Is Jack Harlow good? An examination of bars.

Is Jack Harlow good? It feels like the internet wants you to like him.. but do you really? Let’s take a look at some of his lyrics from his more popular songs.

Song-What’s Poppin

“What’s poppin’ brand new whip just hopped in..I got options I can pass the bitch like Stockton”.

This song is very catchy and snatches you up right away with the opening verse. I think you can make the argument that that opening line has become one of the more famous lines in music history. This song is a viral sensation so judge it how you see fit knowing that.

Song- Tyler Herro

“I’m tryna tell y’all boys, I got a few songs I could sell y’all boys
I tried it back then, it was, “Hell nah, boy” (nah)
Now I’m in a box like a Kellogg’s toy” (like a, like a, ooh)

This song seems to be about being a white rapper, doing numbers and not getting respect. Tyler Herro is used as an example of that? Being white in the NBA and not getting respect? That bar is nice and I respect the use of the Tyler Herro reference

Song-Churchill Downs ft. Drake

“I know my grandpa would have a heart attack if I pulled a hunnid grand out
So I’m not gonna pull a hunnid grand out”

Jack Harlow family man. Doesn’t want his grandfather to have a heart attack. But seriously I like the message of this song. Telling the world hey i’m from Kentucky and I made it in the rap game. Don’t give up on yourself you can do anything. I think the video makes that clear. Harlow and Drake living it up at the Kentucky Derby.

Song-Dua Lipa

“Dua Lipa, I’m tryna do more with her than do a feature (do it)
I checked the web, they out here chewin’ me up, fuck it
Fadeaway, I lift that Luka knee up, bucket”

This a cool song and the opening verse is a bar in my opinion. I think he just wants to bang Dua Lipa.

Song- I Wanna See Some ASS

“I wanna see some ass
I wanna see some ass
Baby, can you do it like that?
From the front to the back
She said, “I don’t wanna move too fast”
‘Til she hit that gas”

Jack Harlow is horny.

After listening I think Jack Harlow is good. Being a white rapper you can’t relate lyrically to the black dominated genre, but Harlow likes to have fun and I think it comes through in his music.


Sports Fans..why are we like this?

Hello. My name is Matt and I’m a sports fan. A Philadelphia sports fan to be more specific.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost Super Bowl 57 last night. They were arguably the best team in the NFL all season but fell victim to the greatness of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was one for the ages. I find myself today..the day after.. sitting here going through a roller coaster of emotion. Recalling every play from the game and getting more angry, sad, and upset because the Eagles could have had a chance to win the game and most likely would have if not for a controversial holding penalty on James Bradberry with just under 2 mins left in the 4th quarter.

Why am I like this? Why am I sad? Why am I angry? Why do I hate the city of Kansas City? I’ve never been I’m sure its lovely. Why do I want to spit in every BBQ sandwich I see? Why do I all of a sudden think the color red is so hideous? Like a bull attacking a matador I want charge every person wearing red. Why in some weird way do I want to watch highlights as if the outcome will somehow be different if I watch again. It would be like pouring salt in an open wound. The sun came out today and I woke up healthy. Those are two great things. Life and sunshine. But yet here we are.

Why do I put my entire identity into liking a football team for 18 weeks out of the year? I try not to. I have other interests and hobbies. I love sports and want my family, friends and city to be happy, but on days like today I want every person I see and talk to I want them to feel sorry for me and give me a hug. Like as if I just lost a loved one. Why? I own a home with a beautiful wife, a dog and I have a job. Why is that not enough? It should be.. i’m employed and not homeless.

Is it bad that I wanted to get drunk early in the morning and watch a parade? It’s not healthy mentally and physically but boy did I want it. I wanted to destroy things with the citizens of Philadelphia. Why? I crumble mentally at any minor inconvenience in my life why would I want to cause destruction for someone else to clean up and fix. I’m not a bad person. I try to live my life in a very positive way.

Do people know the commitment we as fans put in every week to ensure we are able to watch the teams we love? Scheduling our lives, shifting things around in our calendars to make sure we can make sure we can sit on our couch scroll meaningless tweets, connect with other idiots like ourselves, eat junk food, and drink beer. That is childish and we should grow up. But we can’t. This bullshit is hard wired in our brains. It’s an addiction and we can’t break the habit. Like a junkie looking for a fix we think our lives are going to be better or worse if our team wins or loses. Maybe our lives will be temporarily but in the long run they’re not. We will be happy or sad but we will move on. I hope so.

The Eagles put together one of the best seasons of football I think I ever watched from this franchise in my 31 years of living. Knowing that we have a quarterback that will be the face of the franchise for the next 10 plus years is something we as birds fans can hang our hats on and look forward to. What Lane Johnson did this post season was nothing short of herculean. AJ Brown is an alien. This may be the last run for Jason Kelce who is a hall of fame center and gave everything to this franchise. For those things I am truly grateful and excited. I may never change but I’m proud to be a birds fan and proud of my city.

Now if you excuse me I’m going to watch the Sixers break my heart.


NFC title game

“I want every piece of Dallas” – Nick Scioli (my brother) at 12:20 am on Facetime

Welp Nick its not Dallas. It’s the San Francisco 49ers. Led by Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy and Nick Bosa. After dismantling the New York Football Giants 38-7…that score look familiar?, on Saturday night the Birds head to their second NFC title game in 5 years.

The Eagles will enter their 8th NFC Championship game all time favored by 2.5 at home at The Linc this Sunday. The Birds look to get their second Super Bowl in 6 years. Which is sentence I think many Eagles fans still have trouble comprehending. Two times in 5 years! Some Browns fans out there may think I sound like an asshole for saying that but for me it’s still hard to believe.

