Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building

Written by :
Published on : April 13, 2017

 

 

On Sunday April 9th, 2017 the Detroit Red Wings played their last game at Joe Louis Arena, signaling the end of an era. For 38 years Joe Louis was the heart and soul of Hockeytown, and the list of players who graced the ice in that building is a who’s who of hall of famers. It is one of the most iconic places in hockey, even for those who don’t support the winged wheel. Everyone respects the history but for some of us, Joe Louis Arena is more than just a building where our favorite team played, it’s hallowed ground. It’s like a part of the family, a piece of our sports culture. A piece of Detroit’s culture.

 

JLA is a monument to a time before corporate sponsorship of stadiums. When places that represented a people were named in honor of the greatest champions among those people. The Red Wings new home, Little Caesars Arena, inspires considerably less Motor City pride. Joe Louis Arena was too old, too small, too ill-equipped to handle the needs and desires of today’s sports fan. Because of that, it was time to move on, but damned if it wasn’t a great place to see the game. That place was always rocking and the atmosphere was always electric. Four Stanley Cups were won by the Red Wings during their time in that building. The team was built into a dynasty during that era; they were royalty, and Joe Louis Arena was their castle.

 

 One of 31 octopi that were thrown on to the ice during the Red Wings last game at Joe Louis Arena.

 

The Red Wings are missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years and it almost seems fitting that in the same year we all said goodbye to beloved owner, Mike Ilitch, and Joe Louis Arena. This is the beginning of a new era for the franchise and all of its fans. What makes this franchise so special is that even though they are planning for the future they know they had to honor their past.

 

The Illitch family has always had a deep love for the city of Detroit and they know what that building and the team mean to the city. The organization recognized the meaning of that moment, and they knew that the fans in Detroit needed a chance to pay their respect to a place that means so much to them. In a ceremony that involved over 90 current and former players and coaches, the city and the team had a chance to process the moment and reflect on everything that had happened under that roof.

 

 Current and former players salute the crowd following the closing ceremony at Joe Louis Arena.

 

Steve Yzerman was in the house and was greeted by adoring fans who begged him to come back home to Detroit. Bob Probert’s widow spread his ashes in the penalty box, a place where he spent a considerable amount of time during his career. Guys that couldn’t attend, like Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, sent in video messages. Hell, Wayne Gretzky did a video message, and he didn’t even play for the team but he wanted to be part of saying goodbye to a piece of history.

 

Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building. For some people, it was their earliest memory of going to a game. For some people, it was where they fell in love with the game. For some people, it was where they saw champions made. For some people, it was sports Mecca. For some people, it was home. As for me, it is the place where some of my fondest memories happened, and the best place to watch a hockey game on the entire planet.

 

 

 


SBS’ 500th Post: An Ode to the Number 500 in Sports

Written by :
Published on : October 22, 2016

 

 

For ScoreBoredSports 500th post, we honor the number 500 and see its mark on the world of sports. 500 is a mountain to climb for things like wins, goals, yards in a game but many of the greats have those milestone in their rear-view. Let’s dig through sports history books and see where the famous number presents itself.

 

Indy 500

The first thing that comes to mind. I’ll include Daytona and all other major 500 lap Sprint Cup races in this section. Racing wasn’t always on my sports radar but with age, I’ve come to appreciate the talent needed to drive a car over 200 mph for hundreds of laps. My old car can’t even go over 45 mph. NASCAR speed is almost shocking but it’s the control that’s truly impressive.

 

The term “.500”

In reference to a team’s winning percentage. Often in the context of over or under .500. AKA are you a winning or losing team. This metric is used in many pro games. It is the gold standard for coaches where W’s mean keeping a job. Over .500? Things are probably going pretty good.

 

500 yards passing in a game

 

Only 16 NFL QBs have pulled this off. From older names like Norm Van Brocklin to modern gun slingers like Matthew Stafford. As football goes more and more pass heavy, this club will stop being so exclusive. Then we’ll start talking about 600 yards passing in one game.

 

500 home run club

Babe Ruth was the first to hit 500 dingers and 26 others have matched the feat. Albert Pujols is the only active member of the 500 club. He sits at 591. Barry Bonds’ 762 home runs seems like an insane hill to climb for anyone.

