Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isn't Juicing Still Juicing?

I find it remarkable that when a MLB player tests positive for steroid use media outlets make it sound like the world has ended and when an NFL player tests positive for steroids it's ho-hum almost like nothing happened. And the bigger the baseball name the bigger the storm while no matter the NFL name no one cares and I feel that steroids in the NFL are way more harmful than steroids in MLB, because of the violent nature of football and how big and strong the players are they can cause more harm to one another compared to a guy with a bat assaulting baseballs, but yet the storm around baseball players will always be louder.

In 2013, 20 NFL players have been suspended for violating the substance policy of the NFL the biggest name which is Von Miller linebacker for the Denver Broncos. Fine the substance policy covers everything from illegal drugs like weed and cocaine to PEDs (Performing Enhancing Drugs), but still the media fallout from these 20 names compared to the 8 major leaguers suspended for PEDs in 2013 were completely different. I bet you can name at least 5 players of the 8 that were suspended by MLB while outside of Von Miller the other 19 names from the NFL are damn near anonymous.

What I find troubling is that players in MLB are pretty much forced to have these press conferences and apologize for their PED use while the NFL players are protected by the mighty shield of the NFL and ESPN. The shows on ESPN would much rather talk about how the absence of the player is going to effect the team instead of criticizing the player like they do to the MLB player. I hear "A-Rod is a cheater" spewing from most ESPN gas bags while Von Miller is no longer even spoke about and if he is it's in passing. Von Miller also tried to cover up his use of a "foreign substance" that's why he got 6 games instead the usual 4, but no one outside of NFL fiends that read the full details would know that he did, but everyone knows about Melky Cabrera's fake websites trying to explain his use.

It's almost as if NFL players have to kill living things before they're put into the spotlight of a "bad guy" (and even then after their jail time they probably could come back and play in the NFL and make millions just ask Michael Vick and Dante Stallworth) while a fake positive from a drug test would almost immediately peg a baseball player as a bad guy cheater type and once you're a cheat in baseball people start talking about voiding contracts and things of that nature and trying to ban said player from the league taking their lively hoods. I guess people are waiting for a juiced up football player to kill someone on the field, well that's bound to happen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to Fix the Mess of the Second Wild Card

So Bud Selig had a light bulb of an idea to turn the races for the postseason into drama central with a second wild card team and it has worked to an extent, but unfortunately it has messed up the trade deadlines. I've been saying this since he announced the second wild card, but now that I have an actual forum let me officially announce what I think Selig should do, he should push back the none waiver deadline to August 31st and the waiver deadline to the second or third week of September. Why? because with the second wild card more teams are taking longer to decide whether they are "buyers" (a team that is looking for one or more pieces to compete into the playoffs like the Pittsburgh Pirates) or "sellers" (a team without playoff inspirations and is trying to reload with prospects looking forward into the future like the New York Mets).

With the deadlines pushed back more teams that are sellers will notice their standing and decide to sell off pieces without having to deal with the revocable waiver process. Putting a player on revocable waivers opens him up to being claimed by a team and then that team has three options if one of its players is claimed off revocable waivers. That team can either pull the player back without penalty (like the Milwaukee Brewers did when they pulled pitcher Kyle Lohse back after the Atlanta Braves claimed him), work out a trade with the claiming team (like the New York Mets did with the Pittsburgh Pirates), or simply hand the player over for nothing (like Toronto Blue Jays did with Alex Rios and the Chicago White Sox who walked away with Rios without giving anything up). Not that dealing with revocable waivers is that difficult, but it limits the amount of teams that a team can trade a player to. Instead of being able to shop a player to the whole league the team can only offer the player to the team that claimed him.

Let's take Kyle Lohse for example, had the none waiver trade deadline been August 31st the Milwaukee Brewers would've been able to shop Lohse to all the teams that are competing for the playoffs instead of working something out with just the Atlanta Braves. If Milwaukee decides to trade Lohse in the offseason they can angle themselves better to get the best possible package for Lohse instead of whatever the Braves were willing to give for him.

