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Dome Pondering - 2014 Year in Review

Ahhhh, here we are again, the biggest post of the year - The Dome Pondering Year in Review! DPYIR, you know, for short. Well, we're closing in on 2015, so let's now throw a hashtag on that baby - #DPYIR. Yeah, now we're talking!
Nonetheless, it's a celebration of another year of existence, another year of growth, and another year of well, trying to make sense of things as life looks on in repose. As always, I would like to thank all of you who frequent, read, and dare I say, enjoy, this (very) tiny slice of the internet called Dome Pondering, as well as those who interact via Twitter (@domepondering). Whether you've been a DP devotee for a long time, caught on this year, or simply reading this post for your first visit, your support and feedback always surprises me. Thank you very, very much. Molte grazie!

Pondering Picture #47

Merry Christmas all!  And yes, Happy Birthday Jesus!

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/21/14

3 Up
1. Yankees/Steinbrenner Education Foundation - Following the horrific situation of the two NYPD officers who were slain this weekend, it was reported that the New York Yankees, due to a foundation set up years ago, will foot the college bill for the children of the officers. Great stuff for families who must be completely distraught right now. 
2. USA-Cuba Relationship - We learned this week that the two countries who have long been at a stand still are now open to continuing relationships moving forward. When (or if) the embargo will be lifted is yet to be determined, but this is a first step. 
3. Canadian Stranger Wold Trip - After booking a flight for his now ex-girlfriend, instead of letting the ticket go to waste, a Canadian man put out an add for any fellow Canadian who shares the same name to join him - all expenses paid. With a turn of events, he found a woman who shares the same name, and will be joining him. Very cool story. 
3 Down
1. NYPD Officers Killed - There is not…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Million Dollar Arm (2014)

What is it about?
The true story of agent JB Bernstein's last effort attempt to keep his business alive when he starts a competition to find a talent from India to transform into a Major League prospect. 
Who is in it?
Jon Hamm - JB Bernstein
Lake Bell - Brenda
Aasif Mandvi - Aash

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #491-500 (The Finale)

491. If you were to pick the best and worst wedding presents you received, what would they be?
Best wedding present was a George Foreman grill, close second were Survivor Series tickets. Yes, I mean that. The worst was a bed set that we had to return because well, it wasn't our style - or anyone's to be honest. 
492. If you had to pick the best advice that someone gave you at, or about, your own wedding, what was it, and who said it?
I don't remember who told me these words, but they simply said to be sure to eat. It's amazing how quickly the day goes by, and how you can get wrapped up in it all without doing something as important as eating. The person was correct. Didn't eat much, and barely ate during the reception.

The Big Show's Career Incomplete?

It's hard to say anything bad about the Big Show. For several decades now, the guy has been a solid staple for the WWE and for pro wrestling fans. At seven feet tall, and who knows exactly what he weighs in at (my guess is around four hundred pounds), The Big Show is truly a rarity in the industry. And that goes with a pretty distinct personality, as well as the charisma not often seen from those of similar size throughout wrestling history. 
Now in the twilight years of his career, as can be seen from the eye test of his diminishing mobility, Big Show's best days are now behind him. Because of this, the thought of Big Show's legacy came afloat during a recent appearance on an episode of Monday Night Raw. There is no question the WWE will induct the big fella into the Hall of Fame one day, but this very thought lingered for me as he graced my television screen - was Big Show's potential truly maximized? 

Pondering with Plumtree: Possible New Angle For Destination America?

Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.

Mayweather Empty Challenge Hurts Legacy and Sport

It felt like a huge step forward to the fight we all have been anticipating for years, yet, it's still feels like the same song and dance - talk, talk, talk, jabber, jabber, point finger of blame, and well, repeat until it all fades away with no fight.
So sure, Floyd Mayweather called out Manny Pacquiao - again - for a potential fight on May 2nd. It's more than Mayweather has given since an initial fight fell apart over drug testing protocol and possible purse money for each. He even gave an official date in his issued challenge. Big talk!
The truth is, as we all know, this fight is well past the height of maximizing it's potential. Of course, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would still do the highest grossing business in the history of the sport because we're all still very much intrigued by the possibility and the idea of what we never have received.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/14/14

3 Up
1. Anwar Sanders - A black police officer in New Mexico, Sanders who wrote a very interesting article about the two words he lives due to his occupation. Sanders penned piece also discusses the need for the black community to go beyond protesting for real action for change. A risky piece for him, but also a very, very, thought provoking one. 
2. Baby Double Take Video - Here is a video recommended to me by the tag team partner. It's a rather funny one that will ultimately make you smile. 
3. New Girl - You all know I do not watch much television (besides sports, and sports related content), but was recently sucked into this show with Zooey Deshanel and crew by my wife. Oddly, the show is hysterically funny and an easy watch. It's no Goldbergs, but still a good watch. 
3 Down
1. Sidney Hostage Situation - A late add to the "down", but nonetheless, a super important one as hostages were seen holding a flag with Arabic writing on it which possibly indicated "ji…

2014 Bucket List - #14 Write on a Bathroom Stall Door

Well, it wasn't on  bathroom stall door, per say, but on the wall adjacent to the bathroom sinks. And what better place than the Dinosaur BBQ here in Brooklyn that encourages patrons to write on the bathroom walls. So yeah, the thrill of unlawfulness was removed.

