@NASCAR Laps @NFL with Higher Faith Equality Index Score

This weekend’s Daytona 500, launching NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, will draw the attention of millions of Faith Driven Consumers as FaithEqualityIndex.com releases new data scoring the faith friendliness of NASCAR as well as key sponsors of leading race teams

Faith Driven Consumer™ (FDC)—representing 41 million consumers who spend $2 trillion annually, has earned wide recognition for its groundbreaking FaithEqualityIndex.com (FEI). The FEI scores more than 500 major brands for compatibility with the FDC community, making it the 2nd largest diversity index in America after the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. In the last two weeks, the group released its first annual ranking of Super Bowl advertisers and the National Football League, as well as a Valentine’s Day Shopping Guide for Faith Driven Consumers. Today, FDC is releasing its first score of NASCAR as well as key race team sponsors.  Continue reading “@NASCAR Laps @NFL with Higher Faith Equality Index Score”

If You Get It Right – That Would Be Phenomenal!

by Rob Steele

Two things that happened last night that bugged me.

They happened during the Royal Rumble, which if you don’t know, because you live under a rock or something, is a professional wrestling pay-per-view done by the WWE. Yes I consider wrestling to be considerably more of a sport board then something like golf, because golf is primarily a guy swinging a stick at a ball in what feels like slow motion, and then walking. Now that’s actually to the spectator point of view I understand that there’s a lot more that goes out in the sport. I can hear the complaints now. “Rob like you gotta line up the ball and figure out where it’s going and there’s the wind and this and that.”

You know what shut up. It’s not a sport it’s a competition. I’ll give you a competition it’s not a sport. In sports people get excited. You don’t get excited in golf, or if you do you have to whisper it. So no, golf is not a sport.

In professional wrestling, yes, the outcomes are preordained. I don’t consider wrestling to be “fake.” I consider it to be scripted. There’s a big difference. Yes a lot of the punches thrown don’t actually connect with anything. That’s fine. But when you have somebody pick somebody else up and throw them and there’s no wires involved, there’s a bit more reality going on.

Now do these guys know how to land properly? Yes. Thus making it essentially a stuntman competition. Look at it that way and it’s fun, as opposed to golf which is boring no matter how exciting you try to make it.

So at the Royal Rumble last night there was a new participant in the WWE. He’s a guy I’ve known for quite some time (not personally). I’ve watched him wrestle. His name is “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and he was known for over a decade as the face of Impact Wrestling, or TNA Wrestling, or TNA Impact Wrestling (if it would pick a name that would be nice) but my point is he’s actually a fairly big name wrestler who just happen to not be in the WWE- until last night when he was entering number three in the Royal Rumble.

I had two problems with this happening the way it did. Problem number one when he was introduced. Actually there a few things with his introduction, let’s start with his theme song. He’s had the same theme song, or at least a variation thereof, for as long as I’ve known him. (2004) When it kicks in, you automatically know who’s coming- in this case: AJ Styles.

Last night they didn’t do that and that bothers me because they started off with some kind of slow country music thing, which is not exactly what his theme song sounds like, and it never picked up. It made him look boring. AJ Styles is not boring.

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The Phenomenal One has FINALLY arrived. Can he save the WWE?

This is the WWE we’re talking about here. Vince McMahon, you’ve got the money splurge a little bit and get the song. I’m pretty sure AJ owns at least part of it by now. Of course they could not use his song because this would mean they have to acknowledge other wrestling companies. In a sense, I know, the announcers didn’t last night they said, “oh yes! He was the IGJPRFQ champion just like Brock Lesnar was!” Whatever the hell alphabet that was, it wasn’t the same as saying he was the five-time heavyweight TNA champion the six time X Division Champion and however many time tag team champion. (he’s got a lot of belts) And that doesn’t include New Japan or ROH. Did they mention any of those? No. Why? Because the WWE doesn’t care about history. (Which is why they’re dooming themselves by repeating it. More on that in a moment.) My point is that saying that might have actually built him up a little bit. And we can’t have that in a newcomer now can’t we?