The 49ers defense who has been much talked about this year led by DPOY front runner Nick Bosa and LB Fred Warner enter Sunday with a league leading 16.3 OPP PPG and a vicious running attack led by Olivia Culpo’s boyfriend. Being called the one of the most complete teams in the NFL all year the Eagles do have some trouble stopping the run allowing an average of 121.4 rush yards all season. A calling card to Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

What San Fran defense isn’t ready for is the man that has been blessed by the football gods. Arthur Juan Brown Sr. And a pissed off AJ Brown at that. After only having 3 receptions for 22 yards on Saturday Brown was visibly upset on the sideline and one can only guess that was the reason why. The man is competitor he wants to be great in big games. I’m happy he was pissed! He was later caught on camera on the bench saying “I’m good.” So that means the rest of us are good.

After watching AJ Brown every week for the last 18 weeks I fully believe in the Men In Black theory that aliens are all around us and now I think the major motion picture starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is based on true events. In fact I think the Eagles should bring back the Alien Iverson giveaway dolls next year but have them be some form of an AJ Brown alien. You’re welcome Mr. Lurie you can have that idea. AJ Brown running across the middle on a slant has become an automatic 10 yards if not more this season and a safety play for Jalen. Having him fired up and ready to play is going to be dangerous.

Hassan Reddick is going make Brock Purdy truly become Mr. Irrelevant. I can’t believe some one that athletic and talented could come out of South Jersey. It makes me proud to say I grew up in South Jersey now!

Sunday is going to be beautiful. Game time 3pm with a high of 53 and the promise of a gorgeous sunset over 95 and the Miller Lite Philte Deck..that’s to the west right? If I were you i’d go right now and camp out for a spot in line at Xfinity Live like you’re waiting in line for an Iphone. I feel foolish being worried about last weeks game against the Giants, the Eagles proved me wrong almost instantly. My optimism for this game is high. I think the Eagles will win 31-24 and will be heading to Arizona for the Super Bowl

Maybe Kliff Kingsbury will be renting out his porno house that weekend and some lucky Eagles fans will have the chance to stay there.

Go Birds.


What on earth is going on with Paul Giamatti and these Verizon commercials?

If you’re like me and have been watching NFL football for the last 3 months (Go Birds) then you are enraged with the fact that Paul Giamatti is being used to sell unlimited data for Verizon and Iphone.

During the month of December the ads first appeared with Giamatti dressed up as Scrooge yelling at Cecily Strong sitting on a large obnoxious Verizon sign about how shitty his cell service is, Now they continue with him dressed up as some bizarro version of Albert Einstein yelling about that same shitty cell service.

Paul, what is going on?

You played John Adams for Christ Sake!

If you ask any number of millennials like myself most of them they will say Big Fat Liar is one of the best pre teen/teen comedies of all time. The day I went to see that movie my dad wanted to take me, my brother, my sister and my cousin to see Lord of the Rings and we begged him to see BFL. He laughed harder than any of us did! Do you know how many times I said “Give me back my monkey” when I was kid? Countless times. I listened to Hungry like a Wolf because of Marty Wolf. Hell I even plagiarized a bit.

“I will not drink any fucking Merlot” is one of the funniest lines of all time. Win WIn is such a heartfelt and inspirational movie. Cinderella Man doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.

Did Pete Rose have something to do with this? To get back at your Dad

Do you have kids and grandkids? Do they need these Verizon checks?

You are one of my favorite actors of all time I can’t see you this way, playing dress up on national TV making sure parents with toddlers have unlimited data so their kids can watch you tube for 3 hours on an Ipad so they don’t cry in the cart at Target.

Verizon get someone else for this.



Untitled Golf blog

Gentlemen only ladies forbidden (people forget) recently have been in desperate attempts to save its image. Admittedly I’m not the biggest fan of Golf and its culture but I will say it is nice to see the sport become more accessible over the past few years and change the way people view the sport.

That being said, Hey real quick…Golf STOP using Jordan brand to help bolster that strategy. Yes I know MJ is a huge golfer he sank that awesome hole in one in Space Jam. That was sick, I know. Wayne Knight loved it. But..Air Jordans are one of the biggest parts of pop culture and fashion as we know it and some of the greatest athletic achievements have been accomplished in those shoes and you’re going to try and convince me that if some dude like Jordan Speith is wearing them i’m supposed to think Golf is somehow cooler and more stylish? Huh?? (Tim Allen Home Improvement grunt).

Have you seen guys that golf? They look like walking White Claw cans that will brag about their man caves and give you recommendations about what Instagram model has the best page to “look at”. Yes a dude that loves golf probably still whacks it to still photos.

Putting on a pair if J’s on a golfer doesn’t make the sport cooler. Some of the Jordan golf collection includes models like The Jordan 3 cement, The 5s, and The 1s.

The Jordan 3 cement, Do you people know that Michael Jordan dunked from the fucking free throw line while wearing those?!? And you’re going to talk to me about your short game? The fucking FREE THROW LINE! Thats literally 15 feet away from the basket. But I guess the fat dude making the cart girl uncomfortable while he pounds Michelob Ultras, talks about NFTs and bragging about his 15 foot putt is more athletic and making that shoe look cooler.

The Jordan 5?? That shoe was a part of one of the best AD Campaigns of all time, The Spike Lee joint with Mars Blackmon. “It’s gotta be the shoes!” But I guess it’s cooler that your work buddy wore them to play 18 holes and shoved 6 glizzys down his gullet while doing it. It’s Gotta Be the Shoes!!!