I'm not saying that the revocable waiver deadline should be removed, but it along with the none waiver deadline should be pushed back. The second wild card is a good idea, but moving the trade deadlines back would make the whole situation better.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MLB's Nightmare can come True

Alex Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) hit his third home run of the season last night. What's the big deal? well it was the 650th home run of his career putting him in the top 5 in all time home runs. The only way you don't know about all the issues around A-Rod is if you've been living under a rock, but if you have been living under said rock here's a quick review. A-Rod has been suspended for 211 games (A-Rod is appealing the suspension which is allowing him to play until there is a decision made of his appeal) due to his involvement in a steroids scandal that has been traced back to after his time in the Texas Rangers organization which conflict with his statement that he hasn't used steroids since he played in Texas.

The 650th home run of his career bites the Yankees because when A-Rod re-signed with the team there were home run escalators put into the contract and A-Rod is one step closer to starting those escalators. At 660 home runs A-Rod is going to begin to collect the first home run escalator worth 30 million dollars and through the 763rd home run which is the all time home run record A-Rod is to collect another 90 million. So if A-Rod breaks the all time home run record he's on the Yankee books for roughly 181 million dollars. That is if he doesn't get suspended. If A-Rod gets suspended he'll miss out on a whole season and would probably reach one of the home run escalators and considering he's 38 years old right now I don't see him getting all the escalators.

Why is this a nightmare for MLB? well because apparently everybody hates A-Rod. The Yankees hate A-Rod, MLB hates A-Rod, even some fans hate A-Rod (I don't hate A-Rod, he did what he did because of the pressure his huge contracts put on him at least that's why I think he did it and that's not his fault). Since MLB hates A-Rod they don't want him around to distract the press with questions about his appeal and of steroids in general from the awesomeness of their precious post season, but the New York Yankees are streaking they have 6 wins in their last 10 games and are just 4 and a half games back of the second wild card spot to make the playoffs and once the team makes the playoffs it's a crap shoot and every team has a chance to be world champions and if A-Rod carries the Yankees to another World Series title that would truly be a nightmare for MLB.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Is the Read Option Really an Option?

There has been a new wave of quarterback in the NFL that aren't your typical Peyton Manning type. Their level of athleticism is off the charts they're almost as fast as running backs and have cannons on their shoulder. The biggest change these athletic guys bring to the game is the change in offense. The coaching staff has to change the offensive strategy of the team. Just like how the West Coast offense changed the game the Read Option (aka the Pistol offense) is doing the same. The read option has been around for a while at the collegiate level. The read option hasn't been able to gain any traction in the NFL, but recently with Tim Tebow, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin the 3rd (RG3), and Colin Kaepernick among other quarterbacks they have been able to show that the read option can be a successful system in the NFL.

The biggest reason the read option hasn't been able to get into the NFL is because after the quarterback makes the initial read and decides whether he wants to throw the ball or run with the ball the quarterback tends to leave himself open to getting hit by the defense and no one wants to have a sitting duck of a quarterback. RG3 has that problem. Whether it was run or pass RG3 found a way to get hit unnecessarily by the defense which lead to RG3 needing to repair his knee and question whether his coach used him properly. Kaepernick and Wilson have been able to avoid injuries by sliding and backing off as soon as they hand the ball off something RG3 needs to learn to do with much more effectiveness if he wants to succeed in the NFL.

Personally, I don't think pocket quarterbacks have anything to worry about because it's only a handful of teams that have been able to hit the lottery and get these kind of quarterbacks. RG3, Wilson, and Kaepernick don't grow on trees so the West coast offense will still be utilized by many teams which still use guys like Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler under center. The read option demands a very athletic and strong quarterback who can take a few hits and as these guys go the fad will fade with every failure. 

In the "monkey see monkey do" way that sports goes now most teams have at least one quarterback who can try to mimic the intricacies if the read option. Whether it can be someone that the defense can practice against or maybe the team is trying to shift its offensive prospective best believe a "mobile" quarterback is going to be invited to camp to see if they can get their own Wilson, Kaepernick, or RG3. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Is 30-35 the Same as 160?

I'm not one of those people that thinks a pitcher should win an MVP. Pitchers have their own award, it's called the Cy Young. The reason I don't believe a pitcher should win the MVP is because at a pitcher's best he'll make 30-35 starts in a whole year, while an everyday player plays well everyday. This year Clayton Kershaw is having a very good year, but so is Yadier Molina. Molina is hitting .336 (which leads the National League) with 10 home runs and 60 runs batted in and to do this as a catcher is even more impressive. Catchers take a beating every game, with foul balls that get hit off them and the pounding their hands take from catching those 90-something mile per hour pitches (coming from a former catcher this is no picnic). 

