Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

Peyton Manning’s birthday

Posted by Richard on March 24, 2014

From one Vol in Denver to another: Happy Birthday, Peyton Manning! I understand that 38 is the new 28.

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Best quote by a US Olympian

Posted by Richard on February 15, 2014

T.J. Oshie gets my vote:

When U.S. hockey star T.J. Oshie converted on four of six shootout attempts in overtime to lead the Americans to a victory over the Russians in front of Vladimir Putin on Saturday, fans changed his wikipedia page was to describe him as an “American hero.”

But Oshie was having none of it. In post-game interviews, he mentioned how vital U.S. goalie Jamie Quick was in stopping the high-powered Russian shooters. And when Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic asked him about being hailed as a “hero,” Oshie said that the real “American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.”

 

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LeBronomics

Posted by Richard on July 9, 2010

Mark J. Perry thinks he knows at least one reason why LeBron chose to go to the Miami Heat:

Based on a $96 million, five-year contract, here's an estimate of what LeBron James would pay in state income taxes:

New York: $12.34 million

New Jersey: $10.32 million

Ohio: $5.69 million

Florida: $0.00

In an update, Perry acknowledged that that's an oversimplification. For away games, players owe taxes to the state they're visiting. But still … 

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While you watched a tennis match, debt grew by $1.7 billion

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

Even non-tennis-fans like me are aware of and amazed by the Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which took 11 hours and 5 minutes (Isner won; I got it wrong when I first posted). Shortly after it ended, Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida tweeted, "Think Wimbledon tickets are expensive? Our National Debt has gone up by $1,729,000,000 during the Isner v. Mahut match."

An interesting factoid. If true. The folks at the St. Petersburg Times' PolitiFact.com decided to fact-check his ass. They determined that not only was he right, he arrived at the number using the most conservative methodology (well, he is a conservative). 

PolitiFact.com initially assumed (quite reasonably, IMHO) that "during the Isner v. Mahut match" meant the time period from when it started until it ended — about two days. Depending on whether they used CBO numbers or OMB numbers, they came up with figures four to six times larger than Buchanan's: 

Why so different? We contacted Buchanan's office and an aide clarified that what they'd actually meant in the tweet was how much the debt had risen during the 11-hour, 5-minute match itself. (The match was suspended for darkness twice and there were delays on the third day to give extra rest time.)

So, using our first method, the 11-hour debt increase works out to $1.718 billion, while using the second, it's about $2.4 billion. Of these two, the first is spot-on.

Since the size of the federal debt is a moving target, and since economists periodically re-evaluate its size, we'll grant Buchanan leeway here. While we think the wording of his tweet suggests the full, 48-hour period, his 11-hour number strikes us as a reasonable estimate. So we rate his statement True. 

Not just true, but conservatively true. πŸ™‚ 

But what really gave me a laugh was the USA Today story about Buchanan's estimate. Although they quoted Buchanan's tweet, and thus had the correct number ($1,729,000,000), they described it in the headline as "$1.7T" — "T" as in trillion. That's off by a factor of 1000.

They've since corrected it, but a commenter, urbanrealtor, noted that they weren't exactly open and above-board in their handling of the gaffe: 

I like how when they fixed the error (originally this article said 1.7 Trillion) they deleted all the comments making fun of the mistake. 

They shouldn't have tried to cover their embarrassment by deleting comments (and wording their correction so vaguely). But I can understand their mistake. For one thing, in my experience, most journalists are extremely math-challenged. For another, in this Age of Obama, it's natural for all his MSM sycophants to assume that everything is in the trillions. [rimshot]

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Blackhawks win — did vitamin D give them the edge?

Posted by Richard on June 11, 2010

Belated congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years. I'm not a Blackhawks fan (although I do have fond memories of their coach, Joel Quenneville, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche). But their victory is an opportunity to recall a bit of supplement-related news from Life Extension Foundation last month: 

The Chicago Blackhawks are the First Vitamin D Team in Modern Professional Sports History

PRNewswire-USNewswire

05-28-10

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Chicago Blackhawk team physicians began diagnosing and treating vitamin D deficiency in all Blackhawk players about 18 months ago. Apparently, most players are on 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. To confirm this assertion, simply ask the Blackhawk organization.

