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Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

College is supposed to be a time to nurture young talent. Itís a time for people to grow mentally and physically. At the very least, you expect colleges to protect the young people in attendance. Increasingly, colleges are failing. West Virginia failed. Virginia University failed. People continue to get hurt.

The NCAA is the biggest culprit. They say they are protecting kids. They are making rules. They are testing new equipment. Where are the results? All I really see is the NCAA making money. They are making money at the expense of Kosta Karageorge and kids like him.

You all know the story by now. Karageorge was having emotional problems and outbursts. He associated it with past concussions and trauma. It is unclear if he sought help or if anyone sought help for him. It is unclear in Ohio State took note or did anything to help the young man. What is clear is Karageorge reached a breaking point. Karageorge went missing and was found in a dumpster with a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound.

I certainly hope the family would consider have Kostaís brain tested. The kid seemed to know something was wrong. Having evidence would only strengthen this idea. It might also light a fire under the NCAA.

I played the game. I played 10 years of football. I know the game is physically tough and demanding. Iíve never been diagnosed with a concussion. Iíve taken tough hits. The game takes a toll. I still believe that there are ways to make things safer. I refuse to believe equipment canít be better. Iíd hate to think money was all that was standing in the way. People are considering not letting their children play, even pro athletes. The NCAA and the NFL have the funds and interest to do something, but neither seems to be in a hurry.

The more I see the NCAA do nothing, the angrier I get.† This recent case hopefully does two things. First, it should stir the NCAA to some sort of response. The NCAA hasnít even issued a statement in regards to Karageorgeís death. †Iíd like to hear what their thoughts are and possibly get an update on their safety measures.

Secondly, Iíd like to see the burgeoning unionization movement rally to this case. College players recently presented a list of grievances. I, like a lot of people, were skeptical of these demands, but upon reading them, I was pretty impressed. These kids had thought things out. Their biggest concern was safety and a sense of insurance. This case underscores those ideas. This case shows the NCAA refusing to act. It shows the organization as it is: careless. It shows that change is necessary.

I know itís of little comfort to the family, friends, and teammates of Kosta Karageorge. I hope, however, that this tragic death can be the beginning of a positive change. Maybe the NCAA can show itself to be the champion of education and young people that it claims to be. Maybe these young folks will get the protection they deserve. Maybe Karageorge will earn a legacy of change and be remembered as the young man whose tragedy saved others.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

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.†

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

AMERICA!

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.

American League

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.

National League

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.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

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.

Feel free to read the article here:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-i-hate-american-soccer-fans-1402012291?mod=trending_now_5

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.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

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.

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