. Today should be a day of remembrance for the terrible attack on New York City, The Pentagon and the heroics that happened on Flight 93. Today is the day we should put aside our political, ideological and theological differences. We should stand as one.

I remember distinctly where I was when news broke about the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. I was getting ready for work and had the news on in the bedroom. The pictures were unbelievable. It was hard to fathom that something like that could happen in our land. In the 20th and 21st centuries attacks against us have been rare. 9/11 and Pearl Harbor being the two we remember most.

Here it is 9 years later and it seems that the events of 9/11 have not kept us unified as a nation. We seem to be more politically divided than ever. Gone are the days when the members of congress would be seen singing "God Bless America" on the steps of the capitol. Gone are the days where the government would work together on a common goal. Today we should remember that time where it didn't matter if you were Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, etc. We're Americans and we should all be working together to ensure that America stays the greatest nation in the land.

Those who lost their lives on that tragic day need to be remembered. They paid a price that no one should pay. They didn't even suspect that this tragedy would occur. There are protests planned for today on the site where these people lost their lives. Protests that are more politically motivated than remembering what happened. In some ways today is being hijacked again by those who want to use it for their own gain.

Today should be remembered for what happened and not used to further this cause or that. It should be remembered as a black day in our history when people who don't like our way of life and the freedoms we stand for took something away from us. It should be remembered so that the people who lost their lives won't have lost them in vain. It should be remembered for the heroes of flight 93 who did everything they could to ensure that another plane would NOT crash into a building. It should be remembered as a time when we came together as a nation even "One Nation under God" if you will.

Today is 9/11. What will you do to remember it and honor those whose lives were taken?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kickoff Pro Style

Tonight kicks off the NFL season. My Fantasy Football teams will now begin to accumulate points and try to defeat all comers in a race to claim best guess as to who will perform well this year. Of course things could be worse. . .

I met a fairy today that would grant me one wish.
"I want to live forever," I said.

"Sorry" said the fairy, "I'm not allowed to grant wishes like that!"

"Fine" I said, "I want to die after the Buffalo Bills win the Super Bowl!"

"You crafty bastard," said the fairy.

For those of you who don't know, yes I'm a Bills fan. I've seen it all except for that elusive Super Bowl win.

Of course I now live in Arizona which has seen its share of drama this year in training camp. First before camp even started Kurt Warner announced his retirement and left the starting job to heir apparent (or not) Matt Leinart. Camp started with four quarterbacks, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall. It became apparent early that there would be a competition not only for the starting quarterback position, but also for back-up and third string.

Things got even more interesting when head coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to start Derek Anderson over Matt Leinart. Leinart's stay in AZ was all but done. Last week he was cut. The battle for backup QB was then down to drafted John Skelton and not drafted Max Hall. Max has been impressive throughout training camp and has won the job for now.

The Cardinals are the reigning NFC West champions and until someone takes it from them no one can deny it. It doesn't matter what the pundits say about San Francisco (really Greenburg SF to clinch in Oct?) it is Arizona's title and they will defend it. That said the NFC West is not the strongest division and probably a record of 9-7 or 10-6 will win it. Can you say wild card weekend? Personally I think the Cards will go 9-7 and win the West in a tiebreak.

In other exciting (or not) news, Brett Favre decided retirement should wait one more year and the Vikings decided that would be a good idea. We will see what happens tonight as the NFC championship rematch with the New Orleans Saints is the season opener. Darrelle Revis held out long enough to miss camp and then sign with the Jets. Albert Haynesworth found out that new coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't be a push-over. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco will be running routes together (and in my opinion running into each other).

Overall it should be a good season. I predicted (optimistically) that my Bills would go 8-8. It means that there will be no playoffs in Orchard Park again this year. Hopefully progress. Not counting on it, I mean after all I am a die-hard Bills fan. Now to go find that fairy and get my wish. . .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kickoff College Style

Kickoff of the college football season happened last Thursday and continued through last night. It was a crazy start to a crazy off season. I mean look at the following that occurred in the off season:

  1. The Big 10 became the Big 12
  2. The Big 12 became the Big 10
  3. The PAC 10 became the PAC 12
  4. BYU goes independent in Football
  5. Boise State and Nevada bolt the WAC for the Mountain West

Then kickoff of the season with two non-automatic qualifying schools ranked in the preseason top ten. Boise State and TCU both started the year with wins over BCS teams (VA Tech and Oregon State respectively). A FCS team, Jacksonville State, beat a FBS (and automatic qualifying BCS school) Ole Miss.

A crazy way to start. Now if you've followed my blog you know what I think of the BCS. Some of you know that I have also created my own system to rank teams. This year? I think I will sit back and see what happens with Boise State and TCU. If they both go undefeated will the BCS put them in the same BCS bowl game again? Or will they have the guts to put them up against the “Big Boys”?

My guess is that if both go undefeated and there are only three undefeated teams in the country we will see Boise State and TCU play in a non-championship BCS bowl game against each other. This means that a one loss BCS school will get into the national championship game and the debate will begin again about the system.

Yes, it's time to get fired up about the BCS. It makes for great debates and stupid comments. Logic goes out the window a lot of times (even in this blog I must admit). It's always fun to see the fanatics and argue the pros and cons (mostly cons in my opinion) of the system.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I know that the term "madness" is usually reserved for March, but I think that I can make a good case that the beginning of September begins madness in the Blinston household. So here I go:

First, Birthday season is upon us. Over the next five months all seven birthdays occur. For a quick schedule it goes like this:

  • September: Lia
  • October: Grace
  • November: Sam, Ellie and I
  • December: Levi
  • January: Cheryl

Of course that means we are all getting a year older and hopefully wiser. It also means birthday gifts and parties which as everyone knows can lead to madness.

Next up is all the activities that go on. For starters kids go back to school. We have a 4th, 2nd and 1st grader with Grace in Preschool. This means parent-teacher meetings, school events and homework. Yes madness ensues.

Of course school isn't the only thing going on. All the kids are in at least one activity. Here's the list:

  • Levi: Horse Lessons and Flag Football
  • Ellie: Dance and Piano lessons
  • Sam: Club Soccer and Music lessons
  • Grace: Dance Lessons
  • Lia: Tumble Class

Can you say scheduling madness? Of course we can. Every night of the week something is happening except for the weekend when games are played on Saturday.

What else contributes to the madness you ask? Well how about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years? There's no madness in a family's schedule with four holidays in four months is there?

Ok, moving on from family more madness ensues when you consider the following:

  1. English Premier League Soccer kickoff
  2. College football kickoff (and don't get me started on the BCS and other news, that's for another post)
  3. NFL Kickoff (can you say Fantasy Football?)
  4. NHL Puck Drop
  5. MLB Playoffs and World Series
  6. NBA Tip-off
  7. PGA Fed Ex cup
  8. College Basketball Tip-off

No madness for a person who's a sports fanatic right?

Now throw in the service we give in our church and then activities that we want to do ourselves. Don't forget the full-time job I have with work and the full-time job Cheryl has at home (I'm still trying to figure out how she doesn't get paid more than me). I'm sure you'll agree that madness has occurred.

I'm not trying to take anything away from March, but you've got to admit that the Blinston household probably could give it a run for its money.