Best Sports Speeches

I’ve always loved speeches and ones given by athletes, coaches, and other important sports figures are especially touching to me. Here are some (but certainly not all) of my favorites.

1. Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech

It’s a short and sweet type speech but the emotion is so evident. Lou Gehrig was such a great baseball player who had gained so much respect from the Yankees fans over the years. It’s such a famous speech that’s had such an impact and is still celebrated to this day. It’s incredibly quotable and thoughtful to say the least.

2. Jimmy V Speech

Yet another powerful speech from somebody that knew they may not have much time left on Earth. The speech is filled with pathos and was actually used by my English teacher when we were learning about pathos, ethos, and logos because Jimmy uses pathos in such a natural way that really is showcased in his extremely touching delivery. You’ve got to love the heart of this legendary coach, who never lost his vibrant personality even in his final days. This will always be my go to video when I need an extra dose of heart and motivation.

3. Kevin Durant MVP Speech

This was a much more recent speech but still a memorable one. Kevin Durant was the NBA MVP last season and this was his rather long yet touching acceptance speech. The most memorable parts were where he talks fondly of his mother, who is in the crowd beaming up at her son. It’s evident how grateful Durant is to his mom, who he notes did everything possible to make sure he and his brother had a roof over their heads and that they weren’t out in the streets. It’s always nice to see such a humble and gracious player.

4. Stuart Scott ESPY Speech

This popular beloved ESPN announcer lost his fight to cancer early in January. Last summer, he accepted an award at the ESPY’s in the name of Jimmy V, the guy I previously mentioned who gave a famous speech and also lost his battle to cancer. This is such an awesome speech because of the manner that Scott carries himself. He had such a natural grace about him and you can’t help but love that. He was also just a great storyteller and his shout out to Jimmy V made me bawl my eyes out.

5. Rickey Henderson Hall Of Fame Speech

Henderson is a player known for his rather cocky personality on the field. This speech is mostly memorable for how humble he was in it. My favorite part about it is the hilarious personal stories that he adds here. I think it’s hilarious that he had to be bribed in order for him to play baseball.

Poems About Sports

Poetry is such a beautiful and emotional thing. Poems about sports has always fascinated me endlessly. Each of these poems are about several different sports and paint such fabulous pictures, regardless of whether or not you like the sports, you can’t help but respect the poems. So without further ado, here are some of my favorites about sports.

1. A Boy Juggling A Soccer Ball

This poem has such gorgeous and descriptive imagery while describing this seemingly simplistic event. It’s just a boy juggling a soccer ball, nothing outrageously interesting, but the language used turns it into something much more respectable and fantastic.

2. Slam, Dunk, and Hook

I love this poem because it makes a game of pickup basketball about so much more than just that. It uses great descriptive language that captures the fun that can come from just playing a simple game of basketball with your best friends, while you go through events in your personal events at the same time. It makes me want to get my friends together and just play the game and make memories.

3. Fast Break

“A hook shot kisses the rim and hangs there, helplessly, but doesn’t drop,” I love this line because it really puts us in the shoes of somebody playing the game of basketball, in the present tense. We can feel all of the sights and sounds around the boy. Poetry is really a beautiful thing because it takes the most simple words and spins it into something more complicated and striking.
This is a very long poem and reads more like a story. But it holds up as a poem due to the structure. I love how the story flows in such a unique way that makes it all the more memorable. It’s filled with words, I typically enjoy poems that are much shorter than this one is. But something about this poem still makes it work and stick out in my mind as being one of the better sports poems.
Could I really talk about famous sports poem and leave this one off? It’s by far the most famous poem on the subject and it’s become a type of pop culture phenomenon. There’s an interesting cast of characters that fill the lines of this incredible poem. It also takes you through many different emotions. It’s odd how easily he’s able to get you emotionally invested and just caught up in the story. Basically, the question most fitting for me to ask is, who doesn’t love this one?

Best Babe Ruth Quotes

The Great Bambino said some incredible things during his life. These are some of the most memorable and striking quotes.

1. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

2. “Every strike brings me closer to next home run.”

3. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

4. “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

5. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

6. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”   

 

Best Of MLB Hall Of Famers

There have been many guys that have been inducted into the hall of fame. Among those men, it’s hard to pick out a few that really stand out. I’ve attempted to look at some of the best hall of fame inductees so far.

1. Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron is an incredibly underrated player. Most people instantly think of Babe Ruth when the discussion for the best baseball player comes up. Aaron actually had more home runs than Ruth did. Hank ended up with 755 home runs of all time and Ruth had 714 home runs of all time. I love what his hall of fame profile says about him and I think it really shows what kind of person he was and how he was received by his peers and the public in general.

2. Roberto Clemente

This powerhouse right fielder made history and impressed the world. It’s sad that he wasn’t able to live long enough to see himself get inducted into the hall of fame. His statistics say it all, he’s an incredible player who deserves so much respect.

3. Lou Gehrig

“If you look up the word ‘ballplayer” in the dictionary, it is likely they’ll have a picture of Lou Gehrig, stalwart New York Yankee first baseman.” This is what the Baseball Hall Of Fame says about Lou Gehrig. The short biography about this timeless first basemen is extremely important. Besides his awesome personality, you have to give him credit for playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. It’s not hard to see why he was so loved by Yankee fans.

4. Sandy Koufax 

I’ve previously mentioned my love and respect for this pitcher. He’s easily one of the best pitchers and he definitely deserved to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. As a left-handed pitcher, Koufax showed the most restraint and ability which hadn’t really been seen before in the history of baseball, and hasn’t been seen since.

5. Rickey Henderson

Henderson was an extremely talented left-fielder who made history. Henderson was an athletic guy, he turned down many football scholarships in order to sign a contract with the Oakland Athletics. He holds the single season record for stolen bases with a whopping 130 steals. He is still noted for being the greatest lead off hitter of all time.

Best Longform Sports Stories

1. Mike Tyson

I love this story about Mike Tyson. Sports Illustrated uncovers all of Mike Tyson’s boxing success- beginning to end. He even mentions some of his later work, like his brief appearance in the movie The Hangover. I think he does a great job at really digging deeper into all of these decisions made by Tyson and just respecting what a good boxer he is. It’s definitely something sports fans should read.

2. Watching Rocky II With Muhammad Ali

This is Roger Ebert’s interesting encounter with watching Rocky movies with the greatest boxer of all time. Muhammad Ali is hilarious throughout Ebert’s story, at one point he relates to Rocky’s opponent Apollo. Apollo is the heavyweight champion who is taunting Rocky in the ring. I think Ali has a great sense of humor and I love this story.

3. Young, Gifted, and Homeless

I love how this article talks about some famous successful athletes who have openly talked about their past with homelessness. Sports Illustrated asks, “Well it’s great that these guys who are now successful are talking about it, but what about the kids living through it now?” They explore a high school boy who sees sports as an escape from his life of being homeless. And he’s not alone, the article also discusses the fact that this is an issue that’s only gotten worse over the years. It’s interesting to see things from their points of view.

4. The One And Only

This is a rather depressing story about Dan Marino and how he never won a Super Bowl. His one and only chance of winning one was against Joe Montana and the 49’ers. The Dolphins seemed to be on top but the 49’ers came back in the second half and pretty much blew Miami out. It was devastating to Marino and it still haunts him to this day. He figured he’d get a chance to go back considering he was still young at the time, but he never did. I just thought it was really interesting how such a successful quarterback considers himself not the best because he never won a Super Bowl.

5. Following Terry Fox

I’ve already talked about Terry Fox- a Canadian who ran across Canada on one leg raising money for the Cancer Foundation. However, this is a more recent article that shows the impact that this one man had on millions of people. The documentary began to touch on the reaction from the people who began paying attention to what Fox was doing, but it failed to really go in depth and tell the stories of people that Terry touched. Even after he died, his legacy continued to live on and it’s still doing just that even today. You’ll definitely be inspired after reading this.

