NCAA Baseball Bracket, Hurricanes vs. Maine

By Miguel Mike Medina

The NCAA Baseball bracket was announced this past weekend. The biggest snub was the USC Trojans. They finished 4th in the PAC-12 and was the first time in 25 years to win 17 games in the PAC-12. USC had 7 of 10 PAC-12 wins, including a series over Stanford. USC has come a long way. First-year head coach Andy Stankiewicz and the Trojans should’ve been treated more fairly. They got hosed. The Trojans had not made the NCAA Tournament since 2015.

The Miami Hurricanes Men’s Baseball team may have lost Sunday to sixth-ranked Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship game, but they’re not done yet. The Hurricanes will take on the No. 4 regional seed Maine (32-19) of the America East Conference for the Coral Gables regional on Friday. The winner will take on the winner between No. 3 seed Louisiana (40-22) and No. 2 seed Texas (38-20).

Vegas Golden Knights and Miami Heat Celebrate on Memorial Day

By Miguel Mike Medina

The Miami Heat are returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2020. They blew out the Boston Celtics in Game 7. It’s payback for Miami after losing to the Celtics at home precisely one year ago yesterday in the Eastern Conference Finals. Caleb Martin had a massive performance for Miami with 26 points and ten rebounds. Jimmy Butler redeem himself after a bad Game 6 performance by scoring 28 points. He was named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP. Miami avoided history, and it remains that no NBA team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series. Miami will take on the Denver Nuggets. Game 1 will be on Thursday in Denver. 

Vegas Golden Knights shut out the Dallas Stars, 6-0, to close out Game 6 on the road and move on to their second Stanley Cup Finals in six years. Golden Knights are one of the best road teams during this postseason. Florida Panthers have been great on the road as well. This will be a fantastic matchup. It all begins on Saturday, June 3rd.

The great thing about the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals is that we will have a NEW CHAMPION. 

10 Memorial Day Songs That Will Force You to Stop and Thank a Veteran

by Jennifer Paccione

It’s Memorial Day….which, for most of us, has come to symbolize the first weekend of summer, a long, 3-day weekend, retail shopping sales, and enjoying indulgent picnic food at our favorite park/watering hole or in our backyards.

But what is Memorial Day?  It’s a day set aside to honor those courageous men and women who served, fought, and died during their service to their country.  We often take this for granted as we freely surf the internet, speak our minds on social media, or even leave our house whenever we feel like it.  We don’t have to look far to see how other countries like Ukraine or Israel have suffered, so we must remember those U.S. soldiers who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today.

Here are ten songs, in no particular order, that will give you a sobering glimpse of the soldier’s experience and the high price paid for your freedom.  These poignant, powerful, and sometimes even political songs will make your hot-dog-eating holiday all the more meaningful.WARNING:  some videos contain themes of war and violence.

1. “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden: This classic metal anthem is inspired by a battle from the Crimean War.  With its fierce, galloping rhythm and lyrics, it gives a snapshot of the conflicts and courage of soldiers.

2. “Hero of War” by Rise Against This piercing rock ballad talks about one soldier’s initial beliefs and ideals about war and his journey into new truths.

3. “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen: This popular pop song became the new “Star-Spangled Banner” for Americans in the 80s.  But don’t be fooled by its catchy, upbeat feel.  The song reveals some harsh truths about a soldier’s harrowing experiences and struggles after his homecoming from the Vietnam War.

4. “Rooster” by Alice in Chains: Inspired by the father of the band’s guitarist, this song paints some vivid details of the struggles and thoughts of one soldier during the Vietnam War.

5. “Goodnight Saigon” by Billy Joel: In this tear-jerker of a ballad, the song invokes soldiers’ much-needed bonds of camaraderie to help them get through the desperate harshness of war.

6. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival: A 60’s protest song, it is a scathing rant on those who did not come from wealthy or political families and thus were thrown into the war by being drafted. 

7. “One” by Metallica: Inspired by the novel “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo, the song deeply looks at one severely wounded soldier’s inner conflicts.  It also underscores the dehumanizing aspect of war and social/ethical issues.

8. “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” by Toby Keith: A patriotic country song that fiercely defends the values of the United States.

9. “Arlington” by Trace Adkins: This extremely moving country ballad is spoken through the voice of a fallen soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.

10. “Civil War” by Guns N’ Roses:  This powerful rock ballad explores themes of conflict, social injustice, and the high price soldiers pay.

….oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

over the land of the free  

and the home of the brave?

(taken from “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key) 

…you bet your sweet combat boots it does.  Thank a veteran for all the freedoms you enjoy in the USA, either in person or through social media.  

Now go grill some burgers and enjoy that freedom to the fullest.

