Welcome, Gabbers. I decided to take part of BOBís post to heart, mainly that we bitch about whatís wrong with sports too much. There is a lot wrong. The last few weeks have been filled with examples. It does give us conversation material, but it also really burns folks out.
Honestly, how many of you are already a little sick of the NFL right now? Training camps just started and weíre already fed up.
A Cleveland man got a measure of revenge against Art Modell. A lifelong Browns fan found Modellís grave and urinated on it. Itís gross. Itís disgusting, but to many Brownsí fans, it is well deserved. Unfortunately, like too many folks anymore, the fan taped the whole thing and posted it on YouTube. Heís facing two years in jail and $500 in fines, not to mention court costs.
I think we all know that sports fans are nuts. To be a fan is to be fanatical. To be fanatical is too be attached to something at an unhealthy level. You see the Philly Fanatic? I donít know what that thing is, but itís plump and green. Itís not healthy.† Itís sick enough to justify peeing on a grave. Still, itís the kind of act that you just shake your head about.
Chip Kelly said what weíve all said: The NFL Combine is boring. Itís a waste of time. You might be too much of a fan if you watch the coverage. The NFL Network could do everyone a favor and show highlights of the top prospects at each osition. Thatíd be a lot better.
BlackBandit went old school format and reminded us how exceptional the incoming MLB HOF class is this year. They were pure. They were great. They were untarnished by steroid talks (maybe there were some with Thomas, but no one really bought any of it). He said it all, but letís just enjoy some highlights.
Speaking of highlights, the Pirates have been a great story and added another all star with Cutch in Josh Harrison. If you havenít heard about Harrison, take it from me, heís the kind of guy you want on your team. He came up through the system with Cutch and heís proving his worth now. By the way, heís only making $513,000, which is a bargain in the MLB.
This weekend, Harrison got involved in one of baseballís greatest plays: the pickle.
Harrison has been caught up in two this year. Heís beat out both of them. What he did to the Rockies this weekend was just silly.
You know what else has to make you feel good as a fan? Just about every division in baseball is at least a two dog race right now. The Tigers have a 5 game lead on the Royals right now, but the Tigers like to make things interesting right about now. Stay tuned.
Either way, weíve had our share of headaches, but weíve also had some great playoff series across the board. How great were the NHL playoffs? How surprised were you with the competitive nature of the NBA playoffs? How amped are you for the conclusion of this MLB season and the coming playoffs? It might be flawed, but we even have playoffs coming to college!
Thatís all I have for this week. I got a week to work before I get a vacation back in MI and my trip to PNC. †Thanks as always for reading. Time to get happy.†
Itís the week of the 4th. America is on the way down from soccer fever. Itís a mixed bag of reaction. A lot of folks are happy. The media thinks that soccer is here to say. Some folks claim theyíll keep watching the World Cup. Not to beat a dead horse, but all talk of this is really moot when NFL mini-camps open. Weíre still America and football is played by 400 pound beastmen.
The fourth also means that the MLB is ready for a vacation. As a Tigers fan, I know Verlander is. The All-Star game is acomin. Growing up the selection show was a highlight of the weekend. That ior checking out the rosters in the next dayís Detroit Free Press.†
Now that Iím grown and we have the internet, I like to vote online. As per usual this time of year Iíll be showing you my ballot. The downside to voting, IMHO, is that fans have no say on pitchers. So, my ballot will also have who Iíd like to see get the start for both sides. Iíll include the leaders in fan voting as well.
1B- Miguel Cabrera (Current leader (CL)-Miguel Cabrera)
Miggy is arguably the best player in the game right now. If you argue that, you might agree that heís the best hitter currently. He has been for several years now. Last year was Miggyís first career All-Star start. If you look at this guyís career, then that is shocking. Young Jose Abreu is a distant second currently.
2B- Robinson Cano (CL-Robinson Cano)
Cano is a regular consensus pick at second, but few people figured heíd be able to elvate a team the way he has in Seattle. Seattle acquired Cano from the Yanks and only climbed to a .542 winning percentage. Last year they were at .438. Cano doesnít have the bats around him he did in New York, but he doesnít seem to have noticed. Heís still putting up big numbers.
SS- Alcides Escobar (CL-Derek Jeter)
Jeter wins this in a landslide. Escobar is not on the radar here. Why did I pick him? Heís batting .295 with 28 homers and 20 steals. That and his team has been amazing this year. Why not reward Escobar for it?
3B- Josh Donaldson (CL-Josh Donaldson)
The decision comes down to Donaldson against Adrien Beltre. I give Donaldson the nod because Donaldson and Co are currently leading the Rangers by 13.5 games.
C- Derek Norris (CL- Matt Wietters)
Wietters and the Oís are doing well. Norris and the Aís are doing better. Norris is slowly gaining on Wietters in fan voting.
OF- Michael Brantly, Jose Bautista, Mike Trout (CL- Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Yoenis Cespedes)
Brantly is having a great season and should be rewarded. That said, Cespedes has overtaken Melky Cabrera. Cespedes is also having a great season. I give the fan vote my blessing here.
