Brilliant at the Basics (Dribbling Skills) – Episode II

June 14, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

In case you missed “Episode I,” CLICK HERE.  I’ll include the “introductory video” again today… to get you up to speed…

When it comes to dribbling skills, things are no different than with a quality strength training program.  That is, you must first build a foundation (get brilliant at the basics), before you can even think about getting “all fancy.”  It’s about working toward making progressions from week-to-week (again, just like you should be aiming to do when in the weight room).

There you have it, handles 101.  Ok young ballers, go get it!

On a side note.  I’ll be at Wrigley for Friday’s Cubs/Red Sox game!  I can’t wait!  I haven’t been to Wrigley for years and this will be my first time back at my favorite place on Earth since moving back to Illinois.  And to make it even better, one of my best friends, McKenna, is driving in from Omaha to go to the game with me.  He’s a long time Red Sox fan and this will be his first time at Wrigley.  I’m interested to see how he thinks Wrigley Field compares to Fenway Park (or is it Pok?)

Anyway, good times are ahead, and to keep with the theme of brilliant at the basics, we’ll definitely keep it simple by starting off with an Old Style and a Chicago Style Hot Dog.

I'm gonna tear this up on Friday (minus the mustard)!

But not to worry y’all… I’ll get right back on my usual clean eating/living the next day.  It’s about finding that balance… and an Old Style with a dog definitely fits in the plan from time to time!

Have a great rest of your week and a great weekend my friends.  I know I will! :)

Major League Baseball Predictions – 2011

March 23, 2011 by danny · Leave a Comment 

March Madness once again has been outstanding!  We have a couple days of downtown before the craziness starts back up, so I figured now would be a good time to post this.  My good buddy Jeff Rinaldi and I had been texting back and fourth about what to expect out of the Cubs this upcoming season.  In our “conversation” he told me that he has been doing his MLB homework.  I’ve been extra busy lately, but I decided we should at least get a “rapid fire” preview of this upcoming season.  So let’s get to it!

Danny McLarty: Thanks for coming back for another Q & A Jeff!  This time MLB 2011…

Jeff Rinaldi:  Danny, anything for the “Legend!”  I am leaving for spring training in Phoenix tomorrow. Can’t wait to see our Cubs.

DM: You know I have to do it – briefly let me know, do our Cubbies have any chance this year!?!

JR:  I think the Cubbies will be competitive as long as they stay healthy.  I don’t see them winning the Central though.  

DM: Let’s start in the NL.  Any surprise teams?

JR:  I actually like the Fish as a team to look out for.  The Marlins have good starting pitching with Johnson, Nolasco, Vasquez and Anibal Sanchez.  Combine those young buck hitters and I smell playoffs.  I think they take the Wild card.  Phillies too tough in the NL east.

DM: Who is winning each division, and who do you have as this year’s wild card team?

JR:  Phillies, Cardinals, Giants and Marlins in the NL.  

DM: Your NL Cy Young pick?

JR:  Roy “Doc” Halladay again.  Mark it down


JR:  I think Matt Holliday shocks some people and wins it.

DM: Onto the AL.  Surprise teams?

JR:  I think the Angels are going to be very good this year.  Weaver and Haren anchoring a good staff.  They disappointed last year and they know it.  They win the AL West.

DM: Cy Young?

JR:  I think Jered Weaver edges out Jon Lester to win it.  


JR:  Carl Crawford in his new uniform

DM: AL division winners and your wild card pick?

JR:  Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, and the Rangers with the Wild card.  Sorry Yankees.

DM: Do you have a breakout player or two, in either/both leagues that become household names this year?

JR:  How about Andrew McCutchen, Starlin Castro and Mike Stanton in the NL.  AL, I think Gordon Beckham rebounds from the soph slump this year

DM: The San Francisco Giants shocked the world last year.  Who do you have going to the ‘Series this year, and who takes home the trophy?

JR:  Not going out on a limb on this one.  Red Sox over Phillies.  Both teams are too good on paper.  

DM: Thanks again for another great contribution Jeff!  Any closing thoughts?

JR: Loved giving my predictions D.  Hopefully, they turnout better than my NFL picks.  One final note, I really think Zambrano is going to pitch very well for the Cubs this year.  He was dynamite in the 2nd half last season and I think he felt bad about his antics.  For the critics on Big Z, remember if Soriano or some other Cubs had half the passion Big Z did we’d be a better ball club.  Look for a big year from Z!

What do you all think?  Do you agree with Jeff’s picks?  Any players that will come up big this year and walk away with some of the hardware?  Have another team that you think may take it all this year… besides the obvious – Cubs! :)   Let us know what you think.

Amazingly Sad – Cubbies!