Miguel’s Friday Thoughts: Tina Turner, Melo Retiring

By Miguel Mike Medina

Tina Turner has passed away at the age of 83. She’s known as the “Queen of Rock and Roll.” I was never a big fan of her. I do think it’s a blessing she got to live a long life. I’ll mostly remember Tina for her song “What’s love got to Do with It,” a legendary and classic song. I remember when Fat Joe made his version featuring Ashanti and Ja Rule for the Juwanna Mann movie soundtrack. Tina Turner also had domestic issues with her ex Ike Turner. They were a musical duo from 1960 to 1976. She divorced Ike Turner in 1978. Turner has sold over 100 million records worldwide and won 12 Grammy Awards. 

The remake of the 1992 White Men Can’t Jump was a failure. I’m glad I didn’t see this, and I’m not planning to. Hollywood and their obsession with doing remakes and reboots is cringeworthy and a waste of money. The series is on Hulu, and there’s no point in why these creators wanted to make this series. Leave the classics and originals alone. 

Gary Sanchez has been designated for assignment. Sánchez, in his first season with the Mets, has one RBI and zero home runs through just three games played. I think Sanchez will find another home to play, but he still needs to improve his game. The Mets are better off with Francisco Alvarez as the starting catcher. He’s the future at that position for this franchise. 

Carmelo Anthony recently announced his retirement from the NBA. Melo is one of the greatest scorers of his generation. He’s a 10-time All-Star and a three-time gold medalist.

He’s a lock to go to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Anthony had opportunities to be part of a title-contending team, but he dropped the ball. For example, he could’ve joined Wade and Lebron in Miami, but he wanted to get his money. He didn’t take a pay cut. Also, his isolation Game didn’t help him win championships. Melo is known for playing one on one. That’s his game. I’m not really into that kind of style of play. He played for some good teams like the 2009 Denver Nuggets and 2013 New York Knicks, but for the most part, anywhere he went, winning didn’t follow him. 

HBO Max Sounds Better Than Max

By Miguel Mike Medina

Why HBO Max Sounds Better Than Max?

Today is the launch day for the streaming service under the new name, “Max.” HBO Max has a better ring than “Max.” It doesn’t make sense why they want to switch to this new name for the streaming service. It’s nuts, like in Sports. For example, Staples Center was a better name than “ arena.” HBO Max has a lot of great content. I don’t regret subscribing to their service. 

At the beginning of my journey with HBO Max, I had difficulty logging into my phone after setting everything on my TV screen. This was back in 2020 or 2021. I don’t know why it was giving me problems, but it wasn’t delightful. Thank god I don’t have that problem anymore. Serving service at expense, but HBO Max and Netflix are two streaming service that is hard for me to let go of. I don’t spend all day watching content because there are other important things in life. But if I want to take an hour during the weekend to watch something entertaining, those two services, especially HBO Max, are my go-to place. 

There are many movies and shows that I’ve enjoyed watching on HBO Max: Barry, Succession, The Flight Attendant, and many more. 

Max better bring something great since they are making this push. Naming the service Max is like calling someone by their first name. Max is not a strange name for me because I have two family members with that name. One of my friends’ sons has this same name as well. HBO Max sounds way better. But then again, with three creative executives, they’re forever changing their platforms, rules, and content, whether for the good or bad. 

Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs Will Work Well Together

By Miguel Mike Medina

Top prospect Victor Wembanyama will be very special for years in the NBA if he can stay healthy. He’s the biggest hype name since Lebron James. Victor could change the NBA forever. He’s a combination of Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, and Rudy Gobert all in one package. He can shoot, play defense, and score from anywhere.

The San Antonio Spurs won the 2023 NBA Draft lottery for the first time since 1997 when they drafted Tim Duncan. We all know what happened when they got Tim Duncan. It changed the entire franchise. With Duncan, the Spurs won five championships. Can Victor Wembanyama bring the Spurs back to the glory days?

Landing in San Antonio is the perfect fit instead of starting his career in a big market city. San Antonio is a classy organization. When you come to play for the Spurs, you must check your ego out the door. 

Victor needs a coach and mentor like Gregg Popovich, who is the greatest NBA coach ever, in my opinion, to guide him and mold him. Pop doesn’t give special treatment. He will call you out if you are not doing your job on the court. 

The NBA Draft will be must-see TV because of the first selection. 

Sunday Sports Shorts

By Miguel Mike Medina

The Yankees are moving on from Aaron Hicks after eight years. Hicks has been designated for assignment. He’s 33 and is hitting .188 over 28 games this season. It was a matter of time for the Yankees to make this decision. They were holding on to him for too long. 

Jamal Murray scored 30 of his 37 points in the first half. Bruce Bowen and KCP combined for 32 points. Nikola Jokic added 24 points. It was a collective team effort. Denver Nuggets won 119-108 over the Los Angeles Lakers to take a 3-0 commanding series lead. No team has returned from an 0-3 deficit in NBA history. 

Matthew Tkachuk strikes again. He scored the game-winning overtime goal once again to win it for the Florida Panthers. It is unbelievable. Deja Vu. Florida Panthers are heading home with a 2-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final. They are two wins away from making their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1996. 

Nick Khan announced that WWE would return to India for a fall live event. WWE’s last live event in India was on December 9, 2017. 

