Circadian Rhythm



The Rhythm of Living

Did you know that there exists within your brain a particle called the “Suprachiasmatic nucleus”?  It’s often referred to as your body’s Master Clock.  It tells you when should hit the sack and also when to wake up.

The concept of Circadian Rhythm is more than just your body’s time clock.  There are other mysteries in life that are related to the SCN that “Chronobiologists” are just beginning to understand. (And not).  The power of suggestion is so strong it can often over-ride your SCN.  For example, the SCN uses surrounding environmental conditions to tell you to wake up.  The sunrise is a great example.




When I first started touring the U.S. I had trouble on the east coast having come from Pacific Standard Time.  For me, waking at 6AM was like waking at 3AM.  I soon learned that the natural way to not sleep through your wake up call was to leave the curtains open.  Yes the Sun would wake me at 3AM PST if I needed to be up at 6AM EST.

Add the power of suggestion.  I was told that if I had been drinking on that long flight from LAX to Logan, to take 2 Tylenol and tell myself that I was going to awaken at 6AM feeling refreshed and full of energy.

It works.

Although I quit drinking several years ago, I still use this if I have to wake at 3AM PST to catch a 6AM flight.   But let’s go deeper into the SCN’s influence.  A study was done about 40 years ago on young ladies in sororities. The results would make Esther Williams proud.  In a house with 6 females, in time, they would all have synchronized menstrual cycles.  Again, the theory of external ambience would alert the SCN that it was time to cleanse the uterus.  Be it the subconscience smell of menstrual blood or the Tampon wrappers in the trash can.


The same function as the sun coming through the Hotel window would trigger a chronobiological response.  Did you ever wonder why you could hold your bladder on a long car trip, but as soon as you got through the front door of your home, you practically had to reach down to hold your urethra shut?  Your body knew the spot of urination was close.

Fascinating, yes?

Try explaining mutually synchronized orgasms.  Try and explain the Pavlovian response to the smell of garlic, onions, oregano and Olive oil.



Finally, and I can’t begin to explain this last example.  When spouses in long-term relationships or “LTRs” (I don’t know if they have to be close relationships, meaningful or just proximity) pass; the average time left for the surviving spouse is 2 – 9 years.  It’s easy to understand that if we’re talking about a couple in their 70s, sure it’s not unusual for anyone to die in that decade of life.  The problem is it happens earlier.  (Sometimes in their 50s).  I will admit 7 years is a long spread but most close LTR couples tend to pass on the 2 year end of the time period.

At this point in my life experience, I feel that we die when we are ready to die.  When we lose a spouse or friend that we included in our daily lives, and they pass, it leaves us thinking we should go with them if we have no reason to continue living.  Often when the other spouse continues past 9 years, we find that their work was their reason for living.  This could be a reason why so many veterans with PTSD pull the plug on life.  For that matter anyone who has had a life altering event.  A beautiful model who had her face scared in an automobile accident and is no longer acceptable as a cover model falls victim to depression and then suicide.  Much can be written about the many child stars that would grow up only to outgrow the cute 7 year old sitcom star.  We see these young talents committing suicide as a result of feeling that their life has no purpose.  They stop getting outside attention and lose that inner love for themselves. (Which turns to depression etc….)



Perhaps one of the greatest Baseball Players the state of Minnesota ever saw was a fantastic center fielder named Kirby Puckett.  He was an annual All-star and a pillar in the community.  In 1995 Puckett took a fastball in the eye from opposing pitcher and friend Dennis Martinez.  Puckett was at the zenith of his career.  He was winning batting titles and took the Twins to the World series twice.

During the following spring, Puckett was putting up impressive batting numbers once again hitting .344 in the Grapefruit league.  On a morning in March, Puckett awoke to blindness in his right eye.  He had developed Glaucoma which was left untreated over the off-season.  In 1996 the phenom center fielder could no longer play the game and was forced to retire after 3 unsuccessful operations on his eye.

Leaving the game he loved was a sudden and traumatic turn for the all-star.  Puckett would live another 9 years and die at the young age of 45 due to a Stroke. His life after early retirement was not one of bliss.  He would divorce his wife and later go on to gain weight which was a concern to those who knew him.  He let himself go.  His weight was estimated at over 300 pounds  He was the Youngest Hall of famer of modern times to die.  (2nd all time to only Lou Gehrig).



What does the SCN or Circadian rhythm have to do with life?  It seems everything.  We have free will and our nucleus time clock responds to our intentions.  When we stop loving ourselves, we have nothing left to live for.  When we feel or tell ourselves we have nothing to live for, we die.


Keller Ave


Some near death experiences you can never shake. I spent a day riding Helicopters.  Rushing from one to another.  One had a warning light which forced us to make a hard landing. There wasn’t much I could do but hold on.