Clayton Kershaw's stat line of 13 wins to 7 losses at a 1.72 era in 198.1 innings so far is very impressive they're Cy Young worthy numbers, but not MVP worthy. Justin Verlander won the MVP in 2011, but I was against that as well. Justin Verlander's numbers at the end of the 2011 season were 24 wins to 5 losses at a 2.40 era in 251 innings were those Cy Young caliber numbers absolutely, but that same Boston Red Sock centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury should've won the MVP, but unfortunately his team collapsed and so did he that last month of 2011 and that opened the door for Verlander to take the award, but I don't see that happening to Yadier Molina. 

Clayton Kershaw will win the National League Cy Young award (especially since the Mets are shutting down Matt Harvey), but Yadi should take home the MVP. I hope the voters don't make the same mistake again..

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To Cap or Not to Cap...That is the Question

In today's sports landscape 3 of the 4 popular American sports (yes, even hockey) have salary caps, except for MLB. There are two teams in the majors with salaries in the 200 million range (the Los Angeles Dodgers and of course the New York Yankees). 12 of 30 total teams have salaries well over 100 million dollars and with Clayton Kershaw about to become the first 200 million dollar pitcher I have to wonder are salaries in the MLB out of hand and should a salary cap be implemented?

 Not saying that Clayton Kershaw doesn't deserve the contract, he's having a season to remember and definitely a Cy Young season, but no human alive is worth 200M especially for just playing a game. I'd like a cap and see the money in the MLB get ranged in a bit, but knowing the MLBPA they're not going to let a cap be put in place because it'll effect their bottom line...and who wants that?

One argument I hear is that not having a salary cap helps MLB lure away some talent that would be better suited to be playing in the NFL or NBA because the money on the contract they signed is fully guaranteed and usually higher than what the NBA offers. That may be true because there are players who get into the game just to get paid and take care of their families. In my opinion the NBA has it right. They have fully guaranteed contracts as well, but there is a salary cap that helps keep the salaries from getting out of control (which is what I believe is happening in the MLB). The highest paid player in the NBA is Kobe Bryant at 30 million and as huge as that number is he's a definite Hall of Famer with several championships under his belt. So there's reason behind his salary, but to give a Cuban defector 60M on promise and a couple YouTube videos is a bit irrational, but that's just the baseball landscape. 

Just wait until Mike Trout is in line for an actual contract. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a helluva dilemma in ahead of them. Mike Trout in his first year in the majors came in second place in the MVP voting won a Rookie of the Year and a Silver Slugger award plus he hit 30 homer runs and stole 30 stolen bases and is a defensive dynamo in that Angel outfield; and did I say that was just his first year in the majors? The Angels are going to be saddled with three huge contracts and only one really earning his money. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Casual Fans v Die Hard Fans/ How to be a Fan

In the world of sports said sports are supported by fans. Casual fans are the fans that don't exactly follow the sport. They're the ones who don't know who the batting coach is, or who the bench coach is, or who the team drafted in the first round, but they attach themselves to a team and cheer for the team. The die hard fans on the other hand is the fan who eats, drinks, and sleeps the team. They know every level of the team almost as much the executives of the team. They stay up as late as they have to while watching their team play on the West coast. There are even die hard fans who get the team permanently tattooed on their bodies. Die hard fans are the "crazies" who paint their bodies in team colors while it's 10 degrees in Green Bay, Wisconsin or in Ohio watching the Buckeyes.

Here's a little advice to all the casual fans out there: don't try to argue with die hard fans, they know things you don't. They know what you don't. You read the sports tabloids and think the biased gas bags of newspapers know, but the die hard fan reads things from other sources. Team insiders that know more than the gas bags. I've stopped reading sports sections years ago because I got better information from the actual team's Twitter feed or the team's blog. Casual fans usually don't read these. So when a die hard fan tells you something just listen, because you may actually learn something.