Miami Silences Boston to Take A 2-0 Series Lead

By Miguel Mike Medina

The Miami Heat continue to stay focused and poised. The Celtics have not risen to the challenge. Heat win on the road again, 111-105, to take Game 2 and go up 2-0 in the series.

Miami ended the game on an 18-4 run. Grant Williams started talking trash to Jimmy Butler, which started the whole run for Miami. It’s not the best decision for Williams to start talking trash to Jimmy Butler, out of all people. You do not poke the bear in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Butler’s midrange game is off the charts. He stepped up to the challenge and lifted his team to victory. He finished the game with 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Butler didn’t do it alone. His teammates had his back and produce. Caleb Martin was sensational with 25 points, 11 for 16 from the field, and knocked down three of his seven three-pointers. Duncan Robinson got loose and made some big shots in this game. Bam Adebayo being Bam Adebayo with 20 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists. Miami won the rebound game 45 to 35. Miami’s role players are outplaying the Celtics’ role players in this series. 

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. However, he’s been a no-show in the fourth quarter of this series. He has no field goals and combined for five turnovers. Jaylen Brown had an off-game. He finished with 16 points on a 7 for 23 shooting. 

Miami is 10-3 in the postseason. It’s the same record as the No. 1 seed in the West, Denver Nuggets. Miami is undefeated at home in the playoffs. 

Saturday Hockey News with Miguel

By Miguel Mike Medina

If you follow “Hockey Playoff Edition” on The MMM Journal, you will notice that I made another prediction that came true—back-to-back games with accurate final score predictions. First, the Florida Panthers won 3-2 in a four-overtime game over the Carolina Hurricanes. Now, the Golden Knights won 4-3 in overtime against the Dallas Stars. 

Chrck out this tweet by Jim Biringer, who is my contributor guest and partner for Hockey Playoff Edition.

It’s unbelievable how I got the final score correct for two consecutive playoff games. Both games were terrific start to the conference finals. I hope the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights series go to seven games because these are two outstanding teams. It’s a rematch from the 2020 bubble. 

Brett Howden was the Game 1 hero for the Golden Knights as he scored the game-winning goal in overtime. William Karlsson scored two goals for the Golden Knights. Adin Hill made 33 saves. 

As for the Dallas Stars, Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists. Hintz has a terrific postseason to remember. He now has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists). Joe Pavelski added two assists. Jason Robertson got things started with Dallas when he scored the first goal of the game. He finished with a goal and an assist. Jake Oettinger finished the game with 33 saves matching Adin Hill. 

Game 3 will be on Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Knights are trying to leave Las Vegas with a 2-0 lead. 

Kyle Dubas will not return as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager next season. Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan announced that he and Dubas decided to part ways. A storm is coming. The beginning of new changes and direction is happening in Toronto. How will this decision affect Auston Matthews’s decision to stay in Toronto? Who’s going to replace Kyle Dubas? Which member of the Core Four will be gone? 

Dubas was named the GM back in 2018. He was 201-109-42 as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Jamal Murray is an Animal in the Playoffs

By Miguel Mike Medina

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was an animal in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 23 of his 37 points in that quarter, plus making four of his five three-pointers. Murray also added ten rebounds, five assists, and four steals to lead the Nuggets to a 108-103 victory as they take a commanding 2-0 series lead. 

Nikola Jokic had another triple-double with 23 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and three steals. It didn’t matter what bodies the Lakers three at Jokic and Murray; it didn’t faze them. They kept making tough shots and made it look simple. Jokic and Murray are one of the best duos in the NBA today and also one of the best when it comes to playoff time. Those two guys are FEARLESS and CONFIDENT. Nuggets role players stepped up to the plate and did what they were supposed to do. Michael Porter Jr had an impressive game. He scored 16 points and made four of his seven three. Porter Jr made some critical shots in the fourth quarter. Bruce Brown provided great energy and Production off the bench for the Nuggets with 12 points and five rebounds. 

Lebron James and Austin Reaves each had 22 points for the Lakers. Lebron used to be a freak of nature during the playoffs and had incredible energy and athleticism. In this game, he struggled a lot. He committed turnovers and missed an easy layup. The reality is that he’s 38 years old. Father Time is undefeated, and it can creep up on him anytime. Lebron went cold down downtown. He has missed 19 straight three in the fourth quarter.

In addition, Lebron has been dealing with ankle problems that started before the playoffs. In last night’s game, James stepped on the foot of Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, perhaps tweaking the injured foot that caused him to miss weeks during the regular season. However, James will not miss games for the remainder of the series. He’s going to gut it out, and he will not allow a sweep on his watch. 

Another Davis had 18 points in Game 2. AD is a streaky player. He can give you 40 in one game and give you 20 or 15 points the next game. The Lakers will need more from him and the other guys, such as D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schröder, for Games 3 and 4. Russell and Schroder are due for a good performance. 

Game 3 will be on Saturday as the series shifts to Los Angeles. The Nuggets are trying to take a 3-0 commanding series lead, while the Lakers are trying to get back into the series.