August 13, 2010 by danny · Leave a Comment 

For Carson’s 10th birthday yesterday, we went to the Cubs/Giants game in SF.  My wife’s b-day gift to him was a meet ‘n greet with the Cubs player while being served lunch.  I made 3 rounds through the buffet, thank you very much :) .  Sean Marshall turned out to be the player that we got to meet and hang out with.  He did a great job during the Q & A with all the Cubs fans… the majority flew in from Chicago for the event.  We also received a tour of AT&T Park.  The tour guide was excellent and he gave us many interesting tidbits about how AT&T came to be, as well as some great stories about this beautiful ballpark.  If you’ve never been, I highly suggest you make the trip at some point in your life.  The only field I like more, is Wrigley.  Although I still haven’t been to Fenway as that stadium may bump AT&T to 3rd on my list. 

I obviously love going to watch the Cubs when they come into town.  But I wanted to punch every Giants fan in the face last night.  Every time the Cubs scored a run, us Cubs fans would get up and cheer, like any fan would do for their team.  And Cubs fans (like Red Sox and Yankees fans) travel really well.  We were all over the stadium last night dressed in our Blue.  But whenever we got up to support our Cubbies, the Giants fans would yell at us; “SIT DOWN CUBS FANS!  YOU HAVEN’T WON IN 102 YEARS.  102 YEARS, 102 YEARS, 102 YEARS!”  Again, I wanted to punch them in the face, but damn it, they were right.  So all I could do was cry a little bit inside (I couldn’t show it on the outside of course) and act like they weren’t bothering me.  It was torcher.  But I guess sometimes I like a little torcher.  I’ve been on a little torcher kick this week.  My new training program has Anderson Squats in it…

 Those feel like torcher while doing them.  My new program also has Trap Bar Deadlifts.  I start off working up to a max double, followed by 2 higher rep sets…

Deadlifts can feel like tourcher.  Especially when you do the higher rep sets.

I also went to the dentist and as it turned out, they had to numb my mouth.  It took much longer for my mouth to regain any feeling than I had anticipated.  I couldn’t eat or drink anything (including a protein shake) ’til after 2 p.m. and I hadn’t eaten since 8 a.m.  Yes, that was tourcher for me.  But much more so for the people around me.  If I don’t get food in me every couple hours, I start to resemble a tired, cranky 4-year old girl.  No wonder my wife rushed out of the house when I got home after my dentist appointment.  Good call Shondra, I don’t blame you!

With all that said, nothing torchered me more than typing the below numbers…

1908 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

Now that was torcherous.  And it took waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to type!

I colored some noteable years;

-1915 – this is the year my Grandpa was born.  2006 was the year this great man died.  He NEVER got to see the Cubs win a World Series ring.  Are you kidding me?  That’s really messed up!!!

-1945 – this is the last time the Cubs played in the World Series.

1976 – this is the year I was born.  I’ve lived 34 years without seeing a championship from the Cubs.  This pales in comparison to my Grandpa’s experience, but it’s still too damn long!

But here’s what I am thinking;  Something has to reverse the billy goat curse.  We need 10 (or more) people to type into their computer, every year from 1908-2010 as I did above.  It may or may not help to color-code a few personal meaninful years – I’m not sure about that part yet.  There has been just over 10 decades (hence the reason we NEED at least 10 people to follow through with this de-cursing) since we last won that ring.  We do this, and we WILL be getting that World Series Ring really soon here.  C’mon Cubbies fans, step up and help out.  We can do it! ;)

I can’t wait ’til next year!!! …

MLB Roundtable, 2010

March 30, 2010 by danny · 2 Comments 

First pitch of opening day is just about here.  Every fan of every team can lie to themselves and say they have a chance.  Yes, even the Washington National.  But really, who am I to make fun of the Nationals?  My team hasn’t won the World Series since 1908.  But before I start to cry, let me tell you what I have in store for you today; three people that are going to give you their expert opinion on all things MLB, 2010. 

On the panel, we have Brad McLarty.  You know he’s an expert, because us McLarty boys haven’t been wrong in over 5 years…just ask our wives. ;)   We also have McKenna.  This is a guy that is so famous that he only needs one name.  You know, kind of like Cher (yeah, I just put him in the same category as Cher), Gandi, and Jordan (there you go McKenna, I worked you in there with MJ, so you can feel better again).  And finally, we have Eric Cressey.  Eric and his crew at “Cressey Performance” are literally changing the way that strength coaches train baseball players.  You can read more about Eric at   If you work with baseball players, do yourself a favor and check out his website – a GREAT baseball resource!  Now, lets get to it…

Play Ball!