SP- Felix Hernandez
King Felix has excelled his entire career in Seattle. He just has better parts around him. Still, 10 wins and a 2.10 ERA helps.
DH- Victor Martinez (CL- Nelson Cruz)
Martinez is stepping up big time after the tigers traded native son Prince Fielder away. Nelson Cruz has been impressive in his move to Baltimore. I give V-Mart the edge, but am ok with Cruz.
1B- Paul Goldschmidt (CL-Paul Goldschmidt)
The Snakes are lousy, but Goldschmidt continues to be the bright spot. You canít ignore his numbers.
2B- Neil Walker (CL- Chase Utley)
Utley has great numbers and a pedigree. Walker has great numbers and was part of last seasonsí best story: the resurgent Pirates. The Buccos are not doing as well this season, but Walker is hangin tough in second in the fan vote.
SS- Troy Tulowitzki (CL- Troy Tulowitzki)
Troy is a great ball player that more of us would celebrate if he werenít in Denver.†
3B- Todd Frazier (CL- Aramis Ramierez)
I canít help thinking that Frazier is being held back by bigger names and better records. He sits in 5th place right now.
C- Jonathon Lucroy (CL- Yadier Molina)
You canít argue Molinaís legacy or his teamís standings. Still, Lucroy is having a great start to 2014 and is a big reason the Brewers are leading the division over the Cards.
OF- Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Gianco Stanton (CL- McCutchen, Puig, Carlos Gomez)
I almost put Gomez in as well. The Brew Crew should get some consideration here. Still, how are the Marlins threatening Washington and Atlanta? Stanton gets a lot of the credit and my vote.†
SP- Adam Wainwright
Johnny Cueto is an amazing young talent. He is unbelievable to watch. Wainwright, however, is the master. I predict it may take a few more season for Cueto to eclipse Wainwright.†
That is it for me this week. Thanks as always for stopping in. Hope you folks have safe and great Fourths. Get the grills goin folks.
Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. Itís been feeling like summer more and more lately, but weíre finally getting there. Fatherís Day is this weekend. The NBA and NHL are wrapping up as the MLB is ramping up. The kids are out of school. Best of all, the days are getting longer.
This summer brings the World Cup to the spotlight. A lot of people have been pumped for this. I figure Iíll watch a few games with my wife. Overall, a lot of Americans are not as pumped. I think I might have figured out why. At least I found an article that helps me put a finger on why soccer grates on me so much: some American soccer fans are pretty douchey.†
Seriously, there is a huge crop of American soccer fans that canít stop talking about the beauty of the game. Itís majestic. They talk about how much more physically demanding the game is. They even question our right to claim football as an American sport. Thereís just so many people who seem to be fans for the sake of prestige. Itís like they feel it makes them better people/ It really just makes them smug assholes.
Now, the author goes a long way to describing soccer as a working manís sport. I can see it. Pack the pubs up and raise some pints while the gameís on. We do the same thing here. I bet if I could watch a game with some folks overseas, itíd be an awesome experience. The mistake made here is that people push the game as a global connect. They make it akin to shopping at Trader Joeís or driving a hybrid. I donít figure most soccer fans feel this way. They just want to see their team/country really kick some ass. Thatís what I can get behind, not the SOHO crowd. Show me more of that and maybe I wonít raise as much hell about the game.
So the team I generally pick to win the AL East about every year, the Rays, are struggling. Recordwise they are dead last. In the league. They are looking up at the Cubs and Astros. They have a .242 team batting average. They seem pretty snake bitten.
Apparently management and Joe Maddon agreed. The team brought in a Seminole medicine man to try and fix the bugs. Thereís no record of what the medicine man did, but the Rays promptly lost the evening of his visit 3-0 to the Mariners. If itís a curse, itís a strong one.
My landlady bought us peanuts. I forgot how awesomely peanuts go with ball games and, heck, everything. I donít predict the bag will make it through the week.
Thatís about all I have on tap for the week. Iíd like to wish all the poppas out there a Happy Fatherís Day. My dad is getting a college t-shirt. He loves shirts from smaller, lesser know colleges. This time heíll get a Carnegie Mellon Tartans shirt. It features one pissed looking Scottie dog on it. Hope everyone has a great Fatherís Day weekend. Thanks as always for stopping by.
I may be the only one here, but I could not access the Gab last night. I got home from the gym and was going to write, but neither Chrome or Explorer could get here. That being said, this is a late post.
By all accounts and from the little I've seen both the NHL and NBA are having very good post-seasons. The regular season in both leagues were good, though all leagues tend to have some lag due to the length of the season. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the quality of the NBA playoffs has thrown me. I really didn't think things would be the competitive in the East. I wrote about midway through the season about the East having only 4-5 teams above .500. Things got better, but they still ended the year with 9 teams under .500.
