Tuesday, September 30, 2014

End of Month Special - Random Thoughts on MLS Salaries, Fantasy Football, and Babysitting

     We are heading into October … and your Award Winning Blog has had a far too insignificant September.  Here are some observations and thoughts to take us all into October better informed.


     The updated Salaries of all Major League Soccer Players were released this week.  For the first several years of my son’s career it was an opportunity for me to realize I needed to take the poor boy out to a good dinner.  For the past few years of his career it makes me realize that I should stop picking up the check at those dinners.
     You know your Award Winning Blog always digs deep into the details to find news.  To that end we analyzed the pay by Last Name (and specifically which letter was at the beginning of your last name).  Spending my entire life at the end of the alphabet … I pay more attention there.  I uncovered a shocking discovery in pay equity in Major League Soccer.  While there are only 8 players whose last names begin with “Z” … their total pay is $1.44 million.  Compare that to the poor players whose last name begins with “V” – there are 9 of them! But in total those 9 only add up to less than $1.4 million.  I will proclaim right now that this is a compensation scandal that Major League Soccer needs to address immediately before the press owns the story  … the Commissioner needs to get out in front of the story. 


     I can tell you that one thing MLS Salaries clearly do not take into account is your ability in Fantasy Football.  My eldest son, Christopher, is a dismal 1-3 with his team.  He lost to me (his stupid father) this past weekend and I am told that he found the spider hole that Saddam Hussein was hiding in and has taken up residence there due to his shame.  My team, The Fighting Basset Hounds, have staked a claim to first place in the league.  My other two sons have made me a prouder Fantasy Football dad so far … my sons-in-law … well I’m sure they are trying (on second thought I hope to God they are not trying because that would be embarrassing). 

BABYSITTING AS A GRANDFATHER – A Pequena Chefona for 8 Hours Straight

     A Pequena Chefona (Little Bossy Pants) is now 9 months old.  She is regularly cared for by her uncles (Stephen and Matthew) – and she is a lot of fun.  A few days ago the desperation set in at the Chris Wondolowski household and they had to turn from Plan A to Plan B then to Plan C until they finally got to Plan Q – and I got the call from the bullpen for an 8 hour stint as the babysitter.  While Lindsey was somewhat surprisingly calm and confident in her staffing choice … the three boys who I had raised, changed their diapers, fed them, and somehow they survived Planet Earth under my care to arrive at the present points in their lives …. Those three boys were very concerned and would have called Child Protection but that would have made them stop watching the third re-run of Sports Center to make that call.  To be fair – Chris had no problem with me babysitting … but clearly not because of his confidence in me rather mostly because he was happy to have someone plug in for 8 hours that he did not have to pay. 
     Stephen and Matthew on the other hand … could not even comprehend how I could possibly watch a baby (the same baby that they have watched for similar stretches of time).  Fortunately for me … Stephen and Matthew gave me untold amounts of advice and tips on how to babysit.  It is only a bit ironic that neither of them have children and both of them are among the three children that I semi-successfully helped evolve into young men.  
     A long story a little shorter … A Pequena Chefona and I had a great time.  I found that she loves music so much that she even likes my awful singing voice.  She is of course standing every chance she gets which means that she is nanoseconds away from falling continually --- but there was not going to be a bruise or stitches on my watch so I was intensely protective.  She also fell asleep in my arms late in the afternoon from me reading the Wall Street Journal out loud to her (going to be a Republican I guess). 
     I was able to take her to Gymboree … which was the highlight of our day.  We walked down to Gymboree (I walked she rode) and she had a great time.  Perhaps on purpose … I cannot say for sure … 1 minute into the session --- there I was the old guy with the 9 month old sitting around and definitely NOT singing --- and Chefona decides to drop a deuce.  The singing of the others drowned out the grunting and we both decided to just play through it … but my sensory memories of that Gymboree session will forever be more of smell than any other sense.
     In short – we had a great time … and I taught her the words to Camptown Races because she had been getting a couple of them wrong.