I heard what I mistook for firecrackers. Then I heard a whistle next to my right ear and my knees knew just what to do.  On my way down I told my senior officer to get down. (He hadn’t heard the bullet and thought nothing of the fire crackers) I would go through a minor stage of PTSD about a half an hour later.

I’ve been in two major car accidents and one near miss. That thing about your life flashing before your eyes didn’t happen to me.

BUT !!!

When I was 18 I was living on Greenridge ave. in Oakland California.  It’s just next to Keller ave which takes you up to “Skyline” blvd.  My first skateboard was run over by my brother in law when I was 11.  With one of my first paychecks, I stopped at Sears and bought a “Makaha” skateboard.  It was pretty cool for the time. (1974?)  It cost about $15.00 as opposed to the $200.00 boards you can buy today.  It was cheap, making my near death experience all that much nearer.


So in an effort to prove my skating abilities (and to see if I still could ride a board) I went about 1/3 of the way up Keller. It didn’t exactly look like Powell Street in San Francisco but looks are deceiving.  I had two great things going for me.  I had brand new trucks and wheels on this little 18” board and NO CARS turned onto the road I was on.  But I had one very formidable foe ~ “Gravity“.

At first it was amusing and quite fun. Then as I picked up speed, the fun turned to horror.  My wheels started vibrating and making a dull roar. Before I knew it, I was flying down this mountain road.  As with the first near fatal accident I was in, there was a moment when time slowed down.  My mind realized that I was going so fast that if I tried to abort this act of stupidity, I was E.R. bound or worse, morgue bound.  I was in too much danger to be scared.

Have you ever been there?

So as I was nearing the bottom, I could see flat ground. What was amazing was that the angle of descent, didn’t stop until I got to a flat surface.  It went from about a 30 degree incline to nothing in about 10 feet.

I thought I was out of the woods once I hit flat land. Then I realized that a busy cross street awaited me at the bottom.  So almost without thinking, I made a left turn and slowed to a stop on a back street that paralleled the busy street.

Exact words to self: “THAT WAS STUPID”. To this day I have never had to endure such constant fear combined with self-control.  I refused to panic and I did not.  I knew if I didn’t make it, there was not going to be a happy ending to this story.  To this day I have visions of the Wild World of Sports downhill skier biting it as he approached the jump.  That’s what would have happened to me only I would have hit a parked car or lost my skull to road rash.

God was with me. 



                 Vai  The Catch


You cannot, I repeat, you cannot compare Sports to the Arts. You cannot make art a sport.  Some sports may have artistic moments such as Ichiro Suzuki climbing the right field fence at Safeco Field in 2005 to rob an Anaheim Angel of a homerun.  It was a thing of beauty to watch Dwight Clark make “The Catch” for a game winning touchdown when he came down in the end zone with a Joe Montana pass.


These are rare moments. You don’t go to a sporting even to see a “thing of art”.


Music on the other hand appeals for reasons that need not or cannot be explained. I like Wagner, but then again so did Hitler.  Why?  I couldn’t tell you.  Many people hate Wagner.  The arts are about taste.  Taste is subjective.  Catching a ball before it hits the ground is objective.  (Even with instant replay).


There’s a scene in Steve Martin’s “L.A. Story” where he’s in the L.A. museum of fine arts and his friend is taking video of him roller skating past classics. Steve Martin’s character calls it art, his friend calls it wasting time.  Then comes the line.  Steve Martin says: “History will decide”.


The reason the public enjoys confusing sports and art is because both have a creator such as the players, musicians or the Artist, and both have people that watch or appreciate.


You commonly hear ignorant music fans and to a degree art and acting fans say: “Steve Vai is the greatest guitarist in the world. You can keep your B.B. King”.  I’m here to say that both are at the top of their game and the art they produce is equally pleasing.


There’s a saying in music: “If you enter a battle of the bands you’ve already lost”.


In sports you often hear: “He pitched a masterpiece”. No he didn’t.  He pitched strikes and 8 other guys made great plays behind him.  Was Willie Mays a better center fielder than Mookie Wilson?  Objectively; YES!  There is little room for subjectivity in Sports.  Sports often (excluding Tennis, swimming and golf) teaches us a good lesson about teamwork.  Teamwork is an essential part of our work and family life.  There are life lessons that can be learned from sports.


Art is about self-expression. Be it an orchestra or a 3 piece rock-a-Billy band, it’s about self-expression and touching the viewer or listener in a way that sports cannot

My Admiration for Jerry Rice

The Greatest

And Why He should be every young fatherless kid’s Role Model.

400 yards
I use to say: “I could throw for 400 yards a game with these two guys“.

I, without hesitation, consider Jerry Rice the greatest Football player (at any position) and perhaps the greatest athlete ever.  He didn’t use Steroids. But he did put two quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame.

