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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, January 18, 2014

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering if the Mile High City is high on the Broncos or on a different kind of high these days…

• If there’s a team that could start the year 0-4 in Big East play and reach the NCAA Tournament – and no team has done that since Seton Hall 20 years ago (0-3 start) – it might be St. John’s. The Red Storm opened with arguably the toughest schedule of anyone in the league, playing at Xavier, at Georgetown and at home against Villanova…before getting the Friars Thursday night.  But they might not make it at 0-5...

• There’s no denying it…St. John’s has plenty of talent. But what they don’t have are shooters. Other than D’Angelo Harrison, the Red Storm generally can’t hit the broad side of a barn with a bale of hay…a fact compounded Thursday night by a PC defense that was very effective in stretches…

• So, Creighton lost guard Grant Gibbs for four-to-six weeks with an injury? Might make things tougher on national player-of-the-year candidate Doug McDermott? Might not, either. McDermott, who also injured his shoulder in the same game that Gibbs was lost, scored 35 points with seven rebounds and five assists against Xavier last week. McDermott’s game has always been spot-on from the outside, but he’s posting up more this season, and having success. If he keeps it up, we could see a rarity in college hoops – a 3000-point career. He’s got a chance…

• Even though they might not find themselves head-to-head much, McDermott vs. Bryce Cotton should be fun to watch unfold. Unquestionably, at this stage of the season, these are the two best players in the league. Whichever team finishes higher in the standings at the end will give either one “Player of the Year.” Don’t think Cotton has a chance? That chance starts tonight…

• Very cool that Fox is featuring their Big East partners on the weekly Fox Sports 1 Tuesday Showdown “hangout.” It usually features players from each of the league teams via on-line camera in an effort to show the lighter side of their lives. PC’s Cotton and Kadeem Batts were featured this past week, and interviewed by none other than former-Friar-turned-college-hoop-analyst Austin Croshere

• Time to start a new tradition, Friar fans. Louie’s has gone to the great pub/beer joint in the sky

• Just a sad, sad moment before the Patriots and Colts kicked off last Saturday night, but uplifting at the same time…if you don’t know the story of 17-year-old Sam Berns, you should take a moment to get to know who he was. Befriended by Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, Berns was supposed to have been the team honorary captain for the game…but died the night before. His story of living with a rare, early-aging disease known as Progeria has been documented on HBO, and he lived as normal a life as possible while a student at Foxboro High School…

• How about this? Last Sunday was the 45th anniversary of the New York Jets’ stunning Super Bowl III win over the Baltimore Colts. January 12th, 1969, Joe Namath threw for 206 yards as the upstart AFL champs beat the heavily-favored NFL champs 16-7 (the Jets were 18-point underdogs)…a game that surely hastened the 1970 merger between the established league and the newer kids on the block. Where might the Patriots be now, had the Jets not shocked the world then? Just sayin’

• Some internet memes are silly, some don’t make sense at all. But this one? This one made me laugh so hard, I spit coffee on my laptop screen. Couldn’t add it here fast enough!

• Since that championship season, the Jets have managed just eight seasons of .500 or better football. Penance for creating a new world order? Where’s Fireman Ed when you really need him? J-E-T-S…Jets, Jets, Jets!

• Anyone care to look ahead to next year, yet? Free agents that might be considered by the Patriots…although I wouldn’t get your hopes up…re-signing their own RB in LeGarrette Blount, WR Anquan Boldin…but Julian Edelman is a more-likely target to pay and keep around…TE Jimmy Graham or Dennis Pitta…OL Alex Mack (and Richie Incognito is out there) and several defensive linemen will undoubtedly get consideration…

• Three straight AFC title game appearances. Eight times with Tom Brady as quarterback. And TB12 said this week on WEEI “no one’s gonna pick us to win this week.” The “chip on the shoulder” tactic? Ah yes, welcome back, old friend…

• I can’t decide if the city of Omaha, Nebraska should be happy that Peyton Manning loves calling their name at the line of scrimmage…or if they should be upset with him that thousands of football fans want to puke whenever they hear him say it again…

“Omaha” was trending on Twitter during Denver’s win over San Diego. What does it really mean? Only Manning and the Broncos know for sure…but it most likely is a code word for an action or a formation, or it could be a word representing a call that begins with “O.” Like opposite…or flip the formation. It could also mean something simple like the snap is coming…which is how TB12 has used the same call in the past. You may have noticed, however, that when Manning called “Omaha” then “hut,” several times the Chargers jumped into the neutral zone. Guess they don’t know what it means, either…

• For a tidy sum, I’ll wager you could get an NFL QB – if not Manning – to use your name or company name as an audible at the line of scrimmage. Although TV networks wouldn’t like it much, since you obviously wouldn’t be buying air time for ads. Would hearing “Rooke! Rooke! 24 left, alpha, Bronco, hut! Hut!” improve my Q rating?

