Author: J.C. Carnahan

Austin Dillon walks away from horrific NASCAR wreck at Daytona

More shocking than the footage below is that the driver on the wrong end of this wreck early Monday at Daytona International Speedway actually walked away in one piece.

Austin Dillon and his No. 3 stock car went airborne into the fencing just before 2:45 a.m. late Sunday along the final stretch of the Coke Zero 400.

Kevin Harvick clipped the back end of Denny Hamlin, spinning the No. 11 car around and into Dillon, who was then hit by Brad Keselowski upon returning to the track while upside down.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race, which did not get underway until after 11 p.m. after being delayed by rain. But it’ll be how the race ended, with the No. 3 car caught up in a horrific wreck at Daytona, that’s going to have people talking about the sport this week.

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Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

One of the best songs on one of the most creative albums of the year comes off even better in video form.

Kendrick Lamar released imagery for “Alright” earlier this week, a horn-infused and repenting track produced by Pharrell Williams and Sounwave. The black and white video, directed by Colin Tilley, pushes the same type of buttons the To Pimp a Butterfly album has already evoked from listeners.

It’s a refreshing seven minutes of cinema. You’ll want to run this one back a few times.

Will NBA free agents flee Western Conference for easy road in East?

With the NBA Draft in our rearview mirrors the focus for basketball fans throughout the remainder of the summer turns to the dealings of free agency.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders joined Carnahan Chronicles on AM 740 The Game to discuss a handful of topics from around the National Basketball Association.

Among those is a story he wrote about marque players choosing to leave the Wester Conference in favor of teams in the East in hopes of an easier path to the NBA Finals.

“I think it’s very possible that we’ll see players that are out West coming to the Eastern Conference, or free agents that are in the Eastern Conference staying out East, because players understand that the Western Conference is brutal right now. It’s hard to make a Finals run. You can be on a loaded team in the West and still miss the playoffs,” Kennedy said.

( – Click here for J.C.’s interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders – )

Kennedy touches on a handful of NBA topics throughout the segment with a focus on players and teams from both central Florida and northeast Ohio.

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Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell & MLB’s rookie one-swing wonders

Imagine waiting three years for your one big opportunity. Then imagine knocking it out of the park on the very first pitch.

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

That’s how the first Major League Baseball swing played out for Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell in 1986 when he connected for a homer off Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven in his first trip to the big league plate.

It turns out that after being called up from the instructional league in September of that year Bell got some solid advice from future Indians manager Mike Hargrove, who advised the struggling hitter on the way to the airport to swing at the first pitch he sees as it would likely be a fastball.

The irony was likely not lost on the baseball fans in attendance that day.

After being taken with the No. 8 overall pick out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 1984 Bell was part of a minor league package shipped to Cleveland in exchange for Blyleven.

Cleveland also received pitcher Curt Wardle and outfielder Jim Weaver up front in the deal, and later pitcher Rich Yett. The man affectionately known as the Frying Dutchman would go on to help the Twins win a championship in 1987 just as Bell’s career was getting started.

Can you imagine how rare it must be to hit a major league home run off of the first pitch hurled your way?

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The Muppets mashup w/ Beastie Boys, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Biz Markie, Digital Underground & Naughty by Nature

Shout out to isthishowyougoviral on YouTube for giving the world 1990s hip-hop music video mashups featuring everyone’s childhood heroes The Muppets.

The footage below is synced perfectly with classic throwback tracks by the Beastie Boys, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Biz Markie, Digital Underground and Naughty by Nature.

The best part is how each clip has a different Muppet character featured in a lead role including Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Animal, Dr. Teeth and others.

We can only hope Jim Henson is somewhere smiling as widely as we are at this very moment.

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New soccer-specific stadium plans fire up Orlando City SC faithful

( – The following is a story I wrote for the June 15, 2015 edition of Lions Roar, the gameday magazine of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club, touching on the excitement surrounding new plans for a soccer-specific stadium – )

There has been plenty of excitement to go around locally throughout the first three months of the Major League Soccer season. But not even wins, losses or draws have sparked such passion from Orlando City SC supporters as that of the status of a new soccer stadium.

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No matter the forum, there remains a lingering sense of anticipation and excitement renewed each time an update is provided on the Orlando City Soccer Club’s new venue.

Club officials made quite the splash at a press conference on May 29 by proclaiming the development of a soccer-specific stadium in Orlando’s Parramore area ready for liftoff.

That the club will privately fund its new stadium not only assures fans the project will indeed get off the ground, but also serves as a reminder of just how close the dream is to becoming reality.

This much is certain, no matter the details from here on out, there will be no more worrying about the specifics for the Orlando City faithful.

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The Evolution of Batman in Cinema

A new Batman hits the big screen next year featuring Ben Affleck in the leading role as the Caped Crusader. He’ll follow in the footsteps of a handful of others who’ve put their own unique spin on Bruce Wayne dating back to the 1940s.

Luckily for us there’s someone looming in the shadows who recently felt compelled enough to showcase Batman’s cinematic past in his own way. Jacob T. Swinney has pieced together old footage of all who has worn the cape in movies over the years, helping to bring some perspective to the franchise and the changes it’s endured.

“The Evolution of Batman in Cinema” features a look at the Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949) serial shows that started it all and the Batman: The Movie (1966) release that put the character over the top.

Swinney also includes footage of the nearly three-decade run that followed more than 20 years later including Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Lego Movie (2014).

The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.

