Ask Gary: Watching sports in foul weather

by Gary Shelton on September 3, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Rays

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Saturday, 6 a.m.

Looking at the Siege the Poncho Bucs game the other night got me thinking--Gary, what horrendous weather sporting events do you recall having to attend?

Barry McDowell
There have been a few. I covered a game between the Vikings and Raiders in Minnesota one  night when it was absurdly cold. A friend of mine gave me a lift back to the hotel after the game, and his truck had trouble

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cranking. I honestly thought that if I had to walk back to the stadium, I would die.

Seriously, several people died of exposure that night. It was ridiculously cold.
I was in Green Bay one night, and it was everything I could do t walk to the car over the ice on the parking lot. The Wisconsin writers made quite the sport of me.
The coldest I ever was at a Winter Olympics was at the bobsled finish line in Lillehammer. It was a great Olympics as far as the weather, but not that day. I needed better shoes.
I remember going to the downhill in Nagano. We had to drive 45 minutes up the mountain, and as soon as we got there, they canceled the competition because of too much snow (does baseball
cancel a game because of too much grass?) So we walk five feet, get onto another bus and head 45 minutes down the mountain. Except that I sat in front of Bill Conlin, who proceeded to talk non-stop. I was the only guy who wanted the bus driver to drive off the cliff.
I have a nice memory of a bad weather day in Nagano. I was downtown, and I was caught in a freezing rain with no hat. My hair was plastered to my head, and I thought I might drown.
Out of nowhere, a small Japanese woman approached me and gently covered my head with her umbrella. It occorred to me I would never see this woman again in my lifetime, but she took a minute for a kindness to a stranger. It was very sweet.
Later in those games, I stole away to nap one afternoon. There was an earthquake, and I woke up with my bed moving across the floor. I had a dream that my younger son was shaking the bed. I actually yelled at him.
Conlin, as it turns out, wasn't a very nice human being. You can look it up.
I recently read about UCF planning a statue of coach O'Leary.  I have to ask did he actually stand by and watch a kid in medical need who eventually died and did nothing and not only that prevented his staff from assisting as well? I must have misunderstood. If this did occur what could have possibly been offered to explain?

And, how did the term Tommy John elbow come about? 

Veronica Richardson
Vee, it's a mystery to me. O'Leary wasn't that good a football coach. He started off 0-11 and ended up 0-8, he lied on his resume, and eyewitnesses said he belittled Ereck Plancher before Plancher died. All I can figure out is we have a granite surplus. Seriously. It's like putting the Archies in the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame.
To me, frankly, O'Leary should have been ashamed of his era at UCF. Forget the 2014 season and the Fiesta Bowl. O'Leary was a dark cloud on UCF. He certainly wasn't something to celebrate.
But that's the thing about football. We're so eager to embrace anything special that the pretty good becomes immortal. With O'Leary, I'm pulling for the pigeons.
Tommy John was a pitcher who had the first surgical procedure on his arm. The surgery, now quite common, is named after him.
Of the 15 MLB pitchers currently with long-term $100 million or more contracts, 8 of them have been or are on the DL during this 2016 season.
Of the 33 MLB position players currently with long-term $100 million or more contracts, 12 of them have been or are on the DL, and/or have been suspended, and/or have been released during this 2016 season.
If you were an MLB owner, what is the maximum number of years contract you would offer to any player?

Scott, I'd go a millions years. I'd just offer $1 a year.

Seriously, I'd be so careful with pitchers' contracts. The first thing I thought of when David Price signed his megadeal was "He only has one left elbow." The problem is, if your Boston and really, really want this guy, you think this guy can put you over the top, well, you signed that contract or you watch him go to, say, Toronto.

That said, I'd be very hard-pressed to go beyond four years. The player would have be sturdy and special.

But I agree with you. The years are so much more important than the cash.

Me? I'd prefer to pay the guy per quality start with bonuses for ERA and batting average against. I think the players association might have a problem with me.

 Now that Tampa Bay regrettably has it's own " cop kills unarmed black man " issue, how much longer will Coach Koetter, the Bucs,and the NFL be able to keep their players, (75% of whom are persons of color), standing for the anthem with that lame " we do it to support the military " line? Don't you think these educated, aware players know that anthem is a racist, pro slavery poem authored by a Washington DC lawyer who was a supporter of Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, anti-abolitionist, fierce prosecutor of abolitionists, and influential in the Supreme Court's pro slavery Dred Scott decision? Don't you think the third of four verses to the poem,which vilifies the 6000+ runaway slaves of the Colonial Marines in opposition at Ft. McHenry, with the stanzas:

no refuge could save the hireling or slave

from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave  

is known by these college educated current "slaves" of the NFL? Do you agree, or disagree that this issue will continue to be a growing problem for the white masters of the league, just as it continues to be the overriding stigma on the democratic experiment of the USA?

Richard Wade

Richard, with all due respect, I couldn't disagree with you more.

The NFL seems to realize it's a different day than when Vince Lombardi lined his players up along the sideline. No one, not Dirk Koetter, not Bill Belichick, is "keeping their players standing." If a player wants to protest, he protests. No one has even attempted to sway Kaepernick from his stance.

As far as the anthem, I don't know if Francis Scott Key was a racist. Let's say, for stake of argument, that he was. (A lot of people supported Jackson. I assume it's why he won.)

But the anthem today hardly represents Key's view of life. It has indeed come to be a symbol for a lot of men to shed blood for it, and I don't find anything lame about that. My son served. My father and my father-in-law served. There are the paying customers here, so let's not take them lightly. Even Kaepernick has clarified his original stance.

I've said this before, but I've heard hundreds of anthems at the Olympics. And I stood for everyone out of respect for those who loved their anthem. I certainly wasn't approving of China or Russia as I stood.

But the key to this protest, if it's going to resonate with people who can affect change, is not to make less of the anthem. It's to make more of the arguments.

Nothing is lame about the anthem as it plays today. Ask a vet what he thinks about the anthem. We aren't at Fort McHenry anymore.

Again, where we really disagree is that you think Koetter, a man who has never won an NFL game, could order a millionaire man of conscious to stand. But have you heard the response. A lot of black players and former players think Kaepernick is wrong. A lot of white players and former players think he has a point. Meanwhile, there is dialogue. That, I think, is good.




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