And finally how can we forget The Jordan 1.  Do you understand the significance of that shoe? It is one of the most well known silhouettes of all time. There is no Tiger Woods without this shoe. It completely changed sports marketing and and how brand market their athletes. It is quite literally THE Sneaker to end all sneakers. But I guess they feel good while you’re riding around in a golf cart drinking Truly and talking about pastel shorts Maybe it is Jordan brands fault. Maybe it’s Golf’s fault. I don’t know, all I know is that the lines between the sports are becoming blurred and it needs to end before it’s too late.

Taylor Hawkins: In Your Honor

Like many of you, I woke up yesterday morning stunned and saddened to see the news of Taylor Hawkins’ passing at the age of 50.

Feeling grief and sadness over someone relatively famous that I’ve never met before and don’t know may seem a bit childish, but it is hard to swallow and accept no less.

I don’t know what happens next. It’s likely the Foo Fighters stop touring for a period and grieve the loss of their friend and bandmate. Maybe in due time, someone will try to fill in on drums. It’s too early to have to even fathom.

All I know is that Taylor Hawkins deserves massive credit for the Foo Fighters ascension from small demo project, to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

The sad irony is Dave Grohl has already done this before: overcome the untimely death of a bandmate after Kurt Cobain in 1994. The parallels are too eerily familiar already.

In the summer of 1995, I purchased the first Foo Fighters self-titled album along with ‘Frogstomp’ by Silverchair at Best Buy.

First listening to it then, I was immediately intrigued by the demo rock sound of Foo Fighters, specifically the tracks ‘For All The Cows’ and ‘Alone + Easy Target’. I still am intrigued to this day, 27 years later.

Dave Grohl recorded every instrument and sound on that album. I see this as evidence of a man that was looking to just create and move on following the death of Cobain. It is well documented that during this time of the many opportunities for Grohl to become a drummer in another band, notably to join Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Fortunately he passed on those opportunities, forging the unlikely way for a mountain of beautiful music. Starting with the debut in ’95.

The Foo Fighters started as a one-man demo with no intentions of being what they have become. Dave Grohl has admitted this on record many times. But I’d be willing to bet that even he would admit that if Taylor Hawkins had not joined Foo Fighters in 1997, they may not be the rock & roll force of nature they have become.

The recent and beautiful Ringer film Jagged Little Pill chronicles where Taylor Hawkins got his break: as a touring drummer for Alanis Morissette. A young and fresh-faced Hawkins is seen throughout the film, ultimately making the decision to leave Morissette after Grohl reached out to him to inquire if he knew any drummers that would be interested in joining Foo Fighters.

His response:

“Uhhh, dude. How about me?”

He joined in 1997, right around the release of their 2nd album: ‘The Colour and the Shape’. This one I bought at K-Mart. The Colour and the Shape was a stark difference from the first album: this was polished and engineered to perfection, and one could argue it is the defining rock sound of 1997.

Grohl still wrote every song, but others recorded with him. It is documented that during the recording Grohl was not satisfied with the drumming sound of William Goldsmith, so he re-recorded the drum parts himself. This didn’t go over well with Goldsmith, and he left the band.

It couldn’t have been easy to play drums in a band with Dave Grohl. Anyone who has ever listened to Nevermind or In Utero by Nirvana knows why. Dave Grohl is an absolute animal behind a drumkit. Someone would need to be a great drummer, and not feel intimidated by another bandmate.

The Colour and the Shape was a massive success. Songs include Monkey Wrench, My Hero, February Stars, f*cking Everlong. On and on and on.

The next person to play drums on these songs would need to be someone ready to be part of a rocket ready for takeoff. Musically, technically, sonically: someone would need to be able to bring it.

Someone like Taylor Hawkins.

My first Foo Fighters show was in Minneapolis in 2000. The lineup that evening was Muse, Foo Fighters, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Today, each of those bands sells out Wembley Stadium on their own.

During the Foo Fighters set, Dave Grohl announced to the audience that this was the first arena tour for them, and they were excited to have Hawkins’ drum set on risers for all to see.

This tour was in support of their October 1999 release ‘There is Nothing Left to Lose’. I bought this album at a place called On Cue. Rage Against the Machine’s ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’ came out the exact same day. I had about $15 to my name then, and could only afford one.

I chose Foo Fighters.

The Foo Fighters to me represent a coming of age young kid ready to make his own choices and create his own path in life. At the risk of getting too profound; let me say I’ve always taken great pride in being on board the Foo Fighters train from day 1.

Fast forward this entire life journey to now and many many shows later, I’m proud to say the Foo Fighters have been along with me everywhere I’ve been.

I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform all over the country, notably many great shows in Seattle over the years.

In my time spent living in Europe I can say with a straight face: that outside of meeting my wife Stephanie, the best moment of my time there was seeing the Foo Fighters on a July night in Berlin in 2011. There was an energy in that audience that I’ll never forget. “Holy sh*t, Germans LOVE the Foo Fighters” is what I yelled many times to myself from the pit in the front row.

In all those shows, the common denominator was the developed musical connection of Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl playing off of each other that stands out. Trading solos. Trading “Can you top this?!” riffs, going back and forth. Sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes not.

If you’ve seen the Foo Fighters, it’s likely you know what I’m talking about: the improvised jam sessions between songs, each time leading into the next song in a way that builds and builds and then explodes. It’s a tightly-knitted sonic boom of electricity, with giant smiles on their faces the entire evening. I’m sad this piece with Taylor in it is now over.

I’m going to miss seeing Taylor Hawkins during those moments the most: his hair and arms and legs flying everywhere, looking like the golden rock god that he forever is.

Thank you for taking the sound of the Foo Fighters to the highest heights. You were the heartbeat behind it all.

