Do some research before posting crap…

The Internet has its obvious advantages – which I don’t have to tell you about. It, however, has its disadvantages as well, and one of the biggest is that anybody can post things online.

Take this guy who “tried out for the Phillies in 1987.” He was commenting on whether or not Barry Bonds would have broken the major-league home run record….

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If this guy was a baseball fan as he suggests, then how come he didn’t realize that 1994 was the strike season? Read the following excerpt:

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Now, the guy clearly was referring to 1994 as one of the seasons Bonds went on the DL. Uhm, no. That year, the Giants played 115 games before the strike hit. Bonds appeared in 112 games. So, nice try.

Learn to do proper research – heck, none was needed to begin with because most baseball fans remember ’94 as the strike year – before posting crap.

Gutless.

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Why insult people…?

I’ve been listening to ESPN Radio the last couple days and during commercial breaks they have this Stephen A. Smith promo where Smith is blasting Dallas Cowboys COO/Executive VP/Director of player personnel Stephen Jones (and also owner Jerry Jones).

Smith calls Stephen Jones “irrelevant” in his rant during his show promo because Jones had apparently referred to Hall of Fame and former Dallas pivot Troy Aikman as an “armchair quarterback.” In that promo, there was also a reference to Jones having a silver spoon… just basically personal attacks.

I get it if a radio or TV personality is hyping his show or whatever, but to take personal shots, make personal attacks on another human being? Calling him “irrelevant”? That’s gutless.

Stats and numbers that don’t make sense…

Recently overheard in a break room: “Pretty soon, all Canadians will be homeless because nobody will be able to afford to pay rent.”

Uhm, no, I don’t think so. I didn’t argue with the guy, though. No point. If someone is that negative, there’s nothing you can say that will change his or her mind.

THIS guy, meanwhile, is seen almost daily outside Renfrew SkyTrain Station asking people for money to feed his brother and him. It’s always, “Hey. Hey. Can you spare some change for me and my brother so we can get food?” Always. The same thing. Almost every day, if not every single day (literally).

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I am sure I am not the only one, but I don’t feel sorry for him. I’ve heard others tell him (nicely) to go find a job instead of asking people for money.

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Moving on to sports… I just learned this week that in some places, it’s legal to start gambling when you’re as young as 12 years old!

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this – but there was the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach talking about how he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl – live or on tape – since he was allowed to bet on the sport (ie. when he wasn’t a coach at any level yet)… and proceeded to throw out the number 12 in terms of age. I would think he was exaggerating about that part, though I guess I believe he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl for many years.

And who are those people talking about the Ravens defense? They allowed the Bengals’ Andy Dalton to throw for four TD passes in the first half on Thursday Night Football in Week 2!

Then there’s also the NFL Power Rankings by ESPN.com… some head-scratchers on this one… The Jets blew out the Lions in Week 1 while the Giants lost their game… and yet the Giants (#25) are ahead of the Jets (#26) on the rankings? The Titans (#22) are ahead of the team they lost to – the Dolphins (#24) – for crying out loud! There were others, but those ones were the ones that jumped out…

Finally, the Red Sox in MLB reached 100 wins this week – the first time the franchise has reached that mark since 1946… Wow… That’s a long time. Prior to being a writer, I rooted for the Red Sox. But THAT is woeful. Of course, if they don’t win the Series this year, the season will be regarded as a failure.. .We shall see.

 

A whipping boy for each team…

On Wednesday, news broke that the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani might require Tommy John surgery, and I had an interesting discussion with a friend about baseball.

Now, I’ve thought all year that the Angels were a team capable of sneaking into the playoffs, and I said this on TSN1040 earlier in the summer even when Seattle had jumped out to a huge lead in the wild-card race. I’m no fan of either ballclub, but I just thought the Mariners were pretenders and the Angels might be a team to catch them.