Danny McLarty: Before we get to the entire league, lets start off with what is truly important to us.  For Brad and I, that is the Cubs.  For Eric and McKenna, that is the Red Sox.  Starting it off with Brad, briefly tell me why we are not going to be saying, “there’s always next year,” by the time July rolls around.
Brad McLarty: We are not going to be saying that because hopefully the Cubs will stay healthy this year.  Last year the Cubs had key players injured time after time.  Theses are the same key players that led them to 97 wins the year before.  If they can stay healthy they are very capable of a 90+ win season again.  Carlos Zambrano spent the off-season working out in Chicago for the first time in his career.  He has lost a lot of weight and it’s time to stop saying he could be great if….  He’s got a lot to prove and this has to be the year he gets it done.  Geovany Soto has also lost 40lbs in the off-season and is hungry to prove his abilities after a bad sophomore season. 

DM: Back in college McKenna lived a life with as much heartbreak as us Cubs fans.  But that all changed in the summer of 2004 when Boston got their first World Series ring since 1918.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to your stupid Red Sox in a moment.  Before doing that, tell me McKenna, do the 2010 Cubs have a chance?

McKenna: I hate to say it but I would bet on Piniella dropping dead arguing a bang-bang play at first before I take the Cubs to win it.  They need a real number one starter and I’m not sure they have enough offense to make up for a questionable bullpen.  I keep hoping we can get our dream World Series and watch the Red Sox versus the Cubs at Fenway and Wrigley but I don’t see it happening this year.   

DM: We are no longer friends McKenna.

Eric, care to add anything in regards to this year’s Cubs team?  Or dont you care about us? 
Eric Cressey:  Cubs?  Who are they?

Just kidding, of course…at least sort of.

DM: Switching gears to a less important topic – the Red Sox.  Tell me Eric, how do you like the Red Sox chances against the “Evil Empire” in the AL East this year?

EC: I like them.  Everybody knocks the “defense approach” the Sox have taken this year, but to be honest, I don’t think offensive production will drop off at all.  And, guys like Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron, and Marco Scutaro make the pitching staff better – particularly when you take a great defensive center fielder like Ellsbury and put him in left.  You’ve upgraded at four positions defensively, and that makes an already good pitching staff better.  Pitching wins games (and, more specifically, healthy starting pitching), and I’d take Beckett-Lester-Lackey against any three pitchers in baseball in a playoff series.  The Sox crunch the numbers more than any other team in MLB; they know what they’re doing with these moves.

Oh, and some guy named Youkilis had a great new strength coach this off-season…so he’ll be just fine at first base (especially since he’s already won a Gold Glove there) 

The Green Monster

DM: And McKenna, your thoughts?
McKenna:  I agree with Eric completely but I will add that the Sox also still have Wakefield, Matsuzaka and Buchholz which gives the Red Sox depth and flexibility that the Yankees don’t have with their starting rotation.  I could argue that potentially Lackey is the Red Sox number four starter because Buchholz stuff is that good. The kid has already thrown a no hitter and has filthy stuff.  I do have some concerns with the Red Sox offensive fire power but if they need a bat the Red Sox have the ability to go get someone in July once some of the fire sales begin. The proverbial nail in the coffin for the Yankees is that it’s a contract year for Josh Beckett, case closed.

DM: Lets move around the league a bit.  We haven’t won since 1908, so the odds are stacked in our favor to get it done.  This is most likely, “our year,” but injuries could take over, another goat could cross our path, or something else crazy, you really never know.  If something like that takes place, and the Cubs don’t win it, what other teams out there do you like to be playing deep into the post-season?
BM: Its easy to pick the two teams that were in the World Series last year, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  I think the Phillies offensive line-up is the scariest line-up in the National league and their pitching isn’t too shabby either.  You add Roy Halladay into the mix and they are my preseason pick to make it back to the World Series. My sleeper is the San Fransico Giants.  Love their #1 and #2 starters Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.  They’ve also added some nice pieces with Mark DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez.  Yankees of course are tough to pick against with the cast of All-Stars they have. Not a surprise when your team salary is pushing 210 million while the Tampa Bay Rays are around 68 million.  I think they will be battling the same teams as always with the Red Sox and Angels.  The Mariners and White Sox added some nice players but the Twins losing their closer Nathan and moving outdoors is going to hurt them.

DM: Brad, please don’t ever say anything nice about the White Sox again.  McKenna, what say you?

McKenna: Obviously the Red Sox will win the AL East.  The AL Central will be the Twins, I don’t care if Nathan is out or not.  In the AL West I like Seattle to finally break through and keep the Angels home this fall.  The AL wild card will be the Rays coming out of the brutal AL East.  I know, I know, I didn’t pick the Yankees to even make the playoffs but here are my reasons; 1. I hate them! 2. I think they will have issues with injuries this year and it will derail them. 3. How long can Rivera still be a lights-out closer?  I mean the dude is what, fifty?  He still plays Enter Sandman when he enters the game.  Lame!  In the NL East it has to be the Phillies as they added Halladay and that is plenty.  In the NL Central I have the Cardinals.  La Russa is a genius, he has the best player in the game, and a decent pitching staff barring any injuries.  In the NL West I like the Rockies.  I am going to the inter-league series when they play the Red Sox and look forward to watching two possible playoff teams.  My NL wild card pick is the Braves.  Watch out for Jason Heyward, if they keep him in the bigs he is going to be a beast! 

