Concussions have taken a front seat in our national conversation in sports. In August, the NFL settled a $760-Million lawsuit, League of Denial illustrates a league not only indifferent to head trauma but almost militantly hostile to research, and this past week 10 NHL players filed a lawsuit against the league, petitioning for certification as a class action suit.
The complaint alleges the NHL knew there were dangers to players health and instead took no action to address them - essentially learning from the NFL lawsuit. In collective bargaining, unions will engage in something called “pattern bargaining.” The UAW did this successfully for the better part of half a century in the auto industry: choose one of the “big three” automakers best positioned to give the union what it wanted and then used that negotiation to drive the negotiations (pun intended) with the other companies. The negotiations were the blueprint for how to proceed. Similarly, it would seem the NHL players have let the NFL lawsuit play out to give them the roadmap for their own suit.
But the case is not as clear cut: the NHL has taken preventative actions and not engaged in the same obfuscation the NFL did. However, the NHL is also not squeaky clean here either. Additionally, the league is in a far more compromised position than was the NFL - this is a league that has endured one entire canceled season and lost the better part of a second in collective bargaining struggles over how league revenues are distributed banking on the idea that they would lose less money by not playing than by playing - a situation utterly unthinkable in professional football. The NHL has staked a position that their franchises are losing money and is awash in red ink.
This lawsuit threatens to reveal all kinds of financial information the league would prefer not be revealed, which could expose their entire position of financial duress: expose either as truth or fiction. But we also know the NHL owners aren’t of the same ilk of the NFL - this is a league that has shut down an entire season, publicity be damned. In a way, this what the labor relations of the league has wrought - wouldn’t it be funny if horrendous labor relations, the cancellation of a season and a half, ill-advised expansion, and money losing operations hasn’t killed the league, but a long drawn out lawsuit over traumatic brain injuries does the job?
Unlike the other leagues here in the US, hockey players do have legitimate alternatives. NBA players can play in Europe, but cannot make anything close to what they earn here. Football? Well American football is really only here in the States...with a flavor in Canada. Baseball? Sure, but the money is here. Hockey, though. Hockey players have alternatives. The NHL can evolve into a smaller entity and there would still be places for players to go.
In other news: My fantasy team has a shot of making the playoffs...if Marshawn Lynch doesn’t get more than 6-points. I made the mistake of playing Delanie Walker and Nate Burleson...0 points between the two of them, but my opponent made the mistake of benching Ben Tate (oh he of 28 points) so it seems I didn’t make as many mistakes as he did.
Heisman Voting: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated for a complaint of sexual assault that happened nearly a year ago, with a decision to indict Winston not coming until after the voting has happened, which of course leaves voters in a quandary. What do you think? Who’s now the frontrunner? At least one Heisman voter says it’s AJ McCarron.
Pokey. Last weekend, he was well enough to take out and get groomed. Over the week, he’s been eating A LOT, but this weekend he seems to have turned another corner and seems a lot worse. We want to believe he’s doing better, but it’s weekends like this kind of take us back to reality - that his little body is a ticking time bomb. We remain optimistic, but less so.
WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! It's Snoopy. Good mourning and Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. No Snoopy isn't fast but he flies planes, dog fights the Red Baron and is just my most favorite cartoon character along with Underdog, Mighty Mouse, Top Cat, Bullwinkle and pretty much the old school stuff from the 60's & 70's. Snoopy brings me joy. I still have my stuffed Snoopy. Lost his hat and scarf long ago. His head flops to the one side but I still have him. I used to have a Bugs Bunny but the neighbor kid stole him.......Dratz.
So any how, I hope all of you are doing well and aren't still stuffed from Thanksgiving over indulgences. My stuffed nose and coughing have slowed down. While I was sick I'd drag myself out of bed to find stuff on You Tube to listen to. Found lots of Frank Zappa concerts. Click and go back to bed to listen. Dude is the best box of musical chocolates ever. Pure genius he was. The best Mental Toss Flycoon ever. Or was that dental floss tycoon? The man surrounded himself with top rate musicians and sometimes he just directed on stage letting them shine. No big ego party. Of course they were playing his music. He was a prolific writer.
After a couple Zappa concerts I found The Arctic Monkeys. They did a show at the Austin City Limits festival that is way worth checking out. Favorite song has to be "I bet you look good on the dance floor". Worth a look see.
