Raja Bell

Dan Bickley wrote a great article on Raja Bell of the Phoenix Suns.

During the playoffs, he became my favorite Sun. I think he should be Captain.

Players like him don’t come by often. Suns fans crave his type, because he’s husltling, diving, defending, and fighting:
PASSION, heart! I love it!

What’s even more exciting is that I think that Robert Sarver has it, which gives the Suns a huge upside; he’ll attract others that have it, because he can recognize it.

This might just be our year!

By the way, he's now "journaling" for ESPN. Great stuff. Heres a good Suns Blog.


Goodyear Air Show

I took my family to the Arizona Goodyear Balloon and Air Spectacular on Sunday, October 22nd to see the Blue Angels.

Memo to the City of Goodyear: If you don’t have the appropriate facility, don’t host an event.

Once we got there, we learned that the parking situation (which was a dust bowl) required shuttling people into the event, because the lot was about 2 miles away.

After we waited 45 minutes to get on the shuttle, and after being driven to the event, the first thought after getting off the shuttle was, “you gotta be kidding me, An air show on the dust!?”

The “powers that be” placed the crowd and the exhibits (10's of thousands) on the dirt, which had the consistency of powdered-sugar. The dust was horrible, especially when a few dust-devils ripped through the crowd. Had I known, I wouldn't have gone. I feel like the venue was a bit of a rip-off, because the conditions were prohibitive: There was dust in everything, in the food, on the exhibits, and people weren’t happy. There were rumors of fights in the crowd on Saturday, October 20th in particular. The show itself was pretty good, especially the Blue Angels! WOW! We did left early to beat the crowds – my kids were done, and I wanted to minimize their exposure to long lines to for the shuttle.

Since I have young children, I bought upgraded tickets to the Cooperstown Pavilion ($35.00 each), which promised shaded seating, and tables and chairs. The tickets didn’t say, “You have a chance at getting some shade,” but it turns out, that’s all I got, was a chance, and no shade! Yes, I could have bought a few souvenir umbrellas… The tickets were non-refundable.

They charged full bore for the event and the food: $3.00 for 16 oz water, $7.00 for 2 chicken fingers and fries... I can only hope they take the profits and build a paved/concrete tarmac for future events.

Personally, I thought of the Soldiers that are in Iraq and other dust-bowls who endure these conditions with full gear while being shot at, and 40 degrees hotter day in and day out! However, the issue at stake is that the people that administered (and approved) this event were only thinking about profits, and not public accommodations. There’s also a health and safety issue in those conditions.

I’ll never go back to Goodyear Airport, and I’ll bet not many will either. It was funny. Before the Blue Angels performed, the PA announcer encouraged people to “stick around after the show to avoid long lines, then be sure to patronize local merchants in Goodyear. That sounded like a nice invitation, but all I heard was, “Stick around for 2 more hours of DUST BOWL hospitality!”


Old Media

This post from Powerline is a must read. It shows President Bush's point about Vietnam being like the War on Terror: The enemy uses the mainstream American press to advance their cause. Could the evidence be any more clear?

Memo to the MSM TV networks:

ABC: A Bunch of Crap
CBS: Exactly! See-BS
NBC: NoBody Cares.

Go away. Go excercise your 1st ammendment rights and wrongs in other countries. See what happens.


Same old Cardinals

I’ve wanted to cheer for the Arizona Cardinals for 18 years. I bought tickets in the Buddy Ryan years. We’re reliving those years all over again! Despite all the proclaimed good-intentions by the team to build a winner, and with history on my side, I’ve concluded this: I’m finally divorcing myself from them as a fan.

The Cardinals organization raped Arizona, and will continue to rape this community. Yeah we get the Super Bowl and fringe benefits of an economy of an NFL team, but they did us dirty. I’ve got more respect for an NFL fan that goes to Cardinals stadium to cheer for another team, than to go and cheer for the Cardinals. That’s why Cardinals-fans are such good “boo-birds.” There’s deep-down resentment. Our seasons (with rare exceptions) last from the first week in September to the first week in October.

When it comes time to pony-up for season tickets next year, nobody will have time or money for this team. Meanwhile, the management will be laughing all the way to the bank on their TV-welfare from the NFL and their 2/3rds-empty stadium (at least only 1/3 will be Cardinals fans). Hopefully we all can do what needs to be done: IGNORE THEM. Why? Because it’s the same story: Same old Cardinals.

