Thursday Rain Music

What a truly great last day of September it is in Oklahoma. The cool front and the rain came as predicted. We’ve had about just under an inch so far at my official Deer Creek Weather Station. Brand new rain gauge and everything after I accidently destroyed the one my wife bought in May with a weed-eater. It can happen. She gave me that same look way back when I almost caught the outdoor sofa on fire smoking a Dominican cigar.

I do not drink coffee in the summer. This was my first official autumn cup of coffee and it was a perfect fit to today’s beautiful weather.

We missed the 3-4″ precip just two miles to our southeast, but still an inch is much appreciated after going completely rainless out here for the first twenty-nine days of September. We would have gone 0.00 as far as September precip if not for this morning.

Saw on the local news there was a mountain lion spotting in Luther. I totally believe it since Pauli and I spotted a mountain lion at dusk on the forest ridge of our property about three years ago.

Some of the neighbors out here thought I was becoming senile until the big cat showed up on my neighbor’s camera at night in his backyard.

Pauli’s was sitting next to me when they were talking about this on the news. It’s almost as if she knew what they were talking about. The fur rose on her back…kid you not. Prolly have to walk her along the ridge at dusk this evening to calm her down before Thursday Night Football.

When she saw that mountain lion she was like White Fang with the grizzly bear. Swear to God. The dog is fearless.

What a great day to listen to music and stalk a mountain lion with your alpha champion diva lab.

This is prolly what we’ll listen to just about 7:15 pm as we prepare for the hike-expedition. Pauli loves this. It gets her stoked like Rocky running those stairs. No gun. We just want to see him again. Maybe he’ll eat my little MAGA neighbor at some point. Just kidding. Seriously…I was kidding.

St. Louis Cardinal Streak Ends at 17

Well, shit…it’s over. They came up flat the night after clinching their playoff spot. Milwaukee 4- St. Louis 0. It happens. If they can just get past the Dodgers in the wild card game they could have a chance of getting to the World Series.

One game with Wainwright on the mound they have a chance. But in a seven game series with that Dodger pitching staff might be tough. Let it all ride with Adam Wainwright would be my take.

I looked it up…sixth longest win streak in modern era of baseball since 1906. The 1916 Giants hold the record with 26 straight wins.

I was just thinking with all this baseball on my blog this week so far…what’s my favorite baseball movie ever?

This is a tough one for me. But in the end I have to go 1 Bull Durham, 2 Major League 3 Field of Dreams, then maybe 4 The Natural.

But Bull Durham No. 1.

Kostner with Bull Durham, Tin Cup and Draft Day is in my mind an iconic figure in sports movies. Dances With Wolves….highly overrated. I thought the The Bodyguard was better. But none of these four are what the Academy looks for in a motion picture…which says something about The Academy.

Anyway…OU at K State on Saturday is a game I’ve had this game circled since the schedule came out. This is a big one. This game actually scares me more than Texas. We can only hope sixth year Skylar Thompson doesn’t play at QB on Saturday in Manhattan. If it rains Saturday…. I may run up to Manhattan and see if I can get in the stadium on the Farewell Big 12 Tour. This is one of the few venues in the Big 8/Big 12 where I’ve never seen an OU game.

Glass half full take is that you have to figure the Kansas State student section will be nicer to Spencer Rattler than the OU student section was on Saturday night versus West Virginia.

Note to Academy…this is what great motion picuture making is all about. A great movie does not have to have a a great social message everytime out of the gate. Not saying I didn’t love Schindler’s List and Twelve Years A Slave… but sometimes we need to collectively smile in a movie theatre.

Nolan Arenado Lovefest: Part II

St. Louis extended their streak to 17 games on Tuesday night with a 6-2 home win over the Milwaukee Brewers. I think it would be fair to say the Cardinals are in a zone. They have five games remaining…two more against the Brewers then a closing three game set with the once again pathetic Chicago Cubs to close the regular season.

I have a special affinity for Nolan because I played starting third base for a AAU state championship team when I was in junior high. Then as I moved up in age and played for John Marshall in high school … I was moved to left field. My bat was top five on my high school teams, my arm was average. Hence… the move to left field.

