The stomach of a champion, Joey Chestnut

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Joey Chestnut is the G.O.A.T. Ethan from Manhattan, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5DJoey Chestnut is the G.O.A.T.

Joey Chestnut has over a dozen wins at Coney Island, staying at the top of the mountain for competitive eating. 

Chestnut devoured 71 hot dogs and buns, to win the men’s division of the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest Thursday. He again won the Mustard Belt, beating 17 opponents, including 2015 winner Matt Stonie. 

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Alex Morgan sips her birthday tea after her game winner against England

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Alex Morgan celebrates her birthday with royalty after scoring game winning goal against England. Photo from Getty Images, creator – Maja Hitij

What’s better on your birthday than a goal?

Happy Birthday to Alex Morgan, for the star USWNT forward, scores the game winning goal against England Tuesday night. Alex Morgan makes a royal celebration, sipping her tea, as she should on her special day.

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The Nets win NBA Free Agency: Brooklyn; the Real New York

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The Nets acquired two out of the three biggest NBA free agents, Kevin Durant (left) and Kyrie Irving (right).
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images, extracted from clutchpoints.com

The Tale of Two Burroughs.

The Brooklyn Nets have made the headlines in Day 1 of free agency, acquiring one of the biggest stars – Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. It’s a tough day for New York Knicks fans; James Dolan and Knicks’ front office, whiffed, yet again. 

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The milk stout for sweet tooths 

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There I was, completely in awe after experiencing the mind blowing mouthful, that is the Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, the tastiest beer I’ve had to this day.

I’ve always known Firestone Brewing Co. to be solid, and to have a respectable reputation, but this beer is just ridiculous. This milk stout blows away any kind of sweet stout, brown ale ever consumed.

I never thought dark beer could be so good.

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First Take’s Farewell: Goodbye Bayless, Goodbye First Take

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ESPN’s No.1 debate show will not only be “Bay-less” but also “character-lessafter losing one of the biggest TV personalities in all of sports. ESPN “First Take”, the sports show of the century, will change forever with the recent move of Host Skip Bayless to FOX Sports.

The Shaq and Kobe-like chemistry, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, have been the main attraction at the debate desk since the show began in 2007.

The show has increased its ratings dramatically since its format changes during 2011, giving more spotlight to Skip Bayless & left the show more prone to controversy despite its great accumulation of success.

After an incredible 12-year tenure on the show, Skip Bayless is finally calling it quits this August, when his contract with ESPN expires.

Bayless’ shocking news of leaving the ESPN powerhouse to a smaller sports conglomerate, FOX, left him vulnerable to shots and criticism taken by his former colleagues.

With several hints from Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russell taking shots at Bayless for his criticism and wild-fire opinions over the years, the timing of these out-landed and unfair comments to the veteran journalist are unjust to say the least.

Skip Bayless has always been who he has projected to be, and this has been long understood – a man who is not afraid to speak his opinions, whether the majority of the nation will agree or think it is completely “barbaric” or not. Over the years I found myself to agree more with Stephen A. Smith’s opinions; although, I found it very intriguing and beneficial for Skip to consistently have completely different opinions or perspectives for not only the show, but for sports in general; the variety and uniqueness aspect of sports is what makes it so interesting and entertaining it is today.

During his last episode on First Take, Skip may have earned a great deal of respect from critics and haters with the long, heartful speech he gave to the show and his best friend Stephen A. Smith. Loved or hated, Bayless’ passion and work for not only First Take, but his career has not gone unnoticed.

This Monday, Skip Bayless’ gave his critics a new perspective from the “real-ness” he projected in his long emotional speech during his final minutes on First Take, “Man, it is actually here — my last day on ESPN before I move on to my next endeavor. This is my last day at this debate desk in this studio after nearly 12 years on this show and 23 years on various shows on this network,“ a weeping Bayless said.

Payless then began to save the last part of his speech for a tribute to one of his best friends and certainly best colleague, Stephen A. Smith, “[Smith] is here today for me, and I love him for that. We’ve had our battles on this show, we fight like brothers, we get mad, we love each other. I am going to miss him more than he has any concept,” Bayless said. “We have had a great run against all odds on this show, and I’m so proud of what we built here.”

Being a long time fan of First Take, I am surprised by the move and shocked, for this show will no longer be First Take anymore; without Skip Bayless, there is no First Take. Skip Bayless was the perfect personality to not only fit in with Smith, but was the perfect fit for First Take.

Many are wondering who can possibly ‘replace” the First Take veteran and ponder if the show will “stay a-float”.

Having another favorite TV personality, Collin Cowherd, makes me excited for the possible notion for Bayless to join forces with Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, and possibly Curt Schilling. This certainly would be an All-Star lineup for FOX, as it could bring similar numbers to the ESPN powerhouse.