The road to becoming a fan starts with loving the sport first. If you don't love the sport then there's more of a chance that you won't understand the overall rules and regulations of the sport itself. Next look at teams from your local area to teams in other cities and combine that with the track record of success (because who really wants to cheer for losers except if you're a Cubs fan, but that's a different story), history of the teams (whether they have been a historic franchise ie. the Red Sox and/or Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, or the Green Bay Packers), the context of the stadium they play in (whether it be Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston,  or the old Yankee Stadium).

Once you have chosen your team for whatever reason you chose then you have to decide how deep of a fan you wanna be. You can be a casual fan and watch the game whenever it is on TV or you can be a die hard fan who buys TV packages to watch their team if they don't play in your local area. The more invested you become in your team the more pride and disaster you feel with every win or loss. The ultimate feeling is when your team wins that title it's almost like you were a part of the team except that you don't get to kiss the trophy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Death of the 3+ Out Save

Last night Dusty Baker, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, did something that I haven't seen done in quite a while. He had his closer Aroldis Chapman work 2 complete innings. In today's baseball that's a rarity since most managers usually have a set up guy that pitches the 8th while the closer is used in the 9th. Last night the Reds' set up guy Jonathan Broxton was not effective giving up two runs without recording an out so here comes Chapman. Chapman being known as a flame thrower with some control issues and he actually is a flamethrower with an average velocity of 96-97 on his fastball and also had 2 walks in the 9th inning came in and worked the 8th and 9th inning. Not without any drama though. He had to escape the mess that Broxton left him and also had to quiet the "gritty" bats of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jonathan Broxton has a 4-something era as Chapman's main set up guy so Chapman may be called upon to "close" games for more than one inning quite a few times especially down the stretch run where every win is vital.

The reason this is such a shock to me is because bullpens have taken on a completely new shape since the 70's and 80's. Before it was guys like Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Lee Smith who regularly worked more than one inning to "close" a game. Now a days managers want to "protect" their closers by stacking their bullpen with "specialists". There's the ever popular LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY) who comes in when there's a tough left handed hitter and is done after that one lefty so they only face one hitter. Then comes in a righty (who can be the closer) to face the other hitters of the inning. In Dennis Eckersley time he'd have to face every batter lefty, righty, whatever for more than inning sometimes even 3 innings.

Do you know who's to blame for this? That's right Tony LaRussa while in St. Louis he developed this bullpen by committee and that's why the closer role has changed. Even more of a reason why I can't stand Tony LaRussa, but that's a different post all together.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is 4,000 Really 4,000?

I'm a fan of Ichiro Suzuki. I've followed (sometimes by force) his career through Seattle and now with the Yankees. I'm impressed by his talent to accumulate hits, but when 1,278 of those hits came from Japan how can you really say he has 4,000 hits? Sure Japanese baseball is considered professional baseball, but when they're baseballs are different and the pitching talent is not up to par with the American sport how can you count those hits? I'm more impressed with all them Gold Gloves he racked up in Seattle than the 4,000 hits when a quarter of them came in Japan, but I guess congrats nonetheless. Ty Cobb the suggested racist and Pete Rose the gambler himself, have a legit 4,000+ hits since all of them 4,000+ hits were done while they were in the majors

Is he a Hall of Famer sure why not, is he a hitting machine sure why not, but a 4,000 hit club member? That's where the questions of mine come in..

The Dumbest Rule in Sports

In 1973 the American League adopted the dumbest rule in sports, the Designated Hitter also known as the DH. The National League almost adopted the same rule, but the then owner of the Philadelphia Phillies was fishing in the middle of a lake and was unaware of the meeting for the rule vote and was unreachable when it came to voting (to this day it is the best thing the Phillies have done for the game of baseball). My problem with the DH rule is that it's responsible for the making the game longer and removing strategy from the game. Instead of thinking about late game strategies regarding the pitcher batting and how to balance that AL managers just get to sit back and just let a DH take care of that for him. The NL utilizes way more strategy mainly with the use of small ball (bunting runners along the bases and stealing bases amongst other things). I don't think many or any hitters in the AL know how to even bunt which is a shame because it's a part of the game that rarely gets used and as an old school fan makes me sad.

