What to say.. That is the ultimate decision

I am never short of opinions in my head as to how I feel on a particular subject, the problem is putting those thoughts down in a post.  I hem and haw and by the time I decide that I should post about it the moment has passed and we are on to something else.  That’s the dilemma I face on a daily basis, so do I post about it, do I wait, or do I just let it go, I really have a problem with it.  I get distracted, I focus on other things, I lose the moment and it pisses me off sometimes, because I know I have lost the most opportune time to speak up.  By the time I am prepared to discuss or speak my mind, the moment is gone and other events have occurred and seemingly what I have to say doesn’t seem important any longer.  This is part of my habitual procrastination and has been my entire life.  I lose the moment because I am afraid to offend or worried about the perception of my peers, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers.  I also tend to lose the moment because I get distracted by outside forces, whether it be work, the occasional outing, or the TV/internet. 

Problem is that I have been making these same excuses for years and it is time for me to come out of my shell, whether it be like a bull or with a murmur, I am going to come out of this shell and once released, it will be a sight to behold.  I’m going to try and start with this post tonight and will follow up that with hopefully one tomorrow night, and hopefully the night after that. Let’s just start with one, shall we?  I’m not gonna stick to sports, although most of what I post will be about sports, I will at times, go off the reservation, as they say.  My words may not be eloquent, and my grammar will most definitely suck, but what I post will be from the heart, from my warped mind, and the words will most definitely be all mine.  So buckle up, get comfortable and let’s do this. 

Let me begin with something easy.  The NCAA Men’s tournament started today, and no, I did not fill out a bracket.  I learned from last year that I don’t have a clue how to fill one out.  (or was it two years ago?) Anyway, I only filled out the first round and thought I would be able to fill it in as the tournament progressed (yes I am an idiot).  It was my first AND LAST year filling out a bracket.  I don’t follow college basketball as closely as I do NCAA football, and from the brackets that I have seen in the past, neither does anyone else for that matter, so for me to fill out a bracket and embarrass myself is not one of the things that are high up on my to-do list.  So good luck to whoever decides to put themselves out there and pick all the wrong teams, only to be shamed and laughed at for the next 12 months.  I will watch for the pure enjoyment of the games, the upsets, the close games, and ultimately the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Now something closer to my wheelhouse…  The Raiders traded for Antonio Brown, the Jets signed L’eveon Bell, Odell Beckham Jr was traded to the Browns for Jabril Peppers and some draft picks, Bortles is out of Jacksonville in favor of Nick Foles, Fitzmagic has landed in Miami, and just in the last couple of days, Clay Matthews is a Ram and Vontaze Burfict is a Raider (Perfect!!) .  Now these aren’t all of the signings or trades, but these are some of the biggest in my head, and although I wont go into great detail into each trade I mentioned but I will say that the NFL is gonna look pretty weird next year will all of these faces in new places.  Players that were thought to be with their former teams the remainder of their careers just up and left for what they hope are greener pastures. 

I’m glad to have Beckham in Cleveland, but I won’t be sold until he can prove that he plays well with others.  I have the same feelings about Bell and Brown.  They were distractions on their former team, despite the rumors of Big Ben playing favorites, and now they have to play on teams that are worse than the one they left.  Both teams are in rebuild mode and it may be a year or two before they see the playoffs (if they even do) and both will have a lot of growing up to do.  Blake Bortles was run out of town in Jax, and now is backing up Jared Goff in LA,  which is like going to purgatory.  Oh sure he may get a ring, but it wont be because he is under center, it will be either holding a clipboard or Goff’s jock.  Dude had a great defense to carry him, ala Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, but yet he still could not muster enough offense to get them back to the playoffs this year.  Foles has a great situation and if he doesn’t succeed in Jax, then no one can.  The Dolphins have already given up on 2019 with the signing of Fitzpatrick.  Look for them to go after a QB in the draft next month and allow him to learn next year under Fitz, which is a pretty good deal in my eyes.  I will only say this about Burfict – he is the dirtiest player in the game and him going to the Raiders is perfect, he’ll fit right in with the history of the Black Hole and the fans will love him, but don’t expect him to play all 16 games, I expect an injury or a suspension to sideline him at some point during the season.  Finally I will say that Clay Matthews leaving the Packers was never even on my radar.  This is shocking to me.  He is one of those players that I thought would be with their team until the end of his career, boy was I wrong about that.  The Rams are a good fit, he lives minutes from the facility and he gets a fresh start to his potential HOF career.