God bless Skip, God Bless First Take, and Farewell.

Photo by Jeff Kern (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cleveland’s championship conquest: more than just a chip for the Cavs 

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The Cavaliers’ Game 7 win at Oracle Arena Sunday night proved to be more than just a game, a championship, and even history — Cleveland’s first NBA title meant everything.

Inspired to win Cleveland’s first major pro sports title since 1965, LeBron James had put up one of the greatest games of his entire professional career.

One could say this could be the performance of his life time: Becoming the first player in any playoff series to led his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, just the 3rd player in NBA Finals history to have a triple-double performance in Game 7, and being named unanimous NBA Finals MVP. His legendary performance was a spectacle itself, but for Cavaliers to become the first team in NBA history to comeback from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit – showed that this was something special, and meant more than just a game.

Game 7’s unbelievable conclusion of the 2016 NBA Finals was more scripted than any Hollywood ending ever imagined in sports, hearing the reaction of LeBron and his team helping Cleveland end their 52-year championship drought was more than just historic. The Kings’ emotional post-game interview with ESPN’s Doris Burke marked one of the greatest moments in not only the NBA, but in the history of sports.

“Cleveland, this one’s for you!” LeBron screamed into the microphone.

The dramatic ending of the NBA Finals reminisced a real-life movie – it was completely surreal to witness.

Whether you’re a Cavaliers fan or not, one has to be happy for the city of Cleveland, and respect an incredible team comradery the team has showed these 2016 NBA Finals. Cleveland validated one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history silencing the doubters since there 3-1 deficit.

This win will also validate LeBron, placing him in the category of top five players of all-time, and now, most of us can agree this will no longer be a debate. LeBron’s third title meant more than just another championship for himself; it was a victory for the Cavs, for the city of Cleveland, and the entire state of Ohio.

Cleveland’s sensational comeback marked a revelation, and a historic legacy that LeBron never will forget.

Good for LeBron.

Good for the Cavs.

Good for Cleveland.

Photo by Erik Drost (flickr.com) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Another dynasty in Pittsburgh: Penguins’ 4th Stanley Cup calls for greatness

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3rd time’s a charm, 4th time’s a dynasty; The Pittsburgh Penguins legitimized themselves Sunday as one the greatest NHL teams in history with capturing their fourth overall Stanley Cup title.

The Pittsburgh Penguins reiterated themselves as a legendary franchise history with yet another Stanley Cup title, and their historic win over the San Jose Sharks highlights there MVP as one of all-time greats in NHL history. It was only fitting that the team’s captain Sidney Crosby, took home the Conn Smythe Sunday night for his MVP effort these NHL playoffs.

Sidney Crosby assures himself as one the greatest to not only wear a Pittsburgh Penguin jersey, but one of the best players of NHL all-time.

ESPN’s hockey personalities Barry Melrose and Stan Levy, was first to interview the NHL star on winning his second Stanley Cup title in seven years.

“I think you appreciate it more, having gone through some of the things we did,” said Crosby. “Coming up short a few of times, when you’re in it back to back years, and while your young…you think it’s going to be an annual thing…and it’s not easy.”

Crosby, 28, is in the prime of in his career. The NHL All-Star’s recent Stanley Cup seamlessly adds to his legacy, and justifies himself as one of the greatest to NHL forwards of all time.

This a picture perfect scenario in Pittsburgh, for the team has a great opportunity to continue a potential dynasty.

After dealing with many questions on injuries, coaching changes, and scraping through just to make playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins’ ceiling seems higher than ever. The future of the franchise seems to be in great hands with All-Star players like Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to surround there MVP.

This talented Penguin squad is extremely versatile; surrounded youth and veterans, the team could be a threat for years.

After winning his second title, and numerous amount of scoring goals, you could imagine Crosby could be mentioned with some of the greats, even Gretsky himself; for Crosby too is a scoring machine. Though he didn’t score in the Stanley Cup Finals, Crosby contributed to the team with four assists. The impact Crosby has for his team is similar to the influence Gretsky had for his Kings, Oilers, the inspiration is untimely and interchangeable.

Crosby had scored 36 goals this season, around his average; overall he has had a whopping 338 in his entire career. The impressive numbers Crosby possess in just his prime, is intimidating for opponents in the league.

It will be intriguing to see if the Pens can keep up their championship play next season, reflecting Crosby’s statement, “it is almost impossible to win every year in this league.”

I dedicate this blog to my old friend, the biggest Pittsburgh fan I know, Sean Smalstig. R.I.P.

Photo By Andy from Pittsburgh, United States (hoisting the cup) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rams buying into the Jared Goff/Carson Wentz theory

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Rams give up several picks to trade for the No.1 overall selection in the NFL draft.