Regardless, I said from day one that there was too much hype about this Ohtani kid. He’d suffered injuries in Japan prior to coming to North America, and from what i understand, the schedule in Japan is not the same as the 162-game grind in Major League Baseball. So, for me, the fact that Ohtani has had injuries this season is no surprise.

Then, the discussion became the fact that I’ve often criticized Ohtani on the Angels and James Paxton on the Mariners. And Doug Fister, on every team he has pitched for. I acknowledged the fact that on every team, there’s probably a favorite whipping boy for me to pick on.

But I then commented that Mark Shapiro, the president of the Blue Jays, would not be such a person for me – despite the fact that many Toronto fans whom I know like to crucify him.

Why would I not pick on Shapiro? Simple. As a journalist-type, as a writer, I don’t have any bias when it comes to liking or hating various teams. I try to look at it as being objective. I root for people, individuals who have been kind enough to help me along the way.

The writing journey that I’m currently on first began when I was writing Tom Candiotti’s biography. At that time, I emailed or sent letters to players, managers, and executives who had had dealings with Candiotti during his career. General managers and managers such as Joe Klein, Art Howe, Pat Gillick, Doc Edwards, Fred Claire… and Shapiro responded and were receptive to my interview requests.

For me, I don’t forget that. I certainly appreciated their time and the fact they were willing to spend a few minutes chatting with me about that book.

So, in my book, Mark Shapiro is a first-class human being, a guy that I would root for. At the end of the day, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about the human side of things. Mark Shapiro, in my book, is a Hall of Famer – to me.

I don’t forget these things.

Be careful what you wish for….

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So, other than writing about sports, I am an instructor at a language college, where I teach a university/college preparation course for international students wishing to attend college in Canada.

Anyway, this is meant to be a university/college-prep class, and it’s supposed to be academic. My students are supposed to have passed a prerequisite course in order to join. Now, one student had not met the requirements for my course, but the school’s administrators let him take the program anyway – as long as he hired a private tutor right away to do some extra studying on his own time.

Long story short, this is an academic English course which involved essay writing and speeches. He was essentially failing my course because he simply wasn’t ready for the course and his study skills / habits were suspect to begin with. An example of his poor study habits? He would fold all the handouts I give in class in half, and put them into his bag. I would suggest to him to spend a few dollars to purchase a binder so he could be more organized; doing so might help him study better. He never took my advice. (He did have a habit, however, of spending a few dollars every morning to buy a 7-Eleven hot dog, and he would eat it before class on a daily basis.) Of course, when we had to refer to handouts from previous classes, he would have a hard time finding the relevant sheets.

(Plus, I later found out he never had a tutor and did not follow my suggestions regarding how to improve upon his weaknesses. What he did, instead, was have a Korean friend tutor him – not a real tutor – from the middle of the program onward. When I found out, I told him flat out that if he was serious about improving his skills, asking a Korean friend to explain things in Korean to him was not going to be effective. As I stressed to him, he needed an English-speaking tutor to help him out, using English. But, you know, he preferred his shortcut methods…)

On one essay, I gave him a score of 63% with some constructive feedback written on the paper. What I didn’t find out until later on was that he went behind my back to complain to the school administrators that I was biased against him and he took a photo of that particular assignment as “proof” that I was discriminating against him. (I was also accused of being disrespectful to him – which is not true, by the way – and my actions supposedly weakened his confidence level and caused him to feel depressed… I mean, these were serious allegations.)

As the school director informed me a short time after the assignment was handed back, the student had complained even to his parents in Korea – and they had hired a “university professor” in Korea to look at the mark I had assigned on that one paper (along with the constructive feedback that I had left on there) to see if it was fair or legit. That, according to the student anyway, was his one piece of tangible evidence in his case against me.

But to show the student (and his parents) that he needed to work harder, what I did was something unique. It’s like, “Be careful what you wish for.” From that point on, I sent all of his written assignments and essays (and all of the other students’ too) to an American English teacher acquaintance (who, by the way, has 20+ years’ worth of teaching experience), along with my rubrics, to have her grade all of his work. If I’m going to be accused like that, I want nothing to do with grading his papers moving forward.