After many losing seasons, last year the Blackhawks came out of nowhere to get to the Western conference finals. This year the Blackhawks are playing even better.

According to my sources, improved athletic performance is only one of the benefits for the Blackhawk players. The other is a reduction in the number and severity of lower respiratory tract infections and a reduction in the number and severity of repetitive use injuries.

Did those vitamin D supplements give the Blackhawks the edge they needed to end their long drought? Well, they certainly didn't hurt.

In the past couple of years, about a bazillion studies have shown that most people are deficient in vitamin D, and that restoring one's vitamin D levels to the optimal range has significant health benefits. I'm taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

If you're not currently using nutritional supplements to enhance your well-being, you might want to look into vitamin D and other substances that can enhance your health and life. Start here.

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The greatest 2 minutes in Winter Olympics history

Posted by Richard on February 15, 2010

Day 3 of the Winter Olympiad is done, and still no alpine skiing, so I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane. In 1976, the games were held in Innsbruck, where I was born. Americans were rarely competitive in alpine skiing back in those days, so I was cheering on the Austrians. And the one I was cheering on the most (along with all his countrymen) was Franz Klammer, the greatest downhill racer of all time.

It didn't look good for Klammer. He was the last of the 15 competitors to ski. This was his "home mountain," but Switzerland's Bernhard Russi led with a time almost 2 seconds faster than Klammer's best ever on the course. He and everyone watching knew that it would take an amazing run to win. 

And amazing it was. I don't remember where in Knoxville I was living at the time. I don't remember who was there watching with me. But I remember vividly how I felt for that 1:45 run. Every muscle in my body was tensed from beginning to end, and I could barely breathe. It's by far the most intense 2 minutes of television I've ever seen. Some people call it the most exciting 2 minutes in sports history. I certainly wouldn't argue. Klammer was on the edge of disaster throughout the run, going all-out, balls-to-the-wall from beginning to end. 

I found some videos on YouTube. This first one isn't the best video quality, but it shows the entire run from top to bottom, with the original broadcast commentary by Frank Gifford and Bob Beattie. Even in a small window, with poor video quality, and knowing the outcome, it's still compelling, riveting, and intense. Imagine seeing it live (well, tape-delayed "live") on your TV, not knowing what was going to happen next.


[YouTube link]

The second one is from Austrian TV and is much higher video quality, but doesn't show the entire run. OTOH, you can see better how insanely Klammer was skiing. And you get to hear the Austrian broadcaster shouting "Jawohl!" ("Yes!") at the finish and see how Austrians reacted. 


[YouTube link ]

That, my friends, is the Thrill of Victory!

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Last-minute letter to Santa

Posted by Richard on December 24, 2009

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is an upset victory Sunday over the Eagles.

Oh, yeah — and it would be nice if the Phillies fans gave Brian Dawkins a warm welcome before the game. He's a class act. I hope that Dan Leone enjoys the game, but not the outcome. πŸ™‚

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Sproles beats Colts

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2009

It's probably small consolation to the Broncos, but the Indianapolis defense had even less success stopping Darren Sproles and the San Diego offense than Denver did. The diminutive Sproles (5'6" and 180-odd pounds) was simply phenomenal — 328 combined yards! Are you kidding me??

Manning and the Colts' offense had even more trouble than Denver with the Charger defense. The Colts wouldn't have been in the game except for two Charger turnovers (one by Sproles) and one of the most embarrassing brain-farts in the history of NFL football by the Charger defense, resulting in an easy Colts touchdown.

But thanks to those three lapses, it was an exciting game to the end. When, fittingly, the unstoppable Sproles scored a TD in overtime. I'm guessing his agent is ready to renegotiate his contract.

On a related (and belated) note, I was shocked by the firing of Mike Shanahan. Everyone knows his forte and focus is offense, and that certainly wasn't the problem. The Broncos had one of the best offenses in the league this year (despite ending up with seven running backs on injured reserve). It's the defense that sucked.

