Thursday, December 15, 2016

Do it For the Fans

Professional sports rely on fans buying tickets to the games, buying concessions, and overall fan attention. Now imagine you buy tickets to your favorite team to go see your favorite player and it turns out that the 24 year old superstar is not playing because he needs "rest". Why does a 24 year old need rest in December? The NBA season is 82 games long a player that young shouldn't need rest 20 or so games into the season. The number of players that have played 82 games has dwindled from mid-50's to about 8 to 10 and considering how the rules have changed and the advancement of the modern athlete one would think that more players would be able to play all 82.

San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich started this by resting his players, but they were older players who had more than 10 years in the association. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker can be argued needed the rest. Kyrie Irving doesn't. This generation of basketball player has been described as "soft" by some of the legends of the game and more proof of that keeps being evident. If 40 year old Michael Jordan played 82 games when he played for the Washington Wizards why can't Irving play through his "tired legs"? I heard an interesting solution from Tracy McGrady on ESPN, if a player is out because of "rest" they shouldn't get paid for the game. Fans go to watch the stars shine, not sit on a bench in an expensive suit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cowards Everywhere..

The ratings for the NFL have been down this season and the blame is going around as to why, but my opinion is that the sport is suffering from a major crisis in confidence. Coaches in every game, or at least it seems like are passing up opportunities for the big play down field for these miserable check down passes to running backs or tight ends or any eligible player that stays closer to the line of scrimmage. No team is more guilty of that than the Kansas City Chiefs. If Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith throws a ball passed 12 yards down field that's considered a hail mary for him. It has to be frustrating for most wide receivers in the NFL this season. Only about a handful of teams try to eat yards over the air most coaches would rather "play it safe" and be cowards than make a worthwhile play down field.

Let's forget about going for it on 4th and short. When it would keep their team on the field and help the team win the game, these cowards would rather punt the ball away or kick a field goal instead of trying for the fresh set of downs and potentially ice the game. Nowadays unless you're watching coaches with tenure a la Bill Belichick or Mike Tomlin, who are the only coaches who I've seen take risks on 4th and inches or 3rd and long, these highly paid cowards are going to dink and dunk to "line up the field goal or punt" this is why some folks are changing the channels or not even turning on the game in general. If your quarterback isn't good enough then bench him for one that has the skills to make the plays necessary for exciting football. Making football exciting again shouldn't be a term for the most popular sport in America.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Way to Stay Classy San Diego

One of the surprising results from this past election was not only a new president chosen, but San Diego shot down the measure to increase taxes to pay for a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. Public funding should not be used to build for-private use structures. Patrons who have had their taxes raised shouldn't have to pay for tickets to games. They already paid for their tickets. Helping billionaires pocket money by having the middle class or lower cough up money to a stadium which they might never step into isn't fair. Ticket prices continue to increase and the financial help for the broke never arrives.

The backlash of the vote may be stiff. The Chargers may now look to move to Los Angeles where there's a facility that already holds an NFL team (the recently re-minted Los Angeles Rams). The Rams and Chargers can share a stadium just like the Giants and Jets do in New Jersey, and that would mean a lot of lost revenue for the city of San Diego, but that's better for the people of San Diego than would be a tax increase to save a billionaire money. You can still be a Charger's fan without having to pay an increase in taxes just to sit in some crummy seat that is going to be destroyed in about 10-15 years. More states should follow in San Diego's footsteps and make these billionaires come outta pocket if they want a brand new state of the art facility.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Congrats, but...

Last night Golden State Guard Stephen Curry broke the record for the most three pointers made in a game with 13. A record that I believe will be broken soon. The NBA game has changed a lot throughout the years with more emphasis on the three pointer than any other time. Stat geeks have made the three pointer the most precious thing in the game which is why I've seen traditional big players, who usually play in the paint, and have never even thought about chucking a three putting up shots from the arc. Sacramento Kings Center DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins has been shooting threes because the old school big man game is no longer an efficient way to score points. Why would you want two points when you can have three? It's a new world when you watch Memphis Grizzlies Center Marc Gasol throw up air balls from the arc.

Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the game, and he's going to break this record once again. Coming off an 0 for 10 shooting night the night before Curry came out on a mission and once Curry gets going he's damn near impossible to stop. And the poor Pelicans were the unfortunate team to get slaughtered. The game has changed three pointers are now the norm and every team is trying to find their own version of a consistent presence from behind the arc. The big man game in the paint is a thing of the past and the evolution of round ball has gone to the geeks and behind the arc.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is it Really a Two Horse Race?

It's hard to consider that the NBA season is already over. The first ball hasn't even been tipped and if you ask most folk the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are destined to be there at the end facing each other (again) for the championship trophy. Maybe they're right, but with Pau Gasol going to San Antonio and the maturity of Toronto I don't think it's going to be so easy for the Cavs and Dubs to make the Finals. Chicago has arguably gotten better, the laughable Knicks have made an attempt to make a difference, I think the Toronto Raptors are going to make things interesting in the Eastern Conference. The Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, and others will make the Western Conference tougher than people think.

It's hard to bet against Durant joining the already deep Warriors and betting against LeBron James is never smart, but I can't come to the consensus that the season is already over. Will they meet up at the end like Vegas thinks, maybe, but there's too much parity in the Association to decide it in October.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Here's Why it Works

First, allow me to congratulate the Cleveland Indians on making it to the World Series while missing 2 of their 3 top starting pitchers. Next, let me congratulate Indians manager Terry "Tito" Francona on his masterful use of his bullpen. Now let's get down to it. The best thing the Indians did was trade for star reliever Andrew Miller, but the real props goes to the New York Yankees who signed Andrew Miller to a 4yr 36M dollar deal prior to this season. Why is that a big deal? Because since Miller got paid he doesn't necessarily have a chip on his shoulder freeing Francona to use Miller whenever he seems like he may need a fire to be relinquished. So whenever the opponent has men in scoring position in the 6th inning or later Francona can turn around and bring Miller in and shut down the threat. The bullpen in Cleveland is good if not great and they have the perfect manager to utilize them in the way he has.

