Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brady wrote a blog.

Now I want to keep this short and sweet...but I must preface this groundbreaking, once-in-a-lifetime post with a little sappiness.

I fell in love with Brady the summer of 2006.  Since then, I have fallen even more in love with his family.  His sister, is not only my sister, she is my soul sister and one of my dearest and truest friends.  His brother-in-law, is my big, protective brother, who is also one of my favorite people in the whole world to be around. (Might I add, the two of them recently added to this family the cutest baby girl in the world, who is also the love of my life and, though he doesn't know it yet, will grow to like me more than Brady.) His mom, is not only the best mother-in-law in the world, she is one of the kindest, most honest women I know.  And his dad...well, his dad is the reason my husband is who he is today.  I see more and more of him in Brady every day, and let me tell you, folks, that is a good thing.  I have always known my FIL is an excellent writer, but it wasn't until the day of Pudge Rodriguez's retirement as a Texas Ranger, that I discovered that's one more quality he passed along to Brady.  (I actually got a little jealous when I read this email.) 

So enjoy, folks.  Brady Bond wrote a blog.  It may not have been intended that way, but with his blessing, I get to share it with the masses.  I must warn you, is completely unedited (I said he was a good writer, not the best speller.)  Oh, and if you love it and decide you like his writing more than mine....keep it to yourself.

If you will allow me a moment to let the dad in me come out.

First of all 26 is right around the corner, let's be honest it's all down hill after that. Last week it hit me, I am gettin old. I talk about how kids have it so easy, I don't get why anybody would want a phone that's in between a computer a phone. I think lectures are better than working on the Internet. And most of all it takes me about 10-15 to warm up before feeling good when exercising. I'm just getting old.

It hit me even more when I heard the news that Ivan Pudge Rodriguez was retiring. For those of you either not around in my childhood or forgot Pudge was the man. Pudge had IT. I am not real sure to this day what it is, but being a coach you just recognize when someone has IT. Few people have it but when you come across those that have it, it is a pleasure to watch.

Growing up a baseball player I had to do what he did. I wore #7, I played catcher. I refused to wear that stupid hockey mask of a catchers mask because Pudge didn't wear one. I remember telling dad I HAD to have that shoulder flap on the chest protector because Pudge had one. I remember being as old as 9th grade and dad saying your doing too much in between pitches, your not ready. It didn't matter, my swing was modeled after Pudge and I wasnt going to change it till he changed his. Hell I remember being a kid and trying in a game to do the cross (like the Catholics do) before pitches just because Pudge did it.

Pudge produced on the field. A lifetime 296 hitter for a catcher who played to 40 is pretty good. 300+ home runs and just a shade under 3000 career hits. Behind the plate he was a piece of art in motion. He threw out almost 50% of runners for his career. He could fire a ball from home to the center field wall on his knees, or so I thought. In 2009 he passed Carlton Fisk and owns the record for most games caught in MLB history. Pudge holds the record for RBI in a ranger game at 9, he is also the first person to score a run in ranger post season history(much like myself who scored the winning run in cedar hills first ever playoff win).

Pudge broke into the league at age 19. Just a kid. He was an AL MVP, a 13 time gold glove winner and a 14 time all star, he also has a world series championship with the Marlins.

What is more refreshing at age 19 he promised to learn English so he could communicate with the fans, media and American players, the same cant be said for some of his peers. In the mid 90s his contract was up with the rangers. He went and sat down with the owner and gm without his agent and said I want to stay let's get it done. And got it done. How refreshing would that be in a day in age where people making 20+ million HAVE to have 2 million more or they won't play. Be real Drew Breese, learn from Pudge. I remember reading a lot of Dallas Morning News sports day sections and never heard of Pudge complaining about playin time, money, anything. He just went to work every day and produced. He caught Kenny Rogers perfect game and he was chasing Robin Ventura from behind before Nolan put a whooping on him!

Pudge was and in my opinion is the face of the Texas Rangers and always will. Yea he prob was on the juice at some point but juiced or not he had it. Players have come along that are better, and flashier. But nobody could ever be Pudge. I can still to this day Remember sitting in the first row of the third deck at the ballpark and hear dad say watch how he gets set before the pitch, watch his leg kick, watch how quickly he throws the ball. Dad was right, maybe he saw IT to, thankfully he passed it along to me.

I've witnessed some great moments at the ballpark. I remember gettin chills when Cal Ripken hit his final pitch in Arlington over the left field wall and Chuck Morgan set off the fireworks and played the music. Me, mom and Lo sat outside when they clinched the division vs the Angels. Me and dad were there in 99 when they clinched vs the As. Meg and I were they when they beat those hated yanks in the playoffs. Many more memories will come but none will replace the memories of number 7 behind the plate.