But what I really want to know is what's going through Cowboys coach Wade Phillips' mind these days. There's a good chance that he could lose his job to Shanahan for the second time in his career.

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Oh, those hated Raiders

Posted by Richard on November 24, 2008

I bet you didn't know this: there's a city ordinance in Denver that requires all uses of the proper noun "Raiders," spoken or print, to be preceded by the adjective "hated."

So today the Broncos played host to the hated Raiders. And the outcome sucked. 

That's the trouble with having to rely on lots of young players. Sometimes they provide the energy and enthusiasm that really makes a difference, like the previous two weeks. But sometimes they bring inexperience and errors. 

But, really, most of the blame for today's humiliating defeat belongs to Jay Cutler. When he's on his game, he's every bit as great a QB as he thinks he is. But when he's off, he really stinks up the place.

Oh, well — the Chargers lost, too, so nothing much changed in the division. 

And later tonight, 24: Redemption was good enough to make me forget the game. You've got to love a show where the first villain you see is a cowardly, duplicitous U.N. "peacekeeper" who keeps braying "We remain neutral!" and then sells out a bunch of kids. Now that's realism.

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Broncos – Falcons

Posted by Richard on November 17, 2008

Surprising: Denver defeated a strong Atlanta team on the road.

Amazing: The injury-plagued Broncos did it starting 8 rookies, several at skill positions.

Incredible: They did it with 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-string running backs. The latter, Tatum Bell, was selling cell phones at the Aurora Mall last week.

Unbelievable: One of the rookies, Spencer Larsen, played offense, defense, and special teams. He started at both fullback and middle linebacker. Teammates are calling him "Neon Deon," but I don't see the resemblance.

Things are looking up for the Broncos. A few more injuries and they may be unbeatable. 

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Marathon (old) man

Posted by Richard on April 13, 2008

Buster Martin is reportedly Britain's oldest worker at the age of 101. It's not a desk job, either. He cleans vans three days a week for a plumbing company.

If his age is accurate, Martin set another record on Saturday, completing the London Marathon in a bit over 10 hours. That's better than he'd predicted, and in line with his training. A month earlier, he ran a half marathon in 5:15.

Marathoner Buster Martin taking smoke breakBut the folks at Guinness World Records won't certify his achievement as the world's oldest marathoner because there are doubts about his age. He may be "only" 94.

It doesn't matter. He's still my hero. Martin never drinks water, so his trainers arranged to have pints of bitter (a British pale ale) available for him along the way to keep him hydrated. And he's smoked since he was seven, and isn't about to quit now. Halfway through the race, he took a beer and cigarette break. And after the race, he celebrated with a beer and a smoke. 

101 or 94, running 26.2 miles fueled by alcohol and tobacco is an awe-inspiring feat. You go, Buster! 

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that none of the half-dozen stories I read about Buster mentioned his diet. I bet he's not a vegetarian. I bet he likes steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash, fish and chips …

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Lady Vols repeat!

Posted by Richard on April 9, 2008

Offensive powerhouse Stanford scored 90 in each of the last two games, and most people thought they'd easily beat a Tennessee team that squeaked by LSU on a last-second shot, whose star player was still recovering from two shoulder dislocations. But not Coach Pat Summit. Not Candace Parker and her teammates. They told themselves they'd hold Stanford to 50 points and win.

Final score: 64-48.

How did the Lady Vols win back-to-back titles and a record 8th national championship? Defense, defense, defense.

Well, it also helps to have tremendous team discipline, great ball-handling, and the ability to make free throws (which is purely a matter of practice).

This was Coach Summit's 987th win (175 of those were in the AIAW, before there was women's NCAA basketball). I've expressed my admiration for her before, calling her "one of the greatest coaches of any sport, men's or women's, ever." If next year's record is remotely close to this year's (36-2), by mid-season she'll reach 1000 total (825 NCAA) wins. I believe Bobby Knight has 880. 

