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Archive for September, 2007

I’ve had it with baseball. I tried to turn it around, I tried to believe. But in the end it comes down to this: Baseball is topheavy, and in that way, uninteresting, unless you’re a fan of a large market team who’s willing to spend the money to get the players needed to compete. You’ve got the big markets beating up on the small markets while every other sport in the country is going in the other direction. Even college football with its NCAA-imposed 85 scholarship limitations. Sure, Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama may still vie for championships, but there are a lot of smaller teams that are making noise now that might never have in years past. (See: Hawaii, Boise State, South Florida, Texas Tech). In the MLB? Fat chance, doughboy. And take a look at the NFL, where every year it seems like there’re a few unaccounted-for teams who compete (See: New Orleans in ’06). But in baseball? You can almost write down who will be there at the end barring a precious few.

What can MLB do to right the ship? Basically, they need to emulate the NFL:

  1. Institute a salary cap for god’s sake.
  2. End guaranteed salaries. I hate to say that, I really do, because the MLBPA did their players a solid when they got them this one. But you need look no further than Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves to figure out that some people just need to find another vocation rather than bring home 20 mil a year.
  3. Stop allowing groups and corporations to purchase teams, which basically use them as a tax write-off and have no interest in putting out a competitive product. The NFL will only allow an individual to purchase teams, guaranteeing a certain competitive fervor built-in from the very top spot.

In the meantime, I’ll watch when there’s nothing else on, but I’m through having my heart ripped out for a team that has no interest in winning.

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Bama vs FSU

JP ThrowNot as bad as losing to Georgia last week, but pretty bad still. Last week: Misery. This week: Gripping depression.

Realistically: the team still played hard, despite an inept offense throughout the first half. It’s almost becoming the nature of this team to lay down until it’s all on the line and then burst forward and try to win it. For the record: Sometimes it’s just as good to win early and hold on late. 4 quarter stunners are great, but emotionally it’s very taxing, and as wild a ride as it is for me I can imagine how it is for the players, to come so close now three weeks in a row and end up 1-2 as a result of that monumental struggle.

The fact is, though, that despite the Bama Nation’s outcries last week to replace Wilson, in the FSU game it was Wilson who showed his mettle right through to the bitter end. Even when it looked like Hall had given up and some of the receivers were going to be satisfied to just phone in the last 6 minutes it was Wilson who ran for a first down, Wilson who made the throws he needed to, including a crucial TD pass to Brown with 1:06 left. It was unlikely, improbable, and then it happened, and that wave of emotion surged again, right up til the football bounced off Jimmy Johns’s head and the yellow flag flew: there was hope. Our Jr quarterback never gave up, he had that hope too. The WR corps lost it there for a few minutes, but JP gave it back to them, too. Granted, it would have been nice to have more than 78 yards of offense in the first half, but we didn’t… and that’s all I can say about that. At least the team appears to have guts (See: Keith Brown knocked out cold on that TD he caught with 1:06 to play) and that’s a lot more than we’ve been able to say in a long time.

BUT: We still evidently have problems on the right side of the OL, a thought that sends shivers up my mind as I remember the Iron Bowl debacle last year.

ALSO: DJ, we all know you’re a phenomenal athlete, but could you at least act like you give a shit if the ball isn’t coming your way? It’s looking like when the game is on the line Caddell and Brown are the guys to hit.

PS: How ’bout them dirty ‘Noles? Coach Bowden, I know you love to win, but your set of thugs are playing a nasty brand of football these days. UGLY.

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Don’t you love it when a sports team adopts a name that embodies the nature of their location or of the people who live there? I do. But it’s something that’s done very rarely, especially now days. Some of the newer teams in the sports world in America have done this, but it’s rare. The Devil Rays did it, but the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars did not. The Minnesota Timberwolves did it, along with the Blue Jackets, the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Diamondbacks. But for every one of these it seems there are two Tampa Bay Lightnings, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Thrashers, Baltimore Ravens or Nashville Predators. Really, is there no imagination left in the world? How many Lions, Tigers, Bulldogs and Eagles do we need, really? Here’s a USA Today article from ’05 that offers some interesting insights into the world of mascots.

 

There are a lot of other examples throughout the American sports landscape. These examples are from college athletics alone:

Good Choice: Bad Choice:

Oregon St Beavers

USC Trojans

Tennessee Volunteers

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan State Spartans

Ohio State Buckeyes

Boston College Screamin Eagles

Texas Longhorns

Auburn Tigers

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns

LSU Tigers

Oklahoma Sooners

Kentucky Wildcats

Ole Miss Rebels

Kansas State Wildcats

 

Some teams are just too original for it to matter, like the Crimson Tide, one of very few teams whose nickname doesn’t end with an ‘S’. The Nittany Lions took a bland name, the ‘Lions,’ and made it their own. UAB chose the Blazers and incorporated a dragon as their mascot, which doesn’t say much for the area or the people, but they get an A for imagination.

 

Just look at the state of Florida. The big three college teams are the FSU Seminoles, the Miami Hurricanes, and the Florida Gators. Three names that tell you something about where they come from, that embody the spirit of the place and the people to some degree. Well, don’t look now but it’s possible the big three in Florida is about to become the big four: USF is on the rise, having just beaten the #5 team in the land and Auburn previously. So what’s my beef with USF? Well, their nickname: the Bulls. What does that tell me about the place, the people? Nothing. It sounds like a copout name, like someone didn’t want to put forth the effort to imagine something. I submit that the University of South Florida would have been much better off to name themselves the Fighting Devil Conchs (Go Big Conchs!). Their colors could remain the same, and they could have someone blow on a conch shell horn when they score a touchdown. It could have been a beautiful thing, but instead, we get the woefully unimaginative Bulls. Oh well, welcome to the show, USF, and forgive me if I refer to you as the Conchs of South Florida.

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Fighting Devil Conchs

Three cheers for the USF Fighting Devil Conchs for beating #5 West Virginia last night!

Go Big Conchs!

USF Bulls

Note: The team name is not actually the Conchs. They’re the Bulls. But IMHO they missed a fine opportunity to really stand out by not picking a more original name.

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