Oct 26

World Series Return To St. Louis Reminder Of MLB Gimmicks

Can you imagine in the NBA finals with the team holding the home court advantage being allowed to shoot a three-point shot while the other is not? Can you imagine one team in the Super Bowl allowed to go for a two-point conversion while the other is not?

However, Major League Baseball continues on with its inane designated-hitter rule, which is a blatant advantage to the National League. It defines unfairness, and with it also reminds us of some of the issues that takes away from the sport.

Whether you are for the Red Sox or not, you must admit the unfairness of them being denied an aspect of their game that they played with all season.

That’s just one more aspect of how MLB devalues its most valuable entity, which is the World Series. Another is the decision to award home field to the league that wins the totally unrelated exhibition otherwise known as the World Series.

For nearly a century home field was determined on a rotating basis. To go away from tradition to boost the sagging interest of the All-Star Game, brought on by the gimmick of interleague play is part of the legacy of Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner.

This is one of the rare seasons when the teams with the best record in each league reached the World Series. Now that they are here, it doesn’t seem right a gimmick, a fad, could dictate the winner.

Why leave it to chance?  Either both leagues play with the designated hitter or they do not. Stop with the fads and let the best part of your game – the World Series – shine.

And, do it at a time of night that enables tomorrow’s fans, and ticket buyers, to stay up to watch. It’s a great game and everything should be done to take care of it and show it in its proper light, with none of these detracting issues.

Feb 03

Who To Root For In The Super Bowl?

Just came in from a walk and it is a frigid 27 degrees. Interesting that I saw a couple of kids playing catch. Not with a football, but with a hardball and glove. Damn, that must have stung their hands.

To me, baseball season gets underway in my mind the day after the Super Bowl.

Is it me, or does the pre-game get longer every year. The game starts at 6:30 p.m., but the pre-game began before 11 a.m.. Seriously, a pre-game that lasts twice as long at the game itself? I’ve always thought the NFL was a little full of itself, but more power to them if their showcase lets the networks sell the time.

I usually find some hook for a rooting interest in the game, but I don’t have a dog in this fight.

On one hand, after growing up in Cleveland, it is extremely difficult to back Baltimore. Even without that variable, there’s always the Ray Lewis factor. He’s been one of the most self-glorifying figures in sport and it is tiresome. Dancing after the Indianapolis game and taking off his jersey after the New England game was just another example of his me-first attitude. And, by the way, the Ravens aren’t in the Super Bowl because God willed it.

From his Look At Me dancing, to this new image, it is just boring. Now, I’m hearing some commentators on ESPN call him “great” and “the greatest leader in the history of team sports.” What about Mickey Mantle, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Peyton Manning, Roberto Clemente, Johnny Unitas, Walt Frazier, Babe Ruth and countless others.

Lewis has been a great player, but he’s not even the greatest linebacker of all time. Say hello to Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus. I’d even take Jack Lambert over Lewis.

My Cleveland roots aside, the Lewis story has grown boring and tiresome. The NFL is so concerned about its image, yet they continue to glorify Lewis, as if those two people were never killed and he had nothing to do with it. He’s been given a free pass by virtually everybody and it is disgraceful.

I have never seen the attraction with Lewis, who is one I wish would just disappear. Of course, he’ll be on TV. Maybe he’ll preach at halftime.

The 49ers aren’t a day at the beach, either.

Jim Harbaugh is another who I find it hard to cheer for. I don’t like how he handled the Alex Smith situation and he’s got a lot of chest thumpers on his team.

The NFL is making a big deal about player safety, yet Smith, who was having a good season completing 70 percent of his passes, did all the right things yet lost his job after sustaining a concussion. What kind of message does that send? Harbaugh’s decision hasn’t bitten him because the 49ers reached the Super Bowl. But, who is to say they wouldn’t have gotten there with Smith?

Both these teams are difficult to root for outside their home areas. There’s not heart grabbing hook, although Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh is a great storyline, although it doesn’t have you gravitate one over the other.

For me, I’ll watch the Celtics this afternoon, enjoy the Super Bowl from an objective perspective and maybe a rooting hook will emerge. If not, I’ll just have some more wings.

Take care and enjoy the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 01

Happy New Year Mets Fans

Good morning all, and perhaps in some cases, good afternoon. I hope you had a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and wish you carry that throughout the year.

January 1 always represents a fresh start, from diet to exercise to breaking bad habits. There will time enough for that, but for now I will honor my own holiday tradition which is to spend the day making my own list of resolutions, both personal and for the blog.

I will also spend part of the day writing Happy New Year’s notes to family and friends, and, of course, watching the bowl games. I liked it better when there were up to seven games today instead of spreading them out for a week.

I will share them with you shortly, along with several resolutions the Mets should make. For now, I hope you’ll spend the day with your friends and family before it is back to the grind before our next national holiday, which is the Super Bowl.

 

Feb 07

Not expecting much between now and spring training.

I’ve always considered the start of the baseball season to coincide with the Super Bowl. As the Giants parade down Broadway, the Mets are about to pack their equipment trucks for Florida.

Spring training is two weeks away and I don’t see the Mets doing anything of significance between now and then. Not that Rick Ankiel would have been a franchise changer, but he did fit a need and the Mets wouldn’t cough up the million bucks the Nationals just gave him.

There is no new light on the Mets’ financial problems, but considering they wouldn’t – or couldn’t – compete with the Nationals on a role player, we must figure they are heading into spring training with what they have and the hope everything breaks in the positive for them.

Wishing and hoping isn’t much of a foundation.

Feb 05

Idle thoughts while waiting for kickoff.

Watching the Super Bowl with the mute button, which might be the best way, and planning my week ahead and what I might write about the Mets.

Spring training is two weeks ago, and in seems it was only yesterday that it was only two months away. Time does creep up on you.

There are several things running through my mind pertaining to the Mets:

The Mets will get an influx of money from SNY and with another minor investor. Possibly up to $100 million. On the surface, the Mets have the money to make some significant moves, certainly more than what they did this winter. Even so, the money is earmarked for their expenses, including a potential hit in their court case pertaining to the Ponzi scandal. In short, the money is to go to the mortgage and not a new flat screen TV.

Only twice in seven years has Andres Torres played in over 100 games.  And, since he’s never been on the disabled list, it has to be talent related. The Mets have him penciled in as their center fielder, with Scott Hairston as the back-up. For a team with a spacious outfield and supposedly wants to build on pitching and defense, this is a dangerous sign. I still believe Rick Ankiel could benefit the Mets as a lefty bat and defensive presence.

Brad Penny was a .500 pitcher last season – 11-11 – and recently signed with Japan. I can’t believe there wasn’t any interest here. Surely, he could’ve helped the Mets’ rotation.

I don’t think the Mets will retire Gary Carter’s number, but I hope they honor him in some capacity this season – when he can still appreciate it.

The Mets once made annual winter caravans to drum up interest heading into spring training, with the players and coaches going from town to town. Lots of teams have FanFests in their cities, where the public can meet players and get in the baseball mood. Would be nice to see that again.