Kurt Busch Chasing History with Two-Race Day

Photo is courtesy of www.autoweek.com/http://indysportsreport.com/ Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Robert Cannon

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By no means am I an expert of the racing world, but I will admit that I have always been a fan of the sport. The popularity and competition of racing has traditionally come down to Indy Car and NASCAR. From time to time, certain drivers take their turn at the other when their schedule allows them to, but after today, a schedule will mean nothing to Kurt Busch, just 1,100 miles and history.

 

NASCAR’s own Kurt Busch will look to become the second driver in racing history to complete both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. I have never been a huge fan of the Busch brothers in NASCAR (especially Kyle), but not only is this a true tell of his love for racing, the chance at history shows what kind of commitment Busch has for his sport.

 

For those of you that don’t quite understand, the toll your body takes during one race is pretty unimaginable. Inside the cabin of the car, the temperature can reach more than 140 degrees and drivers have lost anywhere from 5-10 pounds during a given race. Even though the cabin of an Indy car is open, what Busch is attempting to do is almost seen as absolutely insane. The only ever driver to complete both races in the same day was Tony Stewart back in 2001 and he ended his day on a stretcher headed to the Charlotte Motor Speedway hospital hooked up to oxygen. After that experience, you would think that his fellow drivers wouldn’t want Busch to attempt this feat, but all he has received is support and respect heading into it.

 

NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. told the media this week that Busch is representing all of NASCAR in his attempt of completing both races. "Whether he knows it or not, he's got a lot of people, drivers, crew and just about everyone on the infield pulling for him to do well because he is representing all of us," said Earnhardt to reporters.

 

Right now Busch is just another racer to Indy Car fans, but for NASCAR, all eyes are on Busch. The former NASCAR Racing Champion from 2004 is trying to complete what only one man has done in racing history and that is what makes this story so incredible.

 

The goal for each driver is to win each race they compete in and that is no different for Kurt Busch, but for somebody to take the entire sport this seriously that they are willing to attempt the NASCAR and Indy Car unthinkable, makes Busch a winner already in my book. Best of luck, Kurt!

 

Also, a friendly reminder to join us on July 5th for the 2014 ‘Our Sports Report’ Wiffle Ball Summer Classic in lovely Fredericktown, Ohio. For more information on playing in or sponsoring the tournament, PLEASE CLICK HERE! Hope to see you on July 5th!

Sports Etiquette: Being a Gentleman at Sporting Events

Photo is courtesy of http://workersbravo.wordpress.com/

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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These days, it seems as though most sports fans check all common decency as soon as they pull into the parking lot of their favorite sports venues.  Fans tend to lean a little too far towards “fanatical” as they cheer on their teams.  More and more headlines of violence, riots, and all sorts of terrible behavior are becoming common place.  This is really a shame because it just encourages people to stay home and watch the games on TV, which hurts the team in the long run.  At any rate, we’ve come a long way since the days when spectators wore shirts and ties (and even a hat…a real one, not a ball cap) to baseball games.

Now I’m not going to sit here and suggest that I’ve always been some perfect angel when I attended sporting events.  However, since I no longer have access to the student section, I’m now expected to at least act like a civilized human being.  So, with that in mind, I’ve tried to come up with a list of rules for sports fans to abide by and make stadium life a little better for everyone.

#1) Drink Responsibly – This rule right here can pretty well solve the issues in the first paragraph.  Mix a little “seems like a good idea” juice with the high emotions of sports and bad things are bound to happen.  Now, I’m no teetotaler here, I will drink a beer with my hotdog from time to time.  I’m not going to suggest that you should never drink at a sporting event.  Almost every professional sports venue sells some form of alcohol.  However, just because alcohol is sold, it does not mean that it is your job to fund the team’s payroll with your alcohol consumption.  Regardless of whether or not you’ll be driving home after the game, nobody wants to have beer spilled on them or their kids because you can’t walk straight.  Bottom line, don’t be a drunken moron.

#2) Clean Up After Yourself – Yes, I understand that there are people who are paid specifically to clean up the stands after a game.  However, they are paid to clean up messes that you don’t have the tools to clean up yourself (i.e spilled drinks, food, etc.).  Those people aren’t there to pick up every piece of trash that you decide to leave under your seat.  I’m not at all suggesting that you head to the trash can every time you finish your Cracker Jacks, but you could at least pitch your hot dog wrappers and beer cups in the trash can on your way out.

#3) Know Your Armrest Rules – Just like when riding on an airplane, everyone is entitled to one armrest.  Don’t be that guy who pushes someone’s elbow off the arm rest in order to use two…just don’t…plain and simple.  Of course, if you’re a bleacher bum, armrests are the least of your worries.