I’ll save my Tampa Bay Lightning speech for the next post, so as to spare my good friend Jon Olson the torture, so I will end on this..  Let me be perfectly clear and concise so there is no gray area, because I want to make it clear where I stand.  I rarely talk politics in the open, and the reason for that is because I happen to be the only member of my family, with the CA contingent as an exception (Hi John & Karen!!), that did NOT vote for the Cheeto in the White House, thus I try and avoid the discussion or just let them get it out of their system and discuss something else.  I love my family and would step in front of a bullet for any of them, but I don’t see the needed effort to try and change the minds of those that will not change.  I have friends and co-workers that are in love with this man, however I also cherish those relationships and do not get into the discussion with them either, so as not to lose them as friends.  I don’t believe that one’s political leanings should be the basis in which family and friendships are made, so I enjoy their company and simply do not discuss the current political climate so as to keep those friendships.  If I didn’t care about them being in my life, then by all means, we would get into it, but otherwise I will not approach the subject.  With that being said…  I reserve the right to speak my mind here in written word and if you choose to comment, by all means comment, but I will not get into a shit throwing match with you nor will I accept any insults toward either myself or my commenters.  You want to have a civil discussion, I’m all for it, but keep in mind I will not throw personal attacks at either his supporters or detractors, but I WILL call him out and express my opinion of him.  He is a political figure in the public spotlight and is fair game.

How’s that for a start?…  Let the games begin…

Scott – The Sports Nerd

NFL Free Agency… My Thoughts

Well here we go.. the frenzy that is NFL Free Agency has begun.  Day one and we have already seen some big moves by some big names.  I wont get to them all, but there are a few I would like to express my opinion on here.  Remember, this blog isn’t for just reporting what happens, I bring my opinion, and while you may not agree with those opinions, I welcome any and all discussion on what I post.  This blog is designed to encourage engagement, not just be another generic news outlet (I’m not a journalist), so bring your arguments, your praise and above all, your comments and UPVOTES!!!

First is the elephant in the room – and although it isn’t a free agent signing, it is the biggest trade of the offseason thus far and that is Antonio Brown being traded to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.  I don’t pay attention too much to details of trades, jut how the players involved can impact their new team.  There is no doubt that AB has been one of the most prolific WR’s for the last 8 years (As a Browns fan, I know this all too well) but he is getting a downgrade at QB, a downgrade in RB’s (don’t at me Beast Mode fans) and no supporting cast in the wide receiver corps, in my opinion.   The defense was ranked 26th overall in 2018 allowing almost 30 points per game.  AB is good, but he cant make up for a bad defense, and the Raiders will still be bad next year.  Its a good trade for the Raiders, and the Steelers will be worse without him and Bell next year, but it wont make too much of a difference when the season starts in the fall.

Nick Foles to the Jags.  This makes them immediately better at the QB position, the Blake Bortles experiment is over and the Jags, after underperforming last year, can now set their sites on winning the division again.  It wont be a given that they win the South, after all that division is stacked and may very well be the best division in football, but the Jags wont be cellar dwellers and will have a chance. 

Deshawn Jackson to the Eagles..  Again this was a trade, and the Bucs and Eagles swap late round draft picks to finalize the deal.  Jackson no longer wanted to be in Tampa, and Tampa no longer wanted him.  It’s no secret he and Winston did not get along and Jackson saw his targets drop after Fitz was benched in favor of Jameis during the season.  Jackson gets to go back to Philly where he had tremendous success and the Bucs once again will still be the worst team in that division, even with Arians as their Head Coach.  It’s going to take a couple of years for them to right the ship, and as a casual Bucs fan these days, I’m looking forward to seeing them try and get back to one of the better teams in that division.

Finally, as I began to write this post, the news broke that Terrell Suggs was leaving the Ravens (GOOD RIDDANCE) For Arizona.  Suggs is 37 and is still playing at a high level – he will bolster that defense.  Is a good move for him as he went to college in AZ, and once again as a Browns fan, I will be glad to see him leave the division. 

