Rant and Rave…As only Fletch can do it…

July 31, 2008

More Random Thoughts

It has been a while since I’ve sat down and written for this blog. I wonder if anyone has noticed, but it has been some time. I have spent most of my time lately taking care of my beautiful wife, who is officially expecting our first tater. Couple that with work and a few hours of sleep, and having a chance to express my thoughts on sports has been pushed to the back. However, I want to get some things out, and I’ve decided that world-be-damned…it’s time to rant!

Well, here we are again. If you are a fan of the Indians and were born before 1990, you have experienced this before. The latest trade of Casey Blake makes is more telling of the state of the Tribe than did CC leaving a few weeks ago. We knew that CC was going to be leaving. Shapiro doesn’t like spending big money on anyone, and that fits the Dolan family just fine. I have more on the Dolan’s in just a minute! CC wants record money. He knows that he will be the most sought after pitcher during the off season, and he plans on cashing in. Fine, cash in, but beware that more pitchers than not have gone into a new situation with MASSIVE expectations and can’t live up to them. Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, Carl Pavano, Bartolo Colon, etc. It is tough to gauge whether a pitcher will outlast a long term contract after they’ve spent as many years in the league as CC has. I’ll give him credit..he’s still pretty young and I see him having several more really great years…in L.A….Dodger blue is rather slimming.
Back to Blake. The trade of Blake signals the end of the old ragime. It may not look that way since it’s taken a few years to make this happen, but with Blake gone the Shapiro, Dolan, Wedge era is now officially in charge. Casey was an old holdover from the really bad years between the Thome led Indians and now. I know many people who are glad to see him go, and have spent most of his time here hating everything he does. However, he was a true ball player. He played wherever he was asked to. He never complained about his team or his role on it. He will never win an MVP award or be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but he played the game the right way. He played hard and seemed to really appreciate the chances he was given. He appeared to be a true teammate, and during this nightmare season, he was one of the only bright spots. I don’t blame Shapiro for sending him away, however, because his stock has never been higher. The Dodgers needed a veteran bat who could hit in the clutch. Casey does that, and the Indians picked up two top level prospect. I hope he does well in L.A. because he deserves to do so.

Part II: Larry Dolan
As mentioned above…the end of an era officially occurred with the trade of Casey Blake. He was a member of the bad teams between 2002 and 2005. He was a low price veteran who could fill several holes while young players such as Victor, Grady, and Hafner got their feet wet in the big leagues. He was a long term rental. Now, he’s gone, and the team is now belongs solely to the “Brain Trust”…Shapiro, Wedge, and Dolan. It has taken several years for this trio to get together and create a blue print of the team, and now it’s here. They want to field a young, talented team without breaking the bank in order to do so. They have either brought up talent through the farm system or found it through trades of the big names from the Tribe past. They see that certain talent is working and they sign them long term, early, so that when they want big money, they will have already played a large portion of their productive years here. Nice idea, good philosophy, business wise, it’s pretty smart. However, in doing this, Larry Dolan has pushed the past into the corner and created HIS team. He refused to give Omar Vizquel a new contract a few years back, and showed him the door. Omar deserved much better than that, and even said that he wanted to remain here, even though the team was rebuilding. Dolan and his people thought that Omar was too old, especially since he was older than the Golden Boy, Wedge. Dolan has refused to open his check book, and at one point said that the fans of Cleveland would get their contender once they started spending their money at the ballpark. This was something that didn’t get the attention it should have. This RICH, let me repeat it…RICH man was telling the blue collar community of Cleveland that he wouldn’t spend HIS money until we did. I may not know how much money is in my bank account, but I’m sure that in comparrison it’s much less. He found a way to make the losing OUR fault. So, he fielded a winner back in 2005 and the fans came. The Jake started showing signs of life again. However, in 2006 the team fell apart. They started losing again, but in 2007 they were winning and the fans came back. In the meantime, Dolan who promised to spend some money if we came, spent his money on Jason Michaels, David Delluci, Guiermo Mota, Joe Borowski, and Trot Nixon. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!
The final straw with this guy came the day he decided that his ego could no longer take seeing the previous owner’s name on the building every day. Jacob’s Field was named after the greatest owner this team ever had. He spent his money, and tried to give us a winner, and by doing so saw his namesake filled to the rafters night after night for years for a record 455 games in a row. The people of Cleveland LOVE their sports teams, but when they are being given a mediocre product they spend their money else where. The Jake was a symbol of Cleveland..and Dolan pissed all over that by selling the naming rights to a insurance company. It’s funny, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park never sold their names off, and they are doing just fine. The Prog? Disgusting! It’s Jacob’s Field and always will be, and Larry Dolan is just the guy who came after Mr. Jacobs. One win from the World Series, Larry, and you do nothing to make this team better while everyone around you does. He knows nothing about the game of baseball. Business, sure he’s got it down, but he is holding this team back. Did he see what the Yankees gave up for Xavier Nady? I’m doubt seriously that he couldn’t make something happen for a bat like Jason Bay…wise up…The Prog may never sell out again with this AAAA Team.