#4) Learn to Park – Nothing can ruin an enjoyable day at the ball park like finding a dent in your fender or a scratch in your door.  Parking spaces, even the skinny ones at sporting events, are designed so that any standard vehicle can park or exit comfortably if centered in that parking space.  So, unless you are driving a dump truck, you should be good to go.  The problem is that most people don’t bother to center their car (or 15 passenger church van) in the spot.  Doing this only takes another ten seconds at most, so just be kind and do it.

Also, don’t drive a vehicle to the sporting event that you can’t maneuver in tight spaces.  A man needs to know his limitations.  If you can’t back up your soccer mom van without hitting something, then either let someone else drive or swallow your pride and ask someone to spot you.  You know who you are.

#5) Know Your Place – If you get unlucky and are stuck in the middle of a row, don’t get up every five minutes to pee or grab another beer (or both).  If you have small children, people will be more understanding and patient with you, but don’t abuse their good nature.  Consider asking people on the end if you can swap tickets with them.  If they refuse, then being pissed about you getting up all the time is their problem…at least you offered them a way out.

Similarly, if you are on the end of the row, people will be passing in front of you.  Get used to it.  Don’t snarl and swear like a douche, just stand up and smile every time it happens.  If you’re one that generally stays put during a sporting event, offer to trade seats with one of the middle men with the two kids that have to pee every five minutes.  You never know, he may just buy you a beer.

There you have it, five simple rules for being a gentleman at a sporting event.  Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comments below.

The 3 is Back…And on the Pole

Photo is courtesy of http://articles.chicagotribune.com/ A new Nascar season is set to begin tomorrow at the Daytona 500 and our own Josh Overholser gives his take on what it means to have the #3 car back in Nascar. Oh yeah, and rookie Austin Dillon is behind the wheel and on the Pole!

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In Search Of The Manliest Sports

Photo courtesy of http://www.fighthubtv.com/

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Sports by their very nature are manly (even golf).  Competing and besting one another is about as important to a man’s life as breathing.

If you have any doubt in your mind as to the validity of this claim, then I suggest you observe a group of men for no less than thirty minutes.  The age of these men is irrelevant, be in young men, middle-aged men, or old men, they all act the same when left to their own devices.  Just make sure that these men don’t sense your presence whatsoever, because men just do not act naturally when spooked.

Anyway, when you observe said group of men, you will notice a certain phenomenon.  At about the twenty minute mark, the men will begin competing.  The young men will typically engage in a physical contest, such as seeing who can do the most pushups without crying like a little girl.  The middle-aged men will compete to see who can successfully chip into the trash can on the seventh hole the quickest while waiting on a group of female golfers to get out of range…yes it usually takes about a half an hour.  Old men will usually resort to finding out who can tell the best stories about who it was among them that cried like a girl after doing too many pushups, or who it was that, no matter how hard they tried, failed to chip into the trash can on the seventh hole back in 1953.

At any rate, men are competitive by nature.

Over the years, many of these contests developed written rules, teams and leagues were organized around said contests, television rights and sponsorships were sold based on said contests, and men made millions off the backs of the men competing in said contests…but that is for another time.

What we are in search of here are the manliest of these contests, the ones that measure a man against other men and put him in his place when he fails.  In order for a sport to make this list it must, of course, be manly and have been seen on television with at least some regularity.  While there certainly may be more manly sports that exist in the far reaches of the world, television has not brought them my way just yet.

So, without further ado, here is the ‘Our Sports Report’ Top Ten List of Manly Sports.

10)  Baseball – Baseball ranks low on this list because there is very little physical contact involved in the sport.  Yes, every now and then a catcher is leveled by a runner that is trying to score, but physical contact is generally avoided at all costs in this game.  Strength and endurance are keys to success in baseball, but one’s toughness is not regularly measured in this sport.

9)  Lacrosse – Speaking of primal, manly origins, this sport traces its roots all the way back to the Native Americans.  Sure lacrosse looks completely different now than it did all those years ago, but it’s darn manly.  Lacrosse looks like a cross between football and hockey, two super manly sports in and of themselves.

8)  Auto-Racing – What can be manlier than the smell of gasoline, burning rubber, and exhaust fumes?  Apparently at least seven other things, but that’s not my point.  Racing is just flat out manly, be it drag racing, NASCAR, Indy, Formula One, etc. etc. etc.  Bottom line, at some point in his life, every man has wanted to become a race car driver…every man.  Also, at some point, every man has indeed pretended that his own car was a race car…even if it was a beat up 1987 Honda Accord LX.