Count me out.

Now, I have no team. I want to adopt another team, but I won’t spare the time and expense to go to their games. I used to live in Detroit. Root for the Lions? You’ve got to be kidding. Maybe I’ll root for the Panthers. After all, they would have been our expansion team.



This movie blew my mind.

Go see it - it's a classic with a great story line (the plot is somewhat predictable, but this movie touches your soul too - there's a sub-plot about Route-66 that's very revealing, especially for those of us who grew up after the Interstates were built. I always wondered "What's the big deal about Route 66? it's just a road!" Now I know.)

If the movie was a flop (not!), the 3d animation is absolutely astonishing, and alone worth the view. The worlds they create, the minute details etc. are just amazing.

My oldest son (3.5) wants me to take him to "the race car game." He saw the Indy 500 on May 28th, and loved it. This movie had him so exited, he could hardly contain himself. We even went to McDonalds after to get a "CARS" toy, that came with some terrible food.

Being Italian, there's a great "spoof" on Italians that was really well done. But even more, it exposed an element of American culture that's truly unique and special.

I found myself daydreaming of having a roadster/sports car, Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, etc - cruising in Monument Valley, New England in the Fall, the Million-Dollar-Highway, or just the wide-open road of the bread-basket - even the rolling green farm landscape in Iowa, or the PCH.

Anyway, run (don't walk) to the theater and enjoy this movie.


TV and Minivans, Kids and Trucks.

I don’t get it! With the constant barrage of media in our lives, why do parents put DVD’s in their minivans/SUV’s? It’s as if we’re media junkies; addicted to being manipulated or stupefied.

“My kids watch constructive programs with a Christian message…”Blah blah blah.

Fine. But don’t they get enough of that at home? If your kid is average, he/she watches about 4.5 hours of TV per day. “Yeah, but we let them watch ‘GOOD’ programs…”

According to Mediawise, “Children spend more time sitting in front of electronic screens than any other activity besides sleeping. The average time spent with various media (televisions, computers, video games) is nearly four and one half-hours per day among two to 17 year olds. Look here for more updated/relevant info.

A dear friend of ours was at our house the other day raving about how great the TV is to have in the car. She went on about “peace and quiet” and “good behavior” etc. etc., especially on car-rides more than 30 minutes. 30 minutes? My guess is that if the kids are THAT antsy about car rides, they might be watching TOO MUCH TV, and they’re like a drug addict looking for a fix of video. Granted, parents are looking to reduce stress in the car, but isn’t the TV gig just a patch-job?

We recently took a trip from Phoenix to Orange County via 1-10. If you have never taken this drive, it’s worth the drive alone (even at $3.00 + gasoline prices) with your kids. You can spend much of the trip just talking to your kids (especially young ones) about the different kinds of trucks and what they have in them and where they come from.

This section of I-10 has every truck/cargo combination imaginable, from trucks full of oranges from “Farmer Bob’s” farm, (If you're lucky, you might see crop-dusters!) to trucks with Bob the Tomato’s friends to all the supplies that Bob the Builder needs, (we saw trucks full of construction supplies!). Then there’s the FedEx trucks… My 3 year old can tell you ALL ABOUT the FedEx trucks, and that Daddy gets his stuff to make rings from the people that put the supplies on the Truck that goes to the jet, that goes to the truck that comes to our shop!

After last week’s trip, my 3 year old made a quantam leap his understanding of economics. He understands it takes money to buy gas (so the car can go), to buy food, to build buildings, (After all, Bob the Builder needs to eat) etc. etc., and that money comes from working, and we all work so we all can buy food from Farmer Bob, and stuff from stuffmart

Wasn’t it TV that told us that WalMart and Oil companies etc. are bad??? Albert Mohler did a great show about kids being drowned in media here.


Snowing in Scottsdale

Saturday, it snowed! "Big deal," you might say, but we live in Mesa, AZ. It snowed in many places in the Phoenix area this past weekend, most notably in North Scottsdale where they received up 4
of snow (my estimate)!

What a way to end a drought! It hasn't rained in a 143 days; I couldn't imagine a better way to end a drought than by having lots of rain, but better yet, SNOW on top of it!.