There were plenty of surprises in the East, but it is still a conference that gives each team some hope to make the playoffs. The hope in Detroit is that maybe we will get a new president that can figure things out. Joe†Dumars†was let go about a month ago.†Dumars†did a good job of utilizing some decent players the Pistons had in the early†2000s†and adding just the right pieces to become playoff regulars. We even won a championship with those guys. The stage is set for the Pistons to do it again IMO. We have two young†backcourt†guys in Greg Monroe and†andre†Drummond. They both average double-doubles in points and rebounds, though Monroe was a bit shy in rebounds. Still, you can't ask for much more from your power forward and center. I like Brandon Jennings. He will be a good piece moving forward. The problem is we have a glut of guards and none of them seems to be a true point guard. Jennings played point this season and averaged 7.6 assists per game. That's not bad, but given Monroe and Drummond I would expect more assists per game from our point guard.
It's clear there is a lot that can be done to trim the fat. we can let go or trade some of our guards. We still have the albatross of Charlie†Villanueva†and his contract in Detroit. The positive is that Detroit has an opportunity to bring in fresh perspective in the front office and on the bench. With the talent we have, I hope the ownership takes proper diligence to find the right people.
The excitement I see here about these playoffs leads me to a dark thought: is the NFL becoming THAT league now? Granted none of us are about to stop watching NFL games. On the other hand, more than a few of us were†underwhelmed†with the regular season and the Super Bowl mismatch left a lot of people wanting. You STILL hear a lot of player misconduct from under the shield.†Goodell†and the owners keep trying to screw up a good thing with rule changes and talks of a team in London. With the other leagues starting to gain traction, I feel that the NFL is on a bit of a slippery slope. Cuban might†not've†been too far off. NFL brass needs to focus less on changing the game and more on keeping fans content.
Well, Gabbers, woke up as per usual today and flicked on Good Morning America. Itís becoming routine until I can get regular teaching work. As with most news programs, they have a ticker. You know, they break down news stories in brief sentences, grammar be damned.
This morning on piece grabbed my attention. It read: MLB bans home plate collisions.
My reaction was a pretty standard WHAT!!!??? How could the MLB ban one of the most riveting parts of the game? Realizing a single sentence would hardly be the whole truth I investigated further.
Recently, concussion detection has become far more sophisticated. Itís also gone beyond the usual suspect of football. Studies have shown that concussions are known to happen in most sports. Football just happens to be the leader in men, while soccer is the main culprit among women.
Weíve also learned more about the long-term effects of concussions. The news is grim. Concussions cut down on life expectancy. They impair many key areas of the brain. They are also responsible for startling and sometimes scary behavior challenges including depression, homicidal tendencies, and suicide. To say that people have become more aware is an understatement. The level of awareness has been evident in a decline in youth sport participation (though it is by no means the sole cause) and new rules in professional sports.
Consequently, the owners of many MLB teams and members of the Playersí Union have come together to decrease the risk of concussion in baseball. One big cause theyíve already addressed is the risk of pitchers being hit by a line drive. To combat this risk, pitchers will have the option to don a heavily padded cap. Hopefully this is an option for fielders as well.
The newest preventative measure under discussions was the home pate collision. Itís a thing of beauty to watch. Itís a human train-wreck that harkens back to the gritty, early days of the game. You can practically visualize Ty Cobb going spikes first when you mention plate collisions. While catchers are protected, collisions still represent a danger to both players involved.
The solution is a one-year trial of a new rule. The rule would allow collisions, but only under specific circumstances. In essence, the catcher can only block the plate if a) he has the ball or b) he is attempting to field a throw that he couldnít field without being in the base path.† On the other hand, the base runner would no longer be at liberty to initiate contact with the catcher. The runner must not deviate from the base path to home plate.† The runner must make an effort to touch home plate. He cannot lower his shoulder or push through the catcher. Only a clean slide would be deemed a proper means of reaching home. Other actions would result the runner being called out.
The union, however, worries if adopting this rule so soon gives players enough time to train to adjust the instincts or behavior in these situations. On the other hand, many worry that this rule puts too much say in the hands of umpires. The MLB does say that umpires may use video replay to enforce this rule.
To fans, this is a break with tradition. Like many new rules, people are also worried about how it will be carried out. Fan reaction has been mixed, but leaning towards negative. People now debate over how confusing the exceptions may be as well as whether plate collisions are an integral part of the game.
Meanwhile, back in Sochi, the Dutch have lobbed a blow against American sport. The coach of the Netherlands' speed skating team has been outspoken about the arrogance of the US and their approach to Olympics. He declares that the US wastes time, money, and athletes in ďAmerican footballĒ. He also declares the US should not be upset about losing in the Olympics or soccer.
Reminds me of our unofficial motto at Albion. Fuck the Dutch.
Finally, you guys remember how LeBron James ruined the classic MJ vs. Bird †in HORSE McDonalds' commercial? Well, get ready for James to ruin another 90ís classic in an effort to be like Mike. There are rumors of a sequel to Space Jam that would star LeBron. So much for being your own man.
That is it for me.† Thanks as always for stopping by. Baseball is coming.. Be sure to check in at the following link for an official countdown.