7)  Boxing – Full of strategy and technique, boxing is a miniature version of a war between two men.  Months of training and preparation go into a boxing match before it is shown on pay-per-view, provided that neither athlete is arrested for rape or murder, or Don King doesn’t do anything to screw it up…but I digress.  Basically, what you have in boxing is two men strategically beating the snot out of each other round after round.  Need I say more?

6)  Trap Shooting – Everyone likes to shoot guns.  I wager that even those pesky gun control activists would change their stances on gun laws if given the opportunity to go out and bust some clays.  Anyone can hit a target with a shotgun, but it takes a real man to hit a target in mid air.  This sport will test the nerves of even the manliest of men.

5)  MMA – The ring has eight sides instead of four, so MMA must be manlier than boxing right?  To be successful in MMA, one must master several different fighting styles and use any or all of them at once to annihilate his opponent.  Mastery is always manly.

4)  Hockey – Any sport that allows, if not encourages, fighting as an integral part of the game is a winner in my book.  Hockey players have a reputation of playing through all sorts of injuries and pain when most people would just give up and quit.

3)  Football – Eleven men per side, ready to tackle each other to the ground to accomplish a unified goal.  Teamwork and strength make football one of the manliest sports out there.   Of course that could all change if the rules keep changing, but for now, football’s footing in the world of manly sports is secure.

2)  Greco-Roman Wrestling – This is a sport that traces its origins back to ancient times when men were men, and men fought each other naked!  Wait…that doesn’t seem right.  Anyhow, few people are tougher or crazier than the men who master this intense sport.  There is no greater feeling than slamming your opponent to the mat…at least that’s what I assume all of my opponents were thinking when they did it to me.

1)  Competitive Lumberjacking – This sport is a throwback to some of the strongest and toughest (there’s a difference) men that ever lived.  Originally, competitions were held to see who the best lumberjack was in each camp.  (You see, if men are left to their own devices…competition will soon ensue.)  These days, the sport is just a tribute to what once was, but if we’re all honest with ourselves, we all watch this sport on ESPN whenever we’re flipping channels on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Deep down, we wish we could be these men.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our countdown of the manliest sports on the planet.  Do you agree with our list?  Are there any sports that we have missed?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Hello Newman…Goodbye Truex Jr.

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images/http://www.latimes.com/

 

Written by: Josh Overholser (@Sisco_Kid)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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We knew there’d be drama at Richmond, the last race before the Chase.  We expected number crunching, leaderboard watching and crazy pit strategies.  We even expected beating, banging, last lap passing, and drivers doing whatever they could to find a way into the Chase.  But cheating?  Yet again, NASCAR proved to be unpredictable and raised the drama meter even more.

If you missed the race or haven’t heard yet (or live under a rock), Ryan Newman earned the lead in the closing laps at Richmond.  A win would secure him a spot in the Chase with two wins.  If he failed to win, Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. would beat Newman into the Chase off the tie breaker of points (since they each had one win).  With eight laps to go, Clint Bowyer, another MWR driver, spun out on his own bringing out a caution and ultimately setting off a string of events that prevented Newman from winning.  On top of this, MWR driver Brian Vickers pitted the 55 as the cars were going green for the final time…also a little fishy.  Upon further investigation, NASCAR determined the acts to be intentional and detrimental to the sport of auto racing, all MWR cars were fined 50 driver and owner points, Michael Waltrip was fined $300,000 and GM Ty Norris was suspended indefinitely from the sport.  With the points docked, Truex Jr. dropped out of the final Chase spot, and Ryan Newman bounced back in.

So now the debate.  Was the penalty right?  Some say NASCAR went too far, others say not far enough.  I say NASCAR got it close.  I agree with all the penalties that were levied.  MWR clearly had a plan, and they cheated.  The code words relayed to Clint about arms starting to hurt and being hot plus the way he spun when watching the in car camera and hearing car audio… the writing was on the wall, and NASCAR would have been irresponsible to do nothing. 

That being said, Clint Bowyer, the guy who spun to cause the whole mess, is virtually unaffected.  Sure, he was docked 50 points, but that is all erased with the Chase starting, and he’s right where he would have been anyway without the penalty.  And others are noticing.  President Mike Helton was asked about this in his press conference and said the penalties were targeted to MWR as a whole, not one particular driver.  That response wasn’t good enough for Jeff Gordon, though.  He sent out a tweet last night reading, "Feel bad for Truex. He got in under controversy now out due to it. But the guy who started all of this not effected at all??? Don't agree!"

