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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, November 17, 2012

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering what genius invented the “swim up” bar at hotels and resorts…

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, but it has its share of problems like anywhere else…namely, the traffic. There are some highway stretches that make you think you’re in NYC, or on I-95 in Bridgeport, CT…but once you get to the ocean, it’s great…

• In the recent elections, PR actually voted for statehood, after previously rejecting ballot amendments to become the United States’ 51st state. If ratified by Congress, they could become #51 as soon as 2015. What changed their minds? Even though as a commonwealth they enjoy many of the privileges we have, they cannot vote for President and do not have representation in Congress. In effect, US citizens living here are politically discriminated against. Gee, and the cynic in me thought the only reason they wanted into the US was that we needed more Democrats…

• Try the Ropa Vieja, next time you visit a Spanish restaurant. Oh. My. And the tacos carnitas (pork) are killer…

• Winners of the “best looking team coming off of the bus” award in Puerto Rico? North Carolina State, and UMass. Long, lean, athletic and imposing…

• It’s been great to see the Friar players enjoying themselves this week, but you can’t help but feel a twinge of “what might have been,” had Vincent Council and Ricky Ledo been available to play. What a difference they might have made…

• Speaking of difference-makers, Sidiki Johnson’s eligibility case to play in the first semester – rather than have to wait until next semester – is currently being considered by the NCAA. They have asked for some additional information, and it’s possible he could still play before next month…

• Why does it seem that St. John’s gets the breaks? The Red Storm received good news when the NCAA said 6-6 shooter Marco Borgault from France is now eligible to play, after spending the last two years at Monroe College. Is there any doubt that Orlando Sanchez, an SJU recruit who was once a PC target, will also soon get a positive word?

• The Friars received a Letter of Intent from 6-7 Rodney Bullock this week, and the latest word on 6-5 Philly guard Brandon Austin has him selecting between PC, UConn and Texas. A Texas insider says they believe Austin is leaning toward staying closer to home…

• So much for the rise-and-fall of a conference…three of the top eight (Memphis, Marquette, Louisville), and 5 of the top 30 hoop recruiting classes nationally for 2013 reside in the revamped Big East, according to Rivals.com

Tweet of the Week: Dan Hurley ‏@dhurley15 “Great day for URI Basketball! Welcome EC Matthews and Hassan Martin to the family! Huge pieces to an exciting future. Big things ahead!”

• Rex, where ya’ been? With the NY Jets sudden decent into football irrelevance, it took Rex Ryan awhile to call out his players…which he did this week, by calling them “cowardly,” as a few took pot shots at Tim Tebow. It ain’t exactly “Team Together” around there…

• Kidney stones suck. That is all. But kudos to the nursing staff at Rhode Island Hospital

Not for nuthin’…but speaking of painful – it’s been tough watching the Friars play in Puerto Rico, knowing how good they really could be. And with Bryce Cotton’s injury problems adding to the woes, it makes you wonder just how much more Ed Cooley’s team can take – or handle…

• A strange story surrounding Texas A&M freshman WR Thomas Johnson, who turned up missing last Monday and was found safe on Thursday near his home in Dallas, TX. There’s definitely more to this story than has met the public eye…

• Big East commissioner Mike Aresco officially announced the league’s new divisional alignment for football beginning next year, with East and West divisions and a conference championship game. Everything seems to align well, except for Louisville placed in the East, and Temple placed in the West. Allegedly, that was a request from Louisville, to be placed with their more eastern brethren…

• And speaking of Big East football, the league champ will have access to the new playoff format beginning in a couple of years, as long as it is the highest-rated champ outside of the “Big Five” – Big 10, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC and ACC. The BE football champ has to be ranked higher than the winners from CUSA, Sun Belt, MWC, WAC and MAC in order to have a shot at the national title…

• I’m not missing all of the Heisman hype on TV from the talking heads this year. Perhaps because there isn’t a clear-cut favorite? I’ve got a vote, and I haven’t a clue…yet…

• Much as it pains me to say it…Texas A&M’s freshman QB Johnny Manziel could become the first frosh QB in FBS history to pass for 3K and rush for 1K in a single season. The only thing going against him – his age…

• Interesting story this week on ESPN ‘s journalistic integrity. They seem to be losing it with the public as a whole, more so in this day and age of shilling stories through Facebook and Twitter. What do you think?