• Kinda ironic, don’tcha think…that Wes Welker seemed happy to be able to speak freely when he left New England for Denver last summer…and this week, he turned Belichickian when asked about his muffed punt return in the Broncos’ regular-season loss to the Pats in Foxboro? "We've moved on," he said. "That was regular season. This is postseason." Uh, ok Wes…

Tweet of the Week I – from ESPNBoston.com’s Field Yates (@FieldYates): “Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount has 8 rushing TD’s over his past 3 games. That’s more than 5 teams had all regular season…”

Blount Force Trauma. Whoever is responsible for starting that phrase should have trademarked it. That is all

• Want a local tie-in to the Super Bowl? A bit of a reach…but the Supervisor of Officials for the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East), still situated in downtown Providence, is veteran NFL official Terry McAulay. McAulay will be the head referee for Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium…

• I think I’m relatively safe in saying that should the Patriots find themselves down by 24 points to the Broncos like they did in November in Foxboro, there won’t be any comeback in Denver. But in an NFL season full of memorable moments that certainly was one of them. So was Indy’s 28-point comeback win over Kansas City. Never say never…

• For those who watch such things…immediately after Denver dispatched San Diego 24-17, the Broncos were installed as seven-point favorites with home field advantage for the AFC Championship. That spread quickly shrank to five and at last check…4.5 points in most sports books with heavy $$$ coming in on your heroes…

(bleacherreport.com)

• There are two NFL cities where TB12 actually has a losing record, with a minimum of three starts. One is in Charlotte, where he is 1-2 against the Carolina Panthers. The other – yup, you guessed it. He’s 2-4 all-time in the Mile High City

• I remember growing up getting a lot of Roger Staubach vs. Joe Theisman games…or Joe Montana-John Elway matchups. Brady vs. Manning for a 15th time is a treat no matter who you root for, and defines an era in the NFL as spectacular as any other. No matter who wins this particular game, both belong in the discussion of the game’s greatest QB’s, in the top 5 all time. But who IS better? It won’t be decided now, or even after this season. Time, our history books and our memories will define that someday…

Tweet of the Week II – from @RIprobz: “Somebody please explain to me how this handicapped person gets into their truck #RIprobz pic.twitter.com/QPCNLMACBj…”

• Ok, Giants’ fans. Throwin’ ya’ a bone. Here’s a soothing salve to your otherwise dismal football season…Tom Brady is 10-4 in his career against Peyton Manning and 1-3 against his brother, Eli Manning

• 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s wife Sarah said this week on a radio interview she hates her husbands’ fashion sense…especially his “$8 khaki’s from Walmart.” Really? $8 khaki’s? Sign me up…and point me in the direction of that store…

(123rf.com)

• Very cool that Cranston’s Marissa Castelli is a part of the US Olympic team headed for Sochi, Russia. Along with her partner Simon Shnapir, the two will compete in the pairs figure skating competition after claiming the 2014 national championship, wrapping up the title last weekend at TD Garden in Boston. Interesting that Shnapir is actually from Russia, so Castelli should at least have an advantage in the communications department…

• The last American figure-skating pair to medal at the Olympics? Remember Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard? They took the bronze in the 1988 Olympics at Calgary. The last Rhode Islander to medal at the Winter Olympics? Former Toll Gate and Providence goaltender Sara DeCosta-Hayes was a part of the gold medal women’s ice hockey team at Nagano, Japan in 1998, and won silver with the team at Salt Lake City in 2002…

A-Fraud’s suspension reduction from 211 games to 162 is a joke…and MLB will continually have problems with PED use among some players until the hammer actually comes down on someone – like a lifetime ban. So Pete Rose bet on games and gets kicked out, because the integrity of the game was threatened? What exactly is Rodriguez’ abuse of the system that apparently allowed him to juice, play and avoid testing positive?

Tony Bosch (yahoo.com)

• The 60 Minutes expose on Biogenesis boss Tony Bosch last Sunday was riveting stuff, almost right out of a movie big-screen…as Bosch claimed his life was threatened by Rodriguez associates, among other things. He’s now baseball’s star witness in the case against A-Fraud…but I wouldn’t get too comfortable with that if I were an MLB attorney…

• Guess what day it is? 29 days until pitchers and catchers report. Or thereabouts. The countdown has begun…let the overhyped pre-season parade begin for your “defending” World Series champion Boston Red Sox

• I’d ask everyone to just simmer down a little bit, and could we please just let a relatively normal spring training take place, get it over with, and get on with the season? But sadly no, we cannot have that in New England. Fans and the media will beat training camp into the ground more than Johnny Pesky used to beat groundballs into the infield with his fungo bat. When does the countdown clock appear on the website?

• The story I will be watching for as camp unfolds is the one surrounding Jenny Dell and her current employer, the Red Sox…er, NESN. As we opined here previously, there’s a huge conflict of interest inherent with her “dating” 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks. The two even sent a holiday tweet – together – to their followers. If either Dell or NESN wishes to maintain a shred of integrity, they will agree to move on. Sorry guys, she might be pretty to look at, but she simply can’t give you unbiased coverage of the player or team. Whether you think she’s actually a journalist or not…and that’s also a subject worth debating…NESN should insist she move on. If they don’t, how can you take either party seriously as a broadcast entity for the public at large…when they clearly will be trying to paint the picture they want you to see – not the picture that’s the truth?

