On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 23, 2016 #594 Up Next…” Ball-Brawls!”

After further review…”Grab, Grab, Grab” a former coach was heard to yell from his sideline coaching box. No, he wasn’t talking about today’s NBA style of professional basketball. With pressing defenses, the defensive player being in very close contact with an offensive opponent, players are plainly seen grabbing onto the arm or body of the cutting player. Game officials do see that contact and could call a foul, but it is obvious that the NBA rule makers are allowing it to occur. Maybe the TunneySide has overlooked and somehow missed the logic or attraction of that deviation from basketball’s original rules.

The above quote is attributed to Vince Lombardi, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Coach Lombardi would follow those three words with “Nobody’s tackling any more – just grab, grab.” Is that the direction of the NBA? Well, if you listen to ESPN/NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy encouraging physical contact when he says “Ya gotta lay some ‘wood’ out there.” Or Charles Barkley, former player, and now TNT/NBA analyst when he says “You can’t let that happen. Take somebody out” in response to a T*E*A*M setting the single-game 3-point record.

That sort of play carries an odor that the TunneySide decries in today’s style of both coaching and performance. And speaking of odor – how about Rougned Odor, who plays second base for the Texas Rangers, and received an eight-game suspension for the right cross he placed on Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista’s jaw (for more on Bautista see his “take that- bat flip” in the 2015 ALSD game five against the Rangers). In a game on May 8, 2016 (Mother’s day of all things!), Bautista was angry that Rangers pitcher Matt Bush “plunked” him. A couple batters later Bautista, now a base runner, executed a late and aggressive take-out slide on Odor. This triggered the bull’s-eye punch from Odor and preceded a massive bench-clearing brawl, resulting in six players (three from each team) being suspended for a total of 17 games while eight others were given fines.

With high school and college baseball playoffs just under way and Little League games coming up in the summer, how can we expect our younger generation to properly play America’s Game?
Will you respect your opponent – and the game of baseball – by avoiding such unwarranted expressions of behavior and letting the powers-that-be deal with such?

To contact Jim go to or email

9781606793503-214x300Be sure to order your copy of “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20. includes tax, shipping, and autograph if requested. This book takes issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for productive living.

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On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 16, 2016 #593 Up next…”MVP-MVP-MVP”

After further review…”Unanimous” was the word from the NBA selection committee, which announced as its 2015-16 MVP point guard Steph Curry of the current world champion Golden State Warriors. No surprise there; this season, he eclipsed his own regular season 3-point-made record by launching 402 of his “Wait-for-it” missiles (that’s his trademark utterance upon release of the ball). His T*E*A*M, due in large measure to Curry’s contributions, won 73 games for the first time in NBA history. Further, his record streak for consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer is still growing as the NBA playoffs move to the Western Conference finals this week.

What is startling is that 6’ 3” Curry is the first player in the NBA’s 61-year history to receive all 131 first place votes! LeBron James in 2013 and Shaquille O’Neil in 2000, as singularly dominant as they were in those years, each fell one vote shy of unanimity. Curry now is in a class by himself. Well done, Steph! Yet hold your applause, since not everyone believes the vote is justified. Tracy McGrady (“T-Mac”), formerly of the Houston Rockets and now an NBA commentator, couldn’t resist demeaning Curry’s accomplishments. McGrady said Curry’s success was performed in a “watered down” NBA. McGrady, who once scored 41 points for the Rockets, said that NBA greats in days gone by “really played against top-notch competition.” Nonsense. Sports records need to be evaluated within the scope of the playing conditions that produced them, not throughout history.

Consider that in game four of the first round vs. Houston, Curry slipped while playing defense and damaged the MCL in his right knee, putting him on injured reserve for four weeks. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr held Curry out until midway through the first quarter of game four in the next round with the Portland Trailblazers. Kerr intended to play him only 18 minutes, since Curry was not at peak conditioning. However, with the game tied at 100 and going into overtime, Curry played 36 minutes, including all five OT minutes, during which he scored 17 points to set another NBA record. All this occurred after the MVP voting had been completed! Following that OT performance TNT commentator and former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, who could comment on ducks racing in a pond, was speechless. Fans can thank Curry for silencing a voice that rarely quiets on its own.

What impresses the TunneySide is not just the “touch” of Curry’s shooting hand, but also his daily disciplined practice, his ball-handling, his alert passing to teammates, and getting everyone on the Warriors to play together as a T*E*A*M. It’s the age-old adage: It matters not who scores, but that everyone is involved! Curry’s T*E*A*M effort stands out!

Will you be inclusive when working with others to make success a T*E*A*M effort?

To contact Jim go to or email

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On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 9, 2016 #592 Up next…Tinker-Evers-Chance

After further review…Highlights of spectacular plays are frequent features on TV sports reports, e.g. the shot from “downtown,” the walk-off home run, or the one-handed catch for a touchdown. These special plays are repeated ad nauseam—sports fans can’t seem to get enough of them. One of those roar-of-the-crowd plays happened last week, and the TunneySide thought you’d like to know a little more about it.

The Miami Marlins were playing at Milwaukee Brewers Stadium. With men on first and second and no outs, the Marlins batter hit a sharp ground ball (note: sharp is the key) to third baseman Aaron Hill, who quickly scooped it up, stepped on the bag, then fired it to second baseman Yadier Rivera, who shot it just as rapidly to first baseman Chris Carter for a—get this—triple play! This was the first triple play this 2016 MLB season. In recorded MLB history there have been only 704 of these events. Rare indeed!

This brings to mind the double (not triple) play combo that I learned as a kid: The famous Chicago Cub trio of (Joe) Tinker, (Johnny) Evers, and (Frank) Chance. Those three were made famous in a poem written by Franklin Adams, a New York Evening Mail columnist who was born in Chicago and remained an avid Cubs fan. They were the undisputed best in the MLB at turning the play during that era, as the Cubs won the National League pennant in the years ’06-‘10, and the World Series in ’07 and ’08! Oops, did I fail to mention that was in the 20th century—the 1900s? Adams wrote:

“These are the saddest of possible words:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Ruthless pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double—

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’”

But back to that Marlins vs. Brewers game. What most impressed the TunneySide was that Brewers third baseman Hill, who started that exquisitely timed, inning-over triple play, just trotted into his dugout. He didn’t throw his glove in the air; didn’t pound his chest with his fist; did not indulge in dancing around or shooting an imaginary gun. He just did his job (rare as it was) and took his place in the Brewers’ dugout! I know Aaron Hill personally and know that’s who he is: the consummate professional. I applaud you Mr. Hill, for showing all of us how a true professional behaves on the field!

Will you strive to match Aaron Hill’s example of professional poise?

To contact Jim go to or email

Be sure to get “Another Best of TunneySide of Sports” now at only $20. includes tax and shipping. These articles, also written in the Monterey Herald, take issues from the world of sports and transforms them into positive messages for productive living. :




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