But I’ve always had a deep respect for players who play the hot corner. It’s a beautiful thing watching a player like Nolan who takes as much pride in his defense as he does his offense.

On Tuesday night Nolan had a sac fly RBI and then a home run in the seventh inning. He now stands at 34 HRs and 103 RBIs for the season.

Just your basic Nolan Arenado season…except this time around the entire baseball world will be taking note because he now plays for the St. Louis Cardinals.

When I see Nolan…I can’t help but think of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the Thunder and wonder when he will tire of playing for marginal at best teams in Oklahoma City and ask to be traded to a relevant team like Paul George did several years ago.

My thoughts are with your season, Nolan Arenado.

Go for it.

So…if I had become a famous major leaguer…what would I have chosen as my walk-up song? It sure as hell wouldn’t be Baby Shark or anything by Travis Scott.

It would have been Smooth by Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas.

St. Louis Cardinals Win Streak Hits 16 Games

This past winter the St. Louis Cardinals fleeced the Colorado Rockies in a trade which originated because Nolan Arenado desired to be traded to a viable contender.

From a baseball standpoint…earlier in life I was a Pittsburgh Pirate fan because of my eternal love for Roberto Clemente. But when Oklahoma City became the Triple A affiliate of the LA Dodgers …my attention to baseball primarily became following the Dodgers because I watched some of their current stars at the AAA level in OKC over the years.

This past winter the Rockies granted Nolan his escape. The reaction in Denver was predictably brutal towards the Rockies organization. I was in Denver the week after the trade and the letters to the editor of the Denver paper were brutally tough on the Rockies’ GM… who was fired not long after.

The Rockies today stand thirteen games below the .500 mark and 30 games out of first place in the West Division in the National League. Keep in mind this is a Rockies franchise which tied the Dodgers for the division championship as recently as 2016.

With my son’s family in Denver it became natural I would become a Nolan Arenado fan. Like the young man in this video above I view Nolan as the best third baseman in the game with Anthony Rendon being just a rung behind.

My son Chris took me to the Rockies last regular season game in 2016 in Denver when Bryce Harper played his last game for the Washington Nationals. Colorado won that game 14-1 to tie the Dodgers for the division on that memorable fall day. Bryce Harper hit two towering gap doubles while Nolan hit two home runs over the left field wall. It’s one of my favorite baseball memories.

Nolan was traded to the Cardinals this past winter and the expectations became sky high as in World Series or bust.

In the first three fourths of this season in every aspect of the game—the Cardinals were not making the plays when they needed to be made. Their bullpen was expecially bad in multiple clutch situations to close out games. It was a team deal.

Just several weeks ago the Cardinals stood at 71-69 looking into the abyss of not making the playoffs. Of being the biggest underachiever in major league baseball this season.

I felt horrible for Nolan because in reality he’s such a humble team guy who wants to win. This was going to be his real introduction to those baseball fans who only watch post season games.

But lo and behold the Cardinals in a magical way got their act together. They are now winners of sixteen straight games with a record of 87-69 and clinchers of a wild card spot in the upcoming MLB playoffs. Their opponent if the season were over today would be the LA Dodgers. Go figure.

The sixteen game winning streak is one of the most memorable in modern baseball history because it’s taking place in September heading into October at the goal acheiving portion of the season. I have to go back and check, but I think it might be the fourth longest winning streak in modern baseball history.

The transformation in this season came when the stars started playing like stars and the role players started doing their jobs. Nolan, Goldschimdt, and O’Neill have all passed the thirty home run marker. Forty year-old Adam Wainwright has steadied the starting pitching rotation. Roles have been altered in the bullpen. It’s been a team thing with a next man up mentality.

From a baseball standpoint this almost has that Washington Nationals look back in 2017.

Dodgers vs. the Cardinals in the wild card. Who will I be rooting for? Nolan is my favorite player, the Dodgers are my favorite team.

At the end at crunch time…probably Nolan.