The other big thing that bugged me was the way he was eliminated. If you don’t know about how to eliminate someone from a Royal Rumble match, you have to throw your opponent over the top rope and, yes, you can have up to, I think, they had at most 30 people in the ring at a time – up to 40 competitors. Last night there was just 30 – which is plenty.

AJ Styles was the third of the participants. A new one is introduced every two minutes or something (I wasn’t paying that much attention because I tuned and specifically to watch AJ and after that I didn’t care about the WWE- I’ll get to that in just a minute) He was eliminated a good half an hour later. That’s a pretty good run, but he was eliminated by a guy named Kevin Owens (formally Steen- of ROH)

What bothers me about him getting eliminated by Kevin Owens was not that he was eliminated by Kevin Owens. It was that Owens looked at AJ and said “welcome to the WWE!” before throwing him over the top rope. Here’s my problem with that. Kevin Owens has been with the WWE maybe six months. They got the absolute newest guy to say “welcome to the WWE!” Like he’s been there long enough to say that! If that have been said by Kane, who’s been there for 20 something years, or if it been said by Bray Wyatt, who’s still relatively new but has more than 6-months under his belt, I would have had a better time accepting that phrase being used there.

With Steen Owens, saying it, that doesn’t sit well with me.

What I was saying about not caring where the rest of the match, I didn’t. Still don’t. Especially since Triple H won the belt. Oh goody, nepotism at its finest! And that’s my biggest problem with the WWE. It is no longer about the wrestling. It’s about the ownership, namely Vince McMahon and Triple H, and how much wrestlers are willing to kiss their asses. In some cases, literally. I wish I didn’t mean that.

But there’s a bit of hope.

AJ Styles is not one of the biggest guys in the world. He’s a cruiserweight. Over the weekend, the WWE also signed Austin Aries (who I do know incidentally) to a deal with NXT – the minor leagues of the WWE. Couple those signings with the addition of a number of new “high flying” cruiserweight-style stars and we could see the return of the cruiserweight division which has been kept rather low-key in terms of being involved in the whole “Vince and Triple H Ego Show.”

You know. The way wrestling used to be. When it was fun. They have a great opportunity here and I honestly hope they don’t screw this up.   If they don’t, that would be Phenomenal.

Shut The Buck Up

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By Todd Vandenberg

To be clear, what a fantastic game that was last night. I’m not sure how the rest of the Series can live up to the drama of Game One – and of course it will, and will surpass it, because it was just the first game, after all. A game that started with Matt Harvey grooving a fastball to notorious first-ball hitter Alcides Escobar, who slammed it off the leg of the ultra-fast Yoenis Cespedes for a standup inside-the-park homer. First, the pitch: in case their scouts missed it, Royals manager Ned Yost is very publicly on record, telling everyone who has ears, that Escobar swings at the first pitch. Dude, Harvey, what were you thinking? Escobar is so locked into that first swing, you could have thrown to the dugout and gotten a strike. There were questions as to the wisdom of playing Cespedes in center, especially in the vast acreage of Kauffman Stadium. Despite his play on Escobar’s ball, where he clearly looked at LF Michael Conforto and then knew he had to make the play, Cespedes can’t be faulted on it. The statheads tell us his route efficiency (the path he took to the ball) was 95%. No, it wasn’t perfect, but he made a great effort; Escobar just found the perfect hole in left center. Continue reading “Shut The Buck Up”

Football, Violence and the American Way by Lee Vowell

We Americans love our football. And we Americans love our violence. One could assume the reason we love our football is because it is a violent sport and, well…it is ours. No place else in the world truly cares about the sport anywhere close to the way we do. We invented it! And yes, since we are the greatest nation a divine power ever allowed to be on the Earth and we are THE global power – we tell this to ourselves, you know – we will force upon other cities and nations our sport. Hello, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe, the World! Germany! We see you! You people already have our blue jeans, our bloody action films, our music…try our sport as well. We promise. You will love it! And we know, you already have your own violent sports, but they are just so you. Before you even start to trade sports with us, let me tell you why we do not want to really, like long-term, embrace yours. Continue reading “Football, Violence and the American Way by Lee Vowell”