TONY STEWART UPDATE
Isn't that scooter cute? For the past couple weeks Tony has been getting around with a cane. Says his time table to get back in the car on February 23rd for the Daytona 500 is still on track. He still has pain. Like 100 nails being hammered into his leg but the doctors assure him this is his nerves working to get his shattered leg healed up. I'm sure the slowly but surely thing is not working for this race car driver. That scooter is cool though.
CONGRATS TO THE ALMIROLA'S
Aric & Janice Almirola welcomed a daughter this week. Abby Lynn Almirola and mom are doing fine.
FIRE AT THE HARVICK HOME
The Harvick's were awoken in the wee hours when the fire alarm went off. Turns out the fire started in the basement. Except for some structural and water damage all is well health wise for the Harvick's. They're thankful for the response by the fire trucks and for all the well wishes.
BODINE OLYMPIC BOBSLED PROJECT
Geoff Bodine used to drive Cup cars back in the day. Having an engineering degree he has become involved in NASCAR driving the pace car some times, and other developmental projects. Did you know that he made bobsleds for the USA Olympic team? His sleds have given them 6 medals. Two of them gold. They defend their gold in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this February.
Geoff has been working on affordable low maintenance multi use training sleds tailored for use by paralympics. Most are manufactured for one rider his are for 2.
They're being fabricated in Mooresville, NC and assembled in a shop near Huntsville owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano and his dad, Tom.
So if you're in need of a practice sled they run around $20,000.
NASCAR BUYS IOWA SPEEDWAY
No Sprint Cup races are planned at this track but the 2014 schedule has some big races on it. There will be 2 Nationwide races held in May & August, 2 K&N Pro Series races held in May & August and then a truck race & IndyCar combo weekend in July. Get your tickets. They do sell you the whole seat but you'll only need the edge.
GEN 6 REPORT CARD
The new NASCAR Cup Series car has gotten good grades. There were 11 drivers that beat track qualifying records. Seems every week is was a new record. Johnson got 3 and Kenseth got 2.
51.2% of drivers finished on the lead lap.
127,306 green flag passes. Up from 17,398 in 2012.
83.1%cars running at the finish of the race. Up from 74.7 in 2012.
It also went on to talk about # of different winners, # of lead changes and # of drivers that led at least one lap. All the stats pointed up. Some big gains and others just a tad. All in all the drivers are happy with the car and so is NASCAR.
OMG!!!! It's Joe Namath and Hines Ward. Wonder why Joe isn't an ESPN or FOX commentator. Would love to hear what he has to say. Wonder if he has his panty hose on to keep warm.
I can tell you there will be some very happy NFL fans this Christmas mourning. I packed a lot of NFL coats. Didn't see any names I knew when I was packing the Steelers jackets but I'm sure somebody loves me and can over look any naughty things I did this year.
I'm beat. Time for a shower and those nice pillows waiting for me. My Sunday mourning routine will be breakfast with my most handsome grandsons for sure. Haven't held the new one much because of being sick but I can oogle from afar.
You all take care, travel safe and rock that remote. It's Sunday you know.
Now that we have had our fill of turkey and stuffing, enough time battling the mall traffic or internet traffic as the case may be, it is time to turn our attention to some real shopping...MLB Free Agents. This year's crop of free agents has the potential to tip the scales in favor of...or against...some very strong teams. MLB GM's have done some early holiday shopping but the Christams Carole Turkey, aka, Robinson Cano, is still hanging in the store shop window.
Cano has been a bright star since coming into the league in 2007. He has hit well over .300 every season except one (2008, .279) with a career average of .309 and an OPS of .860. He is solid in the field at second base and has collected all of the appropriate awards that a star should collect. The big question is, at age 32, how big do you go for Robbie Cano?
His agent, Jay Z, staked out some rarified air for the Yankee star as his opening bid....10 years for $300 Million. Now, I am not a big fan of adulterants, but whatever he is smoking, I'll take some. Most MLB teams have managed a payroll of about $100 million, plus or minus - how many teams would be willing to shell out 30% of their payroll for one guy? And to do for 10 years that would leave the last few years of his deal as ones of declining performance (unless he winters in Miami, of course).