It is still early, and technically none of the FA’s can sign until Wednesday, but it is fun to watch the moves and the talking heads on NFLN and ESPN go ape-shit over all this stuff.  Now pardon me as I cut this post off a little early…  The Bolts are on TV playing the Leaf’s and I love ribbing @jongolson when the Bolts show how much better they are…lol

Reflection, Remorse, and moving forward

Scott & Alex

This is going to be one of the toughest posts I have ever made thus far…..

My friends know me as a jovial, laid-back, happy person.  They admire me for my love of sports and my dedication to the Browns, Indians, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as laugh at me for hating the NBA, Soccer (not Football), my sarcasm, and most of all, my sports nerdiness… (is that a word?.. if not, I just made it one) 

With all of that being said, and for those of you that DON’T know, I have a son named Alex.  He will be 25 on April 14th (Happy Birthday!!).  He will me moving to New Zealand on Monday, and will be gone for at least a year, I had not seen him in three years, and I decided it was time to see him before he left, and for nearly three months I have been trying to come up with the courage to reach out and ask him if he wanted to meet.  This is horrible, but the trigger that would allow me to reach out to him came on Feb 8, 2019.  My cousin, Brian passed away.  Brian was a somewhat important figure in his early life, and I thought he would want to know he passed away.  I reached out to him and after telling him about Brian, asked to meet up.  He agreed, and on Tuesday, we met up and it turned into a five-hour visit.

Before I get into how that visit went, a little backstory…

I am a terrible father, as was my father before me.  I didn’t spend any quality time with Alex, and he has any and all reasons to be angry with me.  We have basically been estranged since 2009 and our contact with each other has been slim to non-existent.  I feel as if I have failed him, that I was supposed to reverse the family history and I failed to be there when he needed me, as well as being the father he needed, instead of being the father that was just there on weekends as he was growing up.  I had so many opportunities to make a difference in his life, but the only influence I managed to have was for him to resent me and fester an anger that was 15 years in the making.

I wont go into details as to why I became the father I am today, but needless to say I allowed outside influences, past feelings, and laziness determine my fate.  I blame no one but myself and take full responsibility for my actions of the past.  I firmly believe had I made different decisions and listened to my parents when he was still very young, things may have been different and we would have been closer, but alas, I made the decisions I made and I am now living through the ramifications of those decisions.  All of this does not diminish the love I have for this kid, now man, but his view of our relationship has been tarnished and jaded because of my inaction over the last 25 years.  I wish I could go back and make better decisions but it is what it is, and I now have to try and earn his trust and love again.

With him moving away it is going to be more difficult to earn his love and respect, but I will take it one day at a time.  I only wish him the best and hope he finds whatever it is he is looking for, he has a lot of anger inside him, directed at both myself and his mother, and I cant help but think we have both failed him as parents.  there is a lot I could say about his mother, but because this isn’t about her, I will let those thoughts stay inside me, and not reveal them here. 

So on to the visit on Tuesday….

The best adjective I have for how it went is “Cordial”.  There was no screaming, no finger pointing, it was just an afternoon of him and I connecting and going over what was going on in our own individual lives.  We discussed our feelings on our relationship and for the most part we agreed that there were a lot of mistakes made and that he has a lot of anger in him over what happened in the last 20+ years.  I am glad I got to see him before he leaves, and I will always remember his face when we left.  I went in for a hug and he was reluctant, but I forced the hug and would not let go as I wanted to try and make him understand I know and own the mistakes I have made in the past and would like to move forward, but it is up to him if we can move forward or not.

With all of that being said, I enjoyed our visit, and it was good to see that he was at least willing to see me, and for that I am grateful.  My takeaway from all of this is some advice for those fathers out there.  Your children are supposed to be the primary focus of your life.  They look up to you, they idolize you, and you are the most influential male figure in their lives.  SPEND TIME with them, do things with them, even if it is something that you really don’t want to do, even if you hate it, even if you would rather stick a hot poker in your eyes, do it…  If your daughter wants to paint your toenails, let them.  If your son wants you to play video games with them for countless hours, do it.  The time you spend with your child in their most impressionable years will be time that frames their vision of who you are, and they will remember those times for their entire lives. 

Good luck Alex, I love you, and I wish you nothing but the best in whatever life has to offer…

The Phillies paid WHAT for WHO???

