Cole Hamels, Wilmer Flores, and Tom Brady: It’s About Passion!

Passion for SportsWhat sports memory comes to mind when you close your eyes and your 10-years-old? Barry Sanders juking his way for a gain despite being surrounded by would be tacklers; Michael Jordan flying through the air, tongue out, on his way to a slam dunk; Wayne Gretzky streaking toward the net on a breakaway; Albert Pujols slamming another homerun.

Whatever the memory is, it surely brings you joy, pure joy.

This has been an interesting week in sports with two main stories dominating the headlines: The MLB trade deadline and the NFL ruling. Ultimately, this week comes down to three names; Cole Hamels, Wilmer Flores, and Tom Brady.

Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006 when he was just 22 years old. By 2008 when the Phillies won the teams 2nd World Series since there creation more than 100 years before, Cole Hamels was their best starting pitcher. In fact, he won Most Valuable Player for his performance in the Playoffs and World Series. His accomplishment led to him becoming a beloved figure by Phillies fans.

These days the Phillies are arguably the worst team in baseball. They are severely lacking in overall talent. However, Cole Hamels remains an elite pitcher, and when he pitches, the team’s chances of winning are good.

But he had to be traded or so said the experts.  A top pitcher on a weak team is wasteful. Besides the team needs to rebuild and that is done through prospects, which is what they got in the trade.

Wilmer Flores

Wilmer Flores is an infielder for the New York Mets. Next week, he will turn 24. He was drafted by the Mets out of Venezuela when he was just 16. In his time in the Major Leagues, he has shown himself to have some skills but is not a star.

Yesterday, it appeared the Mets had traded him. Flores and the fans were under the impression that he would be leaving the team for Milwaukee. Typically, when this happens, the player is pulled from the game, but Flores wasn’t. He batted and grounded out and the fans gave him a big cheer as a show of respect and appreciation for what he had given the team. He took the filed in the bottom half of the inning.

When he did so, Flores had red eyes and moist cheeks. He wiped his nose and lip on his glove, took off his cap and wiped both eyes on his sleeves. Why was he doing this? Well, it wasn’t the humidity. Flores had been crying.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady has been embroiled in a mess since just before the Super Bowl. By the way, his team won the Super Bowl, and it was the fourth time he has quarterbacked a team to the pinnacle of his sport. He also was a sixth round draft choice of whom little was suspected. It’s also been widely reported that Brady has restructured his contract numerous times so that the Patriots were able to sign other players who were crucial to the team’s success.

From the information that has been released, it appears that Brady is guilty of what he is being charged and deserves to be penalized for it. Patriots nation does not agree. The team’s fans are in an uproar. Many have turned into amateur lawyers looking for holes in the report that was released about the incident.

Here’s how a 10-year-old reacts to sports; Each victory is savored, each magnificent play is the greatest ever, and each star player is a hall of famer.

Nobody stays 10 and the pure joy for sports fades even if the interest remains.

You know what brings it back?

When the sport is not only about money and caps and drugs and cheating.

Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter in his last start for the Phillies. The team is 30 games below .500, yet they celebrated as if they had won the World Series. It was the whole team celebrating the game and Cole Hamels for what he has done for them over the years. The passion was evident.

Wilmer Flores was passionate about being a Met. He wasn’t just putting on a jersey prior to a game, he was putting on a Mets jersey which meant something to him. His emotions came pouring out. .

Tom Brady has been the consummate professional. He takes the beating that quarterbacks do and rarely misses a game. He doesn’t boast. He puts on his helmet and gives his all for his team. Brady is still that 6th round pick who has a passion for the game.

We fans want passion from our athletes. We want them to care. We want them to try their best. We want them to celebrate victory. We want them to mourn defeat.

We know money plays into everything that happens in sports these days. But passion must as well.

And when passion is evident in our sports stars, we fans will follow. We’ll remember, we’ll clap, and we’ll support. Just ask Cole, Wilmer, and Tom.

Picture is courtesy of Google Images


Hey, Marshawn Lynch, Talk! It’s Your Responsibility

Marshawn Lynch, Talk to the Media
Marshawn Lynch is the star running back of the Seattle Seahawks.  He is a great player on a great team. Lynch is fortunate enough to be on the reigning Super Bowl winning team that is attempting to repeat as champs this Sunday in Phoenix.

Part of Marshawn Lynch’s responsibility as a player on a team in the Super Bowl is to meet with the media. That is the league’s rules and if players break those rules, they receive a major fine. Lynch fulfilled his responsibility this past week. Sort of. On Media Day on Tuesday, he said over and over again, “I’m here so I don’t get fined.” That’s it.