6. The Man In The Van

Easily the best baseball profile I’ve read so far during this early start to the official season. The opening line of the story says it all, “The future of the Toronto Blue Jays wakes up in a 1978 Volkswagen camper behind the dumpsters at a Wal-mart and wonders if he has anything to eat.” It really paints a picture of how Daniel Norris is receiving so much hype about what he does on the field but off the field he likes living the life of a minimalist. It isn’t a dramatic story but it’s a fascinating one that really kept me interested in his story.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Update Part 2

Okay, continuing where I left off yesterday. Today, I’m going to look at some of the best starting pitchers, relief pitchers, and closers that we have this season.

Starting Pitchers

1. Francisco Liriano

Franky is one of the best pitchers that we have. Sometimes he can be really on his game and other times he can be a little off and start to throw crazy pitches. He’s not really the type of guy who always shuts you down but he’s still crazy talented nonetheless. He’s had a lot of success here with the Pirates and I definitely expect that to continue. Hopefully, he gets even more controlled and on the ball but either way, he’s still a quality member to the team.

2. Gerrit Cole

This young pitcher was recognized by everyone when the high school prospect did well during his major league debut. The pitcher has continued to turn up the heat and to impress. The big issue with Cole is that he seems to get rattled easier than some of the other more seasoned pitchers. He’s still a young kid with a lot of growing room left. He hasn’t been sent down since he came up to the majors and I highly doubt he will again. He gets outs when he needs to and he’s kind of the same as Liriano in the respect that when he’s on, batters need to be worried. But he’s off, wild pitches can really hurt the Pirates.

3. Jeff Locke

Another starter who’s still fairly young. Locke was an all-star not long ago and after that, he kind of lost his control for awhile. But I think he’s definitely gotten it back to an extent and he’s shown more control than in the past. Like the previous pitchers mentioned, he just needs to stay composed and not let his pitch get out of control. He gives up a lot of walks which seems to be the case for the majority of the starting pitchers. He’s an all-star for a reason, this lefty is one to watch for sure.

4. A.J. Burnett

A.J. was one of the best and most reliable pitchers for this ball club before he left for Philadelphia. Burnett took Edinson Volquez’s spot in the rotation. Volquez was arguably the most consistent pitcher we had last season and he will be missed. But still, it’s nice to have A.J. back since he knows what he’s doing and we have a lot of trust in him as a pitcher. He didn’t have the best season with the Phillies but he didn’t have the worst either. We can only hope that 2013 A.J. will be back and he can finish his career on a high note here in Pittsburgh.

5. Vance Worley

This young pitcher is filling in for Charlie Morton- another one of our best, who’s currently on the DL. Charlie needs to get back to Pittsburgh but Vance isn’t the worst pitcher either. He’s no Charlie (Charlie on a good day I mean) but he still has potential and it’s nice that the ball club is giving him a chance to prove himself as the starting guy for now anyway. Hopefully he can impress us a little bit more and secure a couple of wins along the way.

Relief pitchers

Tony Watson

Sometimes it can be hard to understand why Tony Watson is in the games at certain times. For instance, if he gives up a homerun and still remains in the game, or something similar to that. Truthfully, I can remember more negative moments of Watson’s than the positive but he still is a trusted relief pitcher who typically can get us through the game and to the closers.

I don’t know many of the other relief pitchers since Justin Wilson is no longer with the Pirates and we have some new players. So I’m just going to stick to talking about only Tony and move on to the big closer spot.

Mark Melancon

It can be hard to want him in the game sometimes because he can make some costly errors to say the least. But Melancon is also pretty close to the closer that Jason Grilli was. It may not always be pretty, but he typically manages to get the outs needed and at the end of day that’s all that really matters. He has the same amount of saves as Grilli and that’s pretty impressive since there was a lot of hype behind Grilli during his time as a closer in Pittsburgh. So when he’s doing good, it’s easy to cheer for Melancon.

