Congress and Sports

•May 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As everyone has noticed lately, our government seems to be poking their nose into all different aspects of sports.  This is really getting old in my opinion, especially considering our current economic situation.  First, Congress decided that it was their place to decide who had and who had not done steroids in baseball and who was giving these athletes the steroids.  Now they have decided to take a stand on how the college football system should work.

In my personal opinion these Congressional hearings are a huge waste of my tax money and also time that could be spent figuring out how to fix our economy.  The whole steroid issue with baseball is getting pretty old and I am tired of hearing about, which is why this post is about Congress and not steroids.  When Congress first decided to look into this granted our economy was not nearly as messed up as it is now, but they still have no right to poke their nose into baseball.  This would not be an issue if they were giving baseball a bailout like so many other businesses.  And now they have decided to take “power” to other sports, like college football.

Yesterday, Congress held a hearing on the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) format for college football.  They are trying to decide if this is a fair way for the champion to be chosen.  I only have one question about this hearing.  What in the hell does Congress have to do with how the college football championship is decided?  I am completely baffled that Congress would be worried about college football right now instead of trying to come up with ways to improve our economy that is increasingly getting worse, or even trying to bring our troops home from Iraq.

To sum it all up I think that Congress should be more worried about the people in our country that are losing their jobs instead of getting involved in things that do not concern them.


NL East: The Strongest Division?

•April 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

I am an Atlanta Braves fan and have been all of my life. While the Braves are not the strongest team, by a long shot, in the NL East they are extremely strong and young. That’s probably the largest advantage that this division has, it is for the most part full of young players. The Marlins and braves are probably the youngest with the Phillies and Mets following behind.

Let’s start at the top with the Mets. They are arguably the best team in the division. They have great fielders in David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran to name a few. The best part is that they also have some great hitters in the three previously named players, then you have to add in Carlos Delgado and, I hate to say it, Gary Sheffield. They also have a pretty solid pitching squad.

Now you have the Phillies, the 2008 World Champions. They are and extremely scary team because they tend to turn on the after burners in the last couple of innings. It seems like after they seventh inning they realize, it must be time to start playing because we’re about to lose. They also have arguably the best closer in the game in Brad Lidge (168 saves out 196 opportunities, career). What makes it even worse is that they have some great starting pitching to set up Lidge. And of course you cannot forget about the slew of hitting talent that resides on this team.

Third in the division would have to be the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have, in my opinion, one of the top 10 baseball players of all time in Chipper Jones. He has been consistently one of the top hitters in baseball throughout his career and is also a great fielding third basemen. They also have some great young talent in Francoeur, McCann, Schafer and Escobar. These four are not just good fielders but pretty good hitters, with the exception of Francoeur sometimes. To add to this great hitting they have some good starting pitching and closers. The only real problem on the pitching staff is their middle relievers.

Then the Marlins, who started out HOT but quickly cooled off. They are made up of some great young talent, but that might just be their problem they are too young. But who knows they could end up doing what the Rays did last year. Pitching might be the main thing holding them back from making the playoffs. They just don’t have the experience to go into the fall months and consistently win.

Lastly you have the Nationals. What can be said about a team that sends their two best players out in jerseys that say “NATINALS”? They do have some great talent in Zimmerman and Dunn, but two players can only carry the team for so long.

Overall, I feel that every team but the “NATINALS” will finish with more than 80 wins, maybe not much more but definitely more than 80. I also feel that you will see two teams from this division in the playoffs.

What Will Philadelphia do Now?

•April 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This a great question regarding Philadelphia and sports.  This is a great question because the Flyers proved to be choke artists against the Penguins on Saturday.  The Flyers blew a 3-0 lead in the first to end up losing 5-3.  Now the only thing left for Philadelphia right now is the Sixers.

Who would have thought that by this time the Flyers would be out of the playoffs and the Sixers would still be in it.  The only problem is that the Sixers seem to not be able to get things done when they need to either.  Another problem is that people in Philadelphia do not exactly support basketball as much as hockey, baseball, or football.  Football is only in the extreme beginning for the year and baseball is only a couple of weeks in, where not too much matters yet.

The best thing for the Philadelphia sports world that has happened lately was the NFL draft and the Phillies opening the season a World Champions.  The Eagles made out great in the draft this past Saturday.  They might finally have a top receiver in Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri and another running back to get in and do some smash mouth running, or simply take Westbrook’s spot when he gets hurt again, it will happen.  They also stole Ingram, a tight end from the University of Florida, who will possibly replace L.J. Smith.

As far as the Phillies go, they have a solid team, but are also playing in one of the strongest divisions in baseball.  They have to play the Mets, Marlins, and Braves more than any other team.  This could prove to be a great test for a team that has good pitching and great hitting.  Their only problem that I see is that they tend not to come on strong until the end of the game and when their playing a team with a good middle relievers and closers they might not have enough to come back.

Overall, Philadelphia as a sports city will be alright but it is extremely disappointing to see that the Flyers kind of held true to the stereotype that Philly teams are choke artists.  This is not true for the Phillies obviously, but it has proven true for all other teams in their respective sports.