Well, maybe that 63% that I had given on that one assignment was way too generous. The marks that the American teacher acquaintance handed back to me for that student’s work… 33%, 60%*, 30%, 50%,* 17%…. Hey, if we look at it a different way, maybe it was my fault. I gave him too high a score to begin with and he let that inflate his ego and overestimate his true abilities.

Well, looking at those scores again… 33, 60, 30, 50, 17, … this is simply a case of “be careful what you wish for.”

I mean, this student’s not a kid. He’s an adult. As far as I’m concerned, if you have any concerns, talk to me before you go making unfounded accusations and complaints. Work harder and follow my advice instead of bitching. Think about where you’ve gone wrong and work on improving yourself instead of being lazy and pointing fingers. Follow the instructions and pay more attention in class instead of doing whatever the heck you want to while ignoring the instructions. You want a “university professor” in Korea to mark these? Fine. I’ll send them all to an American English teacher. Let’s see how that works out.

*There was also a minor dispute about one particular mark I had given him on a speech, on which he did not report the information that was specifically required based on the instructions. He chose to do the speech his own way – even though the day prior to that speech I had given him feedback on what he needed to add to it to make it stronger. Come speech day, he did not do so, and he was, therefore, marked down for missing those specific details. Moving forward, I did things differently. I recorded everyone’s speeches as MP3 files after that and had those graded by a different instructor based on a speech rubric. The 60% and 50% were the speech scores for that student in subsequent speeches.

Yes, I still believe the 2018 M’s will collapse

I’ve been on TSN1040 Vancouver the last few weeks discussing baseball as an in-studio guest. Every time the Seattle Mariners were brought up as a topic, I kept saying they are going to choke. I said it on air three weeks ago, two weeks ago, and even this week (with last week not having a show).

I am no Angels fan. I am no Mariners fan. I’m no Mariners hater. I don’t like the Angels. But crazy as it sounds, I still believe the Angels, with Mike Trout, could surpass the Mariners. Yes, the deficit is huge for that second wild-card spot. But if people are saying that Trout is always an MVP candidate, well, okay, then prove it by rallying the Angels to the playoffs!

The Mariners’ biggest concerns? Look at their run differential. As of Thursday, their run differential was +1. And since they lost Friday night in extras in Anaheim by a run, that means their run differential now is zero. That’s not a playoff team. Also, the James Paxton factor – once again, he’s on the DL. It’s an annual occurence. I didn’t get a chance to say this on the air, but look at Paxton’s last two good starts – one was against Baltimore and the other was against KC – teams struggling to play .300 baseball this season. And also, the Mariners have now lost 11 of their past 17. Good for them!

The links of the radio shows will be posted later, but I still feel the Mariners will choke.

EDIT: Here are the links.

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More talking points for future shows

Mariners. Guys are saying, “If the Mariners go .500 the rest of the way, they’ll make the playoffs.” Well, has anyone considered that they might NOT go .500? Guys are assuming they would. But the M’s have 13 more games vs. Houston, seven vs. the Angels, and 10 against Oakland. A lot can happen between now and the rest of the season. As of today, July 26, the Mariners have lost 10 of their last 16…

In addition to those teams that coughed up big leads, here are a few more:

1964 Phillies – lost 10 straight down the stretch to blow a 6.5-game lead over St. Louis with 12 to play.

2007 Mets – a team with Pedro and Tom Glavine coughed up a seven-game lead on September 12 to the Phillies.

2009 Tigers – spent 164 days in first place, but allowed the Twins to steal the division crown

1969 Cubs – had a 9.5-game lead on August 14, which was cut down to two games just 13 days later. Mets won the NL East by eight full games.

1978 Red Sox – led the Yankees by 14 games in July, and 7.5 with 32 to play. We all know what happened at the end.