In the late 80s and early 90s, I was on a first name basis with most of the Dynasty 49ers.  Ironically, my two favorite niners, Jerry Rice and Steve Young, I never got to meet.  But I heard stories about Jerry Rice.


It amazed me how both Montana and Young would never hesitate to throw into 3 man coverage with confidence that Rice would come down with the completion.  Jerry broke records that will remain his for a long time.  One reason was his dedication to his workout program.  Complacent was not a word in Jerry’s vocabulary.    He would practice relentlessly which ruined many a first round draft picks that the niners wasted on Wide Recievers to replace either Jerry Rice or John Taylor.

Example: J.J. Stokes – He was assigned to Jerry Rice to learn Rice’s workout routine.  Stokes could not keep up with the veteran exactly 10 years his elder. (Rice born in 62, Stokes born in 72).  Rice was simply dedicated.  He didn’t have goals of being the “Greatest” ala Mohammed Ali or Rickey Henderson.  He just did his job in a steadfast humble fashion.  Only once did Rice ever get involved in a controversy and that was when Joe Montana was nearing the end of his career and was being offered local commercial offers.  Rice felt he was being over looked because he was black and not flamboyant like Dion Sanders or Michael Jordan.  The truth was that Montana had done commercials earlier in his career which is how he met his wife Jennifer. (In a Gillette commercial). Also; Rice was the greatest on the field, but not on the screen.

Being the classy gentleman that Jerry Rice is, he went back on the field and proceeded to shatter football records.  Jerry Rice should be a role model for those who don’t have fathers in the household.  His story should never be forgotten.  Recently I posted a video of Itzhak Perlman and called him the Jerry Rice of music.  Those who are truly great never concentrate on greatness.  They concentrate on always doing better. They practice until they can’t practice any longer; then they give it one more shot.  Anyone can learn a lesson from #80.


Jerry Rice



Think about it. In baseball, a starting pitcher usually tries to throw 7+ innings. In life, if you’re lucky (or not) you go 7+ decades. In your late 50s you start to wonder if you will make it another 2 – 3 innings. Sometimes you give up homeruns and sometimes you strike out the side. Either way, you get to point where no matter what you throw, (curve, slider, high heat, change up) you realize that you need to throw strikes. The more you learn in life the easier life is to survive. If you’re like the retired great Hershiser, Orel you learned your opponent and took index cards out to mound so you knew who could hit your high heat even if it was 98 MPH. He knew what the out pitch was for each batter. This is why in the playoffs, the Homerun kings and Batting champs are rarely productive. It’s usually some crappy guy name Chico with a season avg. of .224 with 40 RBIs and 7 homeruns that gets the Series MVP. WHY? Because the focus is on the Blue chip hitters. In life, it’s often the people you over look that do the most damage. (The people you don’t worry about).

Great pitchers like Orel Hershiser learned never to show anger at their authoritative figure. (The plate ump or their manager). The same is good advice in real life. Don’t yell at a cop when you get pulled over and be happy with a minimum speed, speeding ticket. It beats going to the slam.

Sometimes pitchers get hit in the face by a comeback pitch and are taken out in the first inning. Some kids die of crib death. (or SIDS). Some pitchers get scratched that are suppose to start. Some kids never make it out of the womb alive.

Some pitchers have great careers cut short because of Tommy John surgery. Some people come back from Iraq unable to stay in the game.

World Series Giants Royals Baseball

If you have good coaches and a manager, they’ll show guidance and help you with a good long Cy Young Career. If your team is blessed with 2 more great pitchers, you won’t be counted on to carry the load. If you have good parents or mentors, they’ll step in and stop you from being self destructive. The duty of a parent or a good manager is to get the best performance of his pitcher that he’s capable of.


Sometimes a pitcher works with a great catcher like Buster Posey or Johnny Bench. In life, we’re often blessed with good spouses. They often tell you what you’re doing wrong to help you. A bad catcher just wants to make sure the ball doesn’t get pass him. A bad spouse just wants to cash/catch that paycheck.

Unfortunately, what makes a good pitcher is a good team. In life, you sometimes have to go it alone. No family or spouse.  This is where good friends come in.  If that’s the case, it’s all the more important that you throw good pitches. Personally, I don’t want to be left on the mound if I can no longer hit the strike zone.

Strike zone

Often the secret to a long career or a productive life grid is knowing your strengths as well as your weaknesses.  We’ve already discussed the value of knowing your opponent’s weaknesses.  In baseball you can fall victim to biting off more than you can chew.  If you know your batter is a sucker for high heat, you’ll often throw “Outside of the Strike Zone” (up and away) to get him to bite.  The best time to do this is when you’re up on the batter with an 0 and 2 count (no balls & 2 Strikes) you can afford to waste a couple of sucker pitches.