I’m with Gordon.  And I like Clint Bowyer.  I think he’s a good racer and a good guy.  And I realize the orders came from above and that this wasn’t his decision.  But at the end of the day, Bowyer still did it.  And then looked into the camera in the post race interview and lied. 

Jamie Little:  “Well, Clint we just watched some of the replays, and we heard the radio.  People that hear that radio, somebody asking you if your arms hurt or if the car’s getting hot, they’re gonna wanna know, did you spin on purpose to help your teammate?”

Clint Bowyer:  “No, I think we had a flat tire or something.  I mean, we went from leading the race and got back there, and I mean they were driving off from us.  I got down in there and kept getting tighter and tighter and tighter.  And then the 88 got in there, and by the time I got back to the gas, he got into me, and I had so much wheel and it just snapped around.”

But contrary to Bowyer’s remarks, Dale Jr. never got into him.  Here’s what Dale had to say after the race:

Dale Earnhardt Jr:  “He just spun right out.  It’s the craziest thing I ever saw.  The thing just came right around.  We were going through three and four, and I don’t know if they could put up his brakes and his gas (audio).  We got all that technology.  He was hemmin’ around on the brakes and jerkin’ the car around, and then the thing just spun out.  It was crazy.  I don’t know what was goin’ on.”

Truex also claimed in the post race interview that he wasn’t even aware that Bowyer spun out…uh huh, sure. 

How Bowyer gets nothing out of this is beyond me.  Taking him out of the Chase is too extreme in my mind, but couldn’t a points penalty of some sort be applied to the Chase??  The 50 points docked prior to it do NOTHING!!!  To Clint’s credit, he did call Newman to apology and said he’s felt sick to his stomach ever since the incident.  I believe that, and I believe Clint to be a standup man who made a bad, split second decision. That being said, he still needs to be punished more than what he got…which, again, was essentially nothing.   That’s my take.  What’s yours?

One More Race until The Chase

Photo is courtesy of http://blog.dodge.com/ Written by: Josh Overholser (@Sisco_Kid)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Football may just be starting, but for NASCAR, the playoffs are just one race away!  I know introductions are boring, but I just want to take a brief moment to say how excited I am to be joining the ‘Our Sports Report’ team covering NASCAR.  I’ll do my best to keep you as up to date as possible on all the latest NASCAR news right here on this blog.  And has there ever been some news lately!

Chase Elliott picking up his first win in trucks, Max Papis getting smacked in the face on national television by Mike Skeen’s girlfriend (who is now indefinitely suspended from attending NASCAR events by the way), Tony Stewart’s injury and sweet new scooter, plus what the heck is going to happen to Montoya, Newman, and now Jeff Burton as he just found out he won’t be back with RCR next season.  The list goes on and on.  I’ll get to all of those topics eventually on the blog, but right now, I’m sure the Chase is at the top of the priority list for all racing fans.  So here is the breakdown as we enter the final race before the cutoff at Richmond:

 

Drivers Locked In

Matt Kenseth:  He’s currently 6th in the standings, but he is sitting pretty for the Chase.  Kenseth has the most wins of any driver (5) which will give him 50 bonus points and the points lead as they reset for the final 10. (A win at Richmond would obviously provide even more pad and 60 bonus points)

Jimmie Johnson:  Not only has the five time champion clinched a spot for this season; he is also a new daddy yet again!  Wife Chandra gave birth to a little girl early Friday morning, so congrats are certainly in order for the Johnsons.  He will miss practice and qualifying (Regan Smith expected to fill in), but Johnson will be in the car for Saturday night’s race.  Johnson, currently the points leader, would be slated second after the points are reset unless he wins at Richmond.  He has four wins on the year which would give him 40 bonus points.

Kyle Busch:  With four wins, Rowdy is locked in and would be tied with Johnson when the points are reset with 40 bonus points.

Kevin Harvick:  Sitting at 3rd in the standings right now, Harvick is a lock with currently two wins for 20 bonus points in the Chase.

Carl Edwards:  Locked in the Chase, currently 4th in the standings.  He also has one win, good for 10 bonus points.

Clint Bowyer:  It’s been a great year for Bowyer with a lot of consistency.  He currently sits 2nd in the standings…the only problem…he has no wins.  He’ll try for one Saturday night to get some bonus points for the Chase.

Kasey Kahne:  Kahne will be a driver to watch at Richmond.  What he does could have an impact on several drivers’ chances of making the Chase.  With two wins, he has locked a spot.  The interesting part is that he is currently 12th in the standings, 10 points out of 10th, and holding a Wild Card spot.  If he doesn’t crack his way into the top 10, that means a one win driver like Truex or Newman would be left out of getting a Wild Card spot. If Kahne does make the top 10, that means two, one win drivers could then take the Wild Card, likely Truex and Newman unless one of the others in the hunt gets a win.  Kahne cracking the top 10 could also mean a driver like Kurt Busch, currently 10th with no wins, likely wouldn’t make it.  Is your head hurting yet?  Like I said, a lot depends on what Kahne does, so keep an eye on him during the race.