In realms of the excitement starting the new 2016-2017 season, Ram’s play devils’ advocate in their mission for obtaining the No.1 pick. Whether Jared Goff or Carson Wentz will be called tomorrow night for the first overall selection in the draft, Rams look for
security in their future with acquiring a reliable option at quarterback.

Looks like the Los Angeles Rams have their eyes on a quarterback for the upcoming season. The Head Coach Jeff Fisher recently expressed to the media that they are going to draft an
offensive player; the head coach followed by GM Les Snead, the staff revealed limited information on the upcoming pick, however, it is almost obvious they are going to draft a quarterback.

Giving up a bonanza of picks to get the No.1 pick in the draft, Rams’ nation is desperate for a turnaround in there nine consecutive losing seasons – the longest active streak in the NFL.

Fans, staff, analytics, and everyone around the league are already making the Jared Goff/Carson Wentz comparison.

Seeing the potential of the quarterback, and how either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz most likely will be the No.1 pick of the draft, Jeff Fisher and his staff had moved from pick no.15
to No.1 the upcoming draft.

Hence the pick, the preference of the two quarterbacks is believed to be more steered towards Goff, as sources around the league report that the Cal quarterback has a few areas of advantage over Wentz. According to ESPN Staff Writer Nick Wagoner, per NFL scout, Goff has advantage with his feet, performance under pressure, and sample size.

Sources around the league the Goff is the more pro-ready quarterback because he has a larger sample size with three years as a starter over Wentz’ one year and half at North Dakota State. Having experience in the league for so many years, the Rams’ head coach
knows a thing or two about how experience is vital in NFL. Transitioning to the league, the Cal quarterback seems better for that fit.

Though the new Rams’ quarterback may have to endure a tremendous amount of change, it is a great opportunity as the teams’ personal is much better than the usual destinations
that these No.1 picks tend to land.

The new face of the Rams, the electric running-back Todd Gurley, debuted with the team last season with over 1,000 yards rushing as a Rookie. Recovering from an ACL injury in 2014, Gurley picks up where he last left off in his record-breaking days in Georgia. Gurley
had become just the third Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season, joining the Jerome Bettis (1993) and Eric Dickerson (1983).

Gurley had gained attention quickly from the NFL in his much anticipated debut in Week 4,
shredding the Cardinals defense with 146 rushing yards and following up the next four games with over 100 yards. Jared Goff, with the support of Gurley and a young Offensive-line, should give the quarterback confidence to give him success in his first year in the NFL, if drafted by the Rams. The young prospect also has the support from the Rams’ receiving core.

With emergence of star Tavon Austin, and veteran wide receivers Wes Welker, Kenny Britt, and Nick Toon, young players Stedman Bailey and Brian Quick also add depth to this Rams’
offense.

Not far from home, the Cal quarterback should embrace such an opportunity, as he is taking over the Ram’s talented personal, which will create great potential for years to come in Los Angeles.

Photo By By Trevorpeelman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

UConn’s championship level of play puts women’s basketball on the map

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Behind Geno Auriemma’s legacy, the Huskies glorify women’s basketball by having one of the biggest measures of dominance in all of sports. The school’s dominance is better for women’s basketball because their overwhelming tenacity and incredible passion is so alluring, it brings out the best in the sport.

The supremacy calls attention to us men who are sports fanatics but don’t often watch women’s basketball. In my defense, I haven’t been a college basketball fan in general, until recently becoming intrigued by March Madness a few years ago. Watching a sport being played the best that it can possibly be, its hard to ignore any kind of game for that matter.

Connecticut’s illustrious ball-play makes it hard to disregard their success and ends up influencing the viewers to watch the surrounding competition. The legacy really is a positive aspect to the sport because it certainly gains respect, and as a result, it sparks interest.

The Huskies dominance is alluring, so alluring, it catches guys like me – who hardly watches the sport – finding themselves on the couch watching the entire game. Whether they are up by 20 or just by a bucket, one can admit it, UConn women’s basketball is a must-see. Watching the sport being played its highest level is enough reason to watch.

We’ve never heard anything about Michael Jordan and how his six-year championship run with the Bulls was “killing the game”. So why should we label that or have such mentality for the Huskies and women’s basketball?

UConn is advancing women’s basketball because they are simply raising the bar. There dominance is so blatant, the team cannot be ignored when preparing for them, which will help influence the rest of the nation to “catch up” with the Huskies.

Traditionally the audience is accustomed to seeing the Women’s Final. Four include schools like Tennessee, Stanford, Georgia, Notre Dame, Maryland, and Baylor other than Connecticut. UConn incredibly has made NCAA Tournament appearances every season since 1989. If anything, the lack of parody will force other schools to be more aggressive in there recruiting and pursuing post-season success.

Having not lost in 15 months, how can one not respect that?