Pittsburgh Pirates Updates

So I’m already getting a little bored/not sure what direction to go in with this theme. So I figured I’d just stick to talking about what I know best, sports! Okay, I don’t know as much as I would like to but it’s something I enjoy talking about and there’s a lot of news to uncover in it. So right now, I’m going to talk a little about the Pittsburgh Pirates. The organization was fairly respected back when Barry Bonds was on the team. But it gradually went down over the years and didn’t show any signs of hope until a hot prospect from Florida named Andrew McCutchen began playing for the Pirates and they really ended up building the team around him. He’s definitely a star and this season, he’s started out as good as ever, except Saturday night he set himself out of the game in the 9th inning due to a knee injury. However, he’s shown that his knee is better and has started since that night. McCutchen has previously started out pretty much every season ready to go and hasn’t in general been setback by injuries. Fingers crossed that this lucky trend continues.

We all know the potential that McCutchen shows and has shown these past 7 seasons, there are also other players on the Pirates team that should also be singled out. The Pirates have one of the best outfields in the MLB right now. One of those spots obviously belongs to Andrew McCutchen but younger players Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco take the other two spots. Marte is one impressive player and has showed tremendous growth as he enters his third full season of playing in the big leagues. He has a ridiculously high number of home runs and steals, plus his on base percentage is also good. Polanco was one of the best minor league players and moving him up to the big leagues was a smart move to say the least. He’s still getting his footing in the big leagues but that doesn’t say he isn’t impressive, he certainly is and he probably has the most room left to grow out of these three guys.

Josh Harrison is one of my personal favorite players besides McCutchen. Harrison has never been a big all-star or a guy who’s received a lot of hype. He’s a player who worked his way out of the minors gradually. I remember him a couple of seasons ago only being in the game when he was a pinch runner during the games. He’s come miles since those days. However, he still has been thrown around to practically every position out there on the field, which goes to show you how adaptable and talented Josh is. He’s just a quality hitter who has the ability to sneak up when you least expect it and get a home run out of you. He’s certainly a big time threat and I love how humble he is.

There are many other players that I want to talk about. I’m just going to mention some other key players including: Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer, and Neil Walker. These are all guys that are okay and pretty good infielders (Alvarez is the one who notably has some crazy random errors every now and then) who are even better hitters. Walker and Mercer aren’t known for being as powerful as Alvarez (nicknamed El Toro because he’s so strong and awesome) but they are still solid players that the Pirates depend on. The Pirates are still working out the whole catcher situation since losing one of the best catchers around Russell Martin.

I haven’t gotten the chance to touch on all of the starting, relief pitchers, and closing pitchers that I really want to. So I’m just going to save a whole post to talk about that situation. But this is what I’ve come up with so far so I hope that gives you an introduction to the Pirates that you may (probably not) want to know in case you end up watching a game or something like that. But anyway, I’ll shut up now but thank you for reading my rambles!

Top Sports Documentaries

These are some of my favorite sports documentaries of all time. I’ve tried to include many different sports in this list but I’m sure I left some out so let me know if I forgot any of your favorites!

1. Undefeated

This documentary won an Oscar for Best Documentary and it’s not hard to see why. It follows an inner city high school in Memphis that’s run by a volunteer coach. The stories of these individual players is so touching and interesting. It just gives audiences a lot of insight into the struggles that these kids have to deal with. This is a documentary that’s pretty impossible not to cry over.

2. Baseball

One of the best documentaries about baseball and an extremely long one at that. It’s a very in depth look at the history of baseball. It makes sure to stick as close to the dates and important decades in the sport as possible. As a whole, it’s just a fun documentary that teaches you a lot about all of the players and dates that are significant for baseball.

3. The Endless Summer

A timeless documentary that changed the direction of surfing documentaries right around. It takes a unique first person point of view that had a way of making audiences feel that they were actually apart of the story. Bruce Brown’s approach to filming and narrating in this feature in general was something that we hadn’t yet seen. He also showed that the theory “less is more” can be a relevant one when used by the right filmmaker.

4. Hoop Dreams

This is a long one but it’s far from boring, the length is perfect for you to get involved in the lives of these two high school basketball players who have dreams of playing in the NBA. That plot sounds like a simple one, what basketball player doesn’t have that dream? But as you take a closer look, you realize the racial and economic challenges that these two African American boys have to deal with. It becomes a lot more about their lives outside of the sport and that’s what keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time.