The biggest culprit here is the way players get paid. One good thing about the stats invasion the geeks have brought to light is there are new ways to measure a player's performance, but until teams start using those stats instead of the old grandpa stats like saves, wins, and holds to judge how much players should get paid players will demand to be put in the roles that will get them paid. Had Andrew Miller not gotten paid I doubt Francona will have the freedom to use Miller in the same fashion that he has this post season. There are other arms in the Indians bullpen, but they're stuck in the arbitration process so they don't have control over how they're being used. Once the arbitration process evolves, just like how stats have, that's when more managers will have the opportunity to use relievers the same way Tito is.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This is the Best Time of the Year

Welcome to October; to the MLB playoffs. Where the one game wild card play in game brings game 7 to your television right out of the chute. Where the 162 game marathon that is the MLB season approaches the final stretch run. Baltimore v. Toronto tonight and the Mets v. Giants tomorrow night. Let the games begin and let all the clich├ęs about all hands on deck be rung out from Toronto all the way to San Francisco. The energy is always up for these games and for good reason because unlike most leagues an MLB wild card winner can go on a helluva run and win the whole darn thing.

Get your popcorn ready and your face painted because the playoffs are here and this is bound to be some of the most enthused, hyped, motivated, exciting baseball you will see this year. This is what the marathon leads to. All the leaping grabs, all the home runs, all the strike outs, all of the hard work that is put in in March/April all leads up to this month. If your team isn't in it it's still fun to watch the excitement that is playoff baseball. How rowdy the fans are and how you expect your squad to make it next season so you can be there instead of them. It's October. The air is crisp and these 9 innings will be some of the most motivated innings you will see.

Welcome Back Mr. Brady

After the endless foolishness that was deflate gate Tom Brady got suspended for 4 games. Ironically enough the Pats lost to the sad Bills this past week. Not only did they lose they were shut out by the Bills. The quarterback that started for the Pats was the third string guy and rumor has it he had a bum thumb, but somewhere laughing his hind side off had to be Brady who can now ride in on his white horse and play the savior. No need for a quarterback controversy, not even a question as to who would start. The Belichick system has proven to not need Brady, but it just shines much much brighter when Brady is under center. Brady now gets to write his own storyline for the rest of 2016. Brady gets to add to his legacy because, you know, he isn't already considered to be one of the greatest of time.

If the Pats win the Super Bowl this year Tom Brady will be the main reason and those that hate the Pats will have more reason to throw up.Jimmy Garoppolo may be the future up in chowder town, but with that shoulder injury he's got and the return of the white knight he's back on the bench for good. Garoppolo showed potential when he was under center, but he's gonna have to learn from behind the walking golden suit in Brady. The kid that started on Sunday with the bum thumb well he's going to have to watch from even further down the bench. In Tom Brady the Pats trust and loves and dies with and he's back this coming week. Party time in chowder town.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Kneel With Kap

As a man of color living in a metropolis with a population of over 9 million I understand the obstacles that law enforcement faces day in and day out in the effort to keep the population safe; and I applaud the officers who do their jobs the right way. The officers that don't are the ones that make Colin Kaepernick's protest necessary. The officers that get away with reckless behavior is what angers the people that officers are sworn to protect. What Kaepernick is doing should not insult anyone who do things right. The history of this country is not nice to people of color (and that's putting it extremely lightly) and with this being 2016 and not 1956 it's a shame that this is still an issue. A lot is being made by the manner in which Kaepernick is protesting instead of the focus being on why he's protesting and again being a man of color who has been racially profiled by police officers in the past I've been through the frustrations that Kaepernick is protesting against.

Professional athletes are put in weird situations. People expect them to stand up and express concern over social issues a la Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar in years past, but when they do many others want to shout them down and hold them to "talking about sports". These are the athletes that you want your kids to look up to up until they're sitting or kneeling through the national anthem. Colin Kaepernick is using his platform to get attention to the issues that he's concerned about and that's the right that he has as an American. Professional athletes need to use their platform and spread the message of equality for all as the pledge of allegiance of this great country suggests.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Foresee A Weak March

In recent years a number of highly talented players have jumped from NCAA to the NBA and while in some situations it has strengthened the Association it has most definitely weakened college basketball. Most high power teams like Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, and others have lost more games than they have in the recent past. Will there be exciting games? Sure, but why? Is it because both the teams are good or is it because both teams are bad and can't put the ball on the hole? I'm not the biggest college basketball fan (I think the shot clock lasts too long and the lack of consistency is annoying) but March always has been fun to watch from a far and the "one and done" rule has finally caught up to college basketball.

Instead of players stay in college, getting their education, and continue to develop their game they instead jump ship to the pros where they, in some instances, get over exposed and end up looking overmatched. There is a difference between playing against fellow sophomores and playing an NBA veteran. There are players who do have the skill set to make the jump and when they don't it's a shock, but making the jump isn't for everyone. Being a bench player, playing garbage time in an NBA game isn't as beneficial as being a starter in college. Being up close to Kobe Bryant's goodbye tour doesn't help develop your game it suffocates it. Kids should stay in school, develop their game, and earn the millions when they're good and ready. This month of March is going to be painful to watch. Good luck to all bracket makers.