Sam Presti Gives His Training Camp Address to OKC Media

This is last year’s Thunder preseason press conference when the abbreviated NBA season got off to a delayed start. The schedule was cut to 72 games and the Thunder had a problem in they had Big Al Horford and George Hill on their roster on opening day.

The Thunder eventually shed those two vets and then benched Shai Gilgeous-Alexander enroute to a 2-23 finish and an overall record of 22-50.

The youngsters who finished the season in Oklahoma City did play hard to their credit amidst the tank and even to the detriment of the tank itself won late season games against Boston and the LA Clippers which they shouldn’t have won.

So forgive me for not posting the press conference Sam Presti just gave prior to this edition of the Thunder playing NBA basketball in Oklahoma.

I’ll paraphrase. The tank is still very much in place in Oklahoma City. Last time I checked Vegas had OKC’s 2021-22 win total at 22.5 games in an eighty-two game schedule.

The best player on the team will be Shai-Gilegous Alexander who along with Devin Booker was on the selection bubble prior to last season’s NBA All-Star Game. The Thunder also have Lu Dort and Mike Muscala back in the mix. I like both of those guys.

After that the Thunder have second year pro Kid Poku who skipped the Summer League so he could work on his body shaping with Little Nick Gallo, Royce Young, and I’m to assume Nick Collison. Can’t wait to see Hulk Poku in the flesh.

Then there’s Australian teenager Josh Giddy who was the 6th player taken in the draft by the Thunder. From what I’ve read on the Daily Thunder messageboard ( which banned me for life) this is better than having Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jon Kuminga, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or Giannis.

The rest of the roster will be more young guys showing what it takes to be a Thunder team honor member three years from now when Clay Bennett and Sam Presti will be resuming legitimate NBA games being played in Oklahoma or somewhere else.

Wouldn’t it be karma if the Thunder ended back up in Seattle when the luster has worn off that city’s new NHL team the Krakens?

This is why I’m more than okay with OU staying in the Big 12 for the next two or three years. Reason being…I’ll have the best college basketball conference in America playing its games in two venues less than an hour from my home.

I’ve been an avid NBA fan since I was maybe eight years of age and grew up adoring Billy Cunningham, Hal Greer and the Sixers. Then Dr. J and Mo Cheeks. Then the whole league itself as David Stern grew the NBA brand.

I’ll be fine we won’t have NBA basketball in Oklahoma City on a legit competitive basis. I have eight or so teams on my watch list for the coming NBA season…how sad the Thunder in Oklahoma view tanking as their only path to sustainability.

Note to Sam Presti…the Milwaukee Bucks who just won the O’Brien Trophy did this with a 15th pick in Giannis, a 17th pick in Jrue Holiday, and a second round pick in Khris Middleton.

You could even go on to say the Phoenix Suns were aimlessly tanking for around a decade before you saved them from themselves by trading Chris Paul to the Valley of the Sun.

So really… no one in Oklahoma really knows how long the Thunder will be tanking, but we do know it will be a long process.

The end.

Sooners Survive West Virginia, 16-13

A tough day for me as I went 0-2 on my two Game Day spread picks. That was the first and last time in my life I will ever take Texas A&M on a game. A&M is the most overhyped program in college football. Jimbo Fischer said this summer he wanted Alabama….Dude, you’ve got Alabama. Good luck with that.

Chris Jackson took Arkansas and OU so he’s now 5-3 vs my 4-4 mark on picking the spread so far this season. I violated my own Cardinal Rule … I picked games which involved Texas A&M and O State. I deserved to go 0-2 for being that stupid.

Win, survive, and advance is what OU did on Saturday night in Norman against a decent West Virginia team. OU never led in this game until the Gabe B game winning goal saved the Sooners’ in this very hard fought 16-13 win over the Mountaineers.

Here’s what I would say to the OU fans who booed Spencer Rattler on Saturday night…’Grow up. You are pathetic fans.’

OU’s offensive line is a work in progress. Creed Humphrey as a rookie is the starting center in Kansas City in front of a guy named Patrick Mahomes. OU has issues with its offensive line. Last time I looked Caleb Williams wasn’t signed on as an offensive tackle, guard or center.