Regardless, I'll admit, I had no idea what to write or what to place among the sea of artwork, namedrops, and declarations of initials that will be together "forever". So I went with the "Dome Pondering". Why not, right? Dome Pondering now lives among the bathroom of Dino BBQ. Reaching high folks, reaching high...

#14 completed. Boom.

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #481-490

481. If you had to name the one thing that repeatedly makes you angriest, what would it be?
Selfish people who have zero regards for others and their well-being. 
482. If you could change one thing about the building you work in, what would you alter?
Wow. I would love to work in a new state-of-the-art athletic facility. The building I currently work in is over 40 years old. Ironically, it will be coming down this year, and a new one will be built in it's footprint. 
483. If you were to prescribe a cure for grief, what would it entail?
It would entail having fun. It just seems natural to me that the opposite of grief - having fun - should be a cure for the emotion.

2014 Bucket List #11 - Snap Photos to Describe a Typical Day

I love photo essays. I'm always a big fan of them, usually reading them on the blogs of others whom I follow. Most photo essays are great at engaging a reader on a topic they wouldn't typically read. As a lover of simple words, I can appreciate the form as it is useful for such things. So, for this year, I wanted to try it out, and to do so by explaining a typical work day for myself. Something small, you know. Do it nice and easy as Tina Turner would say. 
Unfortunately, I work in collegiate athletics, and no two days are alike. Which can be great, but at the same time, defeats the purpose of "typical". Nonetheless, I selected a weekend in which yours truly, who is in charge of intercollegiate wrestling gameday operations (among many other duties) would prepare and execute a quad meet.

2014 Bucket List - #21 Write a Haiku a Day For a Week

I took on this task this year because I thought it would be an interesting challenge to expand my writing ability, and the creativity in my writing. After completing the week, it was indeed fun as you would be surprised not just how tough expressing yourself through haiku's are, but writing one a day for an entire week. What if one did this for every day of the year? 
Regardless, below is the final product. Not the greatest collection of poetry - actually not even close, but I tried. And most importantly, I had fun with it. Check it out, if you dare. #21 completed. Boom.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/7/14

3 Up
1. Inside the NBA - Kudos to, in my opinion, the best in-game studio telecast in sports. After Charles Barkely made his controversial statements on the situation in Ferguson, and Kenny Smith replied with an open letter in the USA Today, the panel opened Thursday's telecast with a ten minute discussion that was better than anything you would see on the 24-hour news stations. Well done. 
2. Landon Donovan - The greatest American-born male soccer player ever finished up his storied career with another MLS championship, his sixth. Not many are able to walk off that way, but Donovan definitely gets to do so. 
3. Alia Atkinson - When race seems to be at the forefront of everything right now for negativity, here is a positive spin on things. Alia Atkinson became the first black woman to claim a world title in swimming. 
3 Down
1. Eric Garner Situation - Obviously the number one down of the week, yet, as obvious as it is, it's still shocking to see the legal system continue to ope…

Social Exhaustion - Random Thoughts From the Latest Non-Indictment

I'm just not sure what to say anymore. To be honest, I don't have the exact words to really describe what happened - again - today regarding the police officer who strangled Eric Garner not being indicted. Truth is, and some may not like this, I expected it. I honestly did, because after all, what else is there to expect? Sadly, what else do we know in these cases? I touched on this very same issue six years ago - SIX! - after the Sean Bell incident. Sticking to the script...and here we go again (Sticking to the Script: The Sean Bell Verdict)
In comparison to the Ferguson situation, I truly feel this one is very, clear, cut and dry. There isn't various witnesses with multiple versions of their own story to what happened. Eric Garner's situation was recorded. The entire incident was. There isn't much to dispute there, other than how to serve up justice in the situation. Video evidence. Homicide cause of death from the autopsy. 
But as we know, the idea of prosecuto…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Chef (2014)

What is it about? 
A very talented chef loses himself and his creative edge and starts a food truck and a cross country episode to reclaim his creativity, passion and happiness for the craft, as well as rebuild his broken family. 
Who is in it?
John Favreu - Carl Casper
Emjay Anthony - Percy
John Leguizamo - Martin
Sofia Vergara - Inez

