Enough ESPN!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Here is a Memo to ESPN: Stop with the original ESPN Entertainment! Seriously, enough is enough. I can tell that you are hurting with the absence of the NHL and their playoffs. How else can I explain the shows you keep pumping out and jamming down my throat? You have done your takes on reality TV in which contestants compete for a job as Sportscenter anchor. Your winner can be seen sparingly on ESPNews. Then you followed it up with former NBA players with a chance at being an analyst. It doesn't stop there. You've had shows in which players give questions to contestants as well as your latest ventures in which contestants are pit against your own fat retro jersey wearing sports guru. And the worst part is you seem to find air time for none other than Stuart Scott who was your main on air personality when you started the ESPN 2 network. Note to Stuart, your catchphrases could have stayed back in the early days of ESPN 2. No more. Booyeah.

Please NHL, come back next year and save me from ESPN's original entertainment programming!


Sports Emperor for a Day

Monday, April 18, 2005

A funny thing happened to me today. I was anointed Sports Emperor of the World for a Day. At last I am able to modify the sports I have come to know, love, and in some cases loathe, to my liking. Where to start, where to start?

There is a rule that was once to be re-enforced but it has sadly not been done. A batter may not leave the batters box unless time is called. No more stepping out in between every pitch. Imagine how much shorter the games would be now!

American League, say goodbye to the designated hitter. It's time both leagues play on the same level. The AFC doesn't have wider goal posts than the NFC, so why should the American League pitchers not hit? This is an old-school rule change that will add more strategy to the game.

A funny thing about baseball that is unique from all the other sports. The playing fields are as varied as the teams. Every football field in America is uniform, as are all the NBA courts and NHL rinks. Why is it different in baseball? The time has come to unify the game and level out the home run record chases and hitting records and everything from now on. Sure, this is not likely in the day and age of stadium construction costs, but it, to me, is insane that there are different dimensions. Also, say good bye to that hill in centerfield in Houston.

Playoff change. The team with the best regular season schedule will have home field advantage in the World Series, Wild Card or not. No more "winning league of the all star game" gets homefield. Stupid rule.

Curt Schilling? You are banned form speaking your mind. I don't care what you have to say anymore.

No more inter-league games. Interleague should be kept for three times; spring training, the All-Star game and the World Series. I might consider same-city-three-game-series once a year. I can let Yankee-Mets, Phillies-Red Sox, Nationals-Orioles, Cubs-White Sox, etc. match-ups go.

Stat that is never heard from again: Pitch count.

Age minimum. rather than having a specific age minimum, how about a rule stating that all NBA players must have completed three years of college? And can the college coaches be sure to teach their teams the fundamentals of the game, like foul shooting and defense?

If you want to hold out the team name of your jersey to the crowd after a big play, it's a $10,000 fine. If I'm watching the game, I know what teams are playing thank you very much. It's old now.

Retro, or throwback, jerseys may be worn a maximum of twice per year. It's hard enough keeping track of all the teams, especially when I see home jerseys, away jerseys, home throwback jerseys and away throwback jerseys being worn in the same week! If you're playing at home, wear your white jerseys. If you're on the road, wear your dark jersey. If you're the Lakers, wear your yellow jerseys at home, not the white ones.

Stick with me on this one...If a team from one conference has a superior record of a team in the opposing conference, and the superior team does not make the playoffs in their conference, they take the place of the lesser team in the opposing conference. Example: Buffalo Bills finish 10-6 and out of the AFC playoffs, Carolina Panthers finish 8-8 and make Wild Card in NFC. Buffalo takes the place of the Panthers in the NFC playoffs. Should this happen, the team replacing the lesser team will play all of their games on the road, regardless of record. The playoffs should be a reward for superior play and the mediocre teams should not be permitted to participate in post season play.

Super Bowl commercials should not cost so much. Because they have gotten so expensive it seems that the quality of the commercial breaks has been hit hard. Stop charging so much and bring back the quality of commercials that last forever. Does anybody even remember the Bud Bowl? It used to be more entertaining than the game itself!

Speaking of Super Bowl, no more televised pre-game and halftime entertainment that is supposed to be for the viewers. The game should be just about that, the game. If you haven't noticed there have been some classic ending Super Bowls four out of the last five years. But everybody remembers just the "wardrobe malfunction".

College football (Division 1-A) change. A playoff system incorporating all league champs and a certain number of "at-large" teams. The bowl games can still be used for neutral sites for the quarter, semi and final games.

If it doesn't snow in your city, you don't get a team. Good bye Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Might Ducks, San Jose Sharks and more, including the defending Stanley Cup champs, Tampa Bay Lightning.

New 52 game schedules. More conference and division play, less out of conference play.

No shoot-out possibilities to decide a game. Four on four overtime works nicely in the regular season, five on five in post season. Just fine.