(streetwise.com)

• If NESN doesn’t act on this “liaison” between Dell and Middlebrooks, then I truly feel sorry for her eventual replacement. Why? Because naturally, most will assume she’s “dating” a player or an official within the organization in order to get and/or keep the gig. Remember the rumors surrounding predecessors Hazel Mae, Heidi Watney and their alleged trysts with players? Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire not far away. The Boston Red Sox can single-handedly set women’s rights, especially within the media, back 40 years or more without even lifting a finger here…

• This is the week the NCAA changes forever. For the good, we should hope. A 14-page proposal with an outline for change will be considered by membership this week, which would give the major football-playing schools more autonomy in the governing process and allow them to potentially provide more benefits to their players. In other words, forever we would have the “Haves” and the “Have Nots” in college athletics. Does this make sense to you?

• That gap, whether real or perceived, already exists. SEC schools spend an average of $88.5 million annually, while their counterparts in the Mountain West, for instance, spend $41.3 million, according to figures from the 2011-12 school year. With new TV contracts in play, along with the new College Football Playoff, that divide is expected to become wider. This certainly bears watching…and for the genius that can figure out a solution, a Nobel Prize awaits…

• Disappointment of the week…watching Indiana’s students rush the floor in the aftermath of their team’s win over unbeaten and 3rd ranked Wisconsin. I mean, has it been that long since the Hoosiers were relevant? C’mon man, act like you’ve been there before. Which you have. Pick up a history book and read it. Stupid is as stupid does

Tweet of the Week III – from @PatriotsXtra: “Out of all starting QBs with playoff road games there are only 3 with a record of over .500 #Brady #Elway #Staubach (.666)…”

Russell Johnson (eonline.com)

• Sad to hear this week of the passing of a true ‘60’s icon, Russell Johnson. Don’t know him? Sure you do. He played “the Professor” on the hit TV comedy series “Gilligan’s Island” that ran in prime-time from 1964-67…and still plays occasionally through syndication today. What you probably didn’t know about Johnson was that he was also a decorated World War II pilot, before he ever got into acting. Johnson was 89 years old…and his passing leaves only Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) and Tina Louise (Ginger) as surviving original cast members…

• This should be, um, interesting…an ECHL team is promoting “Undie Sunday” and asking fans to bring CLEAN undergarments to throw onto the ice after their first goal, ostensibly to assist local charitable needs. But what male won’t be watching the ice for something lacy…and what direction it came from…

Rajon Rondo is back? If I’m him, I’m asking “where the heck did everyone go?” In the 11 months since injuring his ACL, he’s gone from being trade bait himself to being the focal point of a clear rebuilding process engineered by Danny Ainge. He might be anxious to return, but maybe he should temper that enthusiasm a bit. Right now, he’s got little to work with. Wait until true reinforcements arrive…

John Denver would be proud…in case you haven’t heard, the State of Colorado recently opened marijuana dispensaries for recreational use…after legalizing its sale to anyone over the age of 21 on January 1st. You can buy it there just as you buy alcohol at a liquor store…but be prepared to pay for it, at more than $200 for an ounce. Colorado is the first state to open recreational pot stores, and the first place on the planet to regulate marijuana from seed to sale. After alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is the 3rd most popular recreational drug in America…and yes, gives another new meaning entirely to the moniker “Mile High City” for Denver (Rocky Mountain High! Coloradoooo! Sing it with me…)

Not for nuthin’…but my buddy “Big E” sez if the whole world smoked a joint at the same time, there would actually be world peace for about two hours…followed by a global snack shortage…

• Considering Coloradoans are also being taxed up to 25% on the purchase price of a blunt (that’s the marijuana cigarette, not LeGarrett), and medical users aren’t taxed for recreational use…how long until some brilliant RI politician decides that’s the way out of the state fiscal crisis?

• From the mailbag this week – Rose from Sacramento, CA via Facebook: “What do you think of the Seahawks not letting anyone with a CA address buy tickets to the game next weekend? I think the Broncos are doing the same -- excluding MA/RI addresses so that Pats fans can't attend. Has this been done before? I think it reeks of poor sportsmanship. According to the Broncos and Seahawks, they are doing it to try to limit scalping. Yeah, right.” Rose: It has been done before, and is more a result of gamesmanship really, than anything else. Teams have a right to sell to whoever they want to sell to…and whoever they don’t. There’s no discrimination, and no NFL rule against such limitations. There’s also nothing keeping you or anyone else from going to a re-seller and plunking down your cash so you can be there for your team. If money is no object, natch

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to [email protected]. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• Don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text us at 37937…and send email to the show - [email protected] .

 

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Comments:

Had to chuckle at your comment about rushing the floor. I'll be the one wearing something "lacy" for you when I'm heading to the floor after tonight's game. Go Friars!

Comment #1 by R Hertz on 2014 01 18

LOL! Hey, I already have someone who wears something lacy for me, big fella... wink

Comment #2 by John Rooke on 2014 01 18

many of todays athletes no matter what city they are from are flying high

Comment #3 by Howard Miller on 2014 01 18




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