In life however; you can buy stuff on credit.  It’s called buy now pay later.  It’s better if you save the money for something then buy it without credit.  Or at least have 2/3rds of the item paid for (Like an 0/2 count) then charge the last 33%.  Otherwise you find yourself chewing off more than you can handle.  If I had an 0/2 count and I throw one in the dirt, one high and away and a brush back pitch, then all of a sudden I have a full count and have to come down middle or risk giving up a walk. (Or worse, a homerun)  In real life this could be bankruptcy or divorce, often both.  Be prudent, go for the 0/2 count,  then waste one or two pitches, then throw the batter your out pitch.

In real life, make sure you can afford what you buy.  The term “In the hole” is a negative term in baseball.  (As so in real life).

Sit down

“Sit Down”



A kid’s game



I first noticed money and fame corrupting professional sports in 1994 when a basketball player from U.C. Berkeley was in an accident on an East Bay Freeway with his “Entourage”.  He had not shot a basket in the NBA yet, but he had been selected in the 93 NBA Draft in the first round.  And already the “Celebrity” had an “Entourage”.


Jason Kidd

Two years later, the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL had become “America’s Team”.  Money woes had caught up with the Team of the 80s, the San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas, with Troy Aikman were the team to beat.  At the Super Bowl, several players rented Limos to have their “Mistresses” driven to the game.  They would then use the Limos to be driven to practice during Super Bowl Week.


A month after the Super Bowl victory, NFL superstar and Dallas Hall of Famer Michael Irvin would be busted in a Hotel with 10 grams of Cocaine and an ounce of Marijuana.  When Law enforcement entered the room, Michael Irvin greeted the Police by saying: “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM”?  Irvin would go on to stab his team mate for taking his chair in the Team Barber shop.  Irvin has since been involved in sexual assault allegations which he settled out of court.  After becoming an announcer for ESPN, he would be fired over ethnic statements about Dallas Quarterback Jim Romo.


I’m not sure exactly when professional sports licensing began, but once fathers could buy their kids Jerseys with players’ names on them; that, unknowingly became a game changer.  In the late 60s, Joe Namath would be amongst the first to become a sought after former sports star to endorse products.  Endorsement money goes back as far as Ted Williams and side money from bubble gum cards goes back to the mid-1950s.

 Art ting

But today, we see “Sports Medicine” as a different discipline from Orthopedic Medicine.  In lieu of multi-million dollar contracts, team surgeons are forced to perform surgeries on players who are receiving well over 2 – 3 million dollars a game.  In fact, some operations which would not be offered to you and I, are done the same night a football player is injured.  If the team surgeon and medical staff can get a key player on the field a game earlier, that’s 3 million dollars earned.  For example, when a football player tears his MCL (Medial co-lateral ligament) you and I would be put in a brace and the ligament would be allowed to heal its’ self.  If Reggie so and so tears his MCL, we’re in the operating room late Sunday night to sow and strengthen the ligament and perhaps put anchors in the attachment if needed.  It may only mean speeding up the recovery time by two weeks but as you can see, that would be 6 million dollars earned instead of paid by the insurance company.




Now my two biggest complaints about modern day stardom in sports.  Players think they can be rock stars.  I’ll compare two SUPER STARS who were almost equally talented yet one was a training fanatic, the other just wanted to be rich and famous.

  1. We’ve briefly discussed the extremely talented Dallas receiver Michael Irvin. Michael took the O.J. Simpson crash course. He’s still amongst the greatest receivers in NFL history.
  2. THE GREAT ONE – JERRY RICE! John Taylor was the only receiver that could work with Rice and not be intimidated. The 49ers tried for a decade to find an eventual heir to the king as the #1 receiver on the team. They wasted 1st round picks on great receivers like Reynaldo Nehemiah and the supposed next Jerry Rice “J.J. Stokes”. But 49er management would assign the new draft rookie to Jerry Rice and most of them could not keep up with Jerry Rice’s relentless work ethic. It’s the reason I feel Jerry Rice is not just the best receiver of all time, but the best Pure Football player of all time. If any athlete worked out the way Jerry Rice did and was as serious about doing the workouts, they would become the best at what ever sport or endeavor they were competing in. That being said, Rice never got the endorsement contracts or opportunities that Joe Montana got. “America still loves the pretty boy”.


The other consideration I have with sports today is that the business aspect of investing in a future Jerry Rice has become much more intricate.  I think the truly successful organizations are going to (or should) start doing psychological profiles on their million dollar bonus babies.



Brien Taylor

I could give you a 3 page list of million dollar bonus babies signed by the MLB who ended up taking the money and retiring before they made the double A level.  If you’re paid a million up front, to many that do not have the pride of a Jerry Rice or a true love for the game; you’ve made it and can retire as a wealthy 1st round draft pick.  The Yankees threw 1.2 million dollars at a young pitcher named Brien Taylor.  Taylor never threw a pitch above the AA level and injured his pitching hand in a bar room fight.


