Monday Morning Quarterback for September 30

Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Morning Quarterback.  Here is what is on my mind for this week.

MLB Playoffs

Major League Baseball Logo

Well the regular season in Major League baseball has ended.  It is now time for the official Hunt of October!

National League

national league

The Playoffs in the National League are set.  Here are the match-ups.

Wild Card Game.

By virtue of Pittsburgh’s sweep of the Reds this weekend, the Pirates will host the Reds in the Wild Card Game Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.  The reward for the winner will be a trip to St Louis for a five game Divisional Championship Series.  This is Pittsburgh’s first trip to the playoffs since 1992 and people are excited in Pittsburgh.  The Reds are making their 3rd trip to the playoffs in the last 4 years, but have yet to win a playoff series since 1995.

Divisional Series

The LA Dodgers will travel to Atlanta for a best of 5 series with the Braves.

St. Louis gets the winner of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh for the other best of 5 series.

 

American League

AmericanLeagueLogo

American League are set as well.  Here are the match-ups.

Wild Card Game

Cleveland gets to host the Wild Card Game against the winner of Texas and Tampa Bay, which tied for the 2nd wild card spot.  That game will be played in Texas today, with the winner to go to Cleveland on Wednesday.  Whoever makes it out of the Wild Card Game will have to travel to Boston for a 5 game Divisional Series.

Divisional Series

In one Divisional Series, you will have the Detroit Tigers traveling to Oakland to take on the A’s in their 5 games series.

The other Divisional Series will have the survivor of the Wild Card Game traveling to Boston in a best of 5 series with the Red Sox.

 

Let the Hunt for October BEGIN!!!!

 

Have a great week!!


Steve Black Show Season 2 Episodes

Here is a list of our shows so far this season.  If you have not had the chance, get them out.  I hope you enjoy them and keep supporting the show.  Thanks for all of your support to date!!!


Tonight on the Show…..Sept. 26, 2013

Midterms are out tonight on The Steve Black Show! We give our mid-season reports for all the Tri-County & 25E area teams! Also, we reveal the mid-season Top 10 Football Rankings! Joining us will be Pineville football head coach, Bart Elam!

bart elam pineville

Then on The Shot Clock….we welcome back Les Dixon, Corbin Times Tribune Sports Editor and Tim Branstetter, Barbourville Mountain Advocate Sports editor to debate the storylines remaining in the football season!

tim branstetter les dixon times tribune

UNCENSORED! UNBIASED! UNPREDICTABLE!

Monday Morning Quarterback for September 23 2013

This week’s edition of Monday Morning Quarterback is all about the last few days in the life of Steve Black.

Thursday, September 19th

After working the day job, it was a chance to make final preparations for what may have been the BIGGEST Steve Black Show ever since my co-host JT Elliott and I decided to start this show in August of 2012.

Guests on the show included Mr. Brian Milam.

brian milam

I was familiar with Brian’s work at WYMT TV out of Hazard, KY with Sports Overtime.  He is currently at WKYT in Lexington.  I consider him one of the biggest guest we have ever had on the show and he did not disappoint.  I hope he enjoyed being on the show, as we did having him on the show.

wayne mills bell countyscott russell

We also were going to have both coaches Wayne Mills and Scott Russell on the show at the same time.  It did not look like they were going to call in.  I was about defeated, until I was able to contact a friend of mine, the KY Stud. The Stud called into the show and bantered with me, JT and Jon North.  As a result of the Stud’s great mic skills, I was able to make a final contact with both coaches.  I was prepared to go overtime on the show (we normally go an hour, but I schedule the show for 90 minutes, just in case).  Long story short, both coaches called in and I had a great time talking to them both.  Wayne and Scott are the best of friends whose teams were going to play the next night, which make for a good interview.  Special shout out to the Stud for filling that gap and making the show, told to me by several people, the best show yet!!!  If you have not listened to the show yet, you can check it out here.

 

Friday, September 20th

After working the day job, it was on the road to Barbourville for the big game with Knox Central and Bell Co.  since I am on assignment in Lexington/Winchester with the day job, I have not been available for my PA duties with the Panthers.  I was not going to make this game originally, but a favorable schedule at work and to help out new Panther AD Jeff Canady, I made the trip.  I was ready to get back in the press box for the Panthers.  This was the day that KC would get that WIN against Bell Co.  It looked good in the beginning, but it became very apparent that Bell Co. isn’t a traditional power for nothing.  Bell at 2-2 coming into the game after losing to Middlesboro, was in danger of losing 2 in a row for the first time in forever,  Bell took on the challenge and had their way with the Panthers in a 34-12 victory.  Needless to say that I was disappointed with the Panther’s performance on this night.  KC has lost 2 in a row now themselves, and this did not look like a team that was coming into this game at 3-1.  I hope the Panthers turn it around before District play.