75 Seasons turn 100: A Chicago Bears Healing Essay

Tonight, Da Bears and Packers begin the 100th Season in NFL history.

Rewind to last January, when one of the most exciting Bears seasons in over a decade came to a crashing (*or doinking) halt when you-know-who hit the you-know-what.


This is a declaration that I’ve come to peace with it and am ready to move on.

Sort of.

Something I’ve been saying a lot lately to people is: “If the worst thing that has happened in my life in the last year is a Cody Parkey missed field goal? Then I’ve got a great life.”

I do have a great life. It feels great to type that.

But just to confirm: If the worst thing that happened this year is a missed kick that instantly snuffed out a 12-4 Bears season and gifted the Eagles and the city I live in a playoff win: If that’s the worst thing that happened in my life this year?

Then I really, truly have a great life. There’s no doubt.

But I’m ready to get a football season going again, for better of for worse.

This upcoming Bears season is as anticipated and as exciting as any in recent memory.

I’m ready to see if Akiem Hicks can blow up backfields again week after week. I’m ready to see if Khalil Mack can get to the quarterback and change the course of a season again. I’m ready to see if Eddie Jackson can make big plays and a few game-sealing pick-six returns again. I’m ready to see if Mitch Trubisky can throw for 6 TD’s in one game again. I’m ready to see if Tarik Cohen can get into space. I’m ready to see if David Montgomery can be an impact rookie. I’m ready to see if Da Bears can defend their NFC North crown. I’m ready to see if Matt Nagy can bring continued growth and stability in his second year to a city and a fan base starving for it. Absolutely starving for it.

Which also scares the hell out of me at the same time. In the NFL, not often does a season turn out the way you think it will unless you’re the New England Patriots. But for the rest of us football peasants, it’s true.

So ready or not: the 100th NFL Season begins tonight.

Like any relationship, it’s complicated and has taken growth.

Last February, the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the Super Bowl.

During that Super Bowl, there was a commercial for the 100th Anniversary of the National Football League. That means one big thing to me: It means I consider my formative awareness and love affair for the NFL during the 1994/95 season. That season marked the 75th Anniversary of the National Football League. During that season, I hit record on every possible NFL Films release: notably The All-Time Team and 75 Seasons: The Story Of The NFL. Those were brilliant and inspiring television moments etched into my 14-year-old mind. 

My family brought home a VCR in late 1990. Learning how to record things off of the radio with a tape recorder blew my mind: but learning how to record shows off of TV really opened up my world to film/sports/etc.

But nothing was recorded more in those days than Steve Sabol and NFL Films.

I’d check TV listings in the Argus Leader to find when NFL Films shows were on, and set the VCR to record each and every episode. Morning, day, and night. I had dozens of tapes, most two-to-three hours long that were all loaded with NFL Films start to finish. I’d study each episode carefully.

I probably should’ve been studying Biology and Algebra instead, but it is what it is. All things considered, things turned out just fine.

But I’d study every single NFL Films frame, every sound byte, every line. I can still hear my favorite lines as I type this:


“…all those mornings on the mountain taught Payton if he honed his body like a tool, he could use it as a weapon..”


“…when you’re talking about Night Train Lane, you’re talking about in my book: the greatest defensive back that ever lived.”


“Give me 18 inches of daylight. That’s all I need.” 


“I told Coach Halas in my interview when he asked what was my football philosophy: ‘Coach, who’re you kidding? My philosophy is the same as yours: kick the other teams ass.”


Fast forward to last January, and unfortunately another memorable sound byte was added into recorded football lore:


“Oh my goodness. The Bears season is going to end on a double doink.”


So here’s to moving on, and here’s to starting new.

Here’s to a new NFL season, the 100th.

The NFL’s been complicated recently for many, many reasons. But the league did it right with this matchup tonight.

Here’s to the NFL’s Charter Franchise Chicago Bears kicking this thing off at Soldier Field.

Hope, healing, and redemption.

Bear Down, Chicago Bears.

Let’s do this one for Papa Bear Halas.


…and P.S. if you build me up and rip my heart out again this season, I’ll likely need a script for Xanax. The entire city of Chicago will as well.










Insomnia and the 1999 Yankees


I go to bed tired. Then I wake up at 1 am, then fell back asleep after.  Wake again at 3 am, then asleep. Then again at 3:45 am. 

What goes through my head at these times?

Specific dates, times. Things like: ‘what was I doing twenty years ago from right now?’

Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

To answer that specifically, in June of 1999 I spent two weeks selling books door-to-door in a Pittsburgh suburb.

Then went home to South Dakota and worked at a car wash in Sioux Falls before going back to college for my sophomore year. Lived rent free, I must note, out of the graciousness of my wonderful Aunt Kathy. **Ed’s note: Thanks Aunt Kathy!**

But lying half awake with insomnia on this night, what also came into my head was:  “write about this: write about the summer of 1999.”

I got up, went into the bathroom, and wrote in my notes: “Write about the summer of 1999.” If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget.

So I wrote it down, and here we are.

The summer of 1999: 20 years ago from right now. It’s currently 4:03 AM on my nightstand alarm clock, and I can’t sleep.

What else do I remember about the summer of ’99?

I saw a bunch of movies that summer: Summer of Sam, The Blair Witch Project, American Pie.

Saw Hootie and The Blowfish at Huset’s Speedway and Collective Soul at Washington Pavilion with Steve Blankenship. Collective Soul covered “Crazy Train”, and Oleander opened. Is there anything more 1999 than ‘Oleander’? Freak of the Week dropped by The Marvelous 3, man I still love that song.