Tim Lincecum

The other issue I have with the business aspect of signing a bonus baby is the pressure to win at any cost.  Again I’ll give you two examples of mismanaged players because of the pressure to win.  When Tim Lincecum was signed by the San Francisco Giants, the Giants organization had the foresight “not” to mess with Tim’s awkward delivery.  BUT, with pressure on manager Bruce Bochey to win, he would leave Lincecum on the mound (during his formative seasons) much longer than you would an Iron man like Nolan Ryan.  Although Timmy did amazing work for the Giants, you could see in his championship year that the miles on his arm were causing gross and remarkable inconsistencies in his performances.  Even Bochey stated: “I’m not surprised with as many innings as he’s thrown”.  Today Tim Lincecum is in the sports news as to whether he will be taken out of the rotation or allowed to pitch as a starter.  I think after hearing Bochey’s comment either he is that careless or he had orders from the front office to leave the youngster in.  In a Utopian league, you would take a pitcher out after he’s thrown 100 pitches. This is called being proactively responsible.


Felix Hernandez

Contrast Timmy to the King.  Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners was such a pitching Phenom when he came up, that not only did they not start Felix if he had any soreness, but they would NOT, let me repeat this, THEY WOULD NOT let him throw his 86 mph slider until his junior (3rd) year.  The Slider puts incredible stress on the UCL (Ulnar co-lateral ligament) of your pitching arm.  An 86 MPH slider is also one of the most impossible pitches to hit.  But Seattle has struggled with winning, but they have a healthy All-Star in Felix Hernandez who will pay dividends for years to come.




The front office puts pressure on players to win and even (at one time) to play in pain.  In the early 70s, wide receiver Mike Siani who played wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders sued Al Davis for making Siani play with Xylocaine injections before the game.  The numbing medicine a doctor injects before doing surgery while you are awake.


It’s not unusual for a manager to leave his all-star pitcher in who’s on the verge of winning his 20th game or pitching a no hitter for monetary reasons.  Some players have clauses written into their contracts that if they play so many games they earn another 30% of their salary.  If they win 20 games, they get a 7 figure bonus.  So at some point, there has to be a balance of integrity to the game.


I remember a time when a standing ovation was uncommon. Listen to MEL ALLEN when the crowd calls Roger out of the dugout!



Politics is never to be discussed with the novice.  And by novice, I don’t mean the idiot on the street who can’t tell you who the vice president is, but the Kool-Aid drinking Left or Right wing fringe prepper that live their life according to the news headlines.  You can tell that they are because the “Talking points of their ideology become their tools of attack”.  I’ve seen it from both sides.  I think I know why people cannot talk about Politics in a civil voice any more.


We use to be: “One nation indivisible under God, with liberty and justice for all”.


Our newest novelty has managed to make us one nation divided. (Period)  People on both sides feel if you attack their ideology, then you are either winning or losing.  I’ve found that the left will beat you to death with emotions and hate.  The Right will beat you to death with facts and hate.


I think anyone that agrees with one side 100% of the time is being misled 50% of the time.  I’ve been a Democrat and I’ve been a Republican.  (The latter most of my adult life) Now I consider myself an independent as they’re the only constituency that doesn’t constantly milk you for donations.  And for me it boils down to this.  The left has become the anti-white party.  And that’s a fine strategy.  It’s worked twice. But it has divided the country.  The right has been developing an ulcer for 6 years and do not seem to be able to think straight.  I believe it’s because they had a slam dunk and for some reason their 2012 candidate lost.


The reason why is still a mystery.  I will quote Stalin who said that the people who vote in elections do not have as much influence as those who count the votes.  We’ve seen how this administration used the IRS to manipulate the election.


Back to discussing politics with friends.  Unless a person has seen politics from both sides, they see politics as a sport.  “My side versus your side”.  Sports in America has become as bad as soccer in 3rd worlds.


Dodger fans kill Giant fans (literally) in the parking lot just for wearing a Giant cap.  I know this is not indicative of Dodger fans but you see how heated sports can get people in America.  Once you remove the unsportsmanlike conduct in sports and politics, you can have a discussion.  If not, the insecurity of the “Friend” you’re talking to will be stimulated.


Ann Coulter wrote a book called: “How to talk to liberals if you must”.


Michael Savage wrote a book called: “Liberalism is a mental disorder”.

I find both books amusing.  But there is credence to Ann’s book.  If your friend is not politically mature, leave it alone.  Unless they can understand your political paradigm, and I mean from your POV not theirs. You will only alienate them.


