Sunday Sports Shorts

By Miguel Mike Medina

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Kevin Gausman has been pitching lights out lately, and he continues to do so in his outing against the Seattle Mariners. On Saturday afternoon, Gausman struck out 13 Mariner batters through seven innings. 

Outfielder Daulton Farsho hit a walk-off to win it for the Blue Jays, 1-0. It’s the Blue Jays’ sixth consecutive victory. As for Varsho, it’s the second walk-off hit of his career and the first one as a member of the Blue Jays.

The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets kicked off the second round of the playoffs on Saturday night. Both teams are at full strength, and this is going to be one magnificent series—Devin Booker against Jamal Murray, with both guards being efficient scorers. In Game One, it wasn’t even close. The Nuggets were in command: excellent ball movement and fast pace basketball. Plus, they have more youth and depth than Phoenix, and in this game, you saw that. Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 34 points on a 13-for-24 from the field. Nikola Jokic added a double-double with 24 points and 19 rebounds. Aaron Gordon had a good night with 23 points. Nuggets take Game 1 by the final score of 125 to 107. 

Game Two will be on Monday night as the Nuggets try to go up 2-0, or Phoenix will look to split the series. The winner of this series could potentially go to the NBA Finals to represent the Western Conference. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs have done it. The drought it finally over. John Tavares, the captain, and part of the Maple Leafs Core Four, scored the game series-clinching goal in overtime to send the Maple Leafs to the next round. Maple Leafs won 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning haven’t lost a playoff series in the Eastern Conference since 2019. Maple Leafs wins their first playoff series since 2004. Toronto will play the winner of the Bruins/Panthers series. 

Saturday Hockey News with Miguel

By Miguel Mike Medina

It was an unbelievable, unforgettable third period between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers. Both teams were going back and forth. It’s something you rarely see in hockey, especially in the playoffs. The Bruins and Panthers combined for seven goals in the third period. They also combined for five power-play goals. Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk had two goals and one assist. David Pastrnak had two goals for the Bruins. Tyler Bertuzzi added two goals. Brad Marchand added four assists. The Panthers won 7-5. Game Seven will be on Sunday night. 

New York Islanders came into Game 6 hoping to win a home game to extend the series to Game 7. Unfortunately, Paul Stastny scored the series-clinching goal from a tough angle to send the Carolina Hurricanes to the next round, heartbreakingly ending the Islanders’ season. Hurricanes won 2-1 over the Islanders. Sorokin is a great goalie for the Islanders. He played terrific all season and in this series, but it didn’t go his way this time. Carolina Hurricanes have won a best-of-7 series for three years in a row. 

Dallas Stars eliminated the Minnesota Wild on the road with a 4-1 win in Game 6. Maxi Domi and Mason Marchment each had a goal and an assist. Roope Hintz scored the first goal of the game. It was his fifth goal of the series. He’s been outstanding for the Dallas Stars. Joe Pavelski missed his fifth consecutive game due to concussion protocol. He’s the heartbeat of this team. We don’t know what his status will be for the next round. Dallas Stars will play the winner between Avalanche/Kraken series.

Speaking of the Colorado Avalanche and Seattle Kraken, the Avalanche managed to push the series to a Game 7. Once again, Seattle Kraken scored the first goal of the game. The Kraken is the first team in NHL history to score first in each of the first six games of the playoffs. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist. Rantanen became the second-fastest active player to reach 40 road points in the playoffs. What a phenomenal performance! Cale Makar scored on an empty net, and you could hear the boos every time he got the puck throughout the game. Game Seven will be in Colorado on Sunday. 

Marty Mar Finally Gets A Star

By Miguel Mike Medina

Comedy legend Martin Lawrence received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame several days ago. It’s been long overdue. We thought he had a star a long time ago, but it’s not true. The time finally came. Steve Harvey, Lynn Whitfield, Tracy Morgan, and Martin co-star Tichina Arnold were there for him to support on this historic day. 

Martin Lawrence, 58, is one of my all-time favorite comedians and, without a doubt, one of the greatest ever to do it. Steve Harvey’s speech was excellent, with no script. It all came straight from the heart. Lawrence put a lot of African-Americans to work front and behind the camera, and it all started during the Martin show. From producing to catering to many more positions. He looked out for many people and made Dej Comedy Jam must-see TV. The first two seasons of Def Comedy Jam were magical. Many household names emerged from that institution: Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, etc. 