What will GM and Chrysler problems do to NASCAR?

•April 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

With Chrysler and GM having financial problems could NASCAR lose two of its biggest contributors?

This question is not as off the wall as it seems. These companies, including Ford and Toyota, put an estimated $180 million into marketing and technical support for NASCAR. This money could possibly put GM and Chrysler, the two struggling the most, over the financial edge.

You must also look at it from the NASCAR side of things because without these companies technical support some of the teams that are not loaded with money could very well go under as well. Obviously this does not include teams like Hendrick or Gibbs Racing, but could be the deal breaker for some. If GM and Chrysler fail NASCAR could not be too far behind. Without these companies, true American car builders, many fans will lose interest.

I know personally that I would not like to see all foreign cars in a sport that is deeply rooted in American cars. If you pull these companies out and replace them with Honda or even some German manufacturers the fan base will fall drastically. If the fan base falls then the tracks cannot stay opened, if the tracks cannot stay opened then there will be less races. If there are not enough races and sponsors of these races then NASCAR will eventually fail.

This most likely will never happen but if these companies keep going down the same path they will affect more people than just their employees.

Mutombo will be missed

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Dikembe Mutombo, as we know him, was not just a great basketball player, he was also a wonderful person. This can be seen in his hospital that he had built in the Congo. Dikembe shelled out around $19 million to build that hospital, including paying squatters farming on the land to move somewhere else. He also went through struggles with the government over the land-use permits. This was the first modern hospital built in the area in over 40 years. This shows the greatness that he portrays as a human being not as an athlete.

As an athlete, Mutombo has been outstanding throughout his memorable career. Mutombo is second only to the great Hakim Olojuwan and hundreds ahead of the next active player on the list Shaquille O’Neal. While his name is not put up there with some of the greatest players of all time we have to look at these numbers and be amazed. I personally did not realize that he was this great of a shot blocker until I started writing this post. The one ting that everyone knows him for is the famous finger wag after he throws the ball into the seats on a block. This show of humble “cockiness” will be missed during Houston Rockets games.

His career came to an end on a knee injury during the Rockets loss on Tuesday night to the Portland Trailblazers. Hopefully he will be as great a person after basketball as he was during his career.

The NFL Draft. Why you shouldn’t watch it

•April 22, 2009 • 3 Comments

The NFL draft is one of the most boring things to watch on television, it is comparable to watching a round of golf on television, except for the last day of the Masters of course. The majority of the day is made up of teams on the clock and analysts talking about what they think those general managers are talking about. This is pretty much exactly what we hear for most of the month leading up to the draft, who they think the team is going to pick and who they should pick.

Don’t get me wrong I love football and I completely respect what those analysts have to say, but I do not enjoy hearing everything I have been hearing since the combine, repeatedly. I also feel that with the evolution of technology you can get notices on your phone with your teams draft pick or every draft pick for that matter. Most people will watch when their team is on the clock and then as soon as they are off the clock they change the channel, and periodically check back to see if their team is on the clock again.

Although I do enjoy draft parties, it is really just a reason for guys to get together, hangout and most likely drink a little (or a lot). These are fun and I’m sure for guys married with children this can be a good reason to get out of the house and have a break from all that. But lets be honest, Do you really watch most of the draft?

I am not in any way putting down the football junkies who will actually sit there through all those hours of watching basically the same thing over and over. I personally can think of about a hundred other things to do this Saturday that I would not put off for the NFL draft.


Baseball: The Rich Man’s Game

•April 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

In case no one has noticed recently baseball is becoming extremely expensive to watch live.  Ticket prices and other expenses endured during a game are steadily increasing.  This is due to the increasingly ridiculous salaries that the players are getting paid.  Ticket prices have been on a steady increase and now with the recession are too high for most ballparks to sell out.

Boston is one of the ballparks that it is virtually impossible to walk up to the ticket booth and buy tickets, mainly because of the size of the park.  But with the ticket prices rising as fast as the unemployment rate this could soon change.

There is no ballpark where the rise in ticket prices is more evident than in the new Yankee Stadium which opened up this year.  When watching Yankees game, which almost always sell out,  it became apparent that the $2,500 price, which will be increasing by 4 percent next year,  was even too much for the people in New York to pay to see their team play. It can also be seen in Pittsburgh where ticket prices are averaging around $300.

In some ballparks there are actually more seats empty than filled. This used to be seen only in Florida, mainly because of the size of the stadium they play in, and clubs who were not doing so hot for years. These types of clubs are taking the hardest hit from raising ticket prices because they already have a hard enough time getting fans to come out. The Washington Nationals are a great example of this because their prices are fairly high due to the new stadium built last year.

I remember going to Citizens Bank Park on opening day three years ago and getting standing room tickets for $10. Now those tickets are selling for around $15, not a huge jump but in three years that’s a 50 percent increase.

If baseball owners continue down this destructive path baseball as we know it might be over.