Let me give you an example of what it should be like.  Say what you want about Boston Red Sox fans (I find them loudly obnoxious and hard to understand) but unlike Giant/Dodger fans or even Yankee fans, they have an understanding and respect for the game.  I was blessed with a chance to see Fernando Valenzuela (as an Oriole) pitch against Roger Clemens in Fenway Park.  Fernando gave up a walk and a hit in the first inning.  The hit scored the base runner from second. (Whom had advanced after a sacrifice groundout).  From that point until the bottom of the 7th inning, Fernando did not allow another batter to reach first.  His arm tired in the 7th and like a good manager, he was pulled after missing the strike zone and giving up two more hits all in the 7th.

I remember as Fernando walked off of the pitching mound how the other team’s fans (Bostonians) gave the former Dodger Cy Young winner a standing Ovation.  They knew what a great pitching performance they had just scene.  They were able to set aside partisanship and show respect for an amazing performance.

 Standing Ovation

You need the same respectful state of mind in discussing politics.  Most of the time it’s Right vs. Left spewing talking points.  Most of the time once the side with baseless talking points runs out of explanations, it turns ugly.  Then you reach the point I spoke of on conflict.  You fight, fly or freeze.


My advice to you when a zealous friend is talking politics is to pretend you’re listening.  Don’t try to talk sense.  Just say: “I’ll have to look that up”.


Sadly if you have to do what I just mentioned, your political opponent is really not your friend.  Friends, (I’ve found in the music business) know how to back off of sensitive areas.  Those who go after you with disregard are not trying to converse, they’re trying to win.  They’re rooting for their side.  To hell with facts.  Go ahead, boo Fernando’s 6 inning perfect game.  Even Bostonians are smarter than that.



#10 The Natural 1984 – Baseball has a reputation as being a sedate relaxing sport that is somewhat like fishing.  Those who love the sport can enjoy a 1-0 Pitching duel as much as a homerun derby.  Baseball has always been “The Poetic” sport.  It’s true Americana.  Books like “The Boys of Summer” romanticize the sport.  “The Natural” is more of a baseball portrait as it is a movie.  In fact the movie can be boring at times.  But this movie is just so damn beautiful.  The Knights are one of the most well-known fictional sport teams that has had a successful merchandise market. (Selling Flannel Knights uniforms) Notable line: “Pick me a good bat Bobby”.


#9 Miracle on Ice – 1981 In the 1980 Olympics The U.S. Hockey team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history.  Earlier in 1980, in an exhibition game, the Russian Olympic team beat the NHL All-Star team.  So there was only one word that defined the 1980 Russian team.  “Unbeatable”.  Notable line: “I’m not looking for the best players.  I’m looking for the right players”.(Spoken by coach Herb Brooks)I need to add that the few Russian friends I have told me that the 1980 Soviet team was told to throw the game by the Russian Mafia.  This is very plausible and did ruin the movie for me.


#8 Rudy – 1993 Daniel E. Ruettiger “Rudy” grew up in a steel mill town that family generations worked at.  The program went like this, finish high school sign up for work at the steel mill, drink beer on Saturdays while watching the Notre Dame fighting Irish down at the neighborhood pub.  Retire at 65 with a gold watch and pension.  But Rudy had a dream. (Those damn dreams).  He wants to play for Notre Dame and not just watch them with a beer in his hand.

This movie is a true story about a boy who realized his dream at the cost of alienating his family and his would be fiancé.  There’s only one major problem, (Well a couple) Rudy doesn’t have the grades to get into Notre Dame, and he’s half the size of the average college football player.  This movie will make you feel warm and want to cry for Rudy, or it will depress you and make you want to cry about your own life. Notable line: “Come on, hit me damn it”. (When a larger player go easy on little Rudy)

cool runnings 

#7 Cool Runnings – 1993 In the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics the world was pulling for what seemed to be a novelty.  A teamed that was comprised of all black Jamaicans and a Canadian coach.  Cool Runnings is not just a story about the Jamaican Bobsled Team, but about redemption and the eventual fulfillment of their dreams.  It’s a story about a former bobsledder that illegally added weight to his bob sled, only to be strip of his medal and shamed into obscurity and a young Jamaican runner who injured himself in earlier Olympic trials.  Notable line: “Jamaica’s got demselves a bobsled team mon”. 

 Bull Durham

#6 Bull Durham 1988 – Up until 1988, the world had no Idea of the life of a minor league baseball team.   Bull Durham is a fictional story of Crash Davis who is a lifetime minor league record holder.  It’s an entertaining movie if you can stand Susan Sarandon’s acting.  To add conflict to what would be a mundane documentary as life on minor league buses, the AA class Durham Bulls get Crash Davis in a trade where he’s demoted back to double A ball to handle a first round pitching prospect with an arm that throws 100 miles per hour.  Crash proves himself to be the star of the team, while the kid gets called up the same season and not Crash.  The movie shows how life is unfair.  It’s the old minor league veteran’s knowledge that gets the pitching prospect called up.  Once called up Durham has no use for an aging minor leaguer.  Notable line: “I’m not interested in any woman that’s interested in that boy”.