 

Saturday, September 21st

I was going to drive back to Lexington after the KC/Bell game, so I decided to stay the night in Barbourville.  Saturday brought a trip to Union College for their game with Webber International.  As I arrived at the ball field, the nicknames for me were flying around.  I was dubbed by Union Athletic Director Tim Curry as “The Curse of Panther Nation” and “Black Death” in regards to my return to the press box for the KC/Bell game (all in jest, of course).  We had a great laugh about the whole thing.  Curry had another nickname waiting on me.  It was “O-fer”.  If Union loses to Webber International, I would be 0-3 as a PA guy this season.  This game would be a battle of two teams who are not very good, but someone had to win, right?  Union scored in the 4th quarter to go up 19-13.  It looked like I would be spared of that new nickname, until the Warriors scored a TD with 28 seconds to go in the contest for a 20-19 win.  Crushing defeat for the Bulldogs, who fall to 0-3 on the season.  Just call me O-fer!!

At least the Oklahoma Sooners were idle this weekend.  If they had played, the way my luck was going, they would have lost too.  Let’s beat Notre Dame next weekend!!  BOOMER SOONER!!!!

bob stoops  Can Stoops become “Big Game Bob” one more time next week at Notre Dame?  That is why they play the games!!

 

Sunday, September 22nd

My hope for a winner this weekend was in the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, but it was not going to be easy.

Bengals

They hosted the Green Bay Packers.  Things started great as Cincy started out with a 14-0 lead, but Green Bay rolled off 30 straight points to take a 30-14 lead in the second half.  Long story short, the Bengals become the first team in NFL history, a team wins a game after up by 14 and then down by 16.  What a great finish in Cincinnati, as the Bengals come back for a 34-30 win!!!!  At least a team that I root for came away for a win.

Cincy reds logo

By the way, the Cincinnati Reds crush Pittsburgh to take 2 out of 3 from the Pittsburgh this weekend!!!!

Needless to say that I am needing a little rest after a long last few days.  Another big week at work this week!!

You all have a GREAT WEEK!!!!!


Billy Hamilton stealing bases, spotlight

With apologies to Jay Bruce, who certainly had a very impressive 3-game series in Houston, Billy Hamilton has been the engine that has sparked the Cincinnati Reds as they continue to move closer to clinching another playoff berth.

We’ll get to Bruce in a moment, but Billy Hamilton’s recent play has removed any question as to whether he should be selected for the Reds’ postseason roster. There is no decision to be made now, as no reasonable human could possibly even think about leaving him at home while the team tries to capture a world championship.

Billy Hamilton

Hamiltion made his Major League debut on September 3 against the Cardinals, entering a scoreless game as a pinch-runner in the 7th inning after Ryan Ludwick singled. Hamilton promptly stole second base off Yadier Molina and then scored on a Todd Frazier double. It would be the only run of the game as the Reds won 1-0.

The next day, Hamilton again entered as a pinch-runner after a Ryan Ludwick single, this time in the bottom of the 14th inning with the Reds trailing by a run. Again, Hamilton stole second base off Molina and then scored on a Zack Cozart single to keep the Reds alive. The Cardinals, however,  would go on to win 5-4 in 16 innings.

Hamilton added another stolen base as a pinch-runner on September 6 against the Dodgers. The next day, with the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 10th, Hamilton again replaced Ludwick, who had drawn a leadoff walk. Right on cue, Hamilton stole second base and then scored the game-ending winning run on a Todd Frazier single.

At this point, Hamilton had appeared in four games, stolen four bases, and scored three runs, with two of those being game-winning runs and the other a game-tying run in extra innings – and he had 0 plate appearances! All this was as a pinch runner. As noted here by ESPN (last paragraph of the article), the Elias Sports Bureau reports Hamilton is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to record a stolen base in each of his first four major league games.