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LSU 38, OSU 24

Posted by Richard on January 8, 2008

Congratulations to the LSU Tigers on a great victory. I'm happy that my wish came true, and the team that beat Tennessee for the SEC Championship went on to win the National Championship.

I'm also pleased that, for the fourth time since the BCS Championship was instituted in 1999, an SEC team has won (Tennessee, Florida, and LSU twice), lending further support to my contention that SEC football is the best in the nation.

Somebody call that insufferable Ohio State fan, Hugh Hewitt, and ask him what happened to that vaunted Buckeye defense. Hah! πŸ˜‰

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Vols earn respect, but not title

Posted by Richard on December 2, 2007

Last week, after Tennessee beat Kentucky to get to the SEC Championship game, I expressed doubts about their chances against LSU:

I'm really sorry LSU lost. Having seen both teams play several times, I'm pessimistic about how Tennessee matches up against LSU, and I figured if they're going to lose the [SEC] championship, I'd just as soon have them lose against the team that went on to the national championship. Oh, well.

Well, the Vols came up short, 21-17, but made it a better game than I'd feared. The defense played well, keeping the Tigers' powerful offense under control and forcing a couple of turnovers. Tennessee led at the half, and retook the lead late in the 3rd quarter. But in the 4th quarter, Ainge threw two INTs, one of which LSU returned for the winning TD.

I was prescient regarding a couple of this week's other games, though: 

… But are you kidding me? Missouri and West Virginia vying for the national championship? Well, too soon to say. The way this season has been going, they'll probably lose to Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, respectively, next week. Then it will be a real mess.

Well, waddaya know … they did. And it is. So who's next in line for the national championship? Ohio State, I suppose — which is a shame just because of how obnoxious Hugh Hewitt's crowing about it will be. Then who? Georgia is next in line, but will the BCS really take a team that couldn't even get to its conference championship game and give it a shot at the national title?

It is indeed a mess. But I think LSU has as good a case as anybody, and they may get the nod over Georgia.

If so, I may still get my consolation wish — that the team beating Tennessee for the SEC title goes on to the national championship. Go, Tigers! 

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Vols prevail

Posted by Richard on November 25, 2007

Back in the old days, "The Vols beat Kentucky!" would have been met with one of two responses, "Of course!" or "So what?" Not these days. This Wildcat team embarrassed Arkansas in Fayetteville and beat LSU at home in three overtimes. They had their ups and downs this season, but they're a good team, and they were ready for Tennessee.

The Vols were ready, too. Wow, what a battle! Tennessee, 52-50. In four (4) overtimes. So, the Vols will face LSU in the SEC Championship game next Saturday. With LSU losing to Arkansas in three overtimes, they may be two tired and banged-up teams.

I'm really sorry LSU lost. Having seen both teams play several times, I'm pessimistic about how Tennessee matches up against LSU, and I figured if they're going to lose the league championship, I'd just as soon have them lose against the team that went on to the national championship. Oh, well.

Elsewhere in the SEC, after watching another Florida game, I don't see how you can not award the Heisman Trophy to Tim Tebow. The sophomore sensation has almost 4000 yards passing and rushing, and has scored 51 TDs, more than any QB who's won the Heisman. And 22 of those are rushing TDs — a bunch of Heisman-winning running backs had fewer (like Reggie Bush, Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, …). Tebow is a tremendous talent. And as young as the Gators are this year, they're likely to be just awesome next season.

But that's next year. For now, how 'bout them Vols!?! 

UPDATE: Nobody wants to be #1 this year. Missouri just wrecked the Jayhawks' perfect season. Good game. That's the first Mizzou game I've seen, and QB Chase Daniel was quite impressive. But are you kidding me? Missouri and West Virginia vying for the national championship? Well, too soon to say. The way this season has been going, they'll probably lose to Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, respectively, next week. Then it will be a real mess.

Remember back before this silly BCS system, when people complained that there was no objective, definitive way of determining who was #1? Is this system, with computers crunching numbers based on criteria that everyone disputes, really an improvement?

Anyway, I still believe that, top to bottom, the SEC plays the best college football in the country. That's their problem, really — they're so good from top to bottom that they knock each other out of the running nationally. 

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