Ben Cherington said this week he expects the Red Sox payroll to be among the highest in baseball next season? Be still, my heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean new players are coming in, but it might mean signing current players (like Jacoby Ellsbury) to new deals…

• Melky too? The Toronto Blue Jays look pretty good right at this moment, don’t they? Bet ya’ they still struggle to win 80…

• I think it’s great if the Red Sox want to extend Dustin Pedroia…but isn’t there an entire team still to build for next year – first?

• How far the mighty have fallen…need a ringer for your flag football league? Apparently, former NY Giant Tiki Barber will lend his services to you, for a price. $1950 per game is all it will cost you to rent-a-ringer…

• Should the suddenly-again vulnerable Patriots defense be worried about Colts’ rookie QB Andrew Luck this weekend? I know a rookie signal-caller hasn’t won in Foxboro since 1995…but were you worried about Seattle’s Russell Wilson earlier this year? Just sayin’

• A telling poll conducted by CBS Sports.com asked NFL players if they would play again, knowing what they know now about concussions and debilitating injuries. Most answered “yes,” but then said “no” when asked if they’ll encourage their sons to follow in their footsteps…

• Would love to have seen the alleged dressing-down that Robert DeNiro gave rapper Jay-Z at a charity function in New York this past week. Apparently, DeNiro complained that Jay-Z didn’t respect him by not returning a phone call. Just why a legend like DeNiro would call in the first place, wasn’t discussed…

• Men should not wear bikini bottoms. Ever. That is all…

• Excited about the NY Knicks start? Beating San Antonio the other night was the first time the Spurs have lost a game with as much as a 12-point 4th quarter lead since 2004…

• If Rajon Rondo is out for any length of time, and if his injured ankle becomes a recurring problem…the Celtics go from eastern contender to pretender…

• Nooooooo! Hostess Brands is shutting down, planning to lay off 18000+ workers, and selling off its popular brands like Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and Ding Dongs. What is this world coming to? Yeah, the economy is moving forward, Mr. President…stupid is as stupid does

• My buddy “Big E” sez he’s not sure he can live without Twinkies. I asked him what food group do they belong to – fast, frozen, instant or chocolate?

• A remarkably smart fellow named Gordon “Butch” Stewart is apparently responsible for the invention of the swim-up pool bar, having first tried the idea at a few of the Sandals luxury resorts. Terribly sorry this column is a bit shorter than usual, but the guy behind the swim-up bar here in San Juan keeps waving me over…and I certainly do not want to be rude…

• Our mailbag question/comment this week comes from Keith in Derby, England via Facebook: “Any player can have a bad day but it seemed as if the entire (Patriot) defense was out of kilter last Sunday. Now I can accept that one or two players will play poorly every week but all of them at once? That is extremely unlikely and sounds more, to me, as if the defensive game-plan was faulty and the coaches couldn't adjust during the game. I'd like to hear your thoughts.” Keith: Strange as it might sound, it is possible for several players to play poorly at once. I would agree with your premise, however, that part of the reason for that could be due to a poor game plan going in. Putting your players in position to play well, and win, is one of the hallmarks of good coaching. Keep that in mind as you watch the Patriots play each week…

• 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, @jrooke0722…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• And you’re up early anyway…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 37937…and send email to the show - [email protected]

• Looking for your midweek football fix? Jump into the “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:00 pm ET. We’re live with commentary, interviews and your calls and questions on the Patriots and the NFL via social media. It’s a great way to break up the day at work! But if you can’t make it for the live webcast, never fear…the podcast will be near…

 

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