Now sadly with the way MLB has changed up its scheduling (by adding an interleague series every week or so) the threat of the DH is coming to the NL so that there is uniformity in the whole league. That would be a punch to the old school baseball fans out there. I enjoy watching pitchers run into home runs that would be a thing of the past if certain people get their way. Why would you want a position that isn't in the Hall of Fame to be made permanent in both leagues of MLB? The league will definitely be boring if that were to happen and I'm not sure if I would stick around for that. As much I like baseball I need the strategy, I need the manager to earn his money.

Why pay a pitcher 20 million bucks to just pitch every 5th day? CC Sabathia, Carlos Zambrano, Mike Hampton, Dontrelle Willis, amongst others had very good numbers (for a pitcher) with the bat in his hands and that's something I don't want to take out of the league. The pitcher will never be able to help himself out if the dumbest rule in sports makes its way to the NL.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why is Everyone Trying to be Like Mike?

I grew up watching Michael Jordan. I've watched him send future Hall of Famers home without a championship. I've seen him break New York Knick hearts several times (and I've enjoyed those times), but one thing I don't understand is why does everybody want to be measured up against probably the best guard to touch a basketball knowing that they're not going to live up to those standards? Kobe "Black Mamba" Bryant is probably the closest thing to MJ we'll ever see, but he jumped into the Association from high school so he's had way more time to rack up the numbers to compare himself to MJ. And considering that MJ was cut from his basketball team in high school I don't think that the same option was viable to MJ so what if Kobe had gone to college? Had Kobe gone to college would he even be in the same sentence as his Airness? I don't think so. So because Kobe had a head start (which something no one really mentions) he's been able to put himself in the conversation.

The one thing I do give Kobe credit for is that he has MJ's desire to anything. If it's a foot race Kobe's gonna wanna win, if it's even flipping quarters Kobe wants to be right the most just like MJ was when he was in his heyday, but that's where it ends for me.

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA today. When he wants to dominate the game there is absolutely no one who can stop him. He's too fast for power and small fowards, but too big for point and shooting guards so the way to beat LeBron is to hope he causes himself to fail and considering that he's won two titles in a row I'm not exactly sure he's down for that anymore. Yet he's another one that's being compared to his Airness why? LeBron's game actually reminds me more of Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. LeBron would rather get his teammates involved until it is absolutely necessary for him to take over a game something Magic had done when he was rocking the short short basketball shorts while MJ would and could dominate from tip off.

I can't write about people being compared to MJ without pointing the finger at the media at least a little bit because it feels at times that the media wants another MJ. Why? Who knows, but it seems like they need to have a modern MJ and since there hasn't been a second coming of the greatness Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, amongst others have worn the "gonna be the next Jordan" t-shirt and now the t-shirt has been passed to LeBron hope he passes that to someone else because he doesn't need that amount of pressure.

To reach the light of his Airness the player is going to have to be damn near a copy of MJ and sure Kobe embodies that hunger and attitude that MJ had and sure LeBron has the domination that makes basketball look easy like Jordan had at times, but neither one has the overall package that made MJ his Airness. So I guess we all are gonna have to sit down and wait...

ESPN: The Worldwide Leader in Sports or Biased Lobbyists...

Have you ever turned on ESPN and at the beginning of an episode of SportSCenter they're talking about a small market team without the team having to have done some miraculous event? Like when the Atlanta Braves won 15 consecutive games ESPN couldn't not talk about the Braves, but when they're playing at their regular level on the field ESPN still thinks that the Washington Nationals are the class of the division even though they're behind the Braves by 16 games. The only time ESPN goes out of its way to celebrate small market teams is when said team goes above and beyond the call of duty and that's not right in my opinion. The star teams for ESPN are not surprisingly the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What do these teams have in common? They're in big media markets. Even when these teams are not performing to the level that the gas bags on Baseball Tonight think they should be, they spend most of their time dissecting why they're under performing  instead of focusing on the teams that are thriving this season like the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates who are on the verge of breaking a drought of futility.