 

Likely to Make it:

Dale Earnhardt Jr:  He hasn’t mathematically clinched, but barring a major catastrophe, he’s in.  A finish of 32nd or better guarantees him a spot.

Joey Logano and Greg Biffle:  Sitting 8th and 9th in the points respectively, most betting folks would put their money on these two.  A finish of 11th or better locks in Logano and 9th or better locks in Biffle.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely possible these two could finish worse than that, but even if they do fall out, they each have a win which would get them a Wild Card unless they fall behind Newman and Truex.  (Keep in mind, if Kahne doesn’t crack the top 10 in points, there would only be one Wild Card for a one win driver, though…Again, watch Kahne at Richmond).

 

Drivers Who Control Own Destiny:

Kurt Busch:  No room for error for Kurt.  He sits 10th in the standings with no wins, and there are four drivers behind him within 20 points.  A bad night by him, and a good night by any one of the four behind him will kick him out.

Jeff Gordon:  Jeff is the first man out right now in 11th with no wins.  He controls his own destiny, though, because a win would guarantee him a Wild Card spot.  He can still get in without a win though with help.  Gordon fans need to watch Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, and Joey Logano Saturday night.  Gordon is in if he finishes seven points ahead of Busch, 15 ahead of Biffle, or 17 ahead of Logano.

Martin Truex Jr:  Truex currently sits 13th in points and holds the second Wild Card spot with one win.  A win guarantees Truex a Wild Card spot.  Being only 15 points behind 10th, he could also get in the Chase that way.  Truex also has to worry about Ryan Newman.  Newman is currently five points back of Truex with one win, so if Newman beats him by more than five points, Truex is eliminated (unless Kahne makes the top 10 and knocks out a non-win driver…somebody find me some Advil).

Ryan Newman:  As noted above, if Newman bests Truex by five points, he is in barring a Gordon win or other winning driver (Logano or Biffle) falling out of the top 10.  A win would also guarantee Newman a spot.

 

Help, Please!

Brad Keselowski:  Whoda thunk the defending champ would be winless and 28 points out of 10th with one race before the Chase?  That’s the reality for Keselowski.  Mathematically, he can still get in, but the odds aren’t with him.  If he gets a win, he’s eligible for a Wild Card spot, but to get that, he’d need to jump all the one win drivers from 11th on back but one…a task that isn’t impossible, but looks pretty daunting at this point.

Jamie McMurray:  If Jamie McMurray makes the Chase, I will buy all of my readers ice cream…because even though it’s mathematically possible, it ain’t gonna happen (sorry ice cream lovers).  He’s 39 points behind 10th, mathematically possible to make up, but he’d have to leap six drivers to get there.  A McMurray win at Richmond means he’d need to jump all but one of the Wild Card eligible drivers.  (And he’s a good ways behind Kahne, Newman, and Truex).

Paul Menard:  Can it happen?  Yep.  Will it?  Nope.  Menard needs to win and lead the most laps, have Truex finish dead last, and Newman finish 38th or worse.  Simple, right?

I hope this breakdown helps you get a grasp on what needs to happen and the possible scenarios (there are a lot of them) as we head into the final race before the Chase.  I’ll be back with a recap and Chase preview next week.  Enjoy the race!

How To Properly Divorce Your Sports Team

Photo is courtesy of http://www.seanpennsego.com

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Fandom is a complicated thing.  For any number of reasons, we attach ourselves to a group of people that get paid to play a sport.  Geography, sentimentality, family history, peer pressure, and good old-fashioned television viewing access can have an impact on what teams we root for.

Often, over the course of a long season, our team’s performance can cause our devotion to waiver.  We begin casting lustful eyes at the uniforms and stadiums of other teams and then we start to daydream about what the thrill of victory must feel like for these lucky fans.  If nothing else, we know that as fans, we can be a mighty fickle bunch.

As our feelings begin to shift towards another team, we seem to guilt ourselves for not being true to our teams.  You’d think we were married to them or something!  There’s no certificate of fandom on file down at city hall, so why does this always feel so dirty?  Surely there must be some way to separate ourselves from our teams if they have hurt us too many times.  Surely there must be some sort of etiquette for situations just like this.  Well, at least by the end of this post, there will be.