 

The game “500”

You know the rules. Your one friend plays dealer and tosses a ball and calls out a point value. The rest of the players fight to catch the ball. You earn points with each catch. Hit 500 and you earn the right to be the dealer. Perfect game for when you didn’t really have the numbers for full teams of something else.

 

500 goals in NHL

 

Only 44 hockey players have this honor. Most of them Canadians. 500 is a huge mark but for reference, the all time leader in goals is Wayne Gretzky and he has 894. Gordie Howe is second on that list with 801. Suddenly, 500 doesn’t seem that wild.

 

500 wins

Coaches in almost every sport have broken this barrier. Often it is a college coach who stays at one program for two decades plus. There are too many to name but most of the greats you can think of are here. Just no NFL guys because of the much shorter schedule in terms of overall games.

 

500 goals in soccer

27 futbol gods have netted 500 or more GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! Scoring machines Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only active players with over 500 goals. Who knows how many more these two will score before it’s all over.

 

 

Happy 500 everyone. To all the athletes with the insane records, we tip our caps to you. And to all the SBS family and all the loyal Bored-Agains, here is to the next 500 posts.

 

Half thousand.

 

 


Guardians of the Galaxy Play Sports

Written by :
Published on : September 19, 2016

 

The Guardians of the Galaxy started as a comic book but was not super well known. So the movie felt like it came out of nowhere and then just blew everyone away. I’d dare say it’s the best Marvel movie to date. The film is a mega-blockbuster because it’s super funny, well paced, and features a wicked soundtrack. The movie is just fun when so many superhero tales are so boringly serious.

 

The Guardians are fierce warriors. Some might call them space pirates. But pirate is a dirty word and we know Star Lord and team are good guys. They are not necessarily sports people but when they fight I can’t help but view them like a pro scout. And I see potential. Let’s breakdown the Guardians roster and see which sport would be the best landing place for each hero.

 

Groot

Groot

 

The living tree. Originally acted as muscle for Rocket Raccoon back in their bounty hunter days. Groot is tall, strong and resilient. For those reasons, he would be best suited to play center for an NBA team. Groot can take a lot of damage in the paint and keep going. His limbs can grow and stretch as needed and that will be straight unfair in basketball. Expect Groot to snag every rebound and be able to dunk from super far away, all without jumping.

 

Groot could be the next big foreign (alien?) star to storm the league. Think Yao Ming but taller and with better roots. His limited vocabularly will make press conferences tough but maybe he just needs to find the right team. Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs come to mind. Groot is the new Tim Duncan and speaks even less than Pop.

 

Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon

 

The genius engineer. Unfortunately, no pro game lets you carry a plasma weapon but Rocket is more than just a triggerman. You may underestimate him by his size and foul mouth but his ability to make split second calculations make his opportunities in sports almost endless. I almost want to say he could play QB in a no-huddle style offense but I think MLB shortstop is a better fit.

 

Rocket has the speed and instincts to read the action and track the ball for some insane catches. His superior brain power will aid him in making the right throws to the right places. And we all know the dude has a cannon. Think Manny Machado but faster and stronger. At the plate, Rocket will be more of an opportunistic hitter like Ichiro than a pure power cleanup guy. But make no mistake, you hang a meatball over the plate and he’ll turn your pitch into a souvenir from someone in the nosebleeds.

 

Drax

drax

 

The destroyer. If he could skate, then hockey would be perfect but I don’t think even Gretzky could teach him to glide. That leaves the obvious, football. Drax is an NFL middle linebacker. He could play any spot along the D line but having him as a free runner from the linebacker level would be devastating.

 

His play style would be similar to a Von Miller or a Clay Mathews. If those guys did steroids, in space and were completely mental. The biggest obstacle for Drax in the NFL would be himself. Pre-snap penalties. Roughing the passer. The fines and suspensions could really pile up if he isn’t careful. But let’s be honest, it’s probably a success if he doesn’t rip anyone’s arm off. The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly interested.

 

Gamora

Gamora

 

The assassin. Gamora is an expert in hand-to-hand combat and has the precision of a neurosurgeon. This mastery of coordination will play perfectly in the world of soccer. The green goddess would make a stellar attacking midfielder in the spirit of Zinedine Zidane. She has the endurance to cover the entire pitch and the speed and athletic prowess to win possession over any opponent.