DM: Eric, with all of the professional baseball players that you work with on a weekly basis, I’m sure the readers would love to get your thoughts.  Which teams do you think have the best chance to be playing in October?


EC: Hard to argue with the Yankees and Red Sox coming out of the AL East.  I like Detroit in the AL Central and Seattle in the AL West (gotta love Lee and Hernandez as a 1-2).  Philadelphia and St. Louis will go from the NL East and Central, and LA from the NL West.  Wild card to SF…sorry, Cubs fans.

DM: Obviously guys like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Theriot are easy choices for pre-season MVP talk.  Eric, anyone else that you put on your short list that might surprise us?

EC: Pujols is practically a given in the NL.  I think that the AL is more wide open, and I certainly have some biases who will remain nameless. 

That said, as a baseball fan, I think it will be interesting to see what Evan Longoria does this year.  The guy hit 33HR and knocked in 113 runs in his first full MLB season.  Traditionally, if you hit .300 with 30+HR and 100+RBI, you are a top three guy in MVP voting, guaranteed.  He’s seen all those AL pitchers for 1.5 years now and is more mature.

Oh, that Joe Mauer guy is pretty good, too.

DM: Brad, do you have any surprises?

BM: My pick every year if he is healthy is Jose (his real name so I always call him that) Pujols.  But a surprise and I hate to say it, is Ryan Braun of the Brewers.  Love his bat and he is improving in left field.  Another Brewer to watch is Prince Fielder.  In the American league I am going to say Joe Mauer.  A number of players after signing a huge contract would coast but I think that is going to drive him even more.

DM: McKenna?

McKenna: It is hard to argue against Theriot who hit a whopping seven bombs last year, but in the NL I’m going with Hanley Ramirez.  He has all the tools and was once a Red Sox, which is good enough for me.  My dark horse is David Wright.  If the Mets have a decent year he will get a strong look.  In the AL, Youkilis has to be the pick.  Working out with Eric has to make him good for forty bombs and a huge year!  I also love Longoria, he just kills the Red Sox and is a super talent.  I think the Tigers will stink but Cabrera also has a solid shot at winning the MVP. 

DM: Eric works with a ton of pitchers - working his magic to help keep their arms/shoulders healthy, getting them stronger to throw harder, and to help them with recovery between outings.  With that said, I can’t have him on this roundtable without talking Cy Young.  Eric, who do you like in each league?

EC: Even though he has struggled in spring training, it’s hard to go with anyone but Sabathia in the AL after how dominant he was last year.  Greinke deserved it completely, though – especially considering what he did on a team that didn’t score a lot of runs.  Still, I’d say Sabathia and Hernandez as 1-2.

I think Jon Lester is ready to be a top of the line starter and it wouldn’t surprise me if he won 20 games this year.  I’m not saying Cy Young, but I think he’ll surprise a lot of people.   Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if Lester, Beckett, and Lackey all won 20 games.

In the NL, I like Halladay without a doubt.  I’ll put Lincecum as runner-up.

DM: Brad, do you have a Cy Young front-runner or two?

BM: I’m going with Tim Lincecum of the Giants, or Roy Halladay of the Phillies.  Halladay not pitching in that division anymore will give him a chance to dominate.  In the American League I am going with Justin Verlander.  I’m going to give Cliff Lee an outside chance.  After dominating in the playoffs, then being traded, he will want to show people they made a mistake.

DM: McKenna, anything to add?

McKenna: In the NL Halladay is almost a certain lock.  Going from the AL East with the DH rule and better hitters, to the NL East facing pitchers and weaker competition is a recipe for 25 wins.  I also like Wainwright and Lincecum but they are looking up at Halladay.  In the AL it’s two of my beloved Red Sox battling for the pitching honors.  Lester and Beckett are both going to have huge years and have the defense behind them to post huge numbers.  I know you are all rolling your eyes saying, here we go with more Red Sox bias, but I am giving my most professional and honest opinion so take it for what it’s worth.  GO SOX!

DM: Man, it sounds like this Red Sox team does it all!  Hey McKenna, do you think your boys can help America find a solution to this health care crisis?  Can you get them to use their super powers to pass a law, making it illegal for guys to ever do a curl in the squat rack again?  You’re such a homer! ;)

But seriously, thank you very much for taking the time to do this roundtable.  Each one of you gave the readers some really good thoughts heading into opening day.  If anyone has any surprises that you think these guys left out, post them in the comments section below.  I hope you all enjoy the season!