But the biggest thing that sticks out to me about 1999? Besides starting year 2 of college and rooming with The Great Brian Dewald in 301 Binnewies Hall at South Dakota State? That certainly is up there.

What sticks out the most is the Yankees won the World Series again.

Last summer I put down 4,000+ words on the 20th Anniversary of the 125-50 Yankees. As it currently stands, the 1999 Yankees are the last team in baseball to repeat as champions. (They actually won a third straight in 2000, but I can save that for next summer and the 20th anniversary of the Subway Series).

It’s interesting to think: How did they repeat?

We now see Boston getting out of the gate slowly this season, after the best season they ever had. It brings to mind how the Yankees did out of the gate in 1999?

I get it, you don’t care. But I’ve covered that already so don’t need an explanation. But in case you do: Don Mattingly: The bricklayer of a baseball dynasty

Here’s a better thought: what happened the year after each current MLB team had their best regular season ever, regardless of if they won the World Series or not?

After all, this is my damn blog so we can look.

The first noted year below is best regular season record in team history, then their record the following year after:

Anaheim Angels, 2008: 100-62; then the next year in 2009: 97-65

Arizona Diamondbacks, 1999: 100-62; 2000: 85-77

Atlanta Braves, 1998: 106-56; 1999: 103-59

Baltimore Orioles, 1969: 109-53; 1970: 108-54* (won World Series)

Boston Red Sox, 1912: 105-47* (won World Series); 1913: 79-71

Chicago Cubs, 1906: 116-36; 1907: 107-45* (won World Series)

Chicago White Sox, 1917: 100-54* (won World Series); 1918: 57-67

Cleveland Indians, 1954: 111-43; 1955: 93-61

Cincinnati Reds, 1975: 108-54* (won World Series); 1976: 102-60**(won World Series)

Colorado Rockies, 2009: 92-70; 2010: 83-79

Detroit Tigers, 1984: 104-58* (won World Series); 1985: 84-77

Florida Marlins, 1997: 92-70* (won World Series); 1998: 54-108. Yikes.

Houston Astros, 1998: 102-60; 1999: 97-65

Kansas City Royals, 1977: 102-60; 1978: 92-70

Los Angeles Dodgers, 2017: 104-58; 2018: 92-71

Milwaukee Brewers, 2011: 96-60; 2012: 83-79

Minnesota Twins, 1965: 102-60; 1966: 89-73

New York Mets, 1986: 108-54* (won World Series); 1987: 92-70

New York Yankees, 1998: 114-48* (won World Series); 1999: 98-64** (won World Series)

Oakland Athletics, 1988: 104-58; 1989: 99-63* (won World Series)

Philadelphia Phillies, 2011: 102-60; 2012: 81-81

Pittsburgh Pirates, 1909: 110-42* (won World Series); 1910: 86-67

San Diego Padres, 1998: 98-64; 1999: 74-78

San Francisco Giants, 1993: 103-59; 1994: 55-60 (strike-shortened season)

Seattle Mariners, 2001: 116-46; 2002: 93-69

St. Louis Cardinals, 1942: 106-48*(won World Series); 1943: 105-49

Tampa Bay Rays, 2008: 97-65; 2009: 84-78

Texas Rangers, 2011: 96-66; 2012: 93-69

Toronto Blue Jays, 1985: 99-62; 1986: 86-76

Washington Nationals, 2012: 98-64; 2013: 86-76

That’s a lot to take in.

A few things stand out:

*Only 9 times has a team gone on to win the title after posting their most regular-season wins in franchise history: 1909 Pirates, 1912 Red Sox, 1917 White Sox, ’42 Cardinals, ’75 Reds, ’84 Tigers, ’86 Mets, ’97 Marlins, and ’98 Yankees.

*Only ’76 Reds, and ’99 Yankees repeated as champs after posting franchise record wins + a title.

*Four teams had their all-time high water win mark in 1998: Braves, Padres, Yankees, and Astros. Which means there were teams that took some serious L’s that year: Marlin’s 108 losses, Rays 99, Montreal Expos 97, Arizona Diamondbacks 97.

*Only one team in the AL Central had winning record in ’98: Cleveland. The White Sox finished in second place with a losing record, 80-82.


So how are the ’99 Yankees the last to repeat? What has happened in the last 20 years?

A bunch of things could factor into this.

One was they returned nearly their entire roster from 1998. Give or take a few guys that didn’t return: David Wells, Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, Tim Raines; having the majority of their roster return the following year was a major positive.

Another could be the Wild Card inception in 1995: more teams make the postseason than ever before. Now with the Wild Card and play-in games: could that be why it’s harder to repeat? Could it be more teams, more parity, and more competitive balance then ever?

Before you throw “Payroll/big market vs. small market” at me, just remember this:

Kansas City, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Chicago have all won championships in recent years with great player development without being a top-10 payroll team. To further prove that point, let’s look at another list: here’s every championship team in the last 20 seasons, and where they ranked in MLB Payroll that season:

1999: Yankees #1

2000: Yankees #1

2001: Diamondbacks: #8

2002: Anaheim Angels: #15

2003: Florida Marlins #25

2004: Red Sox #2

2005: White Sox #13

2006: St. Louis Cardinals #11

2007: Boston Red Sox #2

2008: Philadelphia Phillies #12

2009: New York Yankees #1

2010: San Francisco Giants #10

2011: St. Louis Cardinals #11

2012: San Francisco Giants #8

2013: Boston Red Sox #4

2014: San Francisco Giants #7

2015: Kansas City Royals #15

2016: Chicago Cubs #14

2017: Houston Astros #18

2018: Boston Red Sox #1

So what does this all mean?

It means big spending doesn’t always mean a championship.