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MLS fans flocking to Citrus Bowl to catch Orlando City Soccer Club

( The following is a story I wrote for the May 30, 2015 edition of Lions Roar, the gameday magazine of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club, exploring the continued support of a legion of loyal soccer fans throughout Central Florida )

You need only to cruise the pavement of Central Florida and tally the number of OCSC magnets adorning vehicles for proof. Or stroll the sidewalks of downtown Orlando wearing the club’s trademark purple and keep tabs on the responses you receive.

It’s as though lifelong relationships are being made by the thousands in 2015.

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Whether it’s the club’s work in the community or the inviting presence of its leaders around town, purple pride is spreading throughout the state at an uncontainable rate.

“I remember when we first started going to games and there was maybe a couple thousand people in the stands,” said Randy Badilo, a season ticket holder in section 110 who has supported the club since its inception. “Then at the start of this year we sell out the entire Citrus Bowl for the first game, and it’s been incredible ever since.”

Boosted by home crowds of 62,510 in the club’s MLS debut against New York City FC on March 8 and 40,122 against the defending champion LA Galaxy a little more than two months later, Orlando City is averaging 37,446 fans at home this season compared to an average of just over 20,000 for the league as a whole.

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Golden State Warriors stirring up old memories of 40 years ago

The NBA didn’t matter the last time the Golden State Warriors played for a championship.

The National Basketball Association was still a decade away from garnering national interest amid the sports landscape when Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, George Johnson, Butch Beard, Clifford Ray and Jeff Mullins last brought a title to the Bay Area.

It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were reaching all corners of the country through a complex rivalry, that both media and fans started to truly pay attention. But before those theatrical days were plenty of other benchmarks being laid throughout the history of the league.

The Warriors claimed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference during the 1974-75 season with a modest 48-34 record. They did so by leading the 18-team league in scoring, rebounds and steals before pulling an upset (assuming they were indeed the underdogs, of course) of the Washington Bullets (60-22) by way of a sweep in the NBA Finals.

That series has some historical significance aside from the result as Golden State’s Al Attles and Washington’s K.C. Jones became the first black head coaches to face off in a professional sports championship. Never mind that Attles was thrown out of Game 4 for attacking an opposing player during the game.

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Cleveland Cavaliers return to top of NBA’s Eastern Conference

So much changes over the course of eight years. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers, who last played for an NBA title back when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs following the 2006-07 season.

Three years later the Cavs decided it was time to move on from head coach Mike Brown, while all-star LeBron James decided to move on from Cleveland following semifinal setbacks to the Boston Celtics (2008, 2010) and an Eastern Conference final loss to the Orlando Magic in 2009.

And now, mercifully, Cleveland gets another shot at breaking a pro sports title drought that dates back to 1964 when the Browns last finished on top.

This time the Cavs’ hopes won’t hinge on the likes of overachievers such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson and, unfortunately, Anderson Varejao, who is one of two remaining players still on roster from 2007 but has been sidelined due to injury.

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Harold Hitt talks first baseball state title at Oviedo High School

Oviedo High School’s baseball team had made four trips to the state final four before this season but were never able to advance past the semifinals to play in a title game.

That all changed last week as the Lions pounded Plant City Durant 12-0 in a Class 7A semifinal Wednesday before claiming their first championship with a 9-5 triumph of Sarasota a day later.

I covered the Lions in a region title game for the Orlando Sentinel a week earlier as they hosted Tallahassee Chiles, a team they lost to in the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

Oviedo coach Harold Hitt joined me on Carnahan Chronicles on AM 740 The Game Saturday morning to talk about the championship run by the Lions, the standouts on the team that helped make it happen, and the amount of quality baseball Central Florida has produced over the years.

( – Click here to listen to Coach Hitt and J.C. on AM 740 The Game – )

Oviedo, led this year by pitchers Cooper Bradford and Cameron Peppiatt, previously reached the state final four in 1986, 1992, 2001 and 2002.

B.B. King is dead, long live his blues

The longer we live the more people we’ll see moving on from this crazy world. It’s inevitable. Many will be famous, others closer to home.

Late Thursday word began to spread of the passing of blues guitarist B.B. King at the age of 89. Whether you dig the blues or not, you most certainly know that King ranks among the greatest guitar players of all time.

Born in Mississippi in 1925, his music was a reflection of his upbringing. It connected with people of all walks of life and backgrounds, such is evident in videos below featuring U2 and Big K.R.I.T., and it’ll continue to inspire and live on for countless generations to come. Just as it should.

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Four teams remain in Stanley Cup Playoffs and none are from Canada

I hardly have time to care too much about the National Hockey League. There’s just too many other things going on in the world of sports to consume my attention.

But now we’re down to the final four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s reason enough to start paying attention, right?

What’s interesting about the upcoming matchups this weekend is that there’s no hard feelings stemming from previous postseason clashes to help get the excitement brewing. Instead we’ve got one team in the mist of a marginally lengthy Stanley Cup drought and, in comparison, three others still cleaning up confetti from recent triumphs.

On Saturday it’s the top-seeded New York Rangers and the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning meeting in the Eastern Conference. Sunday it’ll be the No. 1 Anaheim Ducks hosting the No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

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Even fake beer is great beer

The beer connoisseur in me can’t get enough of sampling different styles of suds from all corners of the globe.

Unfortunately, there are some intriguing options we’ll never actually get a chance to taste, as they’re not even real beers in the first place.

Bennett Hawkins at UPROXX compiled a Top 20 list of fictional brews from movie and television shows last April.

I realized how little I paid attention to such details upon stumbling across the post. Now, I’m holding out hope that we’ll one day see some of these beers produced in my lifetime.

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