Marty Mar also had success in films such as the Bad Boys film franchise, Life alongside with Eddie Murphy, Big Momma’s House film franchise, and my favorite Martin Lawrence film, Blue Streak. Speaking of Blue Steak, that movie will always be special to me. It reminds me of my childhood days when I would watch that movie during holidays on Thanksgiving and New Year’s either on TNT or TBS when the black cable box was still around. 

His 1994 standup comedy special, You’re So Crazy, is hilarious and wild. He said many things in that special that can’t be expressed in today’s soft show business. I have the special on DVD. His other standup special from 2002, Runteldat, is also comical and entertaining. It’s not better than You’re So Crazy, but it’s still funny. You see some changes in Martin. He’s more mature and wiser in the Runteldat special. 

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate is one of those movies I need to watch again. I’ve only seen it once, from start to finish. The great thing about this film is that Martin wore so many hats for this production. It’s something I can identify with because I’ve been in that position but for short films. He directed, co-wrote, starred, and narrated this movie. The budget for the film was $8 million, and it grossed $34 million at the box office. Lynn Whitfield did a great job in the movie. She deserves her flowers and roses someday. 

Martin Lawrence is starring in a new film called “Mindcage,” in December 2023. It’s a mystery thriller film. The film marks Lawrence’s first major non-comedic role. That’s something to look forward to, as well as Bad Boys 4 with Will Smith, which the date is still to be determined. 

The Career of Jerry Springer: 1944-2023

By Miguel Mike Medina

Jerry Springer, who is best known for his controversial TV show, The Jerry Springer Show, has passed away at the age of 79. We are not sure what caused his death just yet. He must’ve been sick for some time or something. 

The news comes across as a shock to me. I grew up watching the show, but I was never addicted to it, which never influenced me to get into fights. At one point, the Jerry Springer Show beat the Oprah Winfrey Show in the ratings. When I think about Jerry Springer Show, I can’t help but think about an episode of the Wayans Bros called “Talk is Cheap,” which you can find on Season Four on HBO Max. The collaboration between the Waysns bros and Jerry Springer worked perfectly because the Jerry Springer Show was hot at the time, the Wayans Bros sitcom series was having success, and they were both under the same network, The WB. I still miss The WB to this day. If you haven’t seen that episode, I highly recommend you check it out if you want to laugh. 

We got to remember that the Jerry Springer Show didn’t start as a tabloid show or, “Trash TV,” if you saw the first two seasons of the show, it was more of a political show. Jerry had guests like Jesse Jackson on the show. Things began to change when the ratings were declining, and decided to make the show more controversial and hostile. Producers went this route for ratings and to bring more entertainment to their show. The Jerry Springer Show ran from 1991 to 2018. 

Before the Jerry Springer Show, he served as the 56th Mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978. Springer had many titles: broadcaster, journalist, actor, producer, lawyer, and politician. 

Jerry Springer also hosted America’s Got Talent, which ran from 2019 until 2022. He also hosted the courtroom show, Judge Jerry

Metallica’s “72 Seasons:” Worth the Wait of Many Seasons

By Jennifer Paccione

After a 6-year (and post-Covid-19) recording hiatus, Metallica has hit the ground running—and kicking—and screaming—with “72 Seasons,” their 11th studio album. The metal opus contains 12 tracks, 1 hour and 17 minutes long. It was released on April 14, 2023.

The album possesses mature, syncopated rhythms which change up many times without notice, keeping the listener constantly on edge waiting for the next unpredictable musical turn. The frequent twists and turns make the listener question where each song is going next, but Metallica answers just at the right moment by threading all elements and phrasings together. Throughout the album, the guitar riffs are plenty, fresh and polished, but still first cousins to Kirk Hammett’s core style.

A couple of track highlights:

The title track,”72 Seasons,” first to hit you in the face, is like a tied-up dog pulling on its leash and finally breaking free to run, growl and even attack. The song quickly kicks into high gear with its fierce tempo. Tempos frequently shift to create a powerful push and pull throughout. This punchy first track sets the stage (and the boxing ring) for the power and grit of what’s to come.

“Sleepwalk My Life Away,” the fourth track on the album, comes out of the gate with Robert Trujillo’s pulsing, syncopated bass guitar and Lars Ulrich’s thunderous bass drum kicking against your heartbeat, followed by Hammett’s simple guitar hook that sneakily talks back. The extra-long intro pulls you in, making you beg for more (as Metallica intros so often do)…..and finally, when all the instruments come together, a thunderous groove forces you to partake with slow and steady head-banging. James Hetfield’s familiar gravelly vocal style is blended with a bit of blues in this one, giving the melody some added dimensions. And who says metal can’t be peppered with deliberate harmonies? They are spot on in this track, as well as throughout the rest of “72 Seasons.” Undoubtedly “Sleepwalk” is one of their best tracks on the album.