For starters, we typically choose our sports teams based on geography, family history, and television.  We will develop our team leaving etiquette on those three factors.

Rule #1 – Geography – If you are living in the same area in which you were born and you initially chose that team from an early age, you may not leave that team until you move to a new team’s vicinity.  This rule has been the bane of many an Ohioan’s existence for years, as many of them chose “The Tribe” when they were too young to know any better.

Rule #2 – Geography Part 2 – If you, for whatever reason, are a fan of a team from another geographical area and you feel you can no longer support that team, you must choose the team from the market you currently live in.  In my case, having violated Rule #1 by ditching the Indians to become a Cubs fan, my only recourse is to switch to one of the Ohio teams if my relationship with the Cubs begins to sour.  Since I live north of I-70, I must root for the Indians.  People must exercise caution here, because often times, like in my case, switching teams take you from one ugly wife to another.  (To clear myself of any metaphorical bleed over, my actual wife is beautiful!)

Rule #3 – Family History – If your family roots for a particular team, it behooves you to do the same.  Failure to do so may result in shame, exile, and forfeiture of any inheritance to which you may have otherwise been entitled.  However, if your family seems to root for many different teams (as mine did…hence why I am a Cubs fan) you may choose your own team from the selection that your family has established.  Going outside that list may carry the above consequences.

Rule #4 – Family History Part 2 – If your family roots for multiple teams, you may switch between any team on that list as you see fit, provided you own at least one hat of the team to which you are switching.

Rule #5 – Television Availability – You may choose from any of the teams that receive consistent television coverage in your area.  Not ESPN coverage once a week, but a dedicated local channel that picks up a majority of the season’s games.

Rule #6 – Relocation – If your team moves from your area…you are free.  They left you, so find the proverbial hotter girl and go to town!

This is obviously a limited list.  What other rules can you think of for choosing a team?  Let us know.  We may have to make an official rule poster that we can frame and hang in the Podcast studio for all to see.

You Told Me Your Finger Was A Gun! The 'Our Sports Report' Sports Movie Line Contest!

Photo is courtesy of filmlandempire.com Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Ladies and gentlemen, it's high time that we here at 'Our Sports Report' gave away some more free stuff!  Do you agree?  I thought you might.

This week's contest focuses on our favorite lines from sports movies.  There are the obvious inspirational ones such as "If you build it, he will come." or "Go the distance."  But few of us remember the funny ones like "You told me your finger was a gun!"  Well, those obscure, funny sports movie quotes are the ones we want to discuss this week.  There are many great ones out there and I know that you great folks out there won't let us down!

In the comments section of this post, give us some of your favorite funny sports movie lines.  If you feel like going with a very obscure entry, give us a little context to help us know what in the world you're talking about.

Just like our last contest, the best entry receives a $10 Subway gift card!  All entries must be submitted by Friday (July 5) and the winner will be announced on next Sunday's post.

So fire away folks, make us laugh!

The Navin Field Grounds Crew

Photo is courtesy of Google Maps/http://nowdig.com

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Although there is no longer a stadium, there still sits a baseball field at the corner of Michigan and Trumble in Detroit, MI.  The sights and smells of Old Tiger Stadium have long since vanished from “The Corner”, but there is still baseball being played on the same field where Ty Cobb earned his reputation as the fiercest player in baseball.  Some of my first memories of Major League Baseball happened on this very baseball diamond, and thanks to a few “law abiding” citizens known as the Navin Field Grounds Crew, those memories still have a place to call home.

Since 2010, Tiger Stadium enthusiasts and several Corktown residents have been mowing the grass, picking up trash, weeding the infield, and playing baseball on the same diamond that their heroes played on for nearly a century.  What they’re doing is technically illegal, since the city of Detroit owns the land.  But that fact has not deterred these fine people from their task of preserving baseball history.

You see, most of these people grew up with the Tigers.  Seeing this field die before their eyes is every bit as hard as losing a family member.  And so, for spiritual healing, the Navin Field Grounds Crew meets every Sunday morning with Ernie Harwell’s voice echoing Detroit scripture in their heads.

“For, lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth,

The time of the singing of birds is come;

And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Thank you to the Navin Field Grounds Crew for keeping part of my childhood alive.  I only hope that I can join you some Sunday morning and get my hands dirty right along with you.  Until then, keep up the good work, the place looks beautiful.

 

By the way folks, don’t forget to register for the 2014 Our Sports Report Wiffle Ball Summer Classic that takes place on July 5 in beautiful (and warm) Fredericktown, OH! There are some great prizes up for grabs (cash, gift cards, etc.) and there will be lots of great ballpark food to be had by all (and it’ll be cheap…unlike actual ballpark fare). It’s only $20 for a 2-3 man team, so sign up today! Information can be found on the blog and also on Facebook. You can also email us at oursportsreport@gmail.com with any questions you might have! See you then!

