Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bio About Myself

So, Weston gave me the OK to start writing some stuff here, so I thought I would write a paragraph about myself before writing anything else. I grew up in Belmont, Michigan, which is really close to Rockford, which is really close to Grand Rapids. My favorite sport growing up was baseball, and my favorite team was the Detroit Tigers. While my love for baseball and the Tigers is still there, I would have to say that my favorite sport now is college football, which I follow 365 days a year. My team is the Michigan Wolverines, although I am not one of those arrogant Michigan fans that thinks the world revolves around Ann Arbor. I still follow every team and every conference, so I am pretty well-rounded. In addition, I am just a sports fan in general. I love watching any and all sports. I enjoy watching all of the four major sports, as well as most of the minor ones. I've also been know to watch some pretty weird stuff on ESPN2 including scrabble, cup stacking, jump rope, and dominoes. I'm in my fourth of five years in college right now. I started at Michigan for two years and transferred to Western to start my third. I'm looking forward to contributing to this blog, and I hope you all enjoy what I have to say.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

English Premier League Season Kickoff: Part 3

Here is the part 3 of my EPL Preview, covering teams 13-7.  The conclusion will come very soon.

13. Sunderland: Nickname: The Blackcats.  Manager: Steve Bruce. Stadium: Stadium Of Light.  2009/2010 Finish: 13th in the EPL.  Rival: Newcastle United.  The team started by a schoolteacher and now owned by a Texan is a "wonderfully fine team."  It plays at the Stadium of Light, a large arena which seats 49,000.  The team was recently relegated then promoted back into the EPL.  They are the 5th highest team in average attendance.

12. Aston Villa: Nickname: The Villans, The Lions.  Manager: Kevin MacDonald (interim).  Stadium: Villa Park.  2009/2010 Finish: 6th in the EPL.  Rivals:  Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion.  Aston Villa is a team in transition who could be taken over by the head US man Bob Bradley very soon.  3 Yanks already play on this team who have had some recent success.

11.  Blackpool:  Nickname: The Seasiders, The Tangerines.  Manager: Ian Holloway.  Stadium: Bloomfield Road.  2009/2010 Finish: 6th in the Football Championship League.  Rivals: Someone is Division 3.  Blackpool has a small but very passionate, loud and smart fanbase (like WMU Hockey) who intimidate opposing players.  They spent some serious cash since making the EPL.  Now they have to trend upwards more.

10. Fulham:  Nickname:  The Cottagers.  Manager: Mark Hughes. Stadium: Craven Cottage.  2009/2010 Finish: 12th in the EPL.  Rivals: Chelsea, QPR, Brentford.  Their mascot is a badger and they have probably the best non goalie player in England in Clint Dempsey.  Fulham is a tough squad, who almost won the Europa League final.  They have to take the next step to become a second tier club in the EPL.

9. Blackburn Rovers: Nickname: Rovers The Riversiders.  Manager: Sam Allardyce.  Stadium: Ewood Park 2009/2010 Finish: 10th in the EPL.  Rivals:  Burnley.  One of the oldest and proudest teams in the EPL, The Rovers made an incredible rise from second tier to EPL champs, when I was in grade school.  They have had ups and downs in recent years, mostly downs.

8.  Birmingham City: Nickname:  The Blues.  Manager: Alex McLeish.  Stadium: St. Andrew's  2009/2010 Finish: 9th in the EPL.  Rivals: Aston Villa.  Founded in 1875, spending most of their time in the EPL.  The Blues rarely get relegated, but when they do they win championships.  They will finish in the middle of the pack this season. 

7. Newcastle United: Nickname: The Magpies.  Manager: Chris Hughton.  Stadium: St. James Park.  2009/2010 Finish: Champions of the FLC.  Rivals: Sunderland AFC.  They dress like refs and have a huge classic rivalry with Sunderland.  Like the Lions, they played their best in the 50's.  Recently they have been moving back up the ladder. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You're Welcome

I have been without Internet for a while in my apartment.  Now, I have returned from the stone age and will post more regularly.  Now, here is You're Welcome!