     I think I made the approved Babysitter list at Casa de Juando … much to the surprise of my offspring. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Earthquakes - and Somebody is Undefeated in NFL Fantasy Football (and being a grandpa is pretty cool)

     I have never been a big fan of the San Jose Earthquakes home ‘stadium’ (Santa Clara University – Buck Shaw Stadium) and I have never been very shy about that fact.  It is a great place to ‘watch’ a soccer game – but a less than great place to go to a professional sporting event.  Over the past few years the construction that Santa Clara University has done has taken away the little ambience that the place has and rendered it a tough place to enjoy a professional sporting event.  Again – except for the game itself where there may be no better place to watch a game and no seat in the house is bad.

     Yesterday – I think my opinion changed somewhat dramatically.  I think my opinion on a lot of things has changed dramatically since I became a grandfather.  We are fortunate enough to have been able to purchase seats right down on the field (which honestly you cannot really do at other professional venues).  And for the last two games – my daughter-in-law has allowed me to take my Pequena Chefona (Little bossy pants) – Emersyn Wondolowski – into the stadium for pre-game warm-ups by myself.  It was surely against all protests by other family members but Emersyn and I have spent 45 minutes before each game within feet of her daddy warming up.  So --- long story a bit shorter --- I have never been a big fan of Buck Shaw Stadium for a professional sporting event --- but I will always treasure the moments it gave me with my granddaughter.

     By the way – we have good season tickets at the new stadium as well.  Mrs. Wondo and Mr. Wondo pony up their own money for their seats (Buck Shaw Stadium and the new John Wondolowski Stadium) – we go to untold number of sporting events and there is no better value. 

     For those who wonder about my Fantasy Football League – I have good news and bad news.  My youngest son, Matt, got a win this week.  My two older sons, Chris and Stephen, looked again like they were nuns trying to play with the big dogs and got drilled.   Me?  Oh – I am undefeated – but that’s not important … I just want everyone to have fun.  In case you missed it – my winning was the good news and Chris and Stephen being completely humiliated (again) is the bad news. 

     Finally – for the Earthquakes soccer fans – nobody on planet earth could have been happier to see Lennie on the field yesterday.  His presence is incredible … Mrs. Wondo understands as much soccer as Emersyn does Quantum Physics (right now) – but Mrs. Wondo LOVES when Lenny hits the field.

     I have said it before and I will say it again – 3 wins in a row changes everything … it can still happen as long as we get the 3 points in Montreal. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let's Not Talk Earthquakes - Let's Talk Fatherly Advice (and fantasy football)

I have found a fool-proof way of getting your three sons to not talk to you at all.  It is more brilliant than just cutting off the money (because that tactic just makes them come at you more) – it is joining their Fantasy Football League and winning.  I have to admit this is not the way I drew it up – but the outcome has been great.

I decided this year to join my three sons (Chris, Stephen, Matt) and my two sons-in-law (Brendan and Chris) and two close Wondo Family Friends (Dom an Zak) – in fantasy football.  As I have said before the week between our draft and Week One of the season was a time for every guy in the league to ridicule me as the worst Fantasy Football Player ever.

But then – when Week One was over … I had 131 points – beating Stephen’s team (my opponent) by 53 points – scoring more points than anyone else in the league by a huge margin. 
The result?

None of my sons, sons-in-law, close friends of Wondo Family, or even the love of my life – my Basset Hound Mildred Penelope, will talk to me or respond to my emails or texts.  (OK – Millie P doesn’t know how to text). 

AND … I have discovered the thing that nearly every dad of teenage kids ever wanted to discover --- how do you get your sons to stop talking to you.  (When you have teenage sons they have only two ways of talking to you --- (1) they need money --- and (2) they want to tell you what an idiot you are).  I don’t really enjoy hearing what an idiot I am and I really, really don’t enjoy shoveling out money to my kids.  So --- having my offspring ignore me is a wonderful thing. 