One & Wimble-Done

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images/ http://www.cbsnews.com Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)

Find us on Twitter! @OS_Report

It was just two weeks ago that we were talking about the greatness of Rafael Nadal.  Nadal had just won his eighth French Open and the discussion of him being one of the greatest tennis players of all time was back up for debate.  The Spaniard was riding high in the tennis world. That is, until today.  Earlier today, Nadal lost to Steve Darcis from Belgium in straight sets during the first round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.  All of the greats will lose from time to time, but for Nadal, there is a pattern that is beginning to form.

From 2005-2010, young Rafael was taking the tennis world by storm. He won five of the six French Opens, an Australian Open in 2009, two Wimbledon’s in ’08 and ’10, a U.S. Open in 2010. He even capped off his legacy with an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2008 Summer Games.  Between Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, they were, and still are, the kings of the sport.  The one thing with Nadal is that, since 2010, he hasn’t been able to close it out at most of the Grand Slams.  He has been in the finals at some, but besides the French Open, Nadal hasn’t been able to finish. I hate to say it, but at the ripe age of 27, I believe that Rafael Nadal is turning into somewhat of a specialist.

Before you call for me to be tarred and feathered in a public square, let me explain.  It has now been three years since Nadal was relevant at any Grand Slam event, besides the French Open. That is due to the fact that for most of his career, Nadal has been almost untouchable when he plays on a clay court.  For those of you that haven’t made the connection yet, the French Open has a clay surface. Stick with me here.  Since 2005, Nadal has won 8 out of the 9 possible French Opens, which has without a doubt made him the king of the clay.  He is still very young, but the way that I look at it, Rafael Nadal is the Ray Allen of professional tennis.

For the early part of his career with Milwaukee, Seattle and a few years in Boston, Ray Allen could do it all.  He could shoot, dunk, dribble-drive, play the pick & roll and was one of the premier players in the NBA.  Now for about the last 3-4 years, Allen has been known for just his 3-point shooting ability.  I am not taking anything away from Ray, but shooting from the perimeter, is really all he is good for anymore.  The same can be said for Nadal and the clay surface.  For the last few years, he hasn’t been able to do much on a regular surface or, at any other Grand Slam for that matter. But when it comes to his bread and butter, the Captain of Clay gets unleashed almost every time.

I may have lost my mind for saying that 27 year-old Rafael Nadal is only relevant on a clay court nowadays, but I let the facts speak for themselves.  Nadal may still be fairly young, and to his credit, he has won on non-clay surfaces before. But just remember, it isn’t always what you have done, but more of what you have done for me lately.

Episode 1 – The Maiden Voyage

Photo is courtesy of www.flickr.com

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Tonight’s edition of ‘Our Sports Report’ features the maiden voyage of the ‘Our Sports Report’ podcast.  On this episode, we introduce ourselves, talk a little about the Aaron Hernandez situation, and then round it out with a little segment we call “This Week in Sports” where Curt sounds off on the various major sports stories of the past week.  Thank you in advance for giving us a listen and we very much appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks of our first foray into podcasting.

Here is the link:  http://soundcloud.com/our-sports-report/episode-1-the-maiden-voyage

Thanks again,

Curt and Matt (@OS_Report)

The “Struggles” of being Johnny Football

Photo is courtesy of Getty Images/ http://www.cbssports.com Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)

For all of you sports fanatics out there, this has been an amazing week.  The Miami Heat won their second straight NBA Championship, Lolo Jones wasn’t happy with her bobsledding paycheck and Aaron Hernandez apparently killed a guy.  As compelling as all of those stories are, none of them have tweaked my melons like the quarterback formally known as Johnny Football did.

Earlier this week, the sophomore quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel, released a tweet to the public claiming his displeasure with his home university.  In so many words, Manziel stated that due to certain crappy events, he couldn’t wait to leave College Station, Texas whenever that may be.  When the media got a hold of that information, it became pure wildfire.  The rumors started to spread that he wasn’t getting along with his coaches, he wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye with his teammates and even that he was looking to transfer.  Whether that may be true or not, that wasn’t the reason for the tweet.

In fact, Manziel tweeted about his discomfort over a parking ticket.  Yes folks, you heard me right.  Johnny Football sent the college football world into panic over a STUPID PARKING TICKET! Coming from someone who has had 2 speeding tickets and 1 parking ticket in his life, I knew that I was in the wrong, and when it comes down to it, I got caught and paid the fine each time.  I don’t care who you are or what you have accomplished, it is your responsibility to follow the law just like the rest of us.