Dare I say an almost “experimental metal” album, “72 Seasons” tackles complex musical and rhythmic challenges with both primal rawness, harkening to the early days of “Kill ‘em All” and “Ride the Lightning,” as well as a polished finesse that only Metallica’s 40+ years as a band can deliver. Much like fine-aged wine—or whisky—the time and effort for this album were well worth waiting for. I’d say that the quarantine did Metallica quite a bit of creative good.

Phil Jackson Speaking the Uncomfortable Truth

Former NBA head coach Phil Jackson is making headlines. The “Zen Master” believes politics should be kept out of sports. He also states that he stopped watching basketball since the 2020 bubble in Orlando, Florida, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jackson is not feeling the politics and slogans that players are wearing, such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Equality,” and the list goes on.

Jackson won two championships as a player with the New York Knicks. He won 11 rings as a head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He also served as the president of the New York Knicks in 2014 but mutually parted ways with the team in 2017. 

Jackson is getting a lot of heat from social media and former players for his comments. I’ll never forget when Scottie Pippen called Phil Jackson a “racist” because he drew the play for Toni Kukoc instead of him during a playoff game against the Knicks in the 1994 NBA Playoffs. Pippen left the bench due to Phil’s decision. 

I agree with Phil Jackson that politics should not get involved in Sports. It’s doing more harm than good. It’s going way too extreme. Commissioner Adam Silver looks pretty soft, and I don’t see him as aggressive as the late David Stern was. People want to watch sports to be entertained and to get away and forget about problems. It’s one of the reasons why sports fans like myself fell in love with Sports. 

Unfortunately, we are getting to the point where Sports are becoming unwatchable to a certain degree. Sports owners and people in the front office, like the NBA, need to be firm and need to have more guts to stop the foolishness. Yes, there are real-life problems. Yes, we shouldn’t ignore them, but athletes are not politicians. Again, ATHLETES ARE NOT POLITICIANS!!! 

If athletes want to make a difference, leave the league and run for office. 

A Rough Week for Kawhi Leonard On and Off the Court

By Miguel Mike Medina

Los Angeles Clippers Kawhi Leonard is a superstar in this league. He’s a two-time champion and a two-time Finals MVP. Let’s not forget that he’s a great defensive player. Leonard missed his second straight game against the Phoenix Suns in the first round due to knee problems. He’s having a lousy week because he can’t be on the floor to help his team win, he’s getting bombarded by sports media, and now his sister will be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of an older woman in a Southern California casino in 2019.

Leonard grew up in the Riverside area and developed into a college star at San Diego State. He’s one of the reasons why I started paying attention to the San Diego State College program. This same program went to the NCAA Championship game but lost to UConn. Leonard got drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 2011 NBA Draft as the 15th overall pick. The Pacers regretted trading him on Draft day to the San Antonio Spurs, where he established himself as one of the top players in the NBA. 

Leonard has been through trials and tribulations, as we all do, but his sister going to jail brings more pain to his life because he lost his father in 2018 when he was murdered. It must’ve been bittersweet when he won his first NBA title with the Spurs in 2014 because it landed on Father’s Day. 

As for his status in Game 5, we don’t know whether he’s going to suit up or not, but it’s not a good sign that he’s going to play. Kawhi Leonard is not one of these players that will rush back onto the court to play. He doesn’t want to re-injure himself. We love to see him play, but only he knows how he feels. Load management hasn’t been working for him this season. The Kawhi Leonard-Paul George experiment hasn’t been working so far due to injuries. We wonder how much patience with the front office will have to deal with this situation. 

The Clippers are still a title-contender team when they’re healthy and playing together. We should see how they will do next year because it’s not looking good for this season. They are one loss away from getting eliminated. Game 5 will be on Tuesday at Phoenix as the Clippers try to keep their season alive. 

Brandon Belt’s Big Night

By Miguel Mike Medina

Toronto Blue Jays traveled to Yankee Stadium to take on the New York Yankees in a 3-game series on Friday night—two of the best teams in the AL East, alongside the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays. Before the season started, many of us thought the division would be between the Yankees and Blue Jays. The Rays intervened and told the world to “don’t forget that we exist.” It’s still early in the season, but there’s something about this series that will be the start of a fascinating AL East race. Who will strike first in this series?