Part III: The Redeam Team
First, it’s time to stop naming these basketball teams. The Dream Team is legendary, leave it at that. They are going to eventually run out of words that rhyme with Dream Team, and I want this to stop before we have the Gleam Team or the Coffee with Sugar No Cream Team.
The U.S. is finally putting a team together that deserves the attention that they are getting. The stars of the league are getting involved again, and I am really excited that Kobe has finally decided to put on the Red, White, and Blue. The roster is the best that the U.S. has put together since 1996, and they could very well bring respect back to the country that invented the game. With finishes of 6th, 3rd, and 3rd over the past two World Championship and the last Olympics it’s time for the U.S. to reestablish themselves as the world power. Granted, the European style of play and the growing talent pool over there has evened things up, there isn’t another nation in the world that can boast the type of talent that we can. I would never say that any team could compare with the 1992 team, but this is the best we’ve seen in many years. The biggest thing to get past is turning this team into just that, A TEAN. The NBA is an individual league these days, as a star with a few role players make up the top teams. The international game is not like that. These guys in Europe play together all the time. They play a team game full of fundimentals and defense, which is something our teams have lacked in the past several years. We, again, are putting a team of stars together, but there is a feel that these guys are willing to put their egos aside for the good of the team. Give some credit to Coach K who is THE guy to teach a team first game. The Gold drought should end this summer, and that may give a boost to the Olympics TV ratings this summer.

I’ll have more, but after reading through this I realize it’s pretty long, so I’ll be back soon with more. Thanks!


Top 10 Sports Games of All-Time

July 31, 2008

I miss my Playstation.  This got me thinking about creating a list of games that I loved.  Not just that, but the iconic games that made sports gamers everywhere waste countless hours indoors perfecting them all.

So, here goes…I’m expecting lots of comments on this one.

1.  Tecmo SuperBowl-I remember when I beat my friend Dan with Chrisitain Okoye by breaking the tackle of three guys on his 10 yard line and walked into the endzone.  He preceded to throw the controller and storm out.  How about a little Bo Jackson?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PBvOxicz-0

2. Madden 2004-Great audibles, and the first to use “Playmaker” technology…Michael Vick was ridiculous in this game

3.Blades of Steal-First hockey game with “real” fighting. You could really mess cats up in it

4. Mario Kart-You know that somehow Mario would get on this list

5. Mike Tyson’s Punchout-Tyson was impossible, but I think the second Piston Honda was also challenging. I loved kicking Glass Joe’s ass though.

6. Duck Hunt-Damn that laughing dog

7. NHLPA Hockey 94-Made famous in the movie Swingers…The wrap around was unstoppable, and you could, “Make little Wayne’s head bleed.”

8. NCAA Football2005-First to have the home field advantage, and my college roomies and I logged a ridiculous amount of time playing and not studying.

9. John Elway Football-way underrated

10.Excite Bike-You could build your own tracks and it was the first break through for MotorCross


Now, I refuse to believe that the gamers out there won’t have some responses out there.  What are some of your favorites?

Best week ever to be a Dude?