 Winning team

#5 The Winning Team – 1952 (AKA The Grover Cleveland Alexander Story) In 1911 Grover Cleveland Alexander is a farmer who is blessed with a great pitching arm.  But he’s also blessed with a supportive wife (Doris Day) who has her own dreams of Grover being a farmer and the two having children and living life as farmers.  When given the chance to pitch against a professional team, Alexander throws a 3 hitter.  The professional team offers Grover (Played by Ronald Reagan) a professional contract.  The farmer convinces his fiancé that with the money he makes playing professional baseball, they’ll be able to buy a farm in no time.  Ronald Reagan does an excellent job playing a ball player going through the ups and downs of injuries and meteoric stardom.  This is a true story.  Parts for the script were provided by Mrs. Alexander. Notable Line:I’d love to pitch for your team but I’m going to be a farmer”.


#4 The Rookie-2002 In 1983 the fourth pick of the first round of the June draft in Major League Baseball; The Milwaukee Brewers chose Left handed pitcher Jim Morris from San Angelo University.  Again, Jimmy was a kid who lived/loved baseball.  The son of a senior enlisted Navy recruiter who had little compassion for dreams or dreamers. He was constantly moving from duty station to duty station.  In 1986 after signing a minor league contract with the Brewers, Morris suffered a shoulder injury and possibly an elbow tendon tear. (I cannot find documentation on this but Morris’ comeback success is not unusual for those who have successful Tommy John surgery. (Elbow tendon reconstruction)

13 years later at the age of 35, Morris is coaching a high school baseball team and during one practice, his catcher asks him if he wants to throw a few.  Morris has a habit of going out to an old baseball diamond by an abandoned oil field and throws a bucket of baseballs just to relax.  His high school catcher sees him and invites him to throw to a real catcher.  After a few soft tosses, his catcher says: “Come on coach, BRING IT”.  Morris lets go of a 90 plus mile per hour fast ball that leaves everyone watching, jaw-dropping speechless.

The team knows how good he is and during a motivational speech about having dreams, his team says: “What about you coach”?  End of speech!  The team makes Morris a deal.  If they win the district championship, he’ll try out for a professional baseball team.  The team wins and Morris finds himself at a baseball tryout throwing 90 miles per hour.  In 1999, Jim Morris threw his first inning in the majors for the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out the side with fastballs.  This movie is about a second chance at your dreams.  Notable Line: “How do you expect to go anywhere in life unless you have dreams”? (This was part of his motivational speech to his team).


#3 Pride of the Yankees 1942 (AKA The Lou Gehrig Story)The son of German immigrants to the United States, the young Lou Gehrig is always playing sandlot baseball.  The Gehrig kid can hit the ball so far, he breaks shop windows.  (Even the police comment on what power the young kid has).  The movie is written around the personal life of Hall of Famer and legendary Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig.  The same Lou Gehrig that had the dubious honor of having a fatal neural/skeletal disease named after him.  Walter Brennan plays a big role in this movie.  He’s the sports announcer that acts as the voice for the shy Gehrig while Babe Ruth (in person) does his own marketing.  Much of the movie is about the Love between Lou and his wife, Lou and the city of New York and Lou and his non-believing parents. Most significantly, the movie is about the love between Lou and Baseball.  Notable line: “Give it to me straight doc.  I’m a man that likes to know his batting average”.


#2 The Longest Yard 1974 The “original” Longest Yard will make you sad, make you cry, will scare you, make you wet your pants laughing and will have you rooting.  This is the fictional story of an all-star quarterback that gets prison time for taking his girlfriend’s Sports car.  Burt Reynolds is easily at his finest in The Longest yard.  The warden of the prison (Played by Eddie Albert) that Paul” The Wrecking” Crew ends up in, has pulled many strings to get the all-star quarterback into his correctional facility.  The warden has a semi-pro team made up of the guards and wants Crew to coach the team.  Reynolds’ character says: “I just want to do my time and I’m out of here”.  This creates animosity between Albert and Reynolds then Crew eventually caves into the Warden’s demands that Crew put together a team of the inmates to play the guards.  It was the Semi-Pros vs. The Cons.  Burt Reynolds puts together a motivated team that is actually beating the warden’s team.  Albert uses his power as warden to extort Crew at half-time into throwing the game.  When the hero says: “I can’t do that”. The warden responds: “Why not? You’ve done it before”. Paul Crew was suspected of shaving points off of big games for gambling purposes.  NOTABLE EXCHANGE:Why did you do it”? ” Do what”?  “You know, shave all those points off of those games.  You could have killed a man, stole your momma’s pension check or robbed a bank and none of us would have cared, but shaving points off of a football game, man that’s just un-American”.

