● American Pharoah Has No Chance

American Pharoah will not win the Triple Crown on Saturday.

He has no chance to win.

None.

The reason? Dosage Index

Dosage Index factors in the first four generations of a horse’s pedigree and how those horses fared at different distances. The lower the number, the more likely a horse is better suited for longer distances – like the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes.

Let’s look at some Dosage Index numbers:

1.00 – Mubtaahij    Post 1 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (10-1)
1.77 – Birdstone     2004 Belmont Stakes Winner (36-1)
2.25 – Tale of Verve     Post 2 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (15-1)
2.33 – Materiality     Post 8 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (6-1)
2.73 – Keen Ice     Post 7 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (20-1)
2.80 – Frosted     Post 6 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (5-1)
3.21 – Madefromlucky     Post 3 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (12-1)
3.40 – Smarty Jones     2004 Belmont Stakes runner-up (2-5)
3.50 – Frammento     Post 4 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (30-1)

and finally…

American Pharoah

4.33 – American Pharoah     2015 Belmont Stakes Post 5 (3-5)

Before you dismiss the numbers (like Vulcans, they are incapable of lying), remember what The Worldwide Leader had to say back in 2004 about Birdstone in their Belmont Stakes online preview:

“Other than winning the Champagne Stakes last fall, he’s done nothing. His alleged great potential has never been realized. There have been more excuses for him than teenagers produce for not doing homework. Forget him.”

Smarty Jones and Birdstone

Just like history has forgotten Spectacular Bid  (1979), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), and California Chrome (2014).

Two out of three ain’t bad.

● Most Bizarre Sports Story EVER

Kyle Denney baseball cardBack in 2004, pitcher Kyle Denney was a September call up for the Cleveland Indians. Before his September 29th start against the Kansas City Royals, team officials told him it would likely be his last outing of the season. Denney struggled through four innings that night as the 100-loss Royals, the worst team in baseball, tagged him for two runs on eight hits. The Indians came back to win 5-2, but Denney could not have been happy with his own personal performance. It would turn out to be the fourth and final game of his career.

Here is what happened AFTER that game:

The Indians headed to Minnesota for their last three games of the season. Those familiar with baseball tradition know that rookies making a team’s final road trip of the season are “dressed” for travel by the team’s veterans. When Denney returned from his postgame shower his clothes were missing from his locker, replaced by a USC cheerleader uniform.

USC Cheerleaders

Denney, who attended Oklahoma, earned the outfit because his Sooners were ranked second to the Trojans in the college football polls at the time. The rookies left the locker room dressed in their outfits and boarded the team’s charter buses for the trip to the Kansas City International Airport.

OOPS, almost forgot – Denney’s outfit included boots, Nice BootsJust like these.

So here is where the story turns bizarre. While merging onto I-70 from I-435, a loud sound rang out inside one of the buses. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was hit by debris, while Denney realized that he had been shot in the right calf. Someone had taken a random shot at the bus with a high-powered rifle.

Team trainers immediately removed the bullet from Denney’s leg while the bus continued on to the airport. An ambulance met the bus there and transported Denney to a local hospital where he was kept overnight for observation. One can only imagine the sight of a 6’2″ man dressed in a cheerleading uniform arriving at a Kansas City hospital emergency room for treatment.

But wait, there’s MORE:

Further investigation determined that the bullet would likely have shattered Denney’s leg had he not been wearing the thigh-high boots. The thick leather absorbed most of the bullet’s impact. Denney said at the time, “I’ve never been so glad to have a USC thing on.”

Kyle Denney Hello!Who says hazing is bad? Not Kyle Denney.

● Scott Skiles:
    Perfect Choice For The Magic

Scott Skiles is the perfect choice to be the Orlando Magic head coach. Period.

Please, let that sink in for a moment.

Scott Skiles

Hopefully, your brief moment of reflection peeled away layers of noise pollution that unfortunately has dominated Orlando airspace these past few weeks.

Let us now continue our Magic Yoga – the catalyst for beautiful change to our fan mindset.

Yoga

First, the Magic were never going to part with draft picks in order to hire the head coach whose first and last names begin with a “T”. Once the circumstances surrounding his dismissal were made public, it became obvious to most that the last person any organization wants to hire for a leadership role is someone who has effective communication issues. While that drama was unfolding in the Windy City, Magic GM Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins were already wrapping up his search process and had already decided on Skiles. Give Hennigan and Martins credit for following through and resisting the urge to drop a wrench in the gears in order to make the media happy. They understand fans do not buy tickets to watch the coach and that the media can’t be made happy. Ever.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Next, let’s hear from some members of the Magic.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2014-15 NBA All-Rookie First Team member Elfrid Payton had this to say about Skiles: “It’ll be great learning from a former point guard.”

