Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Welcome to my blog

Hi, folks, this is R. D. Baker

Since this is my first blog, I guess I should introduce myself. I'm a substitute teacher living in Austin, TX and an author currently working on my first novel which will be published as soon as I can get it done, find an agent who will take my work, find a publisher who will publish it, etc.

What I really love more than anything is sports. Have since I was a kid. I love competition, I love the emotional highs and lows of a game, and I especially love the strategy aspect of sports, seeing how coaches put their teams in position to beat other teams. Lots of contact helps too, so long as the players don't try to put each other in serious jeopardy. So my blog will primarily be comments about sports.

Let me take a moment to break down what it is I like and don't like about sports

My favorite teams:
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Houston Astros

Athletes I like:

  • Troy Aikman - I don't know if he will ever go down as the best QB in history (a lot of Cowboy fans don't think he was even the best in team history), but I think he provided the competitive fire and leadership they needed to win 3 Super Bowls in the early 1990's and keep them competitive in the later years of the 1990's. Plus, the guy was a class act, and has forgotten more about football than I will ever know (mostly due to concussions), which is why he's with Fox's #1 broadcast team.
  • Emmitt Smith - Also a class act, a Cowboy, and the worthy successor of Walter Payton (another class act) as the NFL's all time leading rusher. It's sad to see him go out with someone other than the Cowboys.
  • Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell - You can't mention one without the other. These two have made one of the worst baseball franchises (and it pains me to say that about the Astros, but it's true) competitive for as long as both have been major league players. Both have had plenty of opportunities to play elsewhere and haven't.
  • Joe Sakic - This guy is the glue that has kept the Avalanche competitive enough to compete for the Stanley Cup every year despite 3 head coaches, multiple personnel changes, and injuries to key players. One of the few guys in hockey that wears the captain's "C" and deserves to do so. You probably won't hear any of this from Joe, though, but that's just the type of player he is.
  • Zach Thomas - I'd like to say he's the best middle linebacker in the pros, except there's that Lewis guy in Baltimore. What he is, though is a leader on his team and a great player. Oh, and he's a former Red Raider.
  • Wes Welker - The best punt returner in NCAA history (he held the the record for punt return touchdowns when he graduated), and a former Red Raider who is now showing the NFL what he can do.
  • Lance Armstrong - This guy has more endurance than anyone. He's won the Tour de France, a race where most of the starting field doesn't even finish and a few competitors have actually died due to physical exhaustion, 6 straight years. And that's after facing a few years of cancer treatments.

Media people I like:

  • Greg Easterbrook - (a.k.a. Tuesday Morning Quarterback) He's a Brookings Institute fellow (i.e. he works for a public policy think tank) who writes for the NFL and gives a very different, more intellectual perspective than most football writers do.
  • Woody Paige - (former Denver Post columnist, now an ESPN talking head) Another guy who brings a unique perspective to sports. Most people hate him, I think he's genius.
  • Skip Bayless - (former Dallas Morning News/San Jose Mercury-News columnist, also now with ESPN) Had the backbone to take on Jerry Jones when the Cowboys were the best team in the NFL.
  • Bill Simmons - (a.k.a "The Sports Guy") The original sports blogger.
  • Bucky and Erin - Probably one of the better local sports talk shows out there. Bucky is a former Texas Longhorn assistant coach and Erin's a fan who knows a lot about sports. It's amazing that Clear Channel keeps both of them in Austin, a market without a pro team, and hasn't tried to move one or both to Dallas
  • Dick Vitale - He's one of the more knowledgeable analysts out there, but it's the passion he has for collegiate basketball which sets him apart. He celebrates the successful players and teams, and grieves like a parent whose kid is in trouble when the bad things about college sports come to light. Anyone who loves his job, is very grateful for it, does it well, and does it with passion should be commended, not criticized. Unfortunately that's what most media writers do.

Things I don't like about sports:

  • NBA Basketball (there's no strategy, players never listen to coaches, and the product is now horrible. I'd much rather watch a well-coached college team than an NBA team)
  • Athletes who blame others (coaches, fans, officials, or media) for their sorry performance or behavior.
  • Athletes who are upset at their salary
  • Posses and entourages
  • Agents, lawyers, and sports union bosses. (all the same animal)
  • Performance enhancing substances
  • Stadiums with corporate names.
  • College athletes who take academic shortcuts.
  • Media people who make excuses for any of the above.

In addition to sports, I like music, movies, TV and video games, and from time to time I will comment on each. Just so you know where I'm coming from on those subject:

  • Most of the music I listen to falls into one of 3 categories: Classic Rock (The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd), Modern Rock (Pearl Jam and others), or Christian Rock (Jars of Clay, Switchfoot).
  • I do not profess to be a movie buff, but I like old films like The Godfather series, Dr. Strangelove, and Midway. My favorite movies, however, are comedies like Spaceballs, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (both of which I can quote verbatim), and Strange Brew.
  • Big fan of CSI, CSI:Miami, Without a Trace, Cold Case, and Crossing Jordan. Anything where they use science to solve crimes is cool in my opinion.
  • Being a sports buff, I naturally like sports games like Madden. However, I also like RPGs because they take you to different worlds and give you an active hand in determining it's destiny. It's like being a character in a good movie.

I don't like politics, so I'll try to stay away from that. I am a Christian who came to Christ in college, however, and the subject will come up. So if talking about religion offends you, I'm sorry. I love my church, First Evangelical Free Church here in Austin, and I especially love all the friends i've made through Impact (the singles ministry). I was also involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in college and I support a couple of my college friends who work with them.

As I said earlier, I am also an aspiring author and will give you updates on the progress of my book. It is sports-related (mainly high-school sports, not big-time sports). I figure if I have to tell you all about the book, it will get done faster.

Now, I hope you know a little about me and a little about what this blog is going to be about.

Oh, I also moderate a forum at Avalancheboard.com. One of the few decent fan-created message boards out there.

Tomorrow: The Orange Bowl, (the game and the halftime show), and whatever else may come up


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