In fact, only 4 times in the last 20 seasons has the team with the biggest payroll won the title (3x the Yankees, 1x Boston).

What I do know is the Yankees followed up their historic ’98 campaign with another championship in 1999.

It was fun to research the storylines from that ’99 season:

  1. David Cone’s Perfect Game on Yoga Berra Day at Yankee Stadium
  2. Jeter .349, 219 hits/Bernie .342
  3. Mariano Rivera didn’t allow a run after July 21.
  4. Roger Clemens traded to Yankees in February 1999
  5. 11-1 Postseason

Back to my previous question about how they started out of the gate. Let’s look at their chronological season record:

May 1st: 15-7

June 1st: 30-20

July 1st 47-29

August 1st: 62-41

September 1st: 81-51.

So how is this team the last to win consecutive titles?

Let’s start with the guys in the clubhouse, Jeter and Rivera first.

Eventually both will be first ballot Hall Of Famers, and by 1999 each were full budded young superstars: Jeter was 25, and Rivera was 29.



Statistically, one could argue that 1999 was the best year he had in his career.

He posted career highs that season in hits (219), batting average (.349), home runs (24), RBI’s (102), and WAR (8.0).

“Within the long list of Jeter’s exceptional stats in 1999, there are two that also stand out: He hit a mind-boggling .371 on 0-2 pitches and hit .455 when facing an opposing pitcher for the third time in a game.” –excerpt from “Derek Jeter’s Forgotten MVP Season,” by Lyndsay Berra. 

Jeter also went into the All Star break hitting .371, an astounding first half.

He was 25: an elastic, flexible, and explosive shortstop with lightening-quick hands. It’s crazy to now think he’d go on to play 15 more seasons after ’99.



The only point that needs to be said about Rivera in 1999: He did not give up a run after July 21.

Let me type that again.

He did not give up a run in 1999 after July 21.

That means after July 21st he entered a game and pitched 28 times to finish the regular season, and 8 postseason appearances did not give up a run in any of those times.

*Maybe that’s how you repeat: when your closer doesn’t give up a run for 36 straight appearances*

It’s not easy to do. He’s a unanimous first ballot Hall Of Fame inductee for a reason.


Coney Perfect:

The difference in parody from one season to the next can be staggering. In my piece last summer, I delved into the David Wells perfect game on May 17th and how that seemed to galvanize the 1998 club.

And unbelievably enough: David Cone did the same thing and threw a perfect game one year later at Yankee Stadium on July 18th, 1999.

The previous perfect game before David Wells in ’98 was by Don Larsen all the way back on October 8, 1956. Yogi Berra was the catcher, and after the last out created the memorable scene by jumping into Larsen’s arms.

By early 1999, the relationship between the Yankees and Berra can be called rocky at best, after Berra was canned by George Steinbrenner less than 20 games into the season in 1985. Berra vowed to cut ties, and didn’t have anything to do with the club for 14 years.

But before the ’99 season started, Berra and the club were able to mend as he worked with Jorge Posada in spring training before the year started.

The Yankees went even further, and named July 18 ‘Yogi Berra Day’ at the stadium and honored him before the game. Don Larsen was also there and took part in the festivities.

So what happened next?

David Cone threw a perfect game that day, with Larsen and Berra in attendance. You couldn’t make this up.




Bern Baby Bern:

Lost in the Core Fore lore is Bernie Williams, who for all practical purposes one could argue was probably the best all-around player in baseball in 1999. He arrived a few years before Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera and in his early years principal owner George Steinbrenner spent several offseason’s trying to get rid of him.

Good thing that didn’t happen.

From ’97-’01 Williams was at the peak of his prime, earning a spot on the American League All-Star team for 5 straight years. He was consistently impressive in those years batting cleanup, and helped catapult the Yankees to a World Series three-peat from 1998 to 2000. He won 4 straight Gold Gloves from 1997-’00, and a batting title in ’98.

As for 1999:

.342, 202 hits, 100 walks, 25 HR, 115 RBI’s, .971 OPS. Another Gold Glove in center field.

His signature patient, low-crouching, switch-hitting stance was a prelude to many big moments.

Perhaps none bigger than his heroics in game 1 of the ALCS vs. Boston with a walk-off home run vs. Rod Beck that set the tone for an AL Pennant.  At the time he became the first player in baseball history to his two postseason walk-off home runs, his other previous in the ’96 ALCS vs. Baltimore.



Speaking of Wells…

In February 1999 the Yankees traded Boomer to Toronto along with Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush for Roger Clemens.

Wells was heartbroken, and said at the time: “It’s tough. Give me a couple days.”

Yankees manager Joe Torre said the day of the trade to the media, as quoted in the Washington Post: “There’s some shock in that room right now. It’s something you have to get used to. That is what the game is all about. There are going to be changes. . . . Roger Clemens is a nonstop Hall of Famer.”

Well, that’s not exactly how it’s played out.

In 1999 Clemens didn’t have his best season, going 14-10 and posting a career high ERA of 4.36 in his first season in the Bronx.

But he won the ALDS clincher vs. Texas, throwing 7 shutout innings to clinch the sweep vs. the Rangers.

An emotional Clemens was then shelled by his former team at Boston during game 3 of the ALCS in his Fenway Park return. He started the Yankees only loss of the playoffs, lasting only two innings in a 13-1 rout.

The starting pitcher Clemens was against? He was up against an absolutely-out-of-his-mind Pedro Martinez who beat Clemens and the Yankees in game 2.

In ’99 Pedro had one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history: winning the Cy Young by going 23-4 in 29 starts. He threw 213 innings and had 313 strikeouts.


