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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Craw’s Corner Sports Biz 6/30/19

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops
The home of Golden State Warriors, Chase Arena and the surrounding area will become quite a revenue generator starting this summer.

1. Chase pays approximately $20 million per year for naming rights.

2. Kaiser Permanente will pay approximately $295 million over 20 year period for naming rights to surrounding park and plaza, which will be called Thrive City.

3. If Warriors sign both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant to max deals, they will become most expensive team in NBA history.

4. Conversely, with the above naming rights and a powerhouse team, the Warriors are expected to generate $200 million per year in revenue, the most ever by any NBA team.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Craw’s Corner Sports Biz 6/29/19

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

For first time ever, in the month of May, New Jersey has topped Nevada for legalized sports betting wagered.

By slim margin, the dollar figures were $318 million to $317 million, but who is counting? Plenty of other states are counting with those figures.

Klay Thompson, More Important

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

As the official free agency starts this weekend for the NBA, for my money it was much more important for Golden State to get back Klay Thompson than Kevin Durant.

How soon we forget that the Warriors won one championship and 73 games in one season without Durant on the team.

Durant is terrific, everyone knows that, but four years from now Thompson will be a bigger star than even Durant.

Now your turn, tell me what you think?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Circling Memory Lane--A Boy's Field Of Dreams

Ted Williams, Luke Easter, and Minnie Minoso once played on this nearly forgotten field

by Harry Cummins

     As a young boy growing up in the 1950's without a father, my male role models all lived inside a termite infested ballpark snuggled between the Sante Fe train depot and the San Diego Harbor. It was a fanciful place where one's imagination could watch Navy ships and sailors arrive from far-away ports and trains depart with their whistling promises of adventure.  It was a place where a kid could fall in love simply watching grown men play baseball.

    Lane Field was constructed in 1936 in just 2 months time by a Work Projects Administration program and $25,000 from the city of San Diego. When Bill Lane, who made his fortune in gold mining, relocated his Hollywood Stars 100 miles to the south, the San Diego Padres were thus born.  For a city stuck in the Great Depression, its citizens welcomed the diversion of its first real baseball team as a member of the Pacific Coast League. A few years later, I would welcome the Padres as perhaps an escape from the loneliness and boredom of an only child. They were to provide much more in return.

     The ballpark was reflective of the quirky and colorful nature of the PCL itself.  The wind would blow off the bay, boosting home runs over the right field wall and sending them careening off automobiles and rail cars across a busy Pacific Highway.  Some of the great sluggers of the day played here for San Diego.  A scrawny local kid named Ted Williams signed a contract for $150 a month after a tryout while still finishing his final years of high school.  His mother allowed him to play games during the summer months.

     So many early Padre players still position themselves in the batting order of my memories.  Minnie Minoso, Bobby Doerr, Vince DiMaggio, Luke Easter ,Dick Sisler, Earl Rapp, Buddy Peterson, Harry "Suitcase" Simpson, Bob Elliott, Julio Becquer and so many more. I still remember the day I sat behind home plate and witnessed Rocky Colavito stage a special pre-game exhibition, throwing a baseball on a straight line from the centerfield wall to the catcher's glove.  I can't remember seeing anything on a baseball field that had thrilled me as much.  I spent the next week or so flinging rocks from my back yard as far as I could into a nearby canyon.

    I remember our gang of knot hole kids, who gathered outside the park during every game, day or night, waiting for foul balls to sail over the low grandstands which would then entitle the bearer to free admission to the game. ( Of course, it was sometimes just easier to sneak into the stands past lazy gate attendants or unguarded entry holes circling the park.) Ushers knew all of by our first names. Not always in a favorable way.

     Those scrambles for wayward baseballs were legendary.  Often balls would bounce onto North Harbor Drive and cascade into the San Diego Bay, requiring both bravery and aquatic skills to emerge with your admission ticket.  Chasing home run balls while dodging speeding traffic on Pacific Highway was another matter entirely.

     Once inside the park, new wonders awaited.  I quickly developed a 'working relationship' with the visiting team's bat-boy, and after several seasons of diligence, was the proud owner of the worlds first and only collection of autographed cracked bats from the entire starting lineup of the 1956 San Francisco Seals.  I was the envy of all my friends.  Years later, when I went looking for Ken Aspromonte, Haywood Sullivan and Marty Keough, I learned that my mother had already granted them their unconditioned release, banishing their bats to the trash heap and leaving me, to this day, with searing regret.

     Many endearing elements of the game from those halcyon days have long since vanished.  I recall how players left their gloves on the field between innings.  Home games would stretch an entire week, Tuesday thru Sunday, the Padres playing the same team for 7 games.  I would listen to away games on the radio, not knowing that announcer Al Schuss was still in San Diego recreating the game from a Western Union ticker miles away, relying on recorded crowd noises and raping a pencil against a table to mimic a bat striking a baseball.

     Sports writers of the day seemed to enjoy an exciting and dangerous life to this young boy.  I would watch them walk a rickety and narrow wooden plank across the roof of Lane Field to arrive at their precarious reporting perch.  They knew something the rest of us didn't and I eagerly awaited the next day newspaper to find out.