Here's what I don't understand about ESPN a rookie would thrive and would get some modest mention on Baseball Tonight, but nothing even comes close to the slobbering that all of their pundits have done over Yasiel Puig. Yes, Yasiel Puig is having a terrific year, yes, he does have plenty of talent, but he shouldn't be crowned rookie of the year just because ESPN wants him to be. Jose Fernandez is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins who is having a season that is being compared to Doc Gooden's rookie year off the mound, but all ESPN can even think about mentioning in the rookie of the year conversation is Puig to the point where if anyone but Puig would win the award I'm pretty sure there would be outrage amongst ESPN pundits. Fine the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while the Marlins are floundering, but that didn't stop Felix Hernandez from winning that Cy Young a couple years back. So there is a precedence of a player with a .500 or less record winning (even though Fernandez has a 9-5 record this year) an award and I believe Fernandez should take it home this year.

That's not the only place where ESPN plays its "lobby" role. Ever wonder why football has about 8 shows (I'm exaggerating here, but it sure as hell feels that way) that run an hour long even during the off season while all other sports get about 1 or 2 shows that run an hour when the season is in play and half an hour or less when they're in the off season? The biggest football supporter is ESPN they invest millions on top of millions probably more than the NFL invests on its own product to talk so much crap about it. If any of the golden boys (Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, etc.) drop a deuce ESPN is all over it. All other sports are second fiddle. No other sport comes close to the apple of ESPN's eye...the NFL and as a admirer of sports in general it gets irritating when I have to sit through meaningless quarterback camps and Boomer talking crap while wearing an atrocious tie to get to highlights of the day in baseball or basketball for that matter. If you spontaneously tune into ESPN there's a 75% chance that the pundits are chatting about football with one of their 376 ex-players who are now "analysts".

Monday, August 19, 2013

How TV has Changed Baseball

There has been a trend in baseball that has recently seen team revenues sky rocket and that is signing lucrative long term TV deals. Even though signing TV deals isn't exactly new the money that is being thrown at teams sure as hell is new. The Yankees and Mets rake in millions from Yankee Entertainment & Sports (YES) and Sportsnet New York (SNY), the Angel's deal with FOX Sports allowed the Angels to add Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton in the last three years, and the Dodgers' TV deal (the richest deal of them all so far) has allowed them to take on over 200 million dollars of contracts from the Red Sox and has allowed them to add players to the roster with no real concern over the money. The next team to hit the TV deal lotto is going to be the Philadelphia Phillies who is set up to have FOX Sports and Comcast battle over the airing rights for Phillie games after 2015. This deal can bank the Phillies up to and maybe past the 5 Billion mark. That's right I said BILLION.

As much as their political views bother me it's interesting how much FOX is buying up the airing rights to so many teams. Even the Yankees have sold a part of YES to FOX which no one ever thought would've been possible.

Who exactly is ecstatic to hear news like this is the players union who know that their constituents will be paid very well when it comes time to negotiate contracts. All these teams (except for the Mets) have had recent post season success so it's understandable that their fans want to see them everyday and that is what is driving these TV deals up. Nielsen (the company that tracks of viewership and ad money) reported that last year, $13.3 billion was spent on advertising within sports programs, which accounted for 23 percent of national TV ad spending. Nielsen also noted that 99 percent of people ages 18 to 49 watched sports programming live or that day.

Read more here:

So as long as teams stay in contention fans will run to their TVs to watch their team even if their east coast team is on a west coast trip. The best example is when the Yankees were without several of its stars ratings for YES were down, but once Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and even Derek Jeter, who only showed his face for about 15 minutes, came back from their injuries not only did the ratings for Yankee games go up, but the attendance at Yankee games actually went up.

Will these TV deals come back and haunt the teams that don't use the money correctly remains to be seen, but stay tuned to see your favorite stars in action, heck the ratings will help your team.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Protecting Players? More Like Protecting the Shield

I've been watching football for a very long time and I've never seen a sport get watered down so quickly. In the last 10 to 15 years the sport has gone from a hard hitting, cringe inducing sport, to an over flagged, overly commercialed business meeting. In the name of "safety" the NFL has made the game softer than ever. Why you may ask? Because the name of the game of course is money and considering that the NFL is the highest revenue producing sport in America it has some dollars laying around. Ex-players have been suing the NFL over concussions which doesn't make any sense to me because players knew what they were getting themselves into when they signed those contracts. The NFL has made the effort to take care of their veterans, but some of the veterans don't think that's enough and since I don't know the exact details I can't go into it.