Former Big East Rookie of the Year Maurice Harkless had one of the worst seats at the House-By-The-Mouse this past season, watching the Magic lose 57 games while riding the pine. Harkless had this to say about Skiles: “I’m excited about a new beginning. Everything I’ve heard about him has been good. I’ve heard he’s a hard coach and he expects a lot out of his players, and that’s the kind of coach we need as a young team. We need to be held accountable and he’s the guy that’s going to do that for us. I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to working with him.

Even Shaq is on board. Chatting on 740theGame earlier today he said, “I own a piece of the Sacramento Kings, but I want Scott and the Magic to do well.”

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Take a deep breath, and remember the draft picks the Magic did not give up, fifth and 51st overall picks in the upcoming draft. Having Skiles here to mentor a lottery pick is a perfect fit. Just ask a former first round pick how important that is. Oh wait, someone already did. We’ll talk about who the Magic should select in the 2015 NBA Draft another day…

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Finally, even though the Magic are comfortably under the salary cap for 2015-16, Skiles believes the talent necessary to play his style of basketball and win in the NBA are already here. “This isn’t the summer for the Orlando Magic to swing for the fences and try to hit a home run,” Skiles said earlier today on 740theGame. “We need to be mindful and be smart, and if we can add a couple of pieces (through free agency) that we feel can really help us obviously we’ll go ahead and do it. You give guys a lot of leeway early on to learn, then ultimately you have to starting holding guys accountable.”

That’s good news for players like Harkless: “I love playing defense and practicing hard. I love all that stuff so having him coming in with his mindset to this team is a great opportunity for myself. Coming into the league, my goal was to be on the All-Defensive Team and that’s still one of my goals.”

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Scott Skiles is the perfect choice to be the Magic head coach. Period.

 

 

 

[player quotes courtesy of Basketball Insiders.com]

● Way To Go UAB!

The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced earlier today that they will reinstate their football program for the 2016 season.

UAB

This is a reversal of the school’s decision to discontinue the program in 2014, when President Ray L. Watts announced that athletics was costing UAB $20 million per year.

So what changed?

UAB supporters stepped up. As the athletics department continued fundraising efforts for the remaining sports, “pledges far exceeding historical financial support” started rolling in. Their pledges sent the message to the school’s adminstration, which promptly hired Mark Ingram as the new Director of Athletics. Ingram arrived in Birmingham after a very successful tenure at Temple University in Philadelphia where his efforts help add the Owls to the NCAA football map for the first time in decades. Before that, he helped Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri fund their athletic programs.

President Watts’ initial concerns were valid. Why continue to increase funding to the athletics department at the expense of other educational, research, and health care missions? It was tough to argue with his decision to cut funding, just as it would be tough to argue with his decision to restore football after UAB supporters agreed to start writing checks.

UAB supporters hold up signs after UAB President Ray Watts announced during a news conference that UAB will reinstate the football program, Monday, June 1, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Watts is bringing the football program back. He told The Associated Press that he decided on Monday, June 1, 2015 to reverse the earlier decision after meetings with UAB supporters continued through the weekend. He says donors have pledged to make up the estimated $17.2 million deficit over the next five years if football is restored. Monday, June 1, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Way to go UAB!

● Pitcher Becomes Internet Sensation

Last night, Ben Ancheff took the mound for St. Thomas University of Florida in the deciding game of the 2015 NAIA World Series. In just his sixth start of the season he threw 4-1/3 innings, giving up just one run on two hits with five strikeouts. He left in the fifth inning due to arm soreness, a wise precaution for someone returning to baseball after Tommy John Surgery. Unfortunately, Lewis-Clark State staged a late-inning rally and defeated St. Thomas 10-7.

The loss signaled a pause in Ancheff’s four-stop collegiate career which has also included Georgia, State College of Florida (JUCO), and Central Arkansas. Ancheff was already throwing in the 90s and batting .420 in high school up in Pennsylvania, where he was also an All-State Defensive Lineman, three-time state wrestling qualifier, and could bench press 350 and squat 595.

None of this is why Ben Ancheff became an instant internet sensation last night.

St. Thomas University Athletics

St. Thomas University Athletics

Ben Ancheff is officially listed on the St. Thomas Athletics website as 6’2″ and 300 pounds.

To put this in perspective:

Bartolo Colon – 5’11″/265
Bartolo Colon

Vince Wilfork – 6’2″/325
Vince Wilfork

Jonathan Broxton – 6’4″/305
Jonathan Broxton

Safe to say that if you put all of them in the same place at the same time (set your camera to panoramic view), Broxton would be the tallest, but Ancheff would be the biggest.

Makes you wonder: How many of Ancheff’s teammates could fit into HIS britches?

All kidding aside, Ben Ancheff is a talented athlete with a will to win, who also has a lifetime of luck on his side.

Ancheff was born premature, with underdeveloped heart and lungs. Luckily, he grew up close to Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where specialists recommended an experimental treatment known today as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It saved his life.

In Ben Ancheff’s case, it is best to be good – AND lucky.

● KNIGHTS To Remember

Today in Lake Buena Vista, the Atlanta Braves host the New York Mets for their first game of Spring Training 2015.

Here in Orlando Read more