There is no question for the next 3 or 4 years, Cano can be a force in any team's lineup. Yes, he could take a top tier team to a Championship team. You can fingure he is good for at least 5 years - but a ten year deal? I don't see that as viable for just about any team except the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers. Of course the Angels have seen up close and personal how signing the "best player in the game" has worked out. After hitting over .300 for 10 consecutive years in St. Louis, he has not broke that barrier either season in LA and has been injured to boot. In games played in 2013, Pujols' slugging percentage hit .437 (vs. a career number of .599!). So, in this case, buyer beware. I have no doubt that Jay Z and Cano will be celebrating their deal, but I would be surprised if even the Yankees would consider anything more than 5 or 6 years.
One factor that will certainly impact the signing of free agents is the cost of the a top draft choice to sign a player who received a qualifying offer. For this list of 13, any team signing them loses their #1 draft pick while the team losing the player gets comp'ed a pick. How did the MLBPA allow this to happen?! It is a major deterrent when it comes to signing one of the elite free agents. Of course that did not stop the Yankees from signing Brian McCann - a huge blow to the Braves and a big win for the boys in the Bronx. Nevertheless, it will give most teams pause for thought.
The Red Sox have 3 players on this list and for the most part, according to sources most of these guys are going to fly the coop. In particular, Jacoby Ellsbury, a near .300 career hitter playing a key position in the field (CF). Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Ellsbury end up with the Nationals since Span did not really work out. He will certainly be missed in Boston as would Napoli and Drew. Assuming all of these players find other places to play, it looks like free agency may yet again crush the chances of a dynasty.
Then there are the pitchers - and in my view, the pitchers have always been the diciest proposition in free agency sports. Their ability to stay in the zone is always variable and the "true ace" is indeed a rare commodity in baseball. Look at the Giants, one year champs, the next year chumps. Why did they lose it? Pitching (or too much sake & sushi?!). The top prospect this season is from Japan...Mashahiro Tanaka. That puts the usual suspects into play to pick the 26 year old Japanese star up. I think pitchers are best home grown...use free agency to fill out the back of the rotation, not the ace.
Well, I think it's time to go shopping. I think I dial up my buddy Mike Rizzo and see what deals I can help the Nationals make.
It has been a cold Thanksgiving weekend putting a damper on annual Turkey Bowls and Turkey Shoots (golf) everywhere. I know we all love sports here and we have lots to be thankful for. I personally have had a tough year from a health perspective and I am grateful for each day. I have a great family and they really look out for me (although they are driving me to be a pescaterian ...no meat, fish OK). For everyone who takes time to read my column, I am thankful for that too. It is always nice to see everyone chime in on a debate and to create some additional points to consider is a lot of fun. If I wasn't a science guy, I would have loved to be a sports journalist. So thank you to everyone who spends a few minutes here each Saturday and have a very happy and joyous holiday season!
Let me start off with this years Gobble awards. These are for the biggest Turkeys in Sports for the past year. We will work from 1-to 5 Gobbles the biggest Turkey gets 5 Gobbles.
NFL , constantly changing the rules which is creating some inconsistent Officiating. The NFL who should also adopt the college system of every play being reviewed by replay Officials hasn’t seemed to slow down the college game at all.
Last week I mentioned the Chicago Black Hawks selling part of their championship Ice.and we all know that when ice melts it reverts back to it’s original form.
The Boston Red Sox have topped that they are auctioning of players shaved beards. Again like the Blackhawks it’s all for charity but really auction off a stick or a bat or something else.
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble
This goes to Johnny Football for being a dumb ass in the off season. Kid has his whole future a head of it.and his ticket wrote so don’t blow it.
In the words of the Immortal Dean Vernon Wormer
“son fat drunk, and stupid is no why to go through Life son”
All the drunk it fans that think sliding down banisters or jumping from the upper deck is funny. You get what you deserve for being frigging stupid.
All the MLB players that took the Suspensions and were implicated in the Biogenesis scandal.
Johnny Peralta gets an extra half Gobble for having a press conference and just bad planning and we will throw his lawyers and agent in there for letting him talk at all.
This Years Grand Prize when is 5 Gobbles Please
You guessed it A-Rod. Yes for fighting his suspension, For walking out of meetings last week for just being a total moron. He should have taken the suspension and he may have been able to comeback and play a few more years no chance of that now.
Happy Thanksgiving to all
To all the High School Seniors who will be playing their last Football games last Night and This morning Good Luck to you all.
I will be finishing my season this morning as well. It has been a fun season worked some good games and worked with a lot of good Officials. this year.
To All Of You Here at the Gab Happy Thanksgiving be Healthy and be Safe.
Feel free to add to the Gobble awards in the comments