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/30/14

3 Up
1. Thanksgiving Holiday - It's the Royal Rumble to Christmas' Wrestlemania. And I'm a big Royal Rumble guy. That was my wrestling analogy for the wrestling heads. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is always a favorite of mine, and always a good time to start reflecting and giving thanks as the Holiday season approaches, and the year closes. 
2. Viral Hug - In the midst of the mess that is Ferguson and it's aftermath, the story of a young crying boy and a police officer during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon is a feel-good story that needs to overshadow all of the negative still being pushed by media outlets.
3. MLS Playoffs - As the season winds down to the MLS Cup game next week, the playoffs thus far for the league has been amazing, especially the conference title two-game series. 
3 Down
1. Ferguson Decision - There are way too many things to get into, but what transpired from the Ferguson decision is scary and troublesome. From the legal system, the riots, the stere…

Another Crushing Loss, But Thankful for the 2014 Red Bulls

Well another season of Red Bulls soccer is in the history books and yours truly is left devastated. More so than years past, especially as my affinity and interest for the MLS continues to grow and grow, this Red Bulls loss hurts more than other playoff losses in the past. 
Maybe it's because we were within inches of scoring the one goal needed to push us through to the MLS Cup, or simply the fact the my other teams of interest (Yankees, Knicks, and Jets) are going through some lean times, especially so for the Knicks and Jets, which is usually the case.
Maybe it was the idea that this Red Bulls team wasn't nearly as good as last year's team, which won the Supporter's Shield (best league record during the regular season), and still fought their way to within one goal of the MLS Cup. Maybe, it was the fact that we all know this is possibly Thierry Henry's final season with the Red Bulls, and possibly Tim Cahill as well.

It's Retiring Time! - CM Punk Should Be Applauded For Leaving Pro Wrestling

For those who are aware, it's no secret that the wrestling industry is an extremely demanding one. It is physically and mentally exhausting, and that just happens to be from the talent and performing perspective. There are the politics, the grind of constant travel, the paying of your dues, the demand from fans, the extremely stiff competition, and the many, many types of addictions that there are, all which add to the heaviness within the pro wrestling industry.
So when CM Punk decided to walk away from his top spot in the WWE, and the entire industry as a whole, I found the backlash he received from fans and a few outspoken individuals in the industry, to be unwarranted, uncalled for, and quite unbelievable. 
I'm a fan of CM Punk. Not a huge fan, but a fan, nonetheless. I also do enjoy and respect his efforts and unique talents he brings to the table. Truth be told, Punk is actually quite talented and is one of the more popular wrestlers we've seen over the past five ye…

So Sad, So Damn Sad II: More Thoughts on Mike Brown/Ferguson Situation

I'm not even sure what to say to be honest. I'll apologize immediately as I begin this post as I am not sure where it will end up, because, there really is a lot to digest in what happened this week - Monday night, and every night since then - in Ferguson, Missouri, and now here in New York City, as well as across the country. Unfortunately, we all expected this verdict of no indictment. 
It's obviously a hot topic of discussion, and I truly don't want to add to the number of random thoughts and voices being thrown out there at the moment. Yes, everyone has a voice, and as of right now, everyone has a viewpoint and opinion, mostly spurred by emotion, but there are lots of people saying many things, from many different viewpoints, which simply add to the chaos. 
I get asked time and time again from some of my students, student-staff, and interns, "Where do you come down on the Ferguson decision?" And while it seems there is an answer as black and white as the…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Begin Again (2013)

What is it about? 

A down on his luck music producer and a young song writer, each carrying their own problems meet and eventually produce an album together which also jump starts their lives. 
Who is in it?
Mark Ruffalo - Dan
Keira Knightley - Gretta

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/23/14

3 Up
1. Odell Beckham's Catch - Giants fans can gripe all they want, but as this Jets fan can attest to, your franchise drafts well, and Beckham has been one of those picks. His catch tonight against the Cowboys - unbelievable. One of the best I've ever seen in my lifetime. 
2. MLS Playoffs - The MLS playoffs have been unbelievable. Despite my Red Bulls losing a tough one earlier today to the New England Revolution, both current series (NY vs. NE, and Seattle vs. Los Angeles) are marquee matchups with star power. Great for the league, and the games haven't disappointed. 
3. Beach Visit in 100 Years - As someone who loves the ocean, the beach, and the summer, I often wonder how those in the middle of the country deal. After coming upon this story of a 100 year old woman who saw the beach for the very first time in my life, I felt happy for her, and had to put this in this week's "Up" for the week. 
3 Down
1. Bill Cosby - The nightmare is getting worse for Bill …

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Bad Words (2013)

What is it about?
A forty-year old adult finds a loop-hole in the rules of the national spelling bee to avenge personal reasons from his childhood. 
Who is in it? 
Jason Bateman - Guy Trilby
Kathryn Hahn - Jenny Widgeon
Rohan Chand - Chaitanya Chopra

Pondering Pictures #46

I've always loved Madison Square Garden. The newly renovated Madison Square Garden is even more amazing.