     It is not just the players and street pals that I recall.  I remember the time I sneaked into the umpires dressing quarters and introduced myself to the flamboyant Emmett Ashford, who 12 years later went on to become the first black umpire in major league history.  He later bought me an ice cream cone as we walked together to the waterfront between games of a Sunday doubleheader.  Something a kid never forgot.  An early lesson that replacement fathers would come in salient bits and pieces throughout my childhood and young adult life.

     Lane Field is long gone now. The termites finally got the best of the place. Today, a small, grassy infield and a historical marker set into granite celebrate the spot.  The Padres have lived on however, moving to Westgate Park in a revitalized Mission Valley, then on to San Diego Stadium, and now to beautiful Petco Park in downtown. Once again a ballpark by the bay.

     I  surmise that all of us have a field of dreams somewhere that sprang from the vacant lots of our childhood.  Lane Field was mine.  It was a special time in the life of a city... and a kid like me.  We both had a team and a ballpark that, for the very first time, we could call our very own. I don't think I have ever experienced such pride of belonging to a sports franchise as I once did back then.

     Even now, I swear I can still see the the sight of a white baseball arching against the black night sky, sailing toward the awaiting hope in my heart.   Or the sound of a broken bat signaling a dash down to the dugout steps for a useless souvenir.

    I hardly knew back then that so many of the splendored things I would later go on to claim in the name of love and passion, had their first circular tracings in this magical place called Lane Field.




Friday, June 21, 2019

Baseball's Version of The Fearsome Foursome

Who's On Third?

by Harry Cummins

     Remember when ballplayers were once evaluated and esteemed for their 'range'?  The ability to quickly gobble up real estate in pursuit of a batted ball.

     With the arrival of modern analytics, players are now positioned on the diamond by a computer.'Range' has been replaced by the ability to simply catch the baseball.

     Revelation or heresy in the Church of Baseball?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Celebrating Michael Carter's 40 Year-Old Prep Shot Record

'Shot Heard Round The World

by Harry Cummins

     Some will remember Michael Carter as an All-Pro NFL nose tackle who won 3 Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Others will attach the name to seven NCAA shot put titles at SMU and an Olympic Silver Medal in Los Angeles in 1984.

     This week, however, marks the 40th anniversary of perhaps Michael Carter's most enduring legacy, a singular feat largely forgotten by most sports fans.

     It was four decades ago that Carter stepped into the shot ring in Sacramento, California, for his final throw as a high school senior competing in the Golden West Invitational.  The national prep record for the 12 pound ball stood at 77 feet, set by Carter himself a month earlier.

     Carter, using a now obsolete 'glide' technique across the circle, unleashed the greatest throw in high school history, sending the heavy metal ball soaring to a distance of 81 feet, three-and-a-half inches, breaking his own record by over FOUR FEET!

     In the 40 years that have passed since Carter's record toss, no one has come within 4 feet of that historic heave.  In 2011, Ryan Crouser from Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon, threw 77 feet 2.75 inches at an indoor meet in Idaho.  Crouser, at 6'8" and 320 lbs, would later go on to become the 2016 Olympic champion.

     Carter, who stood 6'2" and weighed 245 pounds in high school, was not an imposing figure by modern shot standards.  For 40 years and still counting, his record, however, may be the most imposing in all of prep track and field.  Outside the rarely run 10,000 meters, it is the oldest high school record on the books, male or female.

     The Carter name still reverberates today thru the exploits of his oldest daughter, Michelle.  You may recognize the name Michelle Carter. She is the reigning Olympic champion and American record holder in the women's shot.

     I remember witnessing Michelle Carter win the 2016 World Indoor Championships at the Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.  Even an avid track fan like myself had forgotten 1979 and the astonishing accomplishments of her largely self-taught, self coached father.

     Happy 40th Michael!   Will anyone ever again perfectly marry strength and technique to soar pass your enduring mark?

     It would be a long-shot!

The current 2019 high school leader in the shot put is Daniel Viveros of Liberty High School in Bakersfield, Ca.  He has a leading mark of 71 feet, 3 inches.





By Gregory Crawford


By Gregory Crawford

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Game 2 Prediction

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Here we go, my game 2 Prediction and if you don’t like mine, give me yours.
Toronto 109 Golden State 108 

Craw’s Sports Biz 59 Seconds

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

The WWE has a new challenger in the world of professional wrestling, or do they? The AEW debuted last week and is attempting to do what many have failed to do, be  strong competitive challenger to WWE.

In any sport it is imperative to strike a great TV deal which the AEW will be on Turner Sports each Tuesday night. Of course there is no match for the TV deal that starts in October when WWE Smackdown show moves to Fox Sports for a reported 5 year, $ 1 billion deal. Big thing to watch is if any WWE super stars bolt to AEW.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Craw’s Sports Biz 59 Seconds

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Anything is possible, but not everything will happen. For all the people , including many in the media proclaiming that basketball will soon overtake hockey as Canada’s biggest sport, all you can say is PLEASE. It is not going to happen. The Toronto Raptors are great, but will never be bigger in long run, than Toronto Maple Leafs.