Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Know Your Muck

They didn't teach it at any of the schools I went to, so the first I ever heard of the muck - the rich, dark soil abundant in the area around Lake Okeechobee in Florida - was in a Sports Illustrated article many years ago.Years later (but still several years ago) there was an article in USA Today mentioning how unusual it was that so many NFL players would come from the same high school in such a small town - that town being Belle Glade - located at the southeast end of the lake - and the school being Glades Central HS. Although those articles certainly caught my eye, neither prompted me to do any further research. But when I started this blog back in August 2008 and discovered that at least half of all football players with dreads come from Florida, that's when I began to take notice.

According to Wikipedia, Muck City is the nickname for both Belle Glade and the surrounding area; and as you may already know, it's an area known for being equally rich in football as it is in soil. The high schools in Belle Glade (population 17,467) and Pahokee (13 miles to the north, population 5,649) have sent close to two dozen players to the NFL and dozens of others to college football teams across the country - an extraordinary feat for an area with so few people. Indeed, the annual football game between Glades Central and Pahokee HS has become such a big event that it is dubbed "The Muck Bowl" and was featured in a series the NFL Network did a couple of years ago on great HS rivalries.

You may recall I very briefly referred to Muck City in my preview of the 2013 NFL draft. Well, before we get started with this year's preview, you are hereby challenged to take the following quiz to find out just how well you ..... know your muck.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DG150 - Part 1

I hope you weren't too disappointed, but last summer was the first summer since I began this blog that I did not do a dread news report on baseball. I spent too much time on basketball and by the time I was finished, it was already time to start getting ready for football. Honestly though, you didn't miss anything. If I had done a report, it would have been a lot of moaning and groaning about what a lousy season it was. With one exception - the brilliantly bright exception by the name of Andrew McCutchen - there was a lot of darkness in the house of dread when it came to MLB's players with dreads in 2013.

After both performed poorly in 2012, I thought things couldn't get any worse for the Weeks brothers. They did. Johnny Cueto spent most of the season on the disabled list before finishing it with a humiliating defeat. Eric Young and Carlos Santana had dreads when the season began but not when it was over. Ervin Santana actually pitched well but still somehow managed to end up with a losing record. Prince Fielder did well too, but he certainly has done better. And the woe didn't end when the season did, as three more players joined Young and Carlos Santana on the ex-dread list during the offseason.

DG150 - Part 2

Part 1 of my annual baseball DG featured three players who sadly are now on the ex-dread list - Eric Young, Carlos Santana, and Prince Fielder - as well as the four MLB pitchers with dreads in 2013. Now let's begin part 2 with the Weeks brothers.

In 2012 Milwaukee Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks and his younger brother, Oakland Athletics 2B Jemile Weeks, seemed to be playing their own version of "How low can you go?" - as in how low can your batting average go? Jemile ended up 'winning' the competition, finishing at .221 to .230 for Rickie. Of course, Jemile might complain it was an unfair competition since he didn't get to play the whole season after being demoted to the minors in late August. When spring training 2013 began, they both hoped to put 2012 far behind in the rear view mirror, as is mentioned in this article from ..... Well, at least that was the plan.