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #471-480

471. If you could visit only one more place in the world that you have never been, where would you go for this final voyage?
Australia. 
472. If you had to pick the most difficult question you could be asked, what would it be?
Well, it's one that has crossed my mind before - do I sell my parents house or keep it for myself when, you know...
473. If you could rid the earth of one thing, what would it be?
Ignorance.

Wrapping My Mind Around The Absurdity That is Baseball's New $300M Man

I'm still attempting to wrap my mind around $325M. After all, these mega deals always seem to offer great sticker shock whenever they are announced. $100M seemed like such a huge deal when the Dodgers gave Kevin Brown that type of money way back when. Then of course, A-Rod, ah yes, our favorite guy over in this little part of the internet here, received well over $225M from Texas, and then the Yankees decided to top the stupidity absurdity of that deal with $275M. And now, we have the $300M man, Giancarlo Stanton.
No matter how many times I read the workings of this new contract, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief. What in the world are the Marlins thinking?! How in the world will this affect baseball going forward? 
By the way, didn't the Angels get a huge bargain for Mike Trout at six years, $144.5M?!
$325M for over 13 years. Again, my goodness! And if that wasn't crazy, the Marlins are giving Stanton a full no trade clause as well as an opt-out clause afte…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Love Survivor (2013)

What is it about? 
The true story of Marcus Luttrell and his fellow Navy Seals who set out on a mission to kill a Taliban Leader, but end up in the fight of their lives. 
Who is in it? 
Mark Wahlberg - Marcus Luttrell
Taylor Kitsch - Michael Murphy
Emile Hirsch - Daniel Dietz
Ben Foster - Matt Axelson

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/16/14

3 Up
1. Sgt. Joey Johnson - This one was made aware to me by the tag team partner, and I have to say, she hit the jackpot with this story. Nothing I can say here would truly do this one justice - just an overall inspirational and feel good story. 
2. Zach Hodskins - With so much wicked and well, just plain wrong, going on in the world, how about another feel good story in the "UP" section this week? This one is in regards to Zach Hodskins, who has one arm and played his first collegiate game for the University of Florida this week. Never give up on your dreams, and Zach is living proof of that. 
3. Musical Card Baby - I'm a sucker for kids, especially a good baby video that is funny. This one had me dying, and I'm sure it will bring a smile to your face. No further description needed, just watch the very short video here
3 Down
1. ISIS - I hate giving these wackos publicity, but the recent events of yet another beheading is so troublesome. I recently just watched Lo…

Pondering with Plumtree: Rotting at the Core: How Loyal Are TNA Fans?

Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.

Winning is Real Noise For The Best Team in New York City

There is always that old saying, "if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well how about, if a team is on a championship run, and not many pay attention to it, does it really happen? 
Regardless of your philosophical outlook on this theory, one has to beg the age old question when it comes to the New York Red Bulls. After holding on this past Saturday against rival DC United down at RFK Stadium (What a dump of a place...), the Red Bulls are now in the Eastern Conference Finals and now await a showdown with the New England Revolution. Of course, New York-New England...sports have a lovely way of working themselves out, huh? 
With the New York sports scene about as decrepit as it's ever been, and it's pretty bad, especially considering we have two teams in just about every major sport, the Red Bulls are the only team that is providing hope and intrigue. And oh yeah, doing a little thing called winning. You know, no big de…

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/9/14

3 Up
1. Laylah Peterson Heart - Though an "up", the part of the story that precedes of little Laylah Peterson dying via stray bullet at the age of 5 is disheartening and disgusting. However, the true touching and moving story is that her heart was used to save another child in need. So much depth here to this story. So much. 
2. Michael Kay - Those outside the NYC market may not get this, but the Sports radio competition here is as big as our sports. After Mike Francesa, who has become more and more arrogant as of life accused Kay of "state-run" radio, Kay goes off on him in an epic tirade defending himself and his integrity. Good for Kay. 
3. Resurrection - I don't watch much TV,but I've started and am no immersed in the story being provided by the show. Not the greatest, and by no means is it Friday Night Lights or Suits in the writing and acting department, but the overall concept of the plot is too intriguing to give up on. I'm admitting it - I wat…

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #461-470

461. If you could leave only one existing book for the world to have five hundred years from now, which book would you leave?
My obvious answer would be the Bible. Timeless stuff. However, I'm pretty confident in the Bible being around 500 years from now. I guess I will go with either Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger or The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza. 
462. If you just learned that tomorrow morning you were to be permanently exiled from your country and could take three things with you, what would they be?
Wow. Harsh. I guess my wife. My laptop. And my passport?