So, the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes is over..  13 years… $330 million..  that pays him until he is 39 years old…  I may still be alive when this contract is over, but for now he is the highest paid
FA in the history of Baseball, and for those that thought the MLB Free Agent Process was broken.. well..  it isn’t.  Harper got the deal he wanted, granted it was for 3 more years that I personally thought it would be for, but still, how many of us now wish we would have kept playing sports as kids and not quit?  Holy hell that’s a lot of $$$.  Hey Bryce.. I have over $70k in student loans out there, plus a car payment.. can you spot me a loan or perhaps a GIFT so that I can rest easier at night?….  For the uneducated, the ENTIRE contract is guaranteed, that means he is going to get his money, and as of right now, the Phillies are on the hook for all of it.  They call Philadelphia the “City of Brotherly Love”, well they must REALLY love them some Harper, despite the fact that the fans will boo and throw batteries at him if he doesn’t hit .400 his first month of the season.  Here’s an interesting fact that my good friend John G.Olson reminded me of tonight…  The Mets will still be paying Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million a year ($1,193,248.20 to be exact)  long after Harper’s contract is done.  Beginning in 2011, the Mets agreed to pay Bonilla $1.19 million per year on July 1 until they have paid him $29.8 million (He hasn’t played a game since 2001)…  So.. in the case of the Harper deal.. his runs through 2032…  Bonilla’s runs through 2035.  Bonilla is 3 years older than I, which will make him 72 when the contract is finally paid off.  I wonder if Vegas is laying odds on whether he will still be alive in 2035?  I know 72 is still young considering the average lifespan these days, but it still makes you sit and wonder…

As per the usual, I couldn’t let a post go by without giving my Tampa Bay Lightning some props..  With the OT win last night against the hated NY Rangers, they have won 10 games in a row..  a franchise record.  they go for #11 tonight in Boston against the Bruins (#BostonSucks). 

Kyler Murray had his vital stats examined today, as he has become the most watched player at the NFL Combine this week. he came in at 5’ 9 1/8” and 202 pounds.  He supposedly bulked up specifically for the combine and many are skeptical that he will actually play at that weight.  I have a personal observation surrounding Kyler Murray.  He has the potential to be as good, if not better than Russell Wilson, but he needs to be durable and able to take a hit.  I don’t remember seeing too many big hits taken at the college level while he was at OU, and in the NFL he will get hit, and he will get hard.  To quote the late great Al Davis..  the QB must go down, and he must go down HARD.  I have the same opinion of Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.  Small running QB’s do not have a long lifespan in the NFL, but time will tell and the rumor is that the AZ Cardinals will trade Josh Rosen away and take Kyler in the draft…  In my opinion…that will be a mistake and Klingsbury wont have a long career in the NFL if that happens.

I’m out for now… have a good night all….

A follow up to a previous post

Brian Two

Yesterday, my family said goodbye to my cousin Bryan.  He passed away Feb 8th of a massive stroke, brought on by blood clots and past health issues that frankly, none of the family was aware of, and it was one of the hardest things I have had to go through.  He was a retired Marine and with that comes full military honors at his funeral.  I don’t think I have any more tears to shed after yesterday, it was emotional, it was difficult and my heart is still breaking at the loss of this wonderful man.  I considered him a big brother, because I did not have any male siblings, and he was a roll model, a person I looked up to, and a person I loved very much. 

With all of that being said, I also had an awakening after discovering the mess he left behind.  I recommend that if you have not prepared for the inevitable, so it now.  If you do not have a spouse, if you do not have children, draw up a Power of Attorney (POA) or living will so that you can designate  a family member or person that you trust to be the executor of your estate.  Bryan did not provide for his death, therefore his estate is in probate and there are legal ramifications that have to be fulfilled before his father or brother can access things like his bank account, his pension, take care of payments on his truck or boat.  I strongly urge you to designate at least a POA so that if the unexpected happens, your affairs can be taken care of and there is no red tape involved.

Brian One

I can’t explain what the family has had to go through, it is not an easy or smooth experience, so no matter how old you may be, please think of what you will leave behind if the unthinkable and unplanned happens.  I know that I will be setting these things up in the coming weeks, and my sister will have full access to my accounts/passwords/etc…

Remember to hug those you love and hold them close, because you don’t know for sure that they will be here tomorrow..

RIP Bryan…  I love you…