Dodgers In Trouble? by Lee Vowell

I am a dyed-in-the-wool Dodgers homer. I want them to win every game, but when they do lose I am insane enough to think 1) I somehow something to do with it (Was it what I wore that day? Is it because I watched the game?), and 2) this will be the first loss in a string of around 874 of them. As I write this the Dodgers have been shut out twice in a row by the evilness to the North, the New York/San Francisco Giants. Part of the issue with the last two games is what has concerned me for the entire season thus far. And so, I share my pessimism with you now. Continue reading “Dodgers In Trouble? by Lee Vowell”

Deflect Gate – by Todd Vandenberg

As in, “I won’t cooperate, I won’t provide any texts or emails, I’ll deflect all the blame I can.”

Good plan, Tom. It’s kinda working, too.

The consensus response from Patriots fans and Brady fans has been predictable, and sad. (Full disclosure; I’m a Dolphins fan, but have always liked and respected Tom Brady). I’ve read statements like “Framegate”, “It’s just circumstantial evidence”, “He didn’t need deflated balls in the Super Bowl”, etc., etc. Continue reading “Deflect Gate – by Todd Vandenberg”

Pacquiao’s Policy of Truthiness by Lee Vowell

I am a hypocrite. I like boxing. I always have. I hate violence. I always have. The fact that I enjoy sanctioned violence is hypocritical. But still, I like boxing and I cannot seem to stop. I used to be in Gold Gloves when I was a teenager. I liked it. The thought of actually hitting someone with my fists repulses me, though. I hope I never have to do it. But I don’t mind watching other people getting paid to do it well. I am a hypocrite. So is boxing. The sport is there for the athletes who box well to make lots of money. Then the sport turns on itself as it has since the Floyd Mayweather and (allegedly) Manny Pacquiao match this past Saturday. Lawsuit after lawsuit from all kinds of people and angles, trying to chip away at those people involved in a match that made at least $300 million. Saturday’s match could have put boxing back in the public view of entertainment sports, but almost immediately the business of boxing reminded everyone why it fell from the graces of the sports-minded public in the first place: it’s a dirty, backstabbing and cruel business. I like boxing. Boxing hates itself. Continue reading “Pacquiao’s Policy of Truthiness by Lee Vowell”

“Some Hall of Fame Candidates” by Todd Vandenberg

On the most recent (and typically brilliant) edition of Baseball Beer and BBQ, I was lucky enough to join the fellas – said gentlemen being Mr. Fabulous, also known as Ted, and The Sexy God, known in some circles as Lee. As they refuse to acknowledge my chosen sobriquet, Manfred the Wonder Dog, I have settled for Mr. Irrelevant. Continue reading ““Some Hall of Fame Candidates” by Todd Vandenberg”

“If I were the MLB Commissioner” by Joel Schafer

I have said many times in the past that Major League Baseball needs change. Well, being that we started a new era in baseball where in large part Bud Selig screwed the league up more than it should have ever been. There was a strike shortened season that did not have a champion crowned. He tried to take out 2 teams, the Twins and Expos. He added inter-league play. He made an exhibition game count: the league that wins gets home field for the World Series. He has expanded the playoffs from 4 teams to too many teams and a bad playoff system. He also let the Steroid era get way too big with way too much FAKE media outcry. Thanks for nothing Bud. You are by far the worst sports commissioner in the history of all of sports. To make baseball better there are several things I would do to make the league better. Continue reading ““If I were the MLB Commissioner” by Joel Schafer”

“THE HUSTLE” by Joel Schafer

I would like to thank Lee and Ted and Todd for giving me the opportunity to write for the Triple B.  It is an honor to give you my unique look into a sport I love. Without any further adieu, I give you a piece I wrote while my youngest “chipper” was in the hospital,  written from my good ol’ blackberry (no I don’t have it anymore).

Continue reading ““THE HUSTLE” by Joel Schafer”