 

Gamora would be instantly famous for her Messi-like passing ability but it’s her skill in the air that would make her legendary. Simply unguardable on set pieces. A corner or free kick is a guaranteed goal with her roving the field. Like Drax, the only limitation to Gamora’s futbol success is Gamora. If she gets bored with winning, we could see her leave soccer for UFC or something even wilder.

 

Star-Lord AKA Peter Quill

Starlord

 

The unlikely hero. Quill is charming and quick witted but tougher than his attitude suggests. He is the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy so a team sport seem like a good bet. That may be true but he would really shine as a NASCAR driver. He’s already a great pilot and he has the one thing all good drivers need: confidence. Hell, confidence might be his super power.

 

Star-Lord drives with no fear and would be Sprint Cup champ in no time. His racing persona is strange mix of Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Bobby with a little Michael Jordan for good measure. Quill would shatter any and all records. And this is without Rocket’s help under the hood. Plus he’d do it with a smile and a snarky comment.

 

Each member of the Guardians is fast and strong. They all have skills that cross many athletic disciplines but the key is to find the best fit. Do you have a better idea of what sports these superheroes should play? Let us know in the comments.

 

Intergalactic planetary.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 15

Written by :
Published on : December 26, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 15: DRC Blocks Field Goal, Amukamara Retrieves Ball for Great Position

Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

It was a squeaker between the Panthers and the G-Men Sunday, despite New York’s dismal showing in the first half. Rodgers-Cromartie’s big block went a long way in adding fuel to a comeback fire that was ultimately put out calmly by Cam Newton and Graham Gano, but in terms of a game’s turning point, it doesn’t get much more “play of the week” worthy than this.

 

It’s not wildly unusual to see a field goal blocked in the NFL, but it is rare to see one go so far backwards. Who better to send the ball flying in the opposite direction than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Gunning around the edge from the outside, he makes a perfect leap for the ball that involves leaving Gano totally untouched. It’s pretty amazing to see how he jumps horizontally across the field instead of vertically toward the kicker. Roger Pretzel Sr. hates it when commentators use the term “athleticism” when referring to big playmakers but it’s hard not to think of that hoary catchall term in this context. Perhaps “freakish” (the new “athleticism”) is what I’m looking for…

 

Bonus: All Kinds of Shenanigans Between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

I love a rough and chippy hockey game. When tensions run high and the players start scrapping, you begin to see a skill set and sport-dynamic that feels so genuinely unique to hockey. However, when it comes to my NFL football, I have no use for the pissing matches and sissy swings that come when the pot bubbles over. It’s simply not needed in a game that is inherently violent enough. As a football player, you’re gonna make a much bigger statement by catching a big pass, making a big (legal) hit, or denying a receiver with outstanding coverage.

 

My sympathies lie with Josh Norman considering it seems like he takes the brunt of the damage as Odell throws tantrum after tantrum. I’m of the mind that the rules make pass defending the most difficult job in the game, as you’re not even allowed to touch these dainty WR’s. I’ve knocked Becham Jr. in this column before for being a bratty diva, and once again he’s back behind the fighting side of my pen. If he really is the NFL’s new darling receiver he better muster up some maturity quickly.

 

Week 15: Athlete Vanity Wines

It’s one thing to shill a product for endorsement money, but you know you’ve gone beyond mere Peyton Manning status when you buy your own winery and put out a vanity label for mass consumption. Like many other celebrities in that hallowed club that contains Drew Barrymore and Dave Matthews, athletes like to unwind with a glass as well.

 

But it always seems like once those egghead vintners take over the production process, the liquid version of that athlete’s soul is lost in the process. Below are the tasting notes of a few famous athletes’ wines, and what variety should actually represent them.

 

Jeff Gordon:
Jeff Gordon Cellars – Carneros Chardonnay 2012

 photo jeffgordon_zpsbebngntl.jpg

 

“This luxurious chardonnay has a deep yellow, almost straw color with hints of light gold. Initial essences of Meyer lemon, vanilla bean and poached pear show through, followed by a wisp of crème brûlée. The wine has a nice, smooth mouth feel with plenty of balancing acids that carry along flavors of green apple, melon and cream. The long, vibrant finish dazzles the palate”

 

This sounds like one soft-ass fruity chardonnay to me. When I hear vanilla bean, poached pear, and smooth mouth feel I do not think of Nascar.

