Category Archives: Sports

First Amendment Is Under Attack, But Not How You May Think

The First Amendment is under attack again, but people are having trouble seeing that Colin Kaepernick isn’t the problem. It’s the rest of us for forgetting how America works.

The Kaepernick “scandal” is dominating the news cycle at the moment. If you haven’t heard, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback decided to sit down during the national anthem during the first three preseason games this month.  He says he’s doing it to highlight racial injustices across the U.S.

Of course, the expected backlash was instant, with people questioning Kaepernick’s patriotism and most suggesting he move to Canada, where his America-bashing would be more accepted.

NAU basketball finally changed forever

Yes, that really happened.

If you’re an NAU fan, you probably didn’t recognize  your school in the last two weeks, did you? I know I didn’t.

I didn’t recognize that clutch team that continually made play after play when it needed to, clawing back in four straight games to reach the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship game.

I didn’t recognize the Walkup Skydome, which was filled to the brim over two nights for the most thrilling wins in NAU basketball history  —  a 74-73 overtime draw-dropper against Kent State in the tournament’s quarterfinals, before a 68-61 win over the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the semifinals four nights later.

I learned early on, just don’t bet on sports

Some people in life are “glass half full” people and some are “glass half empty” people. When it comes to my sports teams, I’m usually so negative I don’t even buy the glass.

I have always said I would be a rich man if I could take the Vegas all the negative “gut feelings” I get about my favorite teams. I’m not exactly sure where this pessimism comes from, but I’ve been aware of it at an early age.

Perhaps, it was losing the first bet I ever made that made me take sports losses hard. It was Super Bowl XIV. January 1980. As a six-year-old living in Red Oak, Texas, outside Dallas, I was already a huge Cowboys fan and I constantly wore my oversized Roger Staubach Number 12 jersey for years.

So there was no way I could root for the Steelers to beat the Rams in the Super Bowl — as any self-respecting Cowboys fan shouldn’t. My dad bet me one dollar that the Steelers would win, and I took the Rams. It was the first Super Bowl I remember happening live, and I remember it all down to the “Mean Joe” Greene Coke commercial.

Of course, the Steelers made a late comeback, winning their fourth Super Bowl and becoming the “Team of the 70s” and not the Cowboys. I was so self-aware about how that made me feel, I remember actually analyzing in my head how I was too young to be understanding the long-term implications of the Steelers becoming the team of the decade. I mean, what kid does that? And in the grand scheme of life, who the hell cares anyway?

But either way, I lost my only dollar. It wasn’t a paper bill of course. It was made up of dimes and nickles and pennies I had saved in a Tootsie Roll coin bank. Being a sore loser, of course the tears flowed.

Hoping for comfort from somebody, I quickly realized that when it comes to sports, there ain’t nobody there to help you with that one. You’re on you’re own.

I counted up the money, handed it over to my dad, and, to my amazement, HE TOOK IT!!

NOOOOOOOOO!!!

How could he actually take it? Isn’t this where he teaches the lesson about how it was good that I was going through with my bet, but he can’t actually take a kid’s money? Nope, he had to go ahead and teach me the even better lesson that you DO pay off your bets and debts that you owe.

The other lesson it taught me: Just don’t bet on sports! My gut rarely steers me wrong and I would hate to bet against my teams continually.

Mets beat Braves to open spring with hope

All in all, the New York Mets’ 8-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday was an outstanding way to start the 2015 season.

Although it means less than nothing, it always feels good to beat the Braves anytime.

Here’s a Grab Bag from the first day of exhibition games:

  • Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis sure looks like he wants to make the team with his 4-for-4 performance and one of the better beard growths during the offseason.
  • It was disappointing to hear Daniel Murphy’s comments about homosexuality after former player Billy Bean (no, not the Moneyball Billy Beane … I already looked it up) visited the Mets to talk about “inclusion.” But I felt better about the whole thing when I read Bean’s amazing response to Murphy.
  • I know I’ve said it before and I really hate jinxing it, but I just have a really good feeling about this season. The law of averages are on our side, right?

Here’s why I love Mets, Cowboys, Jacks & Suns

by Jason Stone


People have sometimes asked me to list my favorite teams. I’ll do it one better. I’ll rank them.

Here are my favorite teams in each sport, with an explanation why.

1. New York Mets (MLB)

The Mets top my list because for some reason they are the only team that still makes me cry as an adult. I am more of a fair weather fan with my other favorite teams (Yeah, I’ll admit it!). But for some reason I follow the Mets from afar no matter how crappy they are — which is most of the time.

I began following the Mets in the late-70s after living in Flushing and visiting there every year. I didn’t really become a big fan until 1983, right as the monster teams were coming. By the time “Doctor K” Dwight Gooden was dominating the world in 1985, I was hooked. And we all know what happened a year later.

I feel the team is on the verge of something special again in the next year or two, but I don’t want to openly jinx it yet. After all, the exhibition games haven’t even started yet.

2. Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

It’s really hard to be a Cowboys fan. Mostly because of the harassment that comes from other people. It’s usually better to keep it on the down low.  But this has been a lifelong love since living outside of Dallas for a good part of my childhood.

They were the first team I was ever exposed to in the late 1970s, and I can’t seem to shake them now — no matter how frustrating the fan experience has become in the Jerry Jones era.

One of my favorite personal moments was being a reporter during Super Bowl XXX when the Cowboys beat the Steelers. I got to be in the locker room as my favorite childhood team celebrated their fifth championship.

Unfortunately I kind of made a deal with the football gods that experiencing that was enough.  Twenty years later I’m kinda wishing I never made that deal.

 

3. NAU Lumberjacks (NCAA — alumni division)

Well, I did drop a lot of money at the place as a student for four years, after all.

Nobody really cares about NAU sports, but for some reason there I am every Saturday in the fall listening to that week’s football game, or picking up whatever midweek basketball game happens to be going on during the winter.

I figure since I actually go out of my way to find NAU content, that must mean they’re high up on my list. I just wish more people cared because it sure is lonely being a fan of a team nobody even knows exists.

 

4. Phoenix Suns (NBA)

I can’t even watch the NBA unless it’s a Suns game. But I’ve invested so much emotional energy over this team — John F-ing Paxson and Robert F-ing Horry’s hip-check into Steve Nash to name two — that I just can’t bail on them yet.

Because of years of near-misses and the above-mentioned bad fortune, they deserve a championship more than any of the teams that I follow.

The 1992-93 season was the peak. Even living 150 miles away in Flagstaff, cars all over the town had windows painted with support for the Suns. I can’t even imagine what it was like in Phoenix that summer.

If there is anything right in this world, the Suns will win it all — someday.

5. ASU Sun Devils (NCAA — non-alumni division)

I began following the Devils’ football and baseball teams when my family moved to Arizona in 1984. That was just in time to catch the 1986 and 1996 Rose Bowl seasons, which were thrilling.

I still think Jake Plummer was ASU’s best player ever, but what do I know. Just seconds away from a national championship in ’96!! Oh, the agony!

As for ASU baseball, I used to love going to those games in high school in what is now former Packard Stadium. I went to most of the home games during the 1990 season. I thought for sure center fielder Mike Kelly was going to be a major league Hall of Famer. I still have never seen a player that good who wasn’t in the majors.

6. Arizona Coyotes (NHL)

I never really followed hockey closely until the Coyotes moved to Phoenix in the mid-1990s. Prior to that I had always lived in places that didn’t have hockey, and before the Internet, you needed a local team to get any kind of regular content in the daily newspapers.

So, I adopted the team that was the Winnipeg Jets, who became the Phoenix Coyotes, and then this season, the Arizona Coyotes.

The Coyotes’ playoff run to the Western Conference Finals three years ago was about as fun of a couple weeks of sports as I’ve ever experienced. Anxiety was high during every game. I would pace up and down aisles at sports bars — and even got to see a couple of the games in person for their famed “White Out.”

7. USA men’s soccer team (other division)

This is a weird one, I know. Not to sound non-patriotic but I don’t generally care if any USA teams or athletes win anything in the Olympics or whatever. I figure, we dominate everything anyway, what does it really matter if we win another.

It’s different with the U.S. men’s soccer team, though. They are still the ultimate underdogs. (I mean, U.S. fans are typically out-numbered even in home games!) Plus, every four years there is a team to root for in the World Cup, which is probably my favorite non-annual sporting event.


Best of the Rest

Arizona Cardinals (NFL)

It’s much easier to be a Cardinals fan since they moved out of the NFC East more than 10 years ago. It was an unbelievable month in January 2009 when it appeared for about 51 seconds that the Cardinals were going to win the Super Bowl. It still seems weird that they were THAT close. I have seen most of this team’s games since they moved to Arizona in 1988, so it’s hard not to like them.

Texas Rangers (MLB)

I don’t follow them on a day-to-day basis, but from the late-70s until the early-90s they were my favorite team, alongside the Mets. This was back in the days when you could have a favorite in both the American and National leagues.


Teams I Used To Like

Dallas Mavericks (NBA)

Before moving to Phoenix, I was a big Mavericks fan during their first three or four seasons in the league. Of course, they were the worst team in the NBA during that time, so I never got to enjoy them winning anything. And since I became a big Suns fan, they became the enemy quickly.

New York Yankees (MLB)

I liked the Yankees for exactly one year. During the 1981 season, I attended my first game at Yankee Stadium, which just so happened to be the first game after the infamous players’ strike that year. Between 1977 and 1981, the Yankees played the Dodgers three times in the World Series, and because I identified with the East Coast more at the time, I sided with the Yankees. Of course, the one time I root for the Yankees is the one time they don’t win.

Phoenix Giants/Firebirds (MiLB)

Yeah, I actually had a favorite minor-league team back in the day.  The Giants (later named the Firebirds) were the AAA affiliate for the San Francisco Giants and they played their games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium when the first pitch temperature was usually around 107 degrees. The best part of those games: the nachos! I can still taste them 30 years later.