Pondering Picture #45

Just a picture I snapped of the United States Capitol this summer. Thought it was cool, and perfect for this election day. Hooray, democracy!

Welcome to the Field: Initial Thoughts on Lucha Underground

Pro wrestling finds itself in such a peculiar position as we near the end of 2014. While the industry suffers from a flat WWE product (World Wrestling Not Entertained), the hanging-in-the-balance future of TNA Wrestling, or the sudden slowed-to-nothing momentum of ROH - all of course in my opinion - the business is growing here in North America in a way we haven't seen in a long time.  
As we await further information on Jeff Jarrett's upstart Global Force Wrestling, there is another option that is real and tangible for wrestling fans, Lucha Underground, which premiered this past Wednesday on the El Ray Network. 
Now I'l be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the Lucha Libre style. Much of what I've seen from AAA just isn't my cup of tea. I respect it, but it ultimately it isn't my favorite. Regardless, pro wrestling is pro wrestling, and with some time to burn I decided to check out the new show and promotion.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/2/14

3 Up
1. Brittany Maynard - Some find this cruel to be the top "Up" of the week, but I find tremendous courage in Maynard's decision to end her life on her terms in what is/was a terrible situation. God has a plan for us all, and only Maynard can truly determine that very relationship and guidance in making that decision. I applaud her note on Facebook, and her courage to maximize her experiences before calling it a life. 
2. Lauren Hill - If the week couldn't be any more sad with these stories, how could you not be inspired by Lauren Hill who is terminally ill and recently lived out her dream in playing basketball at the collegiate level. Also, a minor hit to the NCAA for waiving the rule and allowing the game to be moved up for this event. Just inspirational and courageous stuff all around. 
3. Madison Bumgarner - Not only has this dude been amazing, but this week he pulled off the greatest championship performance I've ever seen to win another World Series at t…

MadBum Delivers The Greatest Championship Performance I've Ever Seen

I still can't believe what I just saw and experienced tonight, but I figured it might behoove me to punch the keys following the moment. Maybe I'll be able to put it into words, maybe somewhat explain it, or at the very worst, have some true feelings archived to look back on when this moment resonates. 
Tonight's World Series Game 7 was epic. It was amazing. It was the most compelling game of this very World Series. Yet, as we all awaited the moment when Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, would pull the trigger on bringing in Madison Bumgarner like some evil genius who has the "red button", I don't think anyone anticipated the performance he put together tonight. MadBum took the ball, took to the hill, and eventually delivered five innings of shutout baseball. His final stat line looked like this: 
5.0IP, SV, 2H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4K, 68 Pitches...on TWO DAYS REST. Oh yeah, following a complete game shutout in his last start.
Forget that fact that he now owns the record …

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Non-Stop (2014)

What is it about? 
An air Marshall receives text messages which compromises the situation on a Trans-Atlantic flight and also frames him as an on-board terrorist. He must find the suspect and save the flight from doom. 
Who is in it? 
Liam Neeson - Bill Marks
Julianne Moore - Jen Summers

Pondering Picture #44

Just another day, another commute, home in New York City.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/26/14

3 Up
1. Madison Bumgarner - Wow. Domination is all that can be said. "MadBum" has been lights out against opposing teams since the calendar turned to October. His shutout World Series win in Game 5 was just another notch to emphasize that point. 
2. Charles Barkely - Kudos to Chuck for voicing his opinion, which is very much true, on some people in the black community regarding success and their treatment of others. With the whole Russell Wilson "not black enough" discussion going on, it's voices like Barkley who honestly keep things in perspective by being very, very, real. 
3. Black-ish - I don't watch much TV, but there is something so brilliant and yet, still comedic, how Black-ish tackles racial overtones, stereotypes, and even longtime conundrums, that makes the show a breath of fresh air. Great writing, and of course, great work by the cast to execute it. I will be watching more. 
3 Down
1. Ebola - Ahhhh, the continuing Ebola saga which has gone into …

Hopes and Wishes For the Career of Mike Trout

Let's just get this completely out of the way in the first sentence of this post - I'm a huge fan of Mike Trout. The kid is amazing at playing the game of baseball, and it seems every night he is bound to make a play that just leaves you shaking your head in amazement. In my eyes, he is, as of the writing of these words, the best player in baseball. No debate. 
With Buster Posey, another one of the game's top talent, already in the running for another World Series championship to add to his resume, there are a many (here, here, here, and here...among others) who are making the claim for Posey to fill the void as "the face of baseball" now that Derek Jeter has left the game (and for some, a hole in our hearts). 
Of course, admittedly having the huge baseball crush that is Mike Trout, I highly disagree with the Buster Posey parallels. Winning World Series does help and is a fair case, but the face of baseball? I'll need further convincing. However, it beckons …