The Huskies only know how to play at the highest level, which should be rewarded rather than be looked at negatively. Being incomprehensibly better than the competition, how can one fault the women’s success rather than recognize it as greatness…

The dominant team has had several McDonald’s High School All Americans, in which the head coach and his staff have brilliantly recruited since his incredible tenure at Connecticut in 1985. Consistently playing the game at the highest level, recruiting at the highest level, and coaching at the highest level – UConn clearly is ahead of the nation. Whether you’re a fan of the dominance or not, one must at least respect the Huskies’ incredible chemistry, passion, and respect for one another.

Another reason to watch the Huskies is because they have iconic players like Breanna Stewart on there roster. Breanna Stewart is on par to set her compelling goal of winning four championships, and she’s also on pace to be the first college player to win the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award for the fourth time.

Like the team in general, Stewart is a must-see.

Blocking shots, making threes, posting up, and fluid assists – she can do anything, and is also another reason why I became so intrigued in watching this team. She is 34 points behind Diana Tuarasi, for having the most career points in the history of Women’s NCAA Tournament. Behind Stewart, along with senior guard Moriah Jefferson and star forward Morgan Tuck, The Huskies are on there way to winning the national championship the fourth year in a row.

Here’s a crazy number to think about. Under Geno Auriemma, his prestigious team is 120-1 overall in the last 121 games.

Yeah, 120-1.

That’s just an insane measure by any sport right? People if anything, will respect the head coach for recognizing his success as possibly being the all-time winning head coach in the history of sports, as he has led UConn to ten national titles – something only the legendary John Wooden has accomplished.

With the Huskies’ incredible hot streak and dynasty on the line, Connecticut looks to once again take over women’s basketball by storm. Enjoy the dominance while you can because we may never see a dynasty like this in sports again.

Photo By Sphilbrick (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The inside scoop of MMA fighting, what do the injuries have on the mental game?

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MMA fighter Jeff Martin gives the lowdown on the trauma
that comes with the blood–shed sport and reasons why it is still one of the
fastest growing sports in the world.

“What do people like about MMA?” Martin asked. I paused but then
quickly replied, “That it’s physical,” as he simultaneously countered with “dangerous.”

Making a comeback to the violent sport, in which he engaged in for so many years, Martin first mentioned his first concern was the aspect of injury and health. Competing in soccer, football, and fighting the all-around athlete says you must be not only in shape but you have to
somewhat balanced to be a great competitor.

Shedding more light in the positive aspect of the sport, Martin reasoned there are other factors that make MMA so enticing besides the risk.

Referring back to his emphasis of having balance, Martin also mentions that the uniqueness of the sport makes it so fascinating. He mentions that not only is it extremely physical, but it is also mentally
demanding.

“You have to be mentally strong,” said Martin. “It is actually more
important to be mentally strong than physically strong in most cases.”

Mentally strong, that makes sense. Can you imagine every
time someone asks you, how was work?  It’s almost like replying, “oh you know, just fighting for my life. Another day at the office.” Yeah, right

Amazing to see how viewers almost just expect fighters to employ the “mental make-up” to ignore negative thoughts that come with risk of the sport.

The mental challenge of fighting apprehensions of serious
injury or even death can ruin some athletes’ careers. Whether it is suffering an
injury or a tough loss, some fighters find it hardest to go through the obstacle
of being mentally motivated.

The injuries have something do with the mental aspect of the
sport,” said Martin. “It can take you out of your mental strength, you could easily go depressed after having a serious injury like breaking your jaw or something.”

Speaking of mental breakdown, the MMA fighter points out
a great example – look at what’s going on with Ronda Rousey, and all her insecurities
suffering from her first knockout to Holly Helm.

In one of the most physically demanding tasks in sports or
any profession period, MMA fighter’s first and important concern is what the
injuries have on the mental game.

Why is MMA becoming so big even with such high chance of
injury?

“It hasn’t done it yet, but professional fighting like MMA and UFC is on pace to take over the nations’ popularity on sports like soccer, basketball, and maybe even one day level with football,” said Martin.

Even with the gruesome violence the nation still finds the
sport to be enticing and everything more.

The professional fighter explains that in becoming successful in sports like MMA, one must have a successful mentality.  Having this mentality reflects the fighter’s hard work ethics, Martin mentions the goal is to simply “out-work everybody to everything.”

Close friend and all-around athlete, explained how truly successful people embrace the possibility of failure and focuses on themselves in reminder that everything
is going to be “50 – 50″ in life.

What are your options? You either win or you
lose, you succeed or fail.

“With the more times you put yourself in certain situations or oppurtunities,
50 percent of the time your going to win; so if you do it 100 times, then
you have 50 wins,” said Martin. “Having such a mental aspect is huge not only
in sports, but also life in general.”