Hamilton would appear in three more games, drawing a few plate appearances but no hits, before he made his first Major League start Wednesday night at Houston. With the Astros hosting this interleague game as the American League team, the designated hitter rule was in effect, creating an extra spot in the lineup for a position player. This was the last game of a three-game series against the worst team in baseball, and the Reds had won the first two handily. Dusty Baker decided to start Hamilton in center field and move Shin-Soo Choo to left field, batting Hamilton 9th in the order, just ahead of Choo in his customary leadoff spot. Needless to say, the move paid off.

Hamiton went 3-for-4 with two walks, two runs scored, and four stolen bases (the fourth coming on a pitchout) in a 13-inning, 6-5 victory for the Reds. As noted here by Yahoo!, the Elias Sports Bureau reports Hamilton is the first player in the “live ball era” (since 1920) to steal four bases in his first start.

As if that weren’t enough, Hamilton also had an impact in last night’s improbable come-from-behind victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the first of 6 meetings the Reds will have against the Pirates in their last 9 games of the regular season. The Reds entered the 9th inning trailing 5-2 but scored three runs in the 9th to tie the game before Joey Votto’s home run in the top of the 10th gave the Reds a 6-5 lead, which Aroldis Chapman would secure for his 38th save.

With Pittsburgh leading 5-2 in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and a runner on second, shortstop Jordy Mercer committed a costly throwing error on a Todd Frazier ground ball that would have won the game for Pittsburgh. Ryan Ludwick scored on the play and Frazier advanced to second. Zack Cozart then singled, moving Frazier to third. Down to his last out and facing a two-run deficit with the go-ahead run at the plate, this is not a situation in which Dusty Baker would normally call on a runner to attempt to steal second base. If it doesn’t work, you’ve essentially run yourself out of the rally and lost the game. However, with Devin Mesoraco at the plate, Baker decided to replace Cozart with Hamilton, who promptly stole second base, giving him 10 stolen bases in 10 attempts on the season. Mesoraco worked a nine-pitch at-bat off Mark Melancon into a sharp infield single off the glove of third baseman Pedro Alvarez, scoring both Frazier and Hamilton to tie the game 5-5, setting the stage for Votto’s go-ahead home run in the 10th.

Just to highlight the impact Hamilton is having on the ball club, check out this video of the entire 9th-inning rally, and look at the way his teammates react and greet him in the dugout near the end of the video.

Hamilton has now appeared in 9 games, going 3-for-8 at the plate while scoring 7 runs and stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts.

To reiterate, there is no discussion about Hamilton’s place on the Reds’ postseason roster. The only question now is…should he start or continue to play mostly off the bench?

I mentioned I would give Jay Bruce his due for that Houston series. Here are Bruce’s numbers for those three games: 7-for-13, 3 doubles, 1 home run (a grand slam), 10 RBI, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, and 4 runs scored. His grand slam in the second game of the series, a 10-0 victory for Cincinnati, game him exactly 30 home runs and 100 RBI on the season. He had 5 RBI in that game. In the last game of the series (the game in which Billy Hamilton started and stole four bases), Bruce hit three doubles, the last of which came with the bases loaded, breaking a tie in the 13th inning and giving the Reds a 6-4 lead that they would hang on to in a 6-5 win.

Jay Bruce

Bruce now leads the Reds with 103 RBIs, two ahead of Brandon Phillips, who has settled back into the # 2 hole in the lineup. Speaking of which, it’s looking like the # 2 spot in the order is less of a concern these days. That is the traditional spot for Brandon Phillips, and the Reds are doing well him him there. But with Zack Cozart continuing to produce and with Todd Frazier stepping up his offense as well, I think the Reds should be ok with whatever Dusty decides to do with the lineup.

The pitching situation, in terms of choosing the starters for the postseason roster, is as murky as ever with Johnny Cueto back in the fold and Mike Leake pitching well again. Cueto started for the first time since June when he faced Houston in the series opener on Monday. He earned the win, going 5 innings and striking out 5 batters in a 6-1 Reds victory. Leake has been every bit as good as Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo this year, and you could definitely make a case that he’s been the Reds’ best starter. His stats are almost identical to those of Mat Latos, with the only exception being that Latos has a lot more strikeouts. Tony Cingrani is still not ready to rejoin the rotation, as he continues to recover from back spasms. It’s almost impossible to choose which four (or five) of these guys should start in the postseason. But the good news is that the Reds should feel comfortable with any of the six taking the mound. The starting pitchers have been the strength of the team all season long.