I understand that some people tweet about the most pointless thing when they are upset, but when you are the current face of college football; don’t you think that saying anything of that magnitude would become national news? Manziel receives so much publicity because of his football fame as a red-shirt freshman with the Aggies this past year, and also because mommy and daddy have mucho dinero.  He has been seen court-side at NBA Playoff games, throwing out the first pitche at MLB games and seems to have his ugly mug on ESPN everyday.  Fame and fortune seem to not be a issue for the Heisman winner, and because of that, I get the feeling that Mr. Football believes he doesn’t have to follow the rules.

Listen here Johnny, I could care less who in the hell you are or what you have done with your life, but rules are rules.  I may complain about and disagree with them, but I don’t go off on Twitter about how a parking ticket would make me want to leave college.  That is pure immaturity on your part Mr. Manziel and it is time to do a little growing up.  You should understand by now that because of the national fame that you hold, everything you say and do is viewed under a microscope.  The ceiling is still very high for this talented young man and I would hate to see him ruin it over an idiotic tweet.

Manziel and his stupid decisions are quickly making me dislike him more and more, but that can be changed.  If you are listening Johnny, be careful in what you say or tweet, watch what you do and for the love of god, keep your record clean.  You may be a spoiled-rich kid, but you can’t be that stupid!

Check Out 'Our Sports Report' on Twitter! Please Follow @OS_Report and keep up the support! Thanks everyone!

Our Sports Report Movie Review: 42

Photo is courtesy of www.crushable.com

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

A few weeks ago, I compiled a list of my top twenty favorite baseball movies.  Everything from Rookie of the Year to The Natural made the list.  At the time, I had not yet seen the movie 42.  After seeing this film, I now feel bad about my list.

We all know the basic Jackie Robinson story.  Not only did he break the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but he was one fine baseball player as well.  I’m not going to pull a Paul Harvey and give you “the rest of the story”, but I would like to discuss the movie if you don’t mind.

42 makes a valiant effort at showing us what Jackie Robinson went through when he broke into “white” baseball.  I honestly don’t believe that any movie could really show us exactly what happened.  The shortcoming with every movie is that the audience can’t feel anything.  We can’t feel the high and tight fastball hit the side of someone’s head (or in the wrist…which was what really happened), nor can we feel a player’s spike ripping open someone’s leg at first base.  We can’t feel the bat shoot pain up someone’s arms as they smash it against a concrete wall in anger and frustration (which, according to Jackie Robinson’s wife, never happened), nor can we feel the crisp crack of the bat as a triumphant home run is sent over the left field wall.  While sitting in the movie theater, we can certainly see and hear these things, but we can never feel them.

Also, as you can see, writers will take some liberties with historical events in order to make for a better cinematic product.  I’m fine with this because I understand that movies like this are “based on” actual events.  For you dummies out there, that means that some of this crap may not have happened exactly as depicted in this movie.  Be reasonable people.

I am not at all suggesting that this movie sold the viewer short and left them regretting their $14 movie ticket (or in my case…$1.25).  In fact, this movie did many things right.

For one, 42 did a great job in showing just how widespread racism was in this country by continually bringing it into a majority of the scenes, constantly keeping the viewer on edge and at times nervous for Robinson’s life.  This makes the viewer almost tired by the end of the game vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, during which the team’s manager incessantly yells racist stabs at Robinson.  This speaks volumes, most of us can barely make it through the scene, and Robinson put up with this kind of treatment for multiple seasons.  The man was tougher than I could ever dream of.

As a baseball fan and a bit of a nerd about old stadiums, I thought that this movie did a fantastic job with replicating Ebbets Field, Crosley Field, Shibe Park, the Polo Grounds, and Forbes Field.  These were the old cathedrals of baseball, the ones we can only daydream about while looking at old pictures, this movie brings them to life.  There were also some scenes that took place in Birmingham, Alabama’s Rickwood Field, which still stands to this day.

Also, as a major uniform nerd, I must say that the uniforms in this movie were absolutely beautiful!  I know that not everything was absolutely accurate, but the good folks at Ebbets Field Flannels made everything as close to the original as possible.  If you really want to read more about this sort of thing, feel free to google “uniwatch…42 review” and click on the first two links.  You will find way more than you ever wanted to know about uniforms.

Ultimately, this movie blew me away!  I would say that it definitely ranks up there in my top ten favorite baseball movies, maybe even my top five.  All in all, I’m glad to finally see one of baseball’s most important stories told in a way that does it justice.