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #451-460

451. If you could plan the perfect evening out, what would it involve?
It really doesn't take much for me. I'm a rather simple guy. The perfect evening would be watching a good game (Yankees, Knicks, or Red Bulls) with my wife, a solid dinner, and somehow being able to enjoy it all on a beach. Maybe doing all of it on a beach...in the Caribbean...yup, that's it. That's perfect. 
452. If you could program the perfect evening of television shows, which ones would you select, and in what order?
I'm guessing television shows which would exclude sports? And for the sake of being me, I won't choose any pro wrestling as well. 
The Wonder Years. Everybody Loves Raymond. Friday Night Lights. The Cosby Show. And Suits. 
That's a lot of television for me. That would easily be a week for me. Yes, I know, I don't watch much television.

Pondering with Plumtree - Total Nonstop Audacity of Hope

Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.

Dome Pondering Import - 1995 ALDS, Game 2: Mattingly Homers in Postseason

Unfortunately, Game 3 of the 2014 ALCS between the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals was rained out today, thus breaking the baseball binge I have been on as of late. I am going through some withdrawal (already!) so I figured I would post one of my first and favorite memories of post-season baseball. 1995 was truly special, and sometimes I wish Mattingly stuck around just long enough to be a part of some of the dynasty years. With that said, here its, in one of my favorite calls ever in sports, "Ohhhhhh hang on to the roof!": 

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/12/14

3 Up
1. Utah Jazz - I came upon this story earlier this week and for some reason it really stuck with me. Such a cool gesture by the Utah Jazz in giving JP Gibson, who is suffering from leukemia, a full day experience by signing him as a free agent and a very cool on-the-court experience. Well done by the Jazz. 
2. MLB Playoffs - So far, the MLB Postseason has been absolutely tremendous. From parity to  exciting moments, the playoffs has been absolutely tremendous. 
3. Team 3D/The Hardys/The Wolves - A big plus for the pro wrestling industry this week as these three teams put on quite the show on this past Wednesday's edition of IMPACT Wrestling. By far on of the best matches of the year. 
3 Down
1. Ebola Virus - As time goes, dealing with the epidemic is becoming a bit more difficult as the disease that has ravaged West Africa has made it's way to other countries via travelers, and has now even stricken those who aided the sick.
2. Terrorist Merger - Another week, and more dev…

Growing Tired of "Same Old Jets"

Sometimes you just have to wonder ponder what exactly goes through the minds of some high-ranking sports executives and coaches in professional sports organizations. It's quite easy for all of us on the outside to simply look in and do what we usually do - complain, criticize, ridicule, scout, and agonize - all from the comfort of our couch. Sometimes it's valid, but often we're just fans ranting. 
Yet, lately, when it comes to the New York Jets, much of it is true. The decisions and circus-like stories, news, and on-goings that come out of Gang green's camp is utter ridiculous. Even for this fan, faith in this organization is at all-time low. 
Let's forget about the near twenty million dollars in open cap space GM John Izdik has not used. Let's not even mention the wasted draft picks over the few years and the small percentage of them that are still on the roster, or don green and white on Sundays. Disregard our lack of skill players, especially at the wide r…

Dome Pondering Import - "Hunter's Hitters Youth Baseball Camp"

For years I have been thinking, then eventually sharing with others, how incredibly odd Hunter Pence is. Not personality wise, but just every movement he makes on a baseball diamond is odd, quirky, and flat out well...just different. In being a good sport about it, Pence makes fun of his peculiar ways in a recent video where he is teaching kids to play the game of baseball like him. It is quite funny, and baseball fans will thoroughly enjoy it. Here it is. 

This Week in IMPACT Wrestling - 10/8/14 (For TNAsylum.com)

As one of their signature columns, "This Week in IMPACT Wrestling" is one of the signature columns reviewing that week's IMPACT Wrestling broadcast for TNAsylum.com. Yours truly was asked to cover the TV Review of the show for the week of October 8th, 2014. Another great show that featured a very memorable Full Metal Mayhem match. You can read the final piece here, or in the text below.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/5/14