As of Friday night, it would be the Blue Jays to strike the first punch. Vlad Jr got things started when he hit a two-run home run in the first inning off pitcher Domingo German. Brandon Belt had a good game against the Yankees. He went two for four which included a 2-run home run in the top of the 6th inning to give the Blue Jays a more comfortable lead. In the top of the 8th inning, he hit a 2-run double to bring Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr home. He is responsible for adding four insurance runs for the Blue Jays. They went on to win 6-1.

Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi pitched for six innings, had three strikeouts, and gave up one earned run and two walks. He got the win and improved to 3-0 in the season. Blue Jays tied with the Yankees with a 12-8 record. Game Two of the series will be on Saturday at 1pm in a battle of two good pitchers: Alek Manoah vs. Gerrit Cole. 

Saturday Hockey News with Miguel

By Miguel Mike Medina

The battle between the Oilers and Kings never fails to deliver. We had another great game in this series. Oilers and Kings combined for four power-play goals. Connor McDavid, who didn’t score all series, scored two power-play goals in the second period. Adrian Kempe has a good series. He scored his third goal of the series on Friday night. The game went into overtime for the second time in the series. Trevor Moore shoveled through Skinner to score the game-winning goal in overtime. Kings won 3-2. The Kings take a 2-1 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers. 

Minnesota Wild came out to play against the Dallas Stars at home. Mats Zuccarello got things started when he scored the game’s first goal. He had two goals for the night. Marcus Foligno scored a power play goal in the second period. Game 3 belongs to Minnesota, as they won this game 5-1. Minnesota Wild delivered 26 hits on the Stars. They were more physical and aggressive. Wild also had 22 blocked shots. Stars’ goaltender Jake Oettinger had 20 saves. Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson finished with 23 out of 24 saves—a strong performance by Gustavsson. 

New York Islanders tried to find their rhythm offensively, and it started clicking in Game 3 during the second period. Casey Cizikas opened the score for the Islanders. He had two points (one goal and one assist). Four minutes later, Jesper Fest scored an unassisted goal to tie the game. It’s Jesper Fest’s second goal of the series. The third period was all about the Islanders. They attacked four goals on the Carolina Hurricanes, which was too much for the Hurricanes to overcome. The Islanders won 5-1 to get back into the series. They trail the series 2-1. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 30 saves on the night. 

Boston Bruins jumped early on the Florida Panthers in Game 3. They led as many as 4-0 up to the 3rd period. The Panthers tried to rally by scoring two goals in the third period to cut the deficit to two, but they ran out of time. Suppose there was an extra period; who knows what would’ve happened? The Bruins took Game 3 by the final score of 4-2. Taylor Hall had two points (one goal and one assist). David Pasrtnak added a goal of his own in the third period. It’s his second goal of the series. Game 4 will be on Sunday at 3:30 as the Panthers try to even the series. 

The Year Stallone Got Hosed for Best Supporting Actor

Sylvester Stallone is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. He’s a living legend, an inspiration for wearing so many hats on set. He’s a Jack of all trades: Director/Producer/Writer/Actor. Without Stallone, there are no Rocky movies. Rocky led to Creed, and in Creed 1, he delivered an outstanding performance as a supporting. The Academy dropped the ball when they gave him a low blow for not awarding him Best Supporting Actor in 2015. 

Stallone did win the Golden Globe for his performance. He received a standing ovation. Quentin Tarantino was one of the first people who stood up to clap for him. Stallone earned that award, but he should’ve also received an Oscar. 

The Academy and film critics overpraised Mark Rylance’s performance in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. He was good in that movie but not better than Sly. He wasn’t even better than Idris Elba, who did great in Beasts of No Nation. Elba didn’t even receive an Oscar nomination which is ludicrous. The sad thing is that that was his best chance to win an Oscar. Stallone is in his 70s, and we are not sure if he can pull it off anytime soon or in the future. The Academy snubbed Stallone for having a great moment. It should’ve been his moment. Mark Rylance is a great actor who has succeeded on stage and screen. No knock, no disrespect to him. British actors are insanely talented. But that year, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor should’ve said Sylvester Stallone. 

After winning the Oscar, Mark Rylance appeared in other films such as Dunkirk, Ready Player One, and Don’t Look Up. As for Sly, he went on to Star in Creed 2. He’s starring and serves as executive producer in Tulsa King. Also, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Expendables 4 are in post-production.