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Jansky SFG Artwork

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Last last summer after John Jansky completed my “Playoff Beard Art“, I asked him about doing something with my Souza Financial Group logo.  John delivered the finished product to my office today.  It is awesome!

Besides the great colors, John was able to incorporate my passions.

First and foremost in the center of it all is my family.  Next up is the Blackhawks behind the “SFG”.  Next is the Cleveland Indians.  The maroon represents my schools; DHS & SIU. The outermost ring is of course my business.

John absolutely nailed it.  The gallery below has all photos.   I will be IMG_5516hanging this in my office this week,  if you would like to stop by and see it.

To see more of John’s art, check out his Facebook page and website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blackhawks Playoff Beard Art

keith playoff beard artSaturday, April 27th, the Blackhawks played their last regular season game.  That was the beginning of my playoff beard.  The playoff beard is a tool that fans use to cheer their team on in the playoffs.  The basic premise is that you stop shaving when the playoffs start, and you don’t shave again until your team is eliminated, or you win the Stanley Cup.  Because the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, that meant I went 60 days without shaving.  I have never had facial hair in my adult life (early playoff exits in the last two seasons meant the beard never really took hold).

I carried the beard on vacation to Disney & the Bahamas, dripping sweat down my neck the summer through.  The longer the hair got, the prouder I was as that meant the Hawks were still winning.  I hatched the idea of doing something with the beard if we won the Cup.  That’s where my friend John Jansky came in.

John Jansky is friend of mine from Danville High School.  He does some amazing speed paintings, but also does work with household kitchen items like; salt, sugar, chocolate sauce, ketchup, etc.  I didn’t contact John until after the Hawks had won. (I didn’t want to jinx us winning.)  I then called and the conversation went like this;

Keith, “John, have you ever worked with hair.”
John, “No, but I want to.”
Keith, “Well, here’s my idea.  You know if I have this playoff beard and now that the Hawks have won, I..
John, (interrupting)”…you want me to do something with your beard?, Yes, yes I will.”

Hawks Playoff Beard artI asked John for something Blackhawks so we could share with Hawks nation.  He posted today an amazing Hawks logo.  He also took a photo of me from vacation and made something from that.

John is an amazing, talented artist.  I’m proud to call him my friend and thankful for the ability to let the 2013 playoff beard live on.  Thanks, John & Go Hawks!

 

 

 

 

 

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Indians blast from the past

There was once a time when the Cleveland Indians were a publicly traded company.Tribe Stock Cert 1

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One Month Left

Indians celebrate 16th inning win on 8/31/11.Here we sit, on September 1, 2011 and the Cleveland Indians are in 2nd place, 5.5 games back. No one, and I mean no one, predicted this. At the beginning of the year, every sportswriter, blogger, and fan of baseball (including me) had my beloved Tribe finishing 4th in the AL Central. All of the so-called experts had the Indians winning 70 games, 75 tops. The Indians record right now is 68-65. For them to be 3 games over .500 with a month left to go in the season is remarkable. The fact that they would still be hanging in this race with all the injuries and the lack of experience on this team is a testament to what Manny Acta can do as a manager. (I have to give kudos to the White Sox for hanging in there too. It’s got to be tough having Dunn & Rios suck 8 at-bats every night from your lineup and still be in contention.)

Good times, good times
This season has been fun for me. Because we are winning? Yes, that’s part of it, but seeing this team gel and put together a beginning of the season like they did (remember the 30-15 start?) It’s been fun to see, for all practical purposes a AAA ball club, stay in first for most of the season. It reminds me of 1994 when the Indians had guys like; Thome, Belle, Alomar, Lofton, Ramirez, Nagy, Baerga. While we have the advantage of time and can see how those young players went on to great things, back then they were a young, inexperienced team that had not proven a thing. Only Sandy Alomar’s Rookie of the Year trophy hung in the glass case. Is this team going to go on the run the ’90’s Indians did? I don’t know. I’m not looking for a dynasty, I’m looking for a team that I enjoy watching. I enjoy watching this team.the '94 Indians team

Anyone who has gotten within earshot of me for the past several years has heard me complain about Eric Wedge’s management of the pitching staff. Wedge is one of those managers that when the 6th inning rolls around and his starter gives up a leadoff walk, then a single, then hits a batter, he sends the pitching coach to talk to him. Next batter up hits a bases-clearing double, then Wedgie would go get him. That was my existence from 2003 – 09. Besides the run in 2007, it was a long 7 years. THAT, my friends, is not fun.