3 Up
1. Madison Bumgarner - The San Francisco Giants ace was dominant in leading the Giants over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card game. Bumgarner needed only 109 pitches for a 10 strikeout, complete shutout of the Pirates. That's a true ace. 
2. Orioles/Royals Fans - Taking their ALCS achievement off the table, both of these fanbases have been through so much over the past years decades, yet, both are loyal and enthusiastic about their team's current runs. Kudos to both fanbases for their loyalty and passion. 
3. Jesse Alkire - I am a geek when it comes to things like sports uniforms and such. Jesse Alkire, just your average ambitious designer recently redid all 32 NFL uniforms. His work is amazing, and to be honest, many of them are better than the real ones. 
3 Down
1. Defected French Agent - The idea that a high ranking French Agent recently defected to al Queda is troubling. It just goes to show how powerful their recruitment truly is, and that the te…

World Wrestling Not Entertained

I can't remember the last time I've been this disinterested in pro wrestling, especially the product of WWE. The company that has made "entertainment" the focal point and philosophy of it's wrestling company has been anything but over the past few months. I have gone from being interested in a few talents or story lines, to holding out hope for others, to now just being done altogether. No hope. No interest. 
By no means am I looking to pile on like some wrestling fans do with the negativity, the arm chair booking, and the constant hindsight "told you so" critique. I'm just being honest, simple, and well...a fan. The WWE is just not entertaining.
Maybe it was shortly after WCW and ECW died, and WWE began its mega-monopoly on the wrestling industry. The product then just had a coy, yet arrogant feeling of being in cruise control. Almost to the point of not even trying and living off of their Monday Night War's victory.

Their Problem or Ours? Questioning the Year of Personal Issues Facing Athletes

Arrogance. That is all I could muster in thought after reading about Michael Phelps DUI charge. Yes, I know Phelps isn't the first and, unfortunately, won't be the last person to catch such a charge, but that really shouldn't diminish the justification of his punishment, nor the seriousness of the situation. 
Drunk driving is dangerous and stupid. I apologize if this sounds like an infomercial or some public service announcement, but DUI charges have become mere footnotes in our news feeds for the cause of exploiting and capitalizing on the stardom of the party involved. Case in point - Michael Phelps. 
All too often we see drunk drivers slamming into innocent victims and killing them, leaving the guilty party to survive and be filled with grief for a lifetime. One the other side, we get the heart breaking displeasure of reading about the victim's lives, their families, and once again falling to the reality that life is unjust.

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #441-450

441. If you could pick one famous person to be your neighbor, who would you have next door to you?
Harold Reynolds. He's not super famous, but the guy is well-known enough to be pretty awesome to live next to. Being able to talk baseball with Reynolds would be a pretty sweet deal. 
442. If you could change one thing about your home, what would you make different?
Well, since I live in an apartment in New York City, I guess my answer would be to live in a home...with space, a backyard, a garage, and a basketball hoop in the driveway. Yes, sometimes I jones for that life - sue me. 
443. If you had to choose the most important single event of this current century, what would win the honor?
September 11th, 2001. I truly believe our world change in many ways following those horrible tragedies.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/28/14

3 Up 
1. Derek Jeter - What a great week for one of the most amazing and transcending athletes of this generation. Jeter's walk-off hit was epic and storybook. His last game today at Fenway was heartfelt. It's going to be weird with out Jetes, but at least we got to witness it. 
2. President Obama Admission - Put your political feelings away, it was honest of the President and his administration to admit that U.S. intelligence underestimated the power and threat of ISIS. Okay, so we underestimated it, now it's time to fix it, right? 
3. Steven Souza - What a crazy catch to secure a no-hitter for Jordan Zimmerman. And to do it in dramatic fashion, nonetheless! Tip of the hat to you, sir, Mr. Souza!
3 Down
1. City of Ferguson - If you thought the unrest in Ferguson ceased over time, think again. This week a police officer was shot as issues are now flaring up again in the controversial town. 
2. Hong Kong Protests - As the people of Hong Kong continue to protest for democracy…

Saying Goodbye to Derek Jeter...And Our Childhoods

"Jeter is one of kind, and his retirement will officially end an era for the New York Yankees, and close the book officially on my childhood." (Jeter's Retirement Officially Ends My Childhood)
I wrote those words back on February 18th, 2014 when Derek Jeter released a statement telling the world that he was retiring after the 2014 season. As a twenty-nine year old man today, those immediate thoughts rang very true. For the last twenty years of my life - since I was nine! - Derek Jeter has been synonymous with my summers, with many memorable moments, and in many ways, a reflection of my own life in seeing him grow old. 
To be honest, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that he is 40 years old. Heck, I still can't believe my guy, Mariano Rivera, is also retired. But such is life. And that is exactly where we are. At the end of a chapter - more so a journey.
After all, among the many beautiful things about baseball is fact that we spend each night…