Fortunately, the Yankees only had to face Pedro once that series, and they disposed Boston in 5 games to set up a rematch of the ’96 World Series vs. the Atlanta Braves.

The anticipated rematch didn’t live up to much hype, as the World Series ended in a Yankees sweep. The sweep gave them 8 straight wins vs. Atlanta in the World Series dating back to ’96, and 12 straight World Series wins overall at the time.

As for Clemens? He redeemed himself in a big way in game 4 of the World Series, going 7.2 innings and getting the win in a 4-1 World Series clinching victory.

It would be an understatement to say that Clemens’ baseball legacy not only in New York, but in all of baseball is….complicated.

But of the three Playoff series victories in ’99, he was lights-out and won two of the clinchers and certainly remains a major piece of how the team was able to repeat.

“The Yankees were awesome,” Smoltz said. “I felt in 1996 that we should have won. I can’t say that this time. I feel like the better team won. We had a chance to win every one of these games, but the Yankees had an answer for everything we tried.” -Washington Post, October 28, 1999 following game 4. 


I believe it’s ultimately about players, and those players year after year playing their best baseball. The Yankees from 1996-2001 had more players do that than any team in the last 30 years. The other part is luck: staying healthy, staying together.

I don’t know how the summer and baseball season of 2019 will play out. What I do know is that 20 years ago from right now, the Yankees followed up their greatest season ever in 1998 with another dominant season and a World Series championship.

They were last to win consecutive titles because because David Cone was perfect. They were the last to win consecutive titles because Jeter, Rivera, and Williams were pretty damn close to perfect. They won because Roger Clemens wasn’t perfect in 1999 regular season, but had big playoff moments and righted the ship at just the right time.

Winning the 1999 World Series, their third in four years, defined the club as a dynasty.

20 years ago was a great summer, and that’s something I can rest easy about.

So now the next time I have insomnia, I’ll write about who had the better rock show: Collective Soul or Hootie?


















A Journey through Cooperstown

In the 2011 film ‘Moneyball’, the movie begins with the following Mickey Mantle quote:

“It’s unbelievable what you don’t know about a game you’ve played all your life”

It’s with that in mind that my comrade Brett Guido and I recently journeyed to Cooperstown, NY. Our agenda was to visit the ghosts of baseball and take in the game’s cherished history: a history that is safely kept inside the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

When we arrived from Philadelphia after a few hours in the car, we were surprised by how small Cooperstown was. It’s a small lake town loaded with Americana charm and a sprawling number of colonial style homes.

With a population of 1,800 it’s basically the size of Parkston, Freeman, or Canton, South Dakota.

As we made our initial drive down main street, we found the Baseball Hall of Fame on our right, directly across the street from the Cooperstown Post Office:


There are no chain Applebees in the Cooperstown city limits. There’s no Target, no Outback Steakhouse, and unfortunately for us: no Metropolitan Grill (we tried to get reservations and looked up the location–it doesn’t exist). Cooperstown is just good ‘ol locally-owned mom and pop hospitality.

After checking into our hotel–which was literally one block away from the Museum, we didn’t waste much time heading over.  We may have drank a Coors Light first.

We purchased tickets and entered. From there our baseball journey began as we were greeted by statues of Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente:


Next to them is an inscription titled ‘Character and Courage’:

“Becoming a Hall of Famer takes more than just a great baseball career. Off-the-field challenges–and how those challenges are met–reveal an inner character that serves men and women throughout their lives. The life experiences of Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente stand out above all. Each faced personal and social obstacles with strength and dignity that set an example of character and courage for all others to follow.”

They all started off playing a boys game: not only unbelievably skilled enough to make it to the big leagues, but skilled enough to flourish. The grit to play through pain. Play through mental aches.

Or in the case of Robinson: play through racial turmoil and hatred and bigotry beyond our comprehension. But instead of spitting and fighting back, Jackie Robinson used the hatred and bigotry as a fuel for his game. And with that fuel, lit a fire in his play that no one in the history of baseball has played with before or since. At least not in our modern age, and certainly not anyone who is white. A competitive rage that is far beyond that of the possessed and controlled rage of a Jordan or Jeter or Brady. And it’s safe to say they would likely admit that as well.


I’d always heard that Pee Wee Reese played a vital role in leading and voicing his acceptance for Robinson to the league and to his Dodger teammates. He was brave enough to stand up and make his acceptance of Robinson known.

It’s wonderful that the Hall notes their character strengths on their plaques in Cooperstown.

It’s 2019, and we still need more guys like Pee Wee Reese:


Basically any moment you can think of, dating back to the inception of baseball: has been saved, recorded, framed, labeled, noted, verified, stamped, certified, and illuminated forever under spotlights.

You name it:

Lou Gehrig’s personal keychain complete with his house keys, Babe Ruth hand-written postcards, Babe Ruth bats, Pee Wee Reese’s game-worn cleats, Stan Musial’s locker, Hank Aaron’s locker, Joe DiMaggio’s jersey, George Brett’s pine-tar bat, the hats Nolan Ryan wore for all seven of his no-hitters. Floors and floors of every artifact you can think of. It’s truly remarkable and overwhelming at the same time.

Barry Bond’s record-setting 756th home run ball?

That’s there, complete with a branded asterisk courtesy of owner Marc Ecko. Ecko purchased the ball and cut out the asterisk to emphasize “this unforgettable moment in sports history in popular culture”:


There’s a great photograph of Christy Mathewson that captures what he really looked like in 1910. Staring at this face, I couldn’t help but think of the great moment in the film Dead Poets Society where Robin Williams’ character has his students stop to admire old photographs they have passed thousands of times without stopping to take notice:

“Seize the day! Seize the day, boys!”