July 15, 2008

Like most people, I typically gauge my week on how productive I am at work, at home, and socially.  How we tie it together and live our lives can be effected by poor performances in any of those arenas. But every now and again, there are other outside forces that have an impact on your life that can also help or hurt your outlook.  For instance, if you get sick(or in my case have an allergy infection), hurt yourself, go out on a date, get an A on a paper, a promotion at work, go 3-for-3 in softball that night, or you pull of dinner for your family of 4 successfully again, they all hang desperately on a thread and can quickly ruin your psyche instantly. This week however, for sports fans and guys everywhere, the stars have aligned and the big man upstairs is pulling out all of the stops.  This could be one of “THE BEST WEEKS EVER TO BE A GUY.”  Why is that you ask?  I’ll tell you.  Here’s a Sunday to Sunday look at stuff.

Sunday 13th-(Yes I know its gone and went, but you didn’t know it was going to kick off your great week)


Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic from sunny Sylvania, OH.  Ok, so it was sunny most of the time, but this is a great golf tournament, that gets some airtime on the DUECE, and displays some of the top women in the world. Now, there are a few big names that weren’t there this year, but they’ll be back.  It started off with a course record by Paula Creamer, shooting a 60.  Creamer went wire-to-wire in the victory, but the tournament has some great golf, on a great course.  Put on your list of things next year to go see, or make sure to TiVo or watch.

Next, the XM Radio Futures game.  I really like this concept for MLB.  In an effort to showcase some of the minor league stars at every level, MLBcame up with the idea of a USA vs. The World for a futures game.  This gives the hardcore fans a nice look at whats going on at the farm level, and allows you to peek into the future of your team.  Indians fans, LaPortwas 1-3 with a walk.  Anyway, the USA team lost 3-0, but the game was very competitive, and these guys love to play.  Its always under-hyped, but is still a nice event.

Monday 14th-All-Star Home Run Derby. (8:00 on ESPN) How can you not love the derby.  Yes it takes a little long, but no baseball fan can turn it off.  Chics love the long ball, and so do sports guys.  Its an interesting mix of hitters this year, a lot of young guys that aren’t your traditional power hitting studs.  Here’s the roster:  Grady Sizemore of the Indians, Evan Longoria of the Brewers, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Justin Morneau of the Twins, Chase Utely of the Phillies, Lance Berkman of the Astros, Ryan Braun from the Brewers and Dan Uggla of the Marlins will showcase the bright young stars of the league as they swing for the fences at Yankee Stadium.  I’m rooting for Sizemore to win it, being a Tribe fan, but my pick is Hamilton.  That dude can mash, and its the kind of season for this great story.  One downside, the Chris Berman, Back, back, back, gone, gets a little old…

Tuesday 14th-Ok sports gamers, this is officially Christmas time!  NCAA Football 2009’s release date is today.  For those of you that have already pre-ordered it, I expect a post on here telling us all about it.  Check it out on www.easports.comto see how  sick it really is.  If your like me at all, buying this game is good and bad.  Good, because it finally puts you in the driver seat of taking your favorite team to the promise land, as well as countless hours beating your boys in grudge matches.  Bad because you will probably be in the doghouse for all of the time you’ll log in front of the television.  Quick news flash, your wife, girlfriend, mom and sister, don’t reallywant to know your stats of your previous game.  Either way, this is a holiday in dude-world, so get the game, buy some pizza’s, invite your boys over, send the wife out shopping and drinking with her friends, and get your game on.

79th Annual Major League Baseball All-Star game is tonight!  At 8 p.m. at the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, the American League and National League will tangle under the evening skies of New York.  Fitting that New York should have the all-star game there considering it is the last year for the old stadium.  I’m sure that Fox will do a great tribute to the “House that Ruth built” and shame on them if they don’t.

Wednesday 16th-First and foremost, its my buddy Zac’s birthday.  Happy birthday to Zac, and I’ll ask all of my Frank-ly sports faithfuls to drink one for BoDog. Enjoy buddy! That alone is worth celebrating for everyone.

Thrusday 17th-Baseball is back today, and the race for the pennant is officially ON.  Either that or your team has thrown up its white flag, and your rebuilding process is ON.  Can Anaheim get out of their funk and get it going again?  Will the Rays keep it up and bump Boston or New York out of the play-offs? Will Bonds end up back in the game? Can Chipper Jones hit .400?  Will the Indians make it respectable? Can CC Sabathia bring the gusto that the Brewers need get them a championship?  Who knows, but we’ll find out quickly.