Craziness is Like Heaven - Three Years of Marriage

9.24. Quick, do you know what that means? Certainly, the die hards and DP devotees will (or I hope you do) especially if you went through the Unity Road Writings which documented my thoughts and feelings leading up to marrying my wife. 
Nonetheless, those writings were roughly three years ago, because three years ago, I married the greatest tag team partner one could possibly have. While three years really has flown by since I traveled to Syracuse, New York to say "I do", what truly is flabbergasting (don't you just love that word?) is that I have been with my wife in some capacity for nine years now. Nine! 
Even scarier? Next year, when I turn thirty and we celebrate four years of marriage, that would make an even ten years. One third of my life. Jees. 
Anyway, in celebration for you cyber friends and followers to these very words I place on a screen so often and whom never made it to Syracuse three years ago, I figured I would post our song - you know, our song - whic…

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/21/14

3 Up
1. Ron Washington - I completely respect Ron Washington. Despite his demons, the man is a man's man that is brutally honest and holds himself accountable. I can see why so many players he's coached respects him highly. From taking a step away a few years ago for admitting to issues with cocaine to stepping away from the Rangers managing gig for personal issues - which he openly admits is him being unfaithful to his wife - Washington never runs from his wrong doings. Something rarely seen in the world today. 
2. Rachel Nichols - Rachel Nichols was tough as nails in her questions towards NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week. So many TV outlets asked interesting questions, and there were a few softballs thrown in, but it was Nichols who truly brought the hammer during the press conference. 
3. "May It's Not For You?" - I'm so sick of the Derek Jeter bashing. Of course, Chris Carlin tried to make a name for himself by calling Jeter a "fraud" fo…

Dome Pondering Import - "Gatorade | Made in New York"

Well, here we are on Derek Jeter's last home stand. It's getting weirder and weirder seeing athlete's careers during the duration of my lifetime. Especially, a great like Jeter. As I stated in a post back in February, Jeter's retirement officially ends my childhood. Sigh. 
Anyway, after an awesome video during the All-Star break by the Jordan brand with a pretty kickass tagline of "RE2PECT", Gatorade followed suit with a pretty sweet commercial of their own today. Check it out! You know, if you haven't already. And if you have, it's Jeets, look at it again! 

The NFL Has No Moral Compass

When I punched the keys last week on the National Football League's arrogance in handling the Ray Rice situation (When You're King Like The NFL, You Rule and Are Pardoned), little did I think their overall lack of discipline would ever get this bad. After all, like I stated in that post, the NFL is king, and quite frankly, one of the biggest corporations in the nation. 
However, after the Ray Rice bubble burst, other bubbles began to surface and are now front and center. With the spotlight on the NFL now with multiple domestic abuse cases, including the hot topic of Adrian Peterson and his child abuse indictment, I don't remember the NFL ever taking such a public relations hit in my lifetime. Seriously, ever. For as long as I can remember, the NFL was considered the "model" league.
Now, there is no reason for me to defend or to even support the ethics push against Adrian Peterson. Truthfully speaking, spanking is one thing, whipping and harming is another. Just …

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/14/14

3 Up
1. Grace Callwood - This little girl has not only beaten cancer at the age of nine, but is now using her faith to take on Homelessness. A great story, and one that makes you realize there is so much more to life. 
2. Hannah Storm - Bravo to Hannah Storm for taking on the mighty NFL in her monologue. Especially as an ESPN employee (as we know the company not only adores, but is contracted to the league), Storm said exactly what NEEDED to be said. Again, bravo to her. 
3. "Beauty" in 18 Countries Experiment - After Esther Honig pulled off the original concept, Priscilla Yuki Wilson, a bi-racial woman did the same in sending her photos to eighteen different countries asking them to make her beautiful. Wilson received some interesting results that truly makes you ponder about each of our perceptions of "beautiful". 
3 Down
1. (Another) ISIS Beheading - Unfortunately, the evil that is ISIS released another video of a beheading, this time of British Aid Worker, David…

First Impressions of WWE NXT

I've had the WWE Network since it's inception, and not to schill or hock the already annoying "$9.99" tagline currently being repeated ad nauseum by the WWE, but I do think it is indeed a good deal. Despite its benefits, I've never had the opportunity to take advantage of it's enormous library, or the airing of WWE's development organization, NXT. 
However, on a rainy Saturday morning here in Brooklyn, NY, I fired up Vince's latest project and tuned in to the latest NXT special which aired this past Thursday. NXT has received mixed reviews from a few writers and fans evidenced by my Twitter feed, but I wanted to check it out for myself. As we know, interest in wrestling products are very subjective (and very bias), and the only way to draw an opinion is to check it out for one's self. 
In doing so, I have to be honest, I'm so down on the WWE product right now, I felt NXT could either be more of the same of what we get on Mondays and Fridays f…