I hope one day I'm blessed with a son and I hope for my sake and his he can find his Pudge in this world. Someone who will take the time out of his pre game preparation to sign a baseball for that little kid who sat above the dugout all batting practice just hoping for his signature on a baseball. An era closes to today. But I am thankful for parents who cared enough to go sit through batting practice so that little kid could get a signature on a baseball.

You may now return your regularly scheduled day.


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 9, 2012

Utter NCAA Nonsense

I have big issues with the NCAA.  They pride themselves as a superior organization of college athletic programs, and constantly remind us how hard they're working to keep players focused on education first, sports second.  Rules are amended, athletes punished, and teams stripped of their title, all in an effort to guide these young athletes toward a bright, beaming future, whether that future has to do with sports or not.   To the NCAA, it's not about the politics, or the hefty paycheck that comes along with the booming business of college athletics; it's about education.


Well, obviously, I don't feel that way.  And if you didn't gather that by now, please do me a favor and contact me in a private manner to let me know...because apparently I need to work on conveying messages via computer screen.  The NCAA is a business. Period.  And as good businessmen and women do, they ensure that above all else, they are painted in a favorable light to the masses; no matter how much deception or unethical decision making that entails.  They preach the value of a college education, reiterating that above all else, the students under their legislature know good and well that they must abide by all NCAA rules and regulations before they're able to play.  These noble soldiers of education claim their students must excel in the classroom before they're allowed to excel on the field (or court, or diamond...whatever).


Lebron James.  Recently, the usually camera-shy celeb debuted in a PSA urging students to "stay in school."  He rattles off some statistic about how many kids drop out of school each year (never clarifying what level of schooling he's referring to), and gives his own testimonial about how he himself could have been a drop-out, but miraculously defied the odds. (Bravo, King.)  I hate to pick on such a good-natured person, but he is ironically a perfect example of the hypocrisy in the sports industry.  I'm not sure what networks aired this commercial, but I saw it for the first time on ESPN.  And my brain exploded....

The double standards the NCAA, ESPN, and many professional sports teams have for education and schooling, is absolutely ridiculous.  Lebron preaches about the importance of education, urging students to "stay in school."  Really, Lebron?  This coming from the guy who has been getting handouts since he was merely 18, once even risking his high school eligibility after accepting several lucrative gifts?  The same guy who went straight from high school to the NBA?   Not a lick of college? I find it extremely hard to believe that had the NBA allowed high school students to enter the league before graduation, Lebron would have passed on the offer.  Nowadays, there are age requirements on students entering into pro sports.  The NBA requires athletes to be at least 19 years old at the time of the draft, and at least one full NBA season must have elapsed since the player's graduation.  This rule, I believe, is in place so that the head honchos sleep a little more soundly at night, because requiring students to theoretically complete only one year of college, is the exact opposite of the NCAA's supposed standards.

(I promise, this rant is almost over)...the NCAA has their gun cocked and ready when it comes to punishing athletes for acting like pros.  SMU is the best example I know: short version, they were given the "death penalty" and virtually the backbone of their program was indefinitely destroyed because the higher-ups at the school were caught giving high school recruits monetary a big way.  It's argued (by hubby) that this "kiss of death" was given to scare of the many other colleges engaging in such acts.  SMU was made the example of what not to do, and the inevitable punishments for all schools who disobeyed.  The message sent was that above all else, the NCAA would not tolerate amateur athletes accepting money or gifts based on their athletic abilities.  And yet, March Madness is touted as one of the most-watched "programs" on ESPN; the BCS National Championship Bowl is hyped up all during college football season; the College World Series is broadcast on every major network in TV.  Thousands of people and businesses make money off college sports, yet the only people who don't see a dime are the entertainers themselves.  How can college basketball players, hell even high school players, be expected to turn away anything remotely related to a "gift," when all these big whigs are making bookoos off airing their games?  How can high school athletes be expected to work toward a bachelor's degree and ignore the calls from the NBA or NFL, etc., when Lebron James, who went straight from high school graduation to the Cav's locker room, is making more money than some people with PhD's?!  How can we demean these athletes who stay in college just long enough to be drafted, when the NCAA itself put the rule in place requiring them to make an extended appearance on a college campus before they're eligible to go pro?!  I know if I had the choice between a college educationn at 19 years old, or a $7 million signing bonus, I sure wouldn't be shopping for college ruled notebooks.

It's almost pointless talking about this kind of thing, because it's not going to change.  The NCAA and all it's cronies will continue to exalt their organization as a model of educated, amateur athletes.  And they will continue to pull the puppet strings on the many athletes/coaches under their jurisdiction until the cash comes rolling in.