Friday 18th-The Dark Knight Opens Today.  This is a day that comic book fans, and guys everywhere have been waiting for.  Ever since the smash hit Batman Begins came out and gave us the tingles again for Batsy, we’ve been waiting.  This time Joker is back and better then every.  People will go to see Batman, Alfred, the tumbler, but most of all the late HeathLedger.  Ledger’s unfortunate deathwill bring people to the theatre.  People will come to see Heath, remember his work, and see how he captured the Joker. Overall, I’m expecting good things out of the movie that has been touted by some experts as “the best Batman movie ever.”  So clear your schedule, make a date, and save your popcorn money for your trip back to Gotham City.

Saturday 19th-The Open. Its the weekend right?  So how about at little golf.  The British Open from Royal Birkdale.  There won’t be any Tiger Woods, so the field is wide open.  Phil Mickelson has been overseas for weeks hoping to get acclimated to the euro courses.  Hopefully he ditched is “5 wedges, no drive” strategy.

Sunday 20th-Well, even God had a day for rest.  By Sunday you’ll be out of food and underwear, so get in the car get the house loaded up again, and maybe do it without asking your wife  or girlfriend for permission, besides, you did make her watch 3 years worth of awesome dude stuff in 7 days…

GOOD LUCK, your gonna need it…

For AL teams, it might be worth taking a shot on Bonds

July 12, 2008

Barry Bonds is still out there.  Barroid hasn’t played one inning during the first half of the year, but teams needing a bat might start calling him.  Steroids or not, he’s always been able to swing the bat, and swing it well.

According to his agent, Jeff Borris, no one is talking to them about a Bonds comeback.  Borris made a bold statement this week saying that Barry could be ready “in 10 days.”  He also mentioned that Barry has been working out and staying in shape, he just needs to see some live pitching.  Bond, an All-Star last year hit, .276 with 28 Roiders-Runs and 66 RBI.  So clearly when he was playing, he was productive.

So who do I see as possible teams that could get involved with Bonds.  Here is our short list:

Boston Redsox:  Barry would pound the short corner if Fenway, and I must say, the opportunity to watch him take on the Green Monster is kind of cool.  Might as well put the most hated man in baseball with one of the most powerful dynasties.

New York Yankees: Naturally you can’t have the Redsox on a list for potential free agents without having the evil empire on that same list.  Hank Jr, is just dumb enough to make a move like this in hopes of winning it all.  That would certainly make the line up even more challenging, would you really walk A-rod to get to Bonds?

Minnesota Twins:  Although they really need right handed power, and would never have the cap room to make it happen, it could give some additional protection to Mauer and Morneau.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:  Is that name stupid or what? Anaheim is slipping a little bit right now with Vlad and Kendrick slumping.  If they could both get hot, and add Bonds to the lineup, Vlad would see more fastballs, and so would Torii Hunter.  Angels have the cap room to do it, and Barry loves the west coast.

AND…for the national league fans out there, I have one for you too.

Arizona Diamondbacks-Full of young talent, but could use one solid slugger to help them turn the corner.  Especially not that Upton is hitting around .240 right now.  Bonds could be detrimental to the clubhouse for this young team.

This is being overshadowed a ton by the Brett Farve saga, but it is a little intriguing that no one will even take a shot(pardon the pun) at Bonds. Although in his 40’s,  he still has plenty to give, I mean he’s basically an intentional walk or a HR anyway right?

Farve will be back…Just not in Green Bay

July 9, 2008

My wife and I have been sick the past week.  It really sucks.  I haven’t been able to even go outside to mow the lawn, let alone play a round of golf.  So its safe to say that things are getting a little unsettled in my house.  For once, I have something in common with a sports superstar.  That superstar, Brett Farve.

Obviously, he’s getting the “itch” as they say to comeback and play.  Now being a Brett Farve fan, I’d love to see it.  He’s one of the few players in the NFL that look and act like a kid when they play.  He loves everything about the game, from the smell of the grass, the fans, tailgates, and rivalries.  Right now though, he can’t get his boss to pick up the phone.  Farve has allegedlyreached out to both Packers coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson.  Thompson simply replied, “we can talk about it when I get back from vacation.”  Quick translation is:  We’d love to have you, but we’d love for you to move on with your life please.  Enter Aaron Rogers.