Don’t you want to win every year?
I got into a conversation with an old schoolmate who is a Yankee’s fan. I like to jab at his Yankee supporting comments and he gives it right back. It’s fun. In the middle of one of our exchanges he asked, “Wouldn’t u like for the Indians to spend more money and be a true contender each year or u happy with them spending bottom money and being a contender for a few weeks?” Good question. My answer: “Would I like a contending team, yea, but it’s been a hell of a lot more fun this year with them coming together than expecting it every year.”

From 1995 – 2001, I was right there along with him. I expected to be in the world series every year. We went to 2 and won none. I guess I like to live my sports life somewhere between a dynasty & doormats. I want to know that my teams have a chance to win it all.

Our Fate is in our own hands
Will we make the playoffs? I hope so. Will I stay awake and watch (via my iPad) a 16-inning game against the A’s on August 31st? Yes. Because for me, its about being a fan and rooting, rally cap and all for my team to pull out the win. We have 29 games left. 14 are against the Tigers and White Sox. So, if we are going to win the AL Central, we are not going to be scoreboard watching. We win big in those 14 games, we make the playoffs. We don’t and we rest up for next year.

Go Tribe.

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Tribe outlook and update.

2569120142_8e64d7525a.jpgWhen last I briefed you on the Indians, here is where I stood:
“So, it’s December and we are still without a closer, a healthy, power-hitting DH, 3 spots in the rotation are up for grabs and we don’t have a 3rd baseman. Needless to say, I’m a little concerned for next year.” So, have the holes been filled? Let’s take a peek.

Closer – Well, the Tribe did it. They went out in the free-agent market and got the second best closer available in Kerry Wood. (The top closer being Francisco Rodriguez who signed with the Mets for 3 years and $37m.) We got Wood for 2 years and $20m. He’s the first closer that I have felt good about going into a season since Jose Mesa.

Power-hitting DH – Only time will tell this one. Travis Hafner has not been the same hitter since he got hit in the face in 2007. New injuries last year limited him and threw a wrench into the lineup for most of the year. If Pronk is healthy and puts up his average numbers: 30HR, 100R, 100 RBI, things will be good at the corner of Carnegie & Ontario.

3rd Baseman – Once again, I feel good about the Mark DeRosa signing for 3B. He’s a solid guy that appears to be a great “team” guy. That allows Peralta to stay at short and Cabrera at 2B. Splitting time between Garko & Martinez at 1B. That is a solid defensive infield.

Rotation – Well, here, not so much. For all the good the Tribe did in the bullpen in the off season; Jensen Lewis, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, Joe Smith and Masa Kobayashi, they well asleep on the starting rotation. Carl Pavano, I will say it again slowly in case you thought you heard me wrong, Carl Pavano. This guy turned one good season with the Phillies into a 4-year, $40m deal with the Yankees. He then proceeded to make only 26 starts over the next 4 years(including just 9 in the past 2 years), to end up with a 9-8 record with the Yanks. If, he’s healthy, I see him as a #5 starter, at best. The other 2 spots (well, 3 WHEN Pavano gets hurt) will be fought over by: Reyes/Laffey/Sowers/Lewis/Huff/Jackson. If we can get some useful inning from Laffey/Sowers (they have done it before). Things may just be held together with spit and duct tape.

Bright spots – I see the outfield being this club’s strength for the year. Grady Sizemore is already an all-star, but I see this as the year he breaks outs, cuts down on the strikeouts and takes on MVP consideration. Flanked by Choo and Fransisco (that’s fun to say), the outfield should be solid defensively and consistent at the dish.

Catching will be solid with Kelly Shopach backing up V-Mart. Everyone young (Fransisco, Cabrera, Carmona, Garko) has one more year of experience in the big leagues and I am only worried about Choo’s sophomore slump potential.

Overall, I like this team’s prospects. Barring injuries in spring training, I believe the opening day batting order looks like this:

1. Sizemore
2. DeRosa
3. Hafner
4. Martinez
5. Peralta
6. Garko
7. Fransisco
8. Choo
9. Cabrera

Only 14 more days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Baseball Fever, Catch it.