Last night’s thrilling victory over the Pirates moved the Reds into a tie with the Pirates for second place in the NL Central, with both teams posting an identical 88-66 record. St. Louis won in extra innings last night, and they currently hold a 2-game lead in the division, with a record of 90-64. With 8 games remaining, the Reds would love to catch the Cardinals and win the division, because the division winner will avoid the dreaded one-game wild card playoff. The Washington Nationals are currently 5 games behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh for the second wild card spot, so their chances of making the postseason are miniscule. Here are the full standings.

Last night’s game provided more drama in the rivalry between the Reds and Pirates. The Reds will be riding a 4-game winning streak as they play at Pittsburgh tonight in the second game of a three-game series. Then they return home to Cincinnati for three games against the Mets and three more against the Pirates to close out the regular season.


Tonight on the Show….(Sept. 19, 2013)

 

We welcome Brian Milam of WKYT Sports and discuss UK football, Lexington high school football versus Eastern Kentucky high school football, and get his opinion on various NCAA football story lines during The Shot Clock.

brian milam

Also, Scott Russell and Wayne Mills are close friends…..BUT…..what happens when they face off this Friday night? We discuss the game of the week with both Bell County and Knox Central’s head coaches.

wayne mills bell county scott russell

Monday Morning Quarterback for September 16 2013

Welcome to this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

USA Soccer to play in the 2014 World Cup.

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With last week’s 2-0 victory over Mexico, the USA Soccer Team qualified for the 2014 World Cup to be played in Brazil next Summer.  This is the 7th straight World Cup that the USA Soccer team has qualified for the World Cup.

The current version of the USA Team may be the most talented and deep team ever in the history of USA Soccer.  Soccer in the USA may be at its most popular yet!!

How will the USA Soccer team do in next year’s World Cup?  Do I think they have enough talent to win the World Cup going up against the likes of Italy, Spain, England and the host country Brazil?  Well, maybe not, but that is why they play the games.

I do think that this may be the best chance USA Soccer has to do some damage in the World Cup?  With the right draw in Pool Play, they would have a great shot to make it to the knock out round of 16.  Once you get there, anything can happen.

What are your thoughts on USA’s chances in next year’s World Cup?  I would love to read your comments about the USA Team’s chances for 2014.

Check out this Thursday’s Steve Black Show.  This will be our biggest show to date.  Scheduled guests include Brain Milam of Channel 27 WKYT TV of Lexington, Kentucky.  As for fans of Mountain Football in the state of Kentucky, we will have both Coaches Wayne Mills of Bell County and Scott Russell of Knox Central as they get ready to face off in Barbourville. KY, this Friday night (September 20th).

scott russell     wayne mills bell county   brian milam

And as always…….Have a GREAT WEEK!!!!!!


The Steve Black Show on Blogtalkradio.com

Check out some of my recent episodes of my show via www.blogtakradio.com.

 

Listen to internet radio with The Steve Black Show on BlogTalkRadio


Bread Pudding

I just ate bread pudding for the first time ever. The Colonel was calling my name a little while ago, so I moseyed on over to the local KFC Buffet. After my chicken, biscuits, etc., it was time for dessert. I saw a peculiar tray with a mysterious item cut into squares, so I inquired about what this might be. “Bread pudding” was the response, and I didn’t know how to react. I had heard of bread pudding but had never partaken. So I thought to myself, “Well, I like bread, and I like pudding. Why not?” Besides, it had icing all over it and I dig icing. It wasn’t exactly bread, and it definitely wasn’t pudding. I’m really not sure what it was, but it tasted alright to me. Thanks, Colonel!


Tonight on the Show….(Sept. 12, 2013)

mtv_made_logo

Tonight with discuss volleyball with Cherrelle Lampkins, volleyball coach from the series on MTV Made. Cherelle was stand out college volleyball player, leading her Morehead State University Eagles to an OVC championship her senior year. She joins us to talk about the sport of volleyball a d listen to hear tips for taking your game to the next level!

lions chase race

Jeff Sparks, creator of The Lion’s Chase 5k Obstacle Course and youth pastor at Central Baptiist Church of Corbin, Kentucky joins us to discuss the planning and physical & emotional challenges the course has to offer.

We will also cover local high school football and local college football action. As well as, debate NCAA football during The Shot Clock!!

Join us live at 7pm!!!