So, we here at Frank-ly sports like to make bold predictions, so we will.  Farve will be back this season, just not as a Packer.  Green Bay could do their best to move him to help to benefit the team.  That always means the potential of draft picks, roll players and free agents.  Or, they could release him to the open market and risk Farve going to a divisional rival and coming back to haunt them.  For a play off contender and possible Super Bowl team, they won’t be releasing #4.  They’ll maintain the control in order to strategically place him somewhere that he can ride off into the sunset.  One legendary QB that comes to mind is Joe Montana.  Or as my wife likes to quote the NFL network commercial,”he made Joe, Joe.” Joe cool finished up his career in San Francisco a lock hall of famer.  Shortly after he was moved to Kansas City to help that team improve.  I’m not sure that a lot of teams will want to get in on the Brett Farve lottery though.  There is no doubt the guy can still play, but he may be a pain in the neck when it comes down to where it is that he’ll go.  No real teams have expressed interest, but once things are confirmed the list will grow.

A lot of fans and media could just be blowing it out of pro potion, as Farve himself has called it” all rumor.”  Others want Farve to go away, and let the Packers turn the page.  Deep down inside though, they know that one more season with #4 calling the shots, could get them back to the Super Bowl, and that is pretty hard to pass up.

WigWam puts up the white flag…

July 8, 2008

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

-Coach Jim Valvano

This is not the case for the Indians brass.  It was more like, abandon ship get out while you can.  The Tribe traded Cy Young award winnder, and stud leftie C.C. Sabathia.  To me it was a bit of a catch 22 that really has caused me some grief.  With half the season to go, by shipping the hefty leftie to Milwaukee they have decided to look to the future.  Once again putting the “biz” ahead of the gam itself.

So here are the parts of the trade.  The Brewers acquire CC for three prospects and a player to be named later.  The Tribe gets coveted Brewers outfielder Matt LaPorta,  Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson and a player to be named later.  LaPorta sounds like he’s MLB ready and I would expect to see him sooner then later.  If anything, he’ll be in the show for the last month of the year.  Jackson has been on the fast track since he left Texas A&M.  However has struggled in Triple-A with a 1-5 record and an era above 7.00. LaPorta is considered by most to be the top prospect in the Brewers camp.  He is currently hitting .288 with 20 HR in Double-A.  Bryson is pretty intriguing because he’s the type of pitcher that the Indians don’t have a ton of in their system.  Bryson is a pure power pitcher that is perfect for the Indians worthless closers.  Bryson throws in the mid-90s, has a nice slider and change up.  I’ve read that he toys around with a curve a little bit as well.  Bryson, only 20 years old, is in single-A ball right now.

So what to make of the Indians now.  Well we still have 4 key players on the DL with Fausto Carmona, Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook, and Victor Martinez.  Ouch.  That  leaves the Indians looking for a 5th starter right now.  Paul Byrd(who could still get delt), Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers and Cliff Lee will have to hunker down for the long haul while Carmona heals.  RHP Tom Mastny has filled in for spot starts from time to time. Inning eater Scott Elarton could also see some starts soon.  I would expect to see Zach Jackson on the bump early to take is lumps as soon as possible.  Combine that with the poor play of the bullpen and lack of closer and things don’t look good on paper.  Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancort and Masahide Kobayashi are expected to be the closers by committee. It could be dark days, but that is why we play the games.  The youngsters will get their time and be put on the fast track to maturity at the big league level.

There are at least two bright spots.  The Indians have two All-stars.  Gritty Grady Sizemore who is finally putting up some numbers was selected, and Indians ace Cliff Lee will also be in New York.  Lee is 11-2 with a 2.43 era.  He’ll be the catalyst for the rest of the year.  Sizemore has been up and down this year.  Currently Grady is swinging a hot bat at .325 in the last 10 games.  Also, Casey Blake is white hot cranking at a .351 clip in the last 10 games.  So there are guys being productive.  Just not ALL at the same time. The Tribe will look for Ryan Garko to snap out of it, Ben Francisco to heat up again, Andy Marte to wake up, and Franklin Gutierrez to finally show us that he can be consistent all the time.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our crop of young players can slowly start to chip away at their record and get us above .500 and out of the basement of the Central.