In summary – I have some sage fatherly advice for young fathers out there who have boys who are driving them crazy.  All you need to do is get a Fantasy Football League with them and then get incredibly lucky one week – not just win but win by 53 points – and nobody will bother you for a week.  Imagine that – one week of watching Sports Center (or PBS News Hour) without a son next to you telling you how old and stupid you are … all you need to do is (1) join fantasy football with them and (2) get lucky in week one.  It is a recipe for peace and solitude.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Frustrating Soccer Officials --- and NFL Fantasy Football Outlook

Earthquakes-RSL and then NFL Fantasy Draft
This past weekend’s San Jose Earthquakes – Real Salt Lake game was a bit maddening … but most MLS games are to one degree or another.  It was not the first game where a penalty kick was awarded where no foul occurred … but it was the most recent really important game for the Quakes and that result --- particularly due to that call --- was upsetting.  Fortunately – I don’t think MLS can fine me for complaining about a really bad call … that is one of the best things about writing an Award-Winning – yet obscure – blog.

NFL Fantasy Draft
Our 8 team league is in full swing (your blog editor’s first foray into the world of fantasies that pertain to parts of Sports Illustrated that are not directly related to the Winter Swimsuit Edition).  We have the full Wondo Boys contingent (Chris, Stephen, Matt, and me) – along with my two sons-in-law and two very close family friends.  The Wondo Boys Division is made up of “Fighting Basset Hounds”, “East Bay Brown-Rice”, “Run DMC Feat. MJD”, and “Foles Finds Holes”. 

The draft was great – 6 owners were there in person … 1 used the excuse that he was in Europe and 1 used the excuse that he is a Fire-Fighter and was out saving lives.  Being Commissioner, I levied fines on both of them. 
But I know everyone wants to know about my team – here is a sneak peek:

-          It is Fantasy Football so Character Does Not Matter:
·          I drafted a couple of guys who were stupid enough to both get busted for weed possession at the same time … and another guy who (after I drafted him) got a 4 game suspension for amphetamine usage.

My points on that:

1)       I didn’t draft lawyers … my poor Steelers Running Backs were basically duped by the man.  My guys (Cheech and Chong) “Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blout” did not realize they could get busted for DUI when they did not actually drink anything (just smoked marijuana and had bags of it in the car when busted).  Fortunately – I do not need locker room unity – I need yards and touchdowns from my backs and the NFL Players Association Bargaining Agreement will keep them on my team and active until the Pittsburgh judicial system winds its expeditious course. 

2)       Wes Welker from Denver was a nervy late round pick up by me … only to find out today that he has been suspended for Amphetamine Use.  I do not condone Amphetamine Use and I am particularly against Amphetamine Use when it results in a suspension of one of my players (I have a code after all). 

-          Wondo Boys Summary -- 
·          My sons had trouble keeping up with my bold and innovative draft strategy. 

Ø   Stephen has a similar calling to help and counsel players in trouble so he drafted Ray Rice.  Somehow though he ended up with Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall … but he has Matty Ice and I think that is a reach.
Ø  Matt is solid with Peyton Manning and Julio Jones but he also has a sentimental side where he may have drafted past prime like Larry Fitzgerald, Tom Brady, and MJD.
Ø  Chris got the receiver in Demaryius Thomas and the back in Matt Forte – he is putting his trust in Chip Kelly’s offense and Nick Foles however … some see that as a risk. His darkhorse?  Sammy Watkins of Buffalo – his TE is probable (Cameron) with no other cover currently.
Ø  Sons in Law – Brendan somehow got Drew Brees when we were not looking – Chris (Big Country) picked up Adrian Peterson through Auto Draft.
Ø  Friends – Zack has Seattle Def/ST (let’s hope for him that they don’t get penalized every single defensive snap) – Dominic has RG3 and Jimmy Graham.

All in all – a good holiday weekend.  Matt is holding the money paid in on the dues so I expect to be getting my winnings in January.