 Field of Dreams

#1 Field Of Dreams 1989- All of us go through life with an unfulfilled issue with one parent (Author unknown). This movie combines all of the elements of all of the previously mentioned storylines with one exception, they add the element of science fiction. (Similar to Damn Yankees) Ray Kinsella is a former rebellious hippie from Berkeley who was the son of a former major league catcher for the Yankees who died before he could reconcile his differences with his father.  Women may not get this and I might be misogynistic by saying this, but, there is a special bond between a son and dad playing catch.  You don’t have to talk.  You don’t need a reason.  But it bonds father and son.  Just as many say the father/daughter relationship is special, so is the bond that comes from playing catch with your dad.  In Field of Dreams, the young Ray Kinsella is at war with his father and says: “He could never respect a man whose hero was a criminal”. (Referring to Shoeless Joe Jackson) Kinsella knew Jackson was not a criminal but spewed this just to be hurtful.  When asked: “But you knew Joe Jackson was innocent”, Kinsella responds, yeah but the son of a bitch up and died before I could take it back”.


A voice coming from Ray’s corn field tells him to plow down his crops and build a baseball diamond. It was the ever so famous line: “If you build it; They will come”. The voice also tells him to: “Go the distance” which is followed by a dream Ray and his wife both have about Ray and a famous writer from Boston going to a game at Fenway Park.  The writer “Terrence Mann” played by the great actor James Earl Jones is supposed to be J.D. Salinger in real life as Ray Kinsella often refers to his life of teenage angst. He also refers to reading “Catcher in the Rye”.

Once the field is built, it become inhabited by the ghosts of Baseball’s past, including shoeless Joe Jackson.

This movie has a wonderful soundtrack.  It has photography that rivals that of “The Natural”, and it has Burt Lancaster.  The Field actually exists in Dyersville, Iowa.  I believe this to be the greatest sports movie of all time.  Ironically, the movie has little to do with Baseball, but Baseball is the vehicle that makes the plot work.  It’s a movie about Parent/child relationships.  It’s a movie about redemption and of course it is a Field about dreams.


NOTABLE MENTION: “WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP”.  There really are no wonderful movies about Basketball that don’t include Bugs Bunny.  But in 1992 Warner Brothers teamed Woody Harrelson with Wesley Snipes for a fictional movie about a white and black 2 on 2 basketball team from Venice Beach in L.A.  It’s well worth the money, and yes Woody can slam dunk. It would have made the list but it would have come in at #11.  I just wanted to represent as many sports as possible.  NOTABLE LINE: “We goin’ to Sizzler; We goin’ to Sizzler”

Advice if you get pulled over, hand cuffed, then…..


Thrown in the back of a squad car.  Always remember, the nice cop is NOT your friend. (neither is the bad cop)
AND hopefully you will have taken my advice and saved that bottle until you got home.

TONIGHT and New Year’s Eve are the two nights that traffic cops live for.  Overtime has already been appoved just to accomidate your drunk ass.  Dragnets and Stingers are getting set up as I type this.  Avoid main streets if you can.  (even if you’re still sober, those field tests can be a bitch even when you’re straight)
Don’t do it.  Don’t drink and even sit behind a wheel.  Not even a glass of wine with dinner.  You’ll enjoy waking up in your own bed tomorrow morning in a color other than orange and not being Leon’s new boyfriend.  Your insurance agent will thank you.  Your boss will thank you.  Anyone that depends on you arriving on time will thank you.
PLEASE.  Have a safe and Happy SuperBowl Party



Sherman Rant


 NOTE TO ERIC BOLLING: “Jerry Rice is the Greatest Football Player of All time” He’s also one of the most humble players ever.

But Jerry Rice would never say that.  The only time you heard anything from Jerry Rice was when Joe Montana was getting more commercial offers than the Legend wide Receiver/Greatest player to huddle up on an NFL field.

Jerry Rice became the greatest Football Player of all time because when he achieved a new plateau; He considered himself on the bottom rung of the next ladder.  The word complacency was not in his vocabulary.

Why did other first round wide receivers fail to become versions of Rice?  Because great talents like J.J. Stokes and Reynaldo Nehemiah could not keep up with Rice’s workout routine.  Rice never considered himself good enough, nor did he ever have to verbalize his achievements.


Stephen R. Covey said: “Nothing fails like Success”.  It is easy to see how Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber prove that point.  It will be interesting to see how many tough hits Sherman gets for being less than polite after the Championship game.  We saw how that worked for Tyrell Owens and to a degree Dion Sanders.  When he went “Mohammed Ali” on Erin Andrews, he painted a huge target on his back.  This was not a career enhancing maneuver. If anything it looked like a boy seeking the acknowledgement from a father figure.

Humility is the best way to keep from being double teamed.  Being confident from within keeps your opposition off guard.  The best thing you can do once you’ve achieved a great victory is to look for a greater victory.  Why do you think the cover of Sports Illustrated is a curse?

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” ~ James 4:6