 A few weeks after the All-Star game will tell the tale.  The Tribe starts with a 6 game road trip to Los Angeles and Seattle, then follow it up with a 6 game homestand with Detroit and Minnesota.  They’ll need to do well on the homestand to not have Indians fans turn the page on the season and start looking to Browns mini-camp.

If anyone is interested, CC will make his first start tonight for the BrewCrew.

Thanks for everything CC…

Happy Birthday Dave!

July 3, 2008

Everyone has a person that has been intsturmental in their development.  The fancy business books would call them a mentor, most people call them friends, little kids call them heroes, mine goes by a different name, David.  My cousin, turns 33 today, and I wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday.  Usually I’d call him on the phone, send a card and write an email, but since I now have the ability to  plaster it all over the World Wide Wasteland, I will.  So here’s a little bit as to why Dave is important to me, and how he’s always been there.  Yes this could probably get sappy.

You were always there encouraging me, even when I didn’t have the skill or ability to hang with the older people. You would always pick me in a basketball game, touch football game, or board game as your teammate.  Then you would bust your ass to make sure that we didn’t lose as to not disappoint me, but mostly yourself.  Thank you.

There was never any hesitation on your part to let me stay up and watch movies, or play video games.  This had to do with the fact that you were an only child, but I’m pretty sure you felt cool having a little guy look up to you.  At no point did it ever get destructive, I loved the late night Taco Bell runs, that I would beg my mom to let me go on with you and your boys.  I would always appreciate how often you would come to our house to chill.  I’m sure there were reasons with that, perhaps that you weren’t comfortable in you own skin there at times, and Drummond Street became a little bit of a shelter.  You know that my sister and I couldn’t wait until you’d show up, so that we could fight for your attention. Thank you.

You still let me bore you with baseball talk, even though you don’t really care.  You do it because you know I love it and it makes me happy.  Thank you.

I could always depend on getting at least one email from you a week in college.  Most of them with Browns talk, but a little bit with a big brother ton to make sure I was doing ok, and that I wasn’t becoming an idiot.  During that time, I really think you stop looking at me as a little kid, and more of a peer.  Which is something that I’ve always fought for in our family, since I’m one of the youngest.  Thank you.

You and Chris ruined my unbeaten streak in NBA Jam, because you wanted to make sure you both at triple doubles.  That one stung a little, and I’m sure there is a lesson to learn about that, but I was 109-0 man…Thanks, I guess.

You told me about fantasy football/basekteball/sports-You taught me the importance of properly scouting out players for any form of fantasy draft that I play in.  For some reason, I do it evey year, and I only win the Non-money leagues, but its something that has driven my passion for sports, and gives us something else to talk about and have fun with. Thanks.

You once gave me a Senior picture from high school that read like this: 1) Always listen to Rush 2) Always play baseketball 3) Don’t eat the yellow snow…Words to live by my man, words to live by.  Thanks.

Dave has always been there to talk about “big” stuff in my life.  He’s done most of it, so he never hesitates to dive into a problem and give me his opinion.  As a 20 year old it was great to have someone else do the heavy lifting for me, but you’ve made me a better decision maker because of it, and I appreciate that.  I hope that someday I can help you with an issue or problem.  Thanks.

 You introduced me to Dave Matthews Band.  As well as an assortment of other amazing bands.  Even though my sister always takes credit for it, I’m pretty sure that I bought the Under the Table and Dreaming cd before she did, and have seen them in concert more times.  I’m not even sure if you like them anymore, but I own every cd for a reason, and your behind it.  Thanks.

In the family Olympics, you made sure I was in an event, even though I was like 7 years old, that I had a shot at winning.  I’m fairly sure that you and Uncle Tom made everyone let me win, but either way it meant a lot.  Thanks.

Remember when I taught you how to pitch-You actually did fairly well.

Best man at my wedding. Thanks.

The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is that I have a lot to thank you for.  I hope that on your birthday you get the time to do what you like the most, and realize how many people care about you. If I could change anything it would be that we all got to see each other more, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.  Your wife Shannon is great, and I can’t wait to meet Katherine.  Your an old fart, but I love you anyway.

Mentor, friend, confidant, hero and brother…Thanks.

Happy Birthday!