After the game Spencet Rattler told sideline reporter Holly Rowe he doesn’t care about those fans. He said those people aren’t on the field. They don’t matter to him.

Good for Spencer Rattler. When you sign on to play the QB position at OU you better have some very thick skin considering who’s played the position in the past twenty years or so.

Here’s what matters to me….OU won. They’re 4-0. They have some serious work in front of them, but for me the silver lining is that OU is learning to win without scoring 45 points or more in every game.

The defense is getting better, OU’s kicking game might be the best in the country. But as I wrote when this OU season began it will OU’s ability to run the ball which will be their greatest challenge this season.

Right now OU line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has some heavy lifting in front of him in these next several weeks. The good news is that in these last two games versus Nebraska and West Virginia is the Sooners were able to run the ball on their last possessions of the game to win both games. That’s a silver lining. That’s what you want this to look like when the Sooners play the Horns in Dallas.

Sarkisian finally got it right by inserting Casey Thompson as the starter. Texas can run the football. That will be a war in Dallas. In case you didn’t see. Iowa State got beat by Baylor, TCU got beat by SMU, O State beat K State.

Right now OU getting to the College Football Football Playoff or Spencer Rattler being a Heisman contender doesn’t mean shit. It’s about going to K State next week and winning. Keep in mind it has been K State which has beaten the Sooners two years in a row. OU needs to go to Manhattan and win. Get better. Evolve as a team.

Lincoln Riley knows that if you can’t run the football then your play action stuff which gets receivers open deep won’t be there against the better teams. That wouldn’t be good.

From what I’ve seen these first four weeks nothing has changed as to how I would seed the Big 12 minus Iowa State being a massive disappointment… 1 OU, 2 Texas, and 3 O State.

By the way…kudos to both Mike Gundy and Kasey Dunn for at least being more adaptive to what Spencer Sanders can and can’t do as a quarterback.

And that’s what Lincoln Riley and Bill Bedenbaugh are going to have to do moving forward. That being, finding out what this OU O-line can and can’t do and being adaptive to the offensive line which is in Norman and not in Kansas City.

Game Day #4

The feature game today is Texas A&M vs. Arkansas at Jerry’s World with the Aggies being a five point ‘neutral’ field favorite. Both of these teams are physical and can run the football. My question is this in regards to Arkansas QB JK Jefferson…can he throw the football downfield more than fifteen yards against a good defense on third down? He didn’t have to do much of this against the Texas Longhorns.

I say no. I know the Aggies struggled vs. Colorado, but this time they’re prepared for the QB change with two weeks of practice time for the new quarterback. I’m going Texas A&M and reluctantly giving the five points in what should be a SEC West slugfest at the line of scrimmage.

On my second game I think I’ll take K State on the road in Stillwater as a 5.5 road dog versus Spencer Sanders. Same thing…can Sanders connect on enough third down passes to cover the 5.5 in what should be a fairly evenly matched game bewteen two Big 12 unbeatens.

Last week I took Texas and gave the points against lowly Rice who are as bad as the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. I also took the Denver Broncos and gave the points against rookie QB Trevor Lawrence.

Chris Jackson took Nebraska and the 22 points as a road dog, but he made the mistake of taking Auburn on the road with the points versus Penn State… Big mistake given the shaky QB play of Bo Mix who is a problem for the Tigers moving forward in that he can’t pass very well.

After three weeks versus the spread we both stand 4-2. I’m not sure who Chris has yet this week given Little Robert is probably running his new toy weed-eater/blower set inside the home in Bonnie Brae this morning. I’ll probably wait an hour to get his picks.

Have a great autumn day and night of watching college football.


After Dark

I just finished reading the Thunder’s Covid policy for the first twelve regular season games. You either show proof of your vaccination or you show the results of a test 72 hours prior to the game is the way I read it.

I would be fine. I had my two shots back in April and wear a mask in certain settings and don’t allow myself to be put in bad situations.

But then again I believe in math, science, history, economics, reading, etc. I would be an outlier in Thunder Nation.