Continue reading

Derek Jeter: My Twin, Sort Of…

Derek Jeter on big board at Yankee StadiumIt’s the day after in my part of the world. The day after what you may be wondering?Well, baseball’s regular season ended yesterday. The end marks another disappointing season for the locals, AKA the Yankees. Yankee fans (Mrs. MMK among them) are not used to the season ending in September as they have been spoiled by long reigns of success.However, this year’s disappointing season hurts even more as it corresponds with the final season of Derek Jeter. To say Derek Jeter is loved around here is an understatement along the lines of, “Those ISIS folks are not good people.”

Jeter’s impending departure has been resonating for the whole season but has ramped up the past week.  He was talked about and or interviewed in seemingly every newspaper, television channel, and radio station ad nausea.

It seems everyone has a Derek Jeter story. Well, here is mine.

You see Derek Jeter and I share something. But first, let me tell you some of our differences so you don’t confuse us.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I am not chick magnet who has dated Hollywood starlets, pop stars, or beauty pageant winners. But, my wife kind of likes me though.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I have not earned millions and millions of dollars. However, I am able to pay the mortgage, and I eat pretty well.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I don’t have millions of fans who applaud my every move. Yet, I did once have a blog post go on Huffington Post that got six hundred likes on Facebook.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I was not part of a team that won Five World Series Championships. But I did form a team – along with my co-manager, Ms. MMK, – and BR and SJ are signed to long term contracts.

So, what the heck do Derek Jeter and I have in common?

Well, we both came to the New York area in 1995. Derek Jeter of course came up through the Yankees farm system before debuting in May of 1995. He was sent down to the minors later in the season but did finish the season with the Yankees.

I arrived in New York in August of 1995.  I landed in downtown Brooklyn. That fall I was enrolled in the master’s program at the Long Island University, Brooklyn.

While I was excited and elated at the prospect of living in New York, I was intimidated. I didn’t know anyone either in the master’s program or in the city. You would think the odds of meeting one person in a city of 8.5 million would be high.  But it wasn’t easy. In fact, there were times when I felt lonely. Just like Derek Jeter who noted that he was overmatched when he came out of High School and started in the minors. He says he called his parents often and even thought about coming home (and leaving baseball).  In fact, he even cried.

On the first Sunday of my residency in New York, I went to Central Park. Backpack, bagel, and book in hand, I meandered around Vaux and Olmstead’s creation and stared at everything. People who saw me probably wrote me off as a goofy tourist from some hick town. And in some ways, maybe I was.  Anyway, the beauty, diversity, and cool energy of Central Park made me love Central Park from that very first Sunday.

In Derek Jeter’s first full season – 1996 – he won the American League rookie of the year award, and was one of the leaders of the Yankees World Series winning team. He also was already a darling to Yankees fans and respected by his teammates.

By 1996, I had wandered around many parts of New York City, learned the subway system and was no longer intimidated by its vastness. I had made a number of friends, many of whom I am still in touch with today. My grades were excellent, and I felt myself gaining confidence in my writing.

Fast forward to today and Derek Jeter has said goodbye to New York and Yankees fans. He made an indelible mark and will be forever loved in this part of the world. I, however, will continue the journey – from across the river in the New Jersey suburbs.

Thanks for pointing the way Derek.

I’ve got it from here.


Continue reading

Favorite Summer Pictures

With fall officially starting this evening, it’s time to say goodbye to summer. I love the weather and the colors of fall. Yet when the summer is over, I always feel sad to see it go.

Summer is for fun. It’s for vacations and beaches and late nights. Everyone is young and alive in summer.

Well, this summer my family and I had two great vacations. Disney opened the summer and Ocean City closed the summer. In between our vacations was camp and baseball.

Below are my favorite pictures from summer. Feel free to tell me your favorite picture or to link up to your own favorite summer picture.

Family going to Magic Kingdom

Ms. MMK and SJ on the boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Children at Magic Kingdom

BR & SJ walking hand in hand through Adventure Land at the Magic Kingdom

MMK's at the Magic Kingdom.

The MMK’s with the Magic Kingdom in the background.

SJ  in sombrero staring out of airplane

SJ in his sombrero staring out the plane window on trip back home from Magic Kingdom.

Father and son at Yankee Stadium.

BR and I at Yankee Stadium. Jeter had 2 hits!

Family at Ocean City.

The family on our porch in Ocean City.

Child asleep on Ocean City Beach.

SJ at the Ocean City beach. Summer has worn him out!

Ahh, goodbye summer. See you in 9 months.