5. 30 for 30: Fab Five

ESPN 30 for 30 films never disappoint. They always manage to tell such fascinating stories from various points of view. This one in particular revealed a lot about how these underprivileged boys were given the opportunity to play basketball at Michigan. At the time, they came off as being “cocky” and “punks” but this gives us more insight as four of the boys (Chris Webber didn’t want to be apart of it) were interviewed as well as other coaches and reporters around during this time. I gained a lot of respect for them after watching this and seeing how much they truly changed culture and what people thought about them.

6. 30 for 30: Into The Wind

30 for 30 isn’t typically known for being so emotional and heartbreaking. Most of the time, just the facts are being presented and it isn’t exactly tear jerking. However, this story about Terry Fox is bound to make even the hardest of hearts shed a few tears. Canadian Terry Fox was a big runner when his leg was amputated at the age of 19 because of cancer. In 1980, he ends up running across Canada on one leg. His relentless work ethic and pure love for running is so heartwarming and inspiring.

7. We Could Be King

An inspiring look at two Philadelphia rival schools being forced to combine their football programs due to budget cuts. The horrors that these kids go through is really emotional. One of the boys Dontae is a big guy who is extremely sensitive and it breaks your heart when the boy struggles with reading out loud. The coach himself is also an inspiration, he began helping these boys after his close friend was murdered. He wanted to help these boys get away from the realities of their lives and focus on the sport they all love.

8. The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

The Portland Mavericks were an independent team owned by Bing Russell, father of actor Kurt Russell who also did some acting himself. The movie is hilarious but also touching to see these underdogs rise to the top in such hilarious fashion. The people interviewed including Kurt Russell, a batboy, players, coaches, Kurt’s mom, and many more give us new dimensions to the story.

 

My Favorite Things: Sports Edition

So guys, these are a few of my favorite things as far as it goes with sports. Feel free to comment on my favorite teams, athletes, sports, etc.

Sport to watch: Football, baseball, and basketball.

Sport to play: Basketball

Baseball team: Pittsburgh Pirates

College basketball team: WVU

College football team: WVU

NFL team: I don’t really have any one team that I love. I just like watching any team in general.

NBA team: Cavaliers

Active NFL player and why: J.J. Watt, Brandon Marshall of the Bears, and Russell Wilson. I love J.J. because he seems so down to earth and even though he’s crazy rich, he acts like a normal guy and doesn’t think he’s better than anyone else, he’s also hilarious. Brandon Marshall because he’s open about his struggles with mental illness and I respect that a lot. Wilson because he was really underestimated when he first became the quarterback for Seattle but he managed to get his team to back to back Super Bowls at such a young age. He’s also crazy humble.

NFL player of all time: Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Jim Brown. I think each of these guys made history with their methods of playing football and they will go down in history for that reason.

MLB player and why: Andrew McCutchen because he has such an awesome personality and attitude about life. The guy is always smiling and you have to respect the way he just turned around the Pirates organization in such a positive way.

MLB player of all time and why: Babe Ruth obviously and I love Sandy Koufax too. Ruth made a crazy impact on the game of baseball in such an intense and awesome way. Koufax had an unconditional way of pitching that was dominant and earned the respect of the world.

NBA player and why: LeBron James and Jeremy Lin. James has done so much for his hometown and I really respect his attitude and passions. Lin came out of nowhere to become a respectable NBA player.

NBA player of all time: Jerry West, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson. I’m biased about Jerry West since he’s from West Virginia and I’ve done reports on him before. But he’s a very down to earth and humble guy. Jordan and Magic are both classic players for what they were able to do. Jordan is obviously the best basketball player of all time because he paved the way for so many other players.

I think my list of favorites is a rather basic one but I put a lot of thought into it also. I think it’s important to have players and teams to follow and look up to as they play the sport that you love. So I hope that you learned hopefully a little more about the athletes and teams that I look up to the most.