Hopefully, these people will follow the policy so I can come to the arena to watch the Pistons, Kings, Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Warriors, Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets when they come to OKC.

If only we had a team like one of these. Exciting team building in the off season by all of the above.

I mean this Thunder policy would be excellent if the team was in Seattle, Portland, New York, LA, New Jersey, Denver, Chicago, San Franisco or probably in any NBA city minus Oklahoma City, Memphis, or Salt Lake–the three reddest cities in the NBA. I’m not sure how Dallas or Miami would handle these requirements given the governors in both of those states.

I agree with the policy and the statement Clay Bennett made, but I mean in all seriousness if you put lipstick on a pig what do you still have?

You have a pig wearing lipstick.

Good luck with this. Enjoy the song… Sam Presti.

Mike’s Colorado Travel Blog: Part Two

I’m struggling right now as a Thunder blogger. A part of me says to cut my ties with the Thunder concept as to avoid ever turning out like Little Nick Gallo, Royce Young, or Michael Cage and selling myself out like a common street whore. But there’s the pragmatic Libra side of me which says to hang in there and see if these two white boys Sam Presti has drafted turn out to be players.

Ever since I got back from Denver…my focus has been abysmal. I find little if any interest in the Thunder whatsoever…as in none.

I find myself yodeling John Denver songs at all points of the day and night.

So let me see if I can finish this entry on my travel blog and gently work my way back into the light as the premier OKC Thunder blogger in the market. Just so we’re clear, Sam Presti…I’m not for sale. El Prez writes the truth and nothing but the truth. I would go on to say apparently a degree in sports journalism means very little these days… as in nada.

So…on Day 2 which was Sunday we in Denver got our game faces on early because the 2-0 Denver Broncos had a 10:00am kick at Jacksonville vs. the lowly Jaguars.

In Denver this is the sports food chain…Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets, and Rockies.

With new QB Teddy Bridgewater and once again healthy Von Miller these Broncos could be a tough out if they can stay healthy.

Denver easily dispatched of the Urban Myers’ NFL team. The rookie running back Miller from North Carolina is a player I have on my radar screen as a possible ROTY in the NFL.

So… the kids had a bluegrass concert to attend at the iconic Red Rock venue in Morrison so for the rest of Day 2 after the game my wife and I babysat Little Robert and Aubrey.

It was exhausting. Robert never stops talking or moving…as in never. But I love that kid. I do. At the age of two he has more presidential presence than Trump has at seventy-whatever. Not even close.

Day 3 we took the car by ourselves and left the idyllic Bonnie Brae neighborhood to adventure to Mt. Evans a mere sixty miles away with an elevation of 14,265 feet and to explore future trout fishing trips at Echo Lake.

It was breathtaking as the higher we trekked the aspen trees went from dull yellow to bright yellow to red-orange. I interviewed two local trout fisherman at Echo Lake like I was Dave Letterman and discovered they had limited out on this September day.

My wife purchased a tawdry pink Mt. Evans hoodie at the mid mountain restaurant then we headed back down to Idaho Springs in search of food.

We settled on Hard Knocks Brewery in the middle of downtown. I got the basic cheeseburger and Mindy ordered the fish tacos. I’d give the place a seven.

We had some Green Bay and Chicago Bear fans at the table next to us drinking schnapps shots so that was kind of cool. We talked a little bit about Aaron and his malaise in the opener.

We then got back to Bonnie Brae and bought the grandkids two quarts of ice cream at the iconic Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Parlor on University Street. Strawberry and chocolate chip.

Robert took the chocolate chip container from me and headed to the sofa before his mother confiscated the container.

Next day..early Tuesday morning at 4:30 am we hit the road and arrived back in Deer Creek at 3:45pm which is pretty good driving time considering we lose an hour coming back.

I dropped Mindy off at home then proceeded to pick up the diva lab Pauli at the Lucky Dog Salon where she tackled me with joy once she saw me through the glass.

That’s it for this entry on Mike’s Colorado Travel Blog.

Have a nice Friday.