Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

TBS: You are dead to me

After 30 years of Braves games, TBS shits on Ted Turner’s head.

For all you kids out there who think Mark Cuban is just the coolest, do a little reading on Ted Turner, the original Maverick. No wonder MLB is no longer the national pastime (if you need to ask, football has officially replaced it); with owners such as Liberty Media buying teams as a tax writeoff. Ted put the Braves on national television, made them popular nationwide and made them world champions. But then he sold his business, and since then he’s had to endure the slow crumble of everything he’d built into so much corporate bureaucracy. A good thing has turned ugly. Goodbye, Braves. So long, national pastime. And goodbye TBS.

Hellooooooo, football!

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Tampa Bay Devil Rays

First of all, when it comes to baseball I am a Braves fan and have been since the day I was born. But a few years ago I thought I might pick an American League team to pull for. I set up a few qualifying factors, primarily that they must be a team that was not currently a good team at that time. That way if either of the three ever start winning I can say I was there when times were rough, see? I am not the type of guy who’ll jump on a BoSox bandwagon just because they decided finally to compete with the Yankquees at their own game. (But if I had to pick between the two, obviously I’d pick the Sox).I printed out a list of all AL teams, crossed out the winningest teams on the list, and then just began crossing them off until I had three left: Detroit, Seattle, and Tampa Bay. Detroit because it’s old school cool, and the other two just because I liked their logos and team names/colors and such. 

D-Rays LogoSo: The Tigers. I like the team, the history, the classic look of their uniforms, but…I’m just not a Motor City kind of guy, I guess. Seattle is a cooler city, but I don’t know if it’s a baseball city. It seems too preppy to be a baseball city. Too rainy. Too damn far away, too. Tampa is a lot closer to me (Alabama) and I like the Tampa/St. Pete area, I like(d) the logo, the team colors, and, ultimately I decided my AL team should be in the Eastern Division, just like my NL team…so I chose Tampa. (Disclaimer: In Braves vs. D-Rays matchups, I’m for the Braves. Against all other teams, I’m for the D-Rays). And so far, it’s looked like the team was going to just suck forever. In fact, when I was looking for a favorite AL team, I pretty much liked everything about Tampa except the stadium, which is absolutely the worst in all of baseball, and the fact that they’re in the same division as the Yanks and Sox. Let’s face it, there’s not been much to be supportive of, and I’m not going to travel to St. Pete for a baseball game that is played in that stadium. It’s out of the question.

But now, fast-forwarding to 2008, all of a sudden the winds are changing. The things I liked about the team are changing. The things I didn’t like are also changing. And I’m kind of at a point in my support of the team (which so far equals one ball cap. I also keep up with how much they’re losing. That’s about as much involvement as I can stand) that I want them to win. I was excited when they hired Piniella. I was hoping he could do something with them, but the simple fact is they’ve got to get more, better players for any manager to be able to do anything with them. So what’s changing for ’08?

  1. New Unis: Meh. The new ones are as good as the old ones.
  2. New Logo: Meh. The new one is as good as the old one.
  3. New Name: the Devil Rays are, sadly, no more. Enter the Rays. Frankly, I liked the Devil Rays name, a lot more than the Rays. But that’s really the only change that’s finding me cold.
  4. New stadium plans: Now this is where it really gets exciting. The Rays are planning on building a new stadium, possibly to open 2012. With a modern, attractive new stadium, the Rays might just entice me to make a few trips down to see them.

Rays new stadiium

So, things are looking up in St. Pete. Now if the team can just start winning a few games here and there. Let’s see if we can catch lightning in a bottle.

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Roger Clemens

In a seventeen minute phone conversation, Brian MacNamee asks Clemens 21 times “What do you want me to do?” Clemens never answered the question. Why didn’t he say, “I want you to tell the truth!” Scream it out, for cripe’s sake. Which just opens speculation as to why he didn’t–or wouldn’t.

Because the answer might have been, “I did tell the truth!”

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Baseball Bombshell

This is supposed to be shocking, but really, is anyone surprised at all?

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How great it is to see the Mets sit at home. I think I’m going to pull for the Rockies and the Indians, because I love underdogs. For the World Series I’ve always got to go with the National League, so I’m hoping the Rockies, a team who I never thought would have a chance at winning it all, will win it all. It’ll be like when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.

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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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