Another photograph that stood out to me was this one of a young Frank Robinson, which defines the sheer strength and physicality of him in uniform. Frank truly must’ve been an intimidating and imposing presence:


Another highlight for me was seeing the details of the uniforms. More specifically, the labels and tags. This one is hard to see, but it’s easy to note the jersey size:


What these uniforms did more than anything was bring to life and personify the person who wore it. The names of baseball lore are now seemingly mythical figures in the minds of anyone that loves the game. But seeing these uniforms behind glass allowed one to visualize the person that wore it.

For example: Joe Dimaggio’s jersey was broad from shoulder to shoulder when seeing it up close:


You can sit in Hank Aarons locker, as well as view each of his home run baseballs leading up to and breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record.

His game-worn uniform from his historic record breaking home run on April 8, 1974 was upright and stunning:


When you enter the great hall that bares the plaques of the Lords of Baseball is an essay that includes the question:

Why Cooperstown?

“In 1908, sporting goods magnate A.G. Spalding announced the verdict of a special historical commission that has been formed to determine the origins of baseball: “the first scheme for playing (the game) according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839.” In 1935, local philanthropist Stephen C. Clark sought to capitalize in the commission’s findings by building a baseball museum in the games alleged birthplace. With the help of Ford Frick, President of the National League, Clark succeeded. Today, historians agree that Doubleday had nothing to do with baseball’s beginnings, but Cooperstown remains the spiritual home of the National Pastime.”

The overwhelming gratitude of the voices in a :15 minute film available at the beginning of a Hall Of Fame visit sets the tone for an emotional experience. Clips of past and recent Hall Of Fame inductees, including a memorable one from Greg Maddux saying he’s been retired for nearly twenty years, but still thinks about the game in almost every instance of his life. It gave a Field Of Dreams-like feeling, and was at the beginning of the tour.

The game today may not be to our country what it was in, say, 1955. But as I’ve grown older it’s become nothing short of a poetic art form to me. That’s what the Cooperstown visit helped solidify.

Baseball is the closest thing to a time machine we have in our lives, and I’m glad I was finally able to enter it. The ghosts of baseballs past exist: and are all alive and well in Cooperstown, NY.

Enshrined in the Hall Of Fame are the heroes of our fathers fathers fathers. Heroes like Stan Musial: who was the favorite player of a great family friend, the late Bill VanLeur.



This one’s for Bill:














What Tiger did today

“It’s just a guy that’s been through a lot.”

-Scott Van Pelt, with the understatement of the year, on April 14th 2019 at 3:05 pm EST.

What Tiger Woods did today was win his 5th Masters Championship to earn another green jacket.

I’m not an expert on golf. I don’t watch or play enough to pretend I know about clubs and approaches, and how fast greens are running, or the condition of fairways.

But I do know that I never in a gazillion years thought Tiger Woods would return to the mountaintop and win The Masters ever again. And you didn’t either.

But I hoped he would.

This is a guy who was at a mountaintop to which no one not named Ali, Jordan, Brady, or Gretzky has ever been. These are the names that dominated their sport in the modern era, and no one dominated golf like Tiger did from the time he turned pro until the time he crashed his Escalade into a tree that infamous night.

His crashing halt was nobody’s fault but his own.

It’s been well documented the self-mutilating and shocking/cringe-worthy number of short comings and faults: the unbelievable amount of affairs, the aforementioned Escalade crash, the divorce, the pain meds, the embarrassment, the shame. The scripted apology press conference. The night he was found sleeping in his car, and later to an addiction to pills. On and on and on and on, including an admission to being a sex addict.

More skeletons in a closet than any modern iconic name sports has ever had.

After his recent DUI arrest where he was found asleep at the wheel on May 30, 2017 I couldn’t help but think: ‘Never mind golf, I just hope this dude is okay and can live a normal life and get the help that he needs.’ Maybe you said this too, or maybe you didn’t.

But it was just another embarrassing narrative to add to Tiger’s downfall.

Golf, like life, is a game you play on your own. So it was on him, and only him, to pick himself up and get back on the course and play again. But it was evident in recent years that he would never win another major again.

That’s what we thought. That’s what I thought.

Until today.

What Tiger did today was the most astonishing ascension back on top that I have ever seen watching sports.

Seeing he was tied for the lead on the back nine on Sunday started a frenzy that I don’t remember ever seeing watching golf. I love watching The Masters, and look forward to the final Sunday every year. But Tiger in the lead on the back 9 was unbelievable enough, whether he would end up winning or not.

I texted friends: “Holy sh*t is he gonna win?”

Not really truly believing, but hoping he would.

What Tiger did with his Iron to tee off the 16th hole threw me from my chair, like I was being ejected from an F-14 Tomcat on Top Gun, and vaulted me screaming with my fists in the air. My Dog Baxter barked. I yell-cheered again as the ball rolled within two feet of the pin, and if you were watching you did this too.

He then putted for birdie, giving him a two-shot lead with two holes left on Masters Sunday.

He ended up needing just a 5 on the 18th hole to win, and he got it.

I don’t know Tiger Woods any more than you do. But like SVP said, I do know he’s been through a lot.

What Tiger did is hit rock bottom. Then go down further. Then further, then further and further yet until he hit the point of being so far at the bottom that it was only him that could ever pick himself up again and climb out.

What Tiger did was complete the climb from a dark abyss. He pulled himself out of his own unbelievably self-induced rock bottom, and climbed back to the mountaintop.

He won The 2019 Masters and put on another green jacket. What Tiger did was win the Super Bowl of golf for the 5th time.

Love him or hate him, you gotta hand it to him.

What Tiger did today is something that nobody in the world thought was possible.



Except him.