So in the name of "safety" players aren't allowed to utilize those bone jarring hits that get celebrated so much on NFL films or on TV with ESPN and NFL network without getting a penalty on the field and a fine in the mail. In the heyday of the NFL Ronnie Lott would do his job and absolutely crush a receiver coming over the middle, but now that's "hitting a defenseless receiver" and god forbid you get anywhere near a quarterback that's damn near a suspension just waiting to happen. Tom Brady got a freak injury in 2008 and because of said injury there's a new rule about hitting a quarterback's legs...his LEGS you've got to be kidding me. So you can't hit a quarterback on the helmet (that's a flag), you can't hit a quarterback in the knee area (that's a flag), the only place is the chest area (and if you're Michael Vick that's not what you want to hear).

Fine football can be a very violent sport, but at the same time players weren't complaining when they were receiving checks to play football. But now that their personal well has dried up the vets are turning to the NFL to pay them for actions that the vets knew would lead to long term injuries. That's like suing McDonald's because they got you fat when you knew that eating too much McDonald's would get you fat to begin with. So with the NFL kickoff right around the corner I'm going to keep an eye on the amount of flags that the refs are going to be throwing, because with the way the game is going soon players will be wearing flags around their waist's and the NFL will cease to be what Ronnie Lott lost the tip his finger over.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

People complain about how long baseball games go, but MLB knows why the games go as long as they go. Considering that the Red Sox and the Yankees are playing each other this weekend I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to explain what the problem is...

Anybody who remembers Nomar Garciaparra remembers how after every pitch he would step out the batter's box to mess with his batting gloves, do a little shimmy, and then get back in the box. It was ritualistic. Go head youtube him and you'll see. Because the umpires never say anything to any batter or pitcher for that matter the players get to step way out the box to do their rituals with their batting gloves, helmets or what have you. This is why baseball is so slow. If umpires were willing to tell players that they had to stay in the box and not walk 10 feet out just to play with their batting gloves at bats would go much faster. With faster at bats innings would by faster and games would be done quicker. There is no reason why a Red Sox - Yankees game should be teetering around 4 hours long. Plus considering that American League games tend to go longer (thanks to the worst rule in sports) than National League games just makes this series tiresome.

How to solve this? Have umpires do their jobs by keeping hitters in the batter's box. It's as simple as that. It's already a part of their jobs to keep the pace of the game going and by allowing hitters to do whatever they want between pitches delays the game and those casual fans tend to change the channel.

But it's not only hitters. Pitchers also take their sweet time. While trying to "intimidate" hitters Jonathan Papelbon would stand on the mound and stare into the catcher or at the batter until he's ready to deliver the pitch and considering that Papelbon was fined over $10,000 in one season while in Boston because he took too long to deliver pitches just goes to show you that baseball understands where the problem lies, but yet game play is still painfully slow to the casual fan who would rather watch more active sports like football or basketball. And considering that baseball is expanding instant replay (which I am a fan of) get ready for an even longer game.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Harvey's Dilemna

I've come to the understanding that Matt Harvey is the real deal and is one of the most prominent pitchers in the majors (even though it has only been about a year and some change since he made it to the show) and I understand that the Mets aren't going anywhere this year, but wouldn't having back to back Cy Young winners make the Mets much more marketable? The New York baseball market has been dominated by the Yankees for quite a while now and having the right to say "We have back to back Cy Young winners" might be able to sway the one or two band wagon fans that only recognize the winning or more decorated team at the moment. So I'm not sure if shutting down Matt Harvey at 200 innings is the right thing to do when the Mets are up and coming while the Yankees are on the decline.

Sure this may only be a temporary lull for the Yankees who can always go back to spending copious amounts of money on free agents, but with the amount of holes that will be present in the roster after this season I just don't see that happening. And considering that the Yankee farm system is barren of any real talent while the Met system has the potential to develop several quality players the future at the moment is actually brighter in Queens than it is in the Bronx, but back to Harvey. He's been one of the elite pitchers in the NL and would be a shoe-in for the Cy Young if it wasn't for Clayton Kershaw who's dominating the NL to the tune of a 1.88 era while Harvey's 2.23 era is impressive (considering his age) and his ranking in the other pitching categories would be more than enough to get Harvey the Cy Young in a regular year, but I feel with the fact that the Dodgers are in first place and headed to the playoffs he'll eventually get the nod in a heated race for 2013 NL Cy Young.