 

What Jeff Gordon’s Wine Should Actually Be: Chablis

 

 photo chablis_sbs_zpscihz6im0.jpg

 

I was tempted to go with a dry Riesling for Mr. Gordon because of the petrol flavors they often contain (get it?), but I decided that #24 may stay chardonnay… as long as it comes from Chablis. The region’s flinty soil adds a nervy, raciness to the fruit, and a dynamic acidity that seems quite appropriate for the tight turns, and calculated daring of the speedway.

 

Wayne Gretzky
No 99 Estates – 2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 photo gretzkywine_zpscmmeo9ut.jpg

 

“2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the warmth and ripe black fruit flavors of this vintage. It is rich with concentrated black berry fruit, and harmonious blending has resulted in excellent balance and complexity. The use of French and American Oak barrels adds structure to this very drinkable wine.”

 

You might say this wine is a little like Wayne himself in the sense that it’s BORING. But I jest. Let’s not forget that Gretzky is the “Great One,” and as such surely deserving of something more majestic than a lame new-world quaffer.

 

What Wayne Gretzky’s Wine Should Actually Be: Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru (Pinot Noir)

 

 photo savignylesbeaune_zpsb4xumtdl.jpg

 

Now we’re talking! This appellation matches Gretzky note for note in elegance and sophistication. The foundation of Gretzky’s legendary greatness was turning hockey into a thinking man’s game, and this here is some truly profound fermented grape juice. I like to picture the Great One counting the money he’s made from No. 99 Estates while sipping a big ‘ole glass of this instead. He’s in front of a fireplace playing chess with Steve Yzerman. Soft hands: soft tannins.

 

Greg Norman
Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

 photo gregnorman_zps4wuije2o.jpg

 

“The 2012 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz is an attractive dark crimson red color in the glass. On the nose, rich chocolate and coconut mocha notes from the oak maturation underpin distinctive black cherry, mulberry and blackberry jam aromas. The medium bodied wine is soft and elegantly structured showing a spectrum of rich dark fruits including cherry, mulberry, blackberry, and boysenberry flavors on the palate. These flavors meld with fine cedar and chocolaty oak adding persistence on the long finish.”

And sometimes you just nail it.

 

What Greg Norman’s Wine Should Actually Be: Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

 

 photo shiraz-main_zpsxcnbdj01.jpg

 

Yup, Greg Norman actually puts his money where his mouth is and plays golf just like he makes wine. Growing up “The Shark” was the first celebrity I was aware of having his own line of wine, not to mention his own line of clothing. And coming up in the ‘burbs in the late 80’s and 90’s you were more likely to see that goofy rainbow-patterned shark outline on some old dude’s polo than you were to see any teenager with a pair of J’s.

 

Shiraz fits Norman like a driving-glove with its new-world jazziness and robust fruit flavors. I feel like every time Norman suits up in the clubhouse before 18 holes he tips that weird hat and winks at himself in the mirror. That’s basically what a good glass of Shiraz is.

 

Mike Ditka
Mike Kitka Wines – Coach’s Blend 2011 – The Champion

 

 photo ditkawine_zpsrydf9kqy.jpg

 

“The Mike Ditka 2011 “The Champion” Coach’s Blend has remarkable flavor intensity. It’s well-balanced, with flavors of blackberry and cassis, with a hint of cayenne pepper; lingering tannins, leading to a persistent finish.”

 

In reality, Mike Ditka is to wine what the current Chicago Bears are to winning, but I get it: the dude owns a line of steak houses and you gotta crush something besides chilly domestics when you’ve got the porterhouse in front of you. Still, the big guy should be ashamed to front a Napa blend of mostly merlot and cabernet sauvignon under his name. This time around it’s the coach that needs to show more hustle.

 

What Mike Ditka’s Wine Should Actually Be: Zinfandel

 

 photo Zinfandel-Sign_zpsdtq7vmld.jpg

 

Stop beating around the bush, Mike. You wanna make this steak dinner the real deal? Then you gotta start serving a wine that actually reflects your character. Say what you want about Mike Ditka, but the dude has never been mostly merlot, noble and august as that grape may be. Ditka’s the grinder. Ditka’s the snarling heart in the depth of a windy Chicago blizzard. Ditka is zinfandel, and he’s California zinfandel at that. Huge, burly, and mega-fruity, this is the real wine of second-class steak joints with delusions of grandeur.

 

Try it out, coach. Then hit me up.

 

 


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