10 Best Baseball Movies

If you can’t already tell based on my posts so far this month, I really love baseball. It’s one of my favorite sports and I also enjoy all movies about the sport. These are my personal favorite movies that are about the game I love so much.

1. The Sandlot

This movie shows the sport in the most innocent and honest way. It’s just a group of young boys who love baseball. They play the sport just for fun in a sandlot. Only one of the boys is actually any good at the sport. Like most movies about baseball, it’s about so much more than just that. We get to watch these boys come of age and interact with each other. It’s such an uplifting and timeless movie.

2. Field Of Dreams

This is a classic movie about Ray, a farmer in Iowa who begins hearing a voice whisper to him, “If you build it, they will come.” He then sees a vision of a baseball diamond and builds a baseball field by plowing under his corn. The famous deceased baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson begins showing up, and only Ray can see him. He soon realizes this is happening because of his father, whom idolized Jackson. His father has previously passed away and didn’t really have a good relationship with his son. All in all, the movie focuses a lot on our dreams (obviously) and that sometimes you just have to put your trust into another person, even when you don’t know what the outcome might be.

3. The Natural

Roy Dobbs was an upcoming star pitcher who was full of potential. One night, a woman lures him into her hotel room and shoots him. After that, Dobbs goes off the grid for 16 years. He starts to play the game again sixteen years later, at the age of 35. He was considered “The best that never was,” and he tries to prove that name wrong. This movie is just one of those feel good movies that you can’t help but love. It’s extremely inspirational and you can’t help but love the charm of Robert Redford.

4. A League Of Their Own

A powerful tale about women playing baseball while the men are away in the war. It’s interesting that something that takes place decades before is still relevant to us today. The movie has an all star cast, which only makes the story more intriguing. Tom Hanks stars as their drunk washed up manager, even Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna make appearances as two other players on the team. The movie never gets old.

5. Bad News Bears

Bad news bears 1976 movie poster.jpg

Walter Matthau plays a former minor league player who’s now an alcoholic who cleans swimming pools. He gets recruited to coach the least athletic players in the league, one of them just so happens to be his son. This movie is a classic because of the acting and the story is original and hilarious. Tatum O’Neal is amazing in this movie, her performance alone is worth tuning in to this one. Be sure to stay clear of the Billy Bob Thornton remake, the original is obviously better.

6. Bull Durham

Another movie starring Kevin Costner but this is one of the most beloved sports movies of all time. It tells the story of an older and mature player being asked to mentor the big upcoming star pitcher. I think the big reason why so many people love this movie is because it’s a lot about life and love, not just baseball. It’s a classic and timeless story that never gets old.

7. Bang The Drum Slowly

Bang The Drum Slowly stars a young and unknown Robert DeNiro. Two years after this movie, he won an Oscar for his role in The Godfather Part II. We all know what a great actor he is but it is pretty awesome to see his early work. He plays the role of Bruce, an uneducated catcher who finds out he has a terminal illness. The movie focuses on his relationship with his pitcher. It’s the baseball version of “Brian’s Song” except even better. It’s not overly cheesy, it’s just a naturally emotional story.

8. The Rookie

Dennis Quaid stars as Jim Morris, who is a real person and was briefly but notably in the major leagues for one season. Morris was supposed to be an incredible major league player. A shoulder injury shatters that dream and he hangs it up and makes a family. Slowly, he makes his way up throughout the movie until he finally reaches the major league. This is an uplifting movie that shows that dreams can come true no matter what age you are.

9. Moneyball

This is the true story of Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletic’s. This movie has become so popular in the past few years because it gives some insight into the operations behind professional baseball. Basically, Beane gets help from Peter Brand, a young graduate from Yale who has a degree in economics and has unique ideas about the values of players. Working with a limited budget, the two figure out their roster by taking these players that nobody wants and discovering those players strengths.

10. 42

This recent film looks at the life of the classic baseball player Jackie Robinson. There were many African American players who were good enough to play in the major leagues, who were around before and the same time as Robinson. However, Branch Rickey singled out Jackie because he believed he had the guts not to fight back. It’s a really compelling classic story that we all know but it’s beautiful to watch this come to life.