Last night when I heard it was snowing in North Scottsdale, I packed up (and bundled up) my 3 year old son, and we drove 41 miles to grandma's house to play in the snow. Much to our disappointment, it started raining again when we arrived, so we watched the Suns beat the T-Wolves, hoping that as the time passed, it would start snowing again. By this time it was about 9:30 PM, so I decided to head home, wishing I could show my son snow for the second time in his life. As I was making a left-hand turn at a stop sign, another car was coming to a halt when about a four inch sheet of snow slid off the hood of the car!

I decided I should head the direction that the car came from, and see if I could find snow. Low and behold, a half-mile up the road it started SNOWING!!! My son and I were ecstatic, so we called mommy to tell her that we finally found snow, and we'd be late.

So, here we were, about 10:00 PM, taking pictures, talking to strangers, and watching families and friends have snow-ball fights! What a hoot.

I thank God for 3/11/06. It was Papa's 70th today, and I can't help but think that the rain and snow, and all the fun that came from it was a gift for him. In reality, it was a gift for all of us in the Phoenix area. Thank you, Lord Jesus for ending the drought, and thank you most of all for the SNOW!!



The Phoenix Suns are probably the best over-achieving team in the league because they play high-octane team basketball. It really is beautiful to watch. They have a slogan, “Making basketball fun again.” Not only have they made basketball fun again, they are leading the NBA into it’s new glory days:

It’s the new NASH NBA, embodying superb physical conditioning, cerebral and unselfish basketball, run-and-gun, pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop basketball. The defense is focused on points per possession rather than points per game. More possessions = more fun to watch!

The popularity of the NBA really started emerging with Dr. J., then Bird and Magic, then Jordan. After the Pistons took the throne of the NBA in 89 and 90, the Bulls, or should I say, Jordan, took over.

While we all (and corporations that used players as marketing tools) enjoyed the super-human performances of Jordan, the greatest athlete in NBA history, the NBA The Bulls won the next 6 of 8 titles, and while Jordan took a break from the game, we were tortured with the Rockets/Knicks style of grinding half-court basketball, marking the low-point in recent NBA history. The half-court style propelled the much better Spurs and Lakers to the throne for the next 6 out of 7 years.

By the way, only six teams (Celtics, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, Spurs, Rockets) have won the championship in 22 years! Add the Sonics, 76ers, Blazers, Bucks, Bullets, Warriors Knicks, and Hawks to that, and you have fourteen teams in 50 years. From 1967 to 1979, eight teams won.

Now that Jordan is gone, and the days of the NBA Center are disappearing, team-basketball is back, and guess what? It’s FUN TO WATCH. The Spurs and Pistons are the best teams in the NBA because their best players make others play better and play with an unselfish attitude. The players are “role-players” with their focus being on the team.

The Bird/Magic years have to be considered the glory days of the NBA, but Steve Nash and the Suns are making the NBA fun again. Players (like Chris Paul) are learning that “being like Steve” makes the game better than “being like Mike.” When I think of being “like Mike,” I think of these guys: Jason Richardson, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Barron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, and Kobe Bryant. All of them are “be like Mike Players.” By the way, players that want to “be like Mike” are probably more motivated by money and corporate endorsements than anything else.

Nash hasn’t “won it all” yet, but he will in the next two years. We have Magic, Bird, and Jordan to thank for making the NBA popular. The future of the NBA will be about players like Steve Nash, and names like Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Pete Maravich, Earl Monroe, Nate Archibald, and Jerry West (who didn’t have the audience that players do now) will be brought up when talking about Steve Nash, and new “glory days” will be here again!


Fan Behavior at Sporting events

I was at the Suns/Rockets game last night, and the game was a total drubbing - The Rockets were the "rockettes" last night, and the "Solar Express" just railroaded them.

Anyway, this post addresses fan behavior at sporting events, and a scenario that I encountered last night that some fans all around the sporting world likely encounter at every event: (adapted from an e-mail I sent to the Phoenix Suns): (remainder of post is on the way...)

As a fan of not only the Suns, but the NBA, and sports in general, this issue is important to me. Reasonable people should not have to suffer at the hands of the goons and nut-cases.

There are two men in my section (one in row 1 on the aisle toward sec 231, and the other in row 2), Who have been pretty loud the whole season, but last night, they were totally over the top.