And of course, play some games!

Stat to never hear again: scoring chance. How can a player have more shots on goal than scoring chances? Isn't a shot on goal, technically, a scoring chance?

I think that is enough to do for one day as the Emperor of the Sports World. Now that I fixed some things up I'll go and relax in my throne, awaiting the call for my next fill-in job.


Baseball Blog for April 6

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Comcast was kind enough to broadcast the Phillies game in my area tonight so I was delighted to get to watch the second game of the season. When I turned it on it seemed to be good game, with the Nationals leading 2-1. All of that changed shortly after when Pat "the Bat" Burrell pounded one over the fences, giving the Phills a 3-2 lead.

The young Brett Myres was apparently pitching well, but he was taken out when Brad Wilkerson came up after 6 2/3 innings. The Phills got out of the inning alright, but the 8th was a different story. What once used to be the strength of the Phillies proved yet again to be the Achilles heel; middle relief. It used to be that the middle relief was terrific and the starting pitching was decent, and the closer, Jose Mesa namely, was the problem. Since the Phillies parted with Mesa they picked up Billy Wagner. Wagner, though, is only effective when he's in the game. The middle relief has increasingly become more frustrating over the past year or so. Sure, it's only the second game of the season. So goes the life of a frustrated Phillies (and Philadelphia in general) fan.

The game comes back on after a pitching change (Tim Worrell couldn't do anything to help set up Wagner) and the crowd is standing and cheering. How's this? When they left for commercial they were booing Worrell off the mound. Little did I know that Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was in attendance in his Phills colors with his friends. I knew what to do next. Count how long it took for the first E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES chant took place. Three seconds. what to count next? How many times the chant would be done. Four.

Back to the game. Another pitcher, another couple runs scored against us. Final score, 7-3 Nationals.

Some good news from this (and the first game) is the play of Pat Burell who went 3-3 in the opening game, and picked up a clutch home run to give the Phills a lead to play with with Thome on base. Let's hope this continues. If it does the offense will be better. And how about Jimmy Rollins-Chase Utley? I like it so far, especially with that sweet play they had in I believe the 6th.

The game ends and I continue searching for more sports. ESPN comes on and I watch for a Sixers score (they won) as I'm watching the Utah Jazz score 8 points in the first quarter against Minnesota. 31-8 after one quarter? It's no wonder the college game is more interesting to watch.

Luckilly ESPN2 is showing the Marlins-Braves game. At this point it is tied at one in the 12th inning. Call me crazy but I love this stuff. Give me a 1-1, 3-3 game in extra innings any day over a 12-10 game. Home runs are cheap thrills. Pitching duels and good defense are treasures.

In other news today, I browsed a book store and leafed through Jose Canseco's book. Wow. I decided to save my money.


Baseball is Back

Monday, April 04, 2005

In my previous post I discussed the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry and how it should not be interfered with. I'm glad to see it was left untouched for opening night in the Bronx, so now I hope the same remains true when the two clubs meet in Boston for the Red Sox home opener. So what were my impressions of opening night?

The Yanks beat the Sox 9-2 in one of the worst opening day defeats by a defending World Champ. Oh well. The Yanks have this thing where they beat up on the Sox in the regular season anyway. Should the Red Sox be worried? Not at all. One game down, but still 161 still left to play.

Randy Johnson pitched very well, holding the Sox to only one run in his six innings of work. Is a guy that old supposed to be that good in April? I didn't think so, but then again Randy Johnson isn't your average over-40 pitcher.

Much was made about David Wells' record in Yankee Stadium. What some people failed to point out is that just about all of those games were as a Yankee. I could win at least one game as a Yankee pitcher when I have that lineup behind me. Welcome to Boston Wells.

You can tell the city of Boston is suffering from the absence of hockey. Why do I say that? Because the Red Sox team captain, catcher Jason Varitek, sported a "C" as the captain of his team on his jersey, a characteristic that is found everywhere in hockey and at a few locations in Major League Baseball. Say what you will, but I think the "C" has got to g in baseball.

I don't know what was worse for sports fans in Boston last night; the fact that the Red Sox were blown away by the Yankees or the fact that Celtics fans had to sit through listening to Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell sing the National Anthem, as paid off his bet to Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. The two governors made a friendly wager on the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Needless to say Governor Romney won...Luckily Mrs. Rendell helped her husband out a little.

Today is opening day for the rest of the league. So seeing as it's time for predictions I will make mine.

NL East - Braves AL East - Yankees
NL Central - Cardinals AL Central - Twins
NL West - Giants AL West - Angels
NL Wild Card - Phillies AL Wild Card - Red Sox

World Series - Yankees over Phillies

Call me optimistic if you will. I am, of course, a desperate Phillies fan.


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