I still have an earache/headache from their screaming. Their screaming was totally out of proportion to the action at hand, and it was CONSTANT, and unrelenting. They also used foul language, and asked loudly for the crowd to do the same in screaming, "Everyone say ‘Bull****’ on 3! ONE, TWO, THREEEE! BULL****!!!!...).

Now, you are probably saying to yourself, "everyone uses that language," right? Wrong. My 3 year old doesn’t, I don’t, and I intend to keep it that way until he’s 18 or out of the house.

The game was an exhibition of the Suns team, much like the Globetrotters vs. Generals. There wasn’t a contest, and the fans were pretty quiet in general. I reported the scenario to the section attendant, and he said he couldn't do anything about it unless they were using bad language, which they were. He said he was "aware" of them. It sounded to me like he was trying to avoid conflict, rather that relieving everyone in the section from his penetrating screaming, and bad language. He wasn't doing his job. The guy in row 2 has an extraordinarily LOUD voice, and it can be heard throughout the upper-deck concourse, and even from section 106 when the crowd isn't excited/cheering.

I'm just trying to enjoy myself. The guy in my row (row 1) was screaming psychotically "YOU SUCK REF" the whole time I was there. The ref made one notable bad call, which, in his world, makes all other calls from 150 feet away horrible! These guys are insufferable, and they antagonize/fuel each other.

It's because guys in orange shirts don't do their jobs, (or are poorly managed, or have unwise governing policy) that less reasonable people than I will take the matter into their own hands.

Besides, I had my 3-year old son with me, which by the way, I would have written this letter regardless of him being with me or not. I don't think it would have been wise for me to confront these guys, regardless of my son being with me, because one guy in particular consumes alcohol during the game, and their psychotic behavior is an indication that they might respond violently (verbally or physically) to a "pipe-down" request .

Before Half time, I decided I needed to move, but I didn’t want a downgrade. I went to "Guest Relations," who offered to put me in nosebleeds, which was unacceptable to me, so they punted to Customer Service, where I was graciously given COMP tickets to section 106 row 10 behind the Rocket’s bench (nice).

My partner that we split the season tickets with, has been likewise accommodated in a previous game, getting the same seats. He called me after that game to tell me about the two guys…

In light of the Antonio Davis situation (only a spectacle because a player's wife was involved), this scenario happens in the stands all the time, the NBA needs to examine their security and fan-behavior more closely. Mrs. Davis should have been dealt with way before that situation escalated to that level. It is a good thing that the man she provoked was as level-headed as he was. Since he was level-headed, it polarized the issue on a national scale rather than "muddying the waters" (even though the media made him out to be the bad guy at first, along with placing most of the emphasis on players going into the stands/defending wife blah blah blah). We all owe Mrs. Davis a "thank you" for putting this issue of fan behavior on the radar (but not for her behavior of provoking a fan who simply made a request for her to pipe-down).

The orange-shirt people need to make friends with these fans that could become a problem, and to get to know them by name. Maybe even give them a coupon for a free popcorn. Then they'll make a connection, and will be likely to listen when their behavior is out of line.

I appreciated that the Suns accommodated me beyond my expectations. Yes, that makes me feel good, but doesn't solve the problem at hand. I'm not counting on going to section 106 every time there's a problem, if they're even available...

I won't just stop coming or ask for different seats. I like my seats. It's the Suns job to create a family-friendly environment, which they've pledged to do. Anything other than that is bad for sports.

The "abusive/foul language" policy is a pro-active safeguard against inflammatory language, and to be accommodating to fans with family values, which by the way, could be a reason that the NBA has suffered in attendance, and has taken action such as a dress-code policy.

Families make up a large portion of the target-market of sports in general, and besides, why would sports teams NOT want to accommodate as many people as possible? That’s why it cracks me up that many local radio stations run strip-club ads, use colorful language and expressions, talk about and advertise sexually provocative sites and stars etc. Some national shows (esp. the ones on XM radio) talk about sports, but they must talk about sex and sexually oriented content before the day’s over. It just turns families away, not to mention it’s just dumb business. The Arizona Republic advertises XXX clubs and videos adjacent to their sports page, or used to, which is just indicative of their "do anything for business" values.

So to all you local wanna-be big-shot sports radio guys: Jim Rome is the benchmark – period. He doesn’t need to talk about sex and interview stars of that business, because he has the best content and interviews. And also, you’ll do a lot better if you broaden your reach.

Go Suns! May the 2006 "solar express" ride to glory!