1. Bud Selig and the Mitchell Report:  Basically re-title this "anybody who doesn't like Roger Clemens."  Criticize Bud Selig all you want, and I do, but he was gutsy to do the Mitchell report, knowing all the bad it would do would never outweigh the good.  Now the best hitter and pitcher in our era have been forever scarred with the steroids allegations.  And yes, they both did it.  Hopefully we will never see an era like this again, where cheating and dragging records through mud were everyday occurrences. 

2. Lou Piniella:  Had to do this one for sure.  The emotional press conference was touching, and its not Lou's fault the Cubs are so awful this year.  The window closed for these guys a year or two ago.  Sweet Lou was the most successful manager for the Cubs since Frank Chance (yeah 1908) and he will be missed.  Not now, but maybe in a year or two.  And Lou did the right thing, seeing his sick mother instead of managing baseball games.

3. Hard Knocks:  What a great season of Hard Knocks!  I think the New York Jets are overrated, but this is some good TV.  Sure, there are more 4 letter words than guys with 1 year deals on the Jets, but Rex Ryan is too likable.  Even over Captain Likable Tony Dungy (who grew up in Jackson, Michigan when my dad did back in the day) who called out Ryan.  Good for the Jets for being themselves.  I just can't wait until December when they are a .500 team. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Big Ten Season Preview 2010

This is the last season with the Big 11 format before the conference moves to the Big 10 with a twelve in the logo.  Then the divisions will change the scheduling and league games (maybe 9 league games) and the championship game will make this a little harder to pick.  The De facto Big Ten title game is Ohio State at Iowa in late November.

1. Ohio State:  Easy pick here.  Terrelle Pryor could be an All-American QB if he can throw the ball better.  The defense will be very good as usual and Saine should be a very good RB for OSU, not legendary like Beanie, Zippy, and the other cute nickname runners.  Iowa is the only one who has a shot to get the title.

2. Iowa:  Ricky "Captain America" Stanzi can probably put together his game manager, screw up just enough to keep games close style and keep the team rolling.  The Oline isn't going to be as good but then again Kirk Ferentz just produces talent.

3. Wisconsin:  A typical Wiscy team takes the field this year.  A huge offensive line, a big physical running back, a stout defense, a solid special teams and a game managing Quarterback who has a few weapons.  I love how old school Big Ten team this is.  They should be just below OSU and Iowa this year, and with a few breaks they could be in the Rose Bowl.

4. Penn State: Evan Royster is darn good, but with no Darryl Clark we need to see how good the offense can be.  The defense usually reloads well after losing linebackers.  Penn State has a difficult time breaking in new Quarterbacks recently.  Don't count out JoePa.

5. Michigan State: With an electric offense featuring Kirk Cousins, Larry Caper, Edwin Baker, Keyshawn Martin and company, the Spartans could be making a very good bowl this season.  If the secondary and offensive line improve at all, this team could be very good.  Some good players must be replaced (Trevor Anderson, Brett Swenson) but Dantonio's recruiting classes need to come through.

6. Purdue:  Beating Ohio State and finishing strong has this team looking up.  Danny Hope had a tough go in his first season, but gets rescued a bit with Robert Marve transferring to play QB.  Purdue will make a bowl this year, mostly on their offense.

7. Northwestern: The Wildcats played in the most exciting bowl game last season but must reload at QB.  Luckily for the Wildcats, they have a very good coach in Fitzgerald and they can get another good QB very quickly.  Look at the list of successful Wildcat QB's.  They'lll be all right.

8. Michigan:  The offense should be very good this year as long as the QB play is better.  The defense will be very awful.  The schedule is a little easier for them, and they will make a bowl.  But it won't be enough to have RichRod keep his job and they will lose to OSU again.  But it could be the change they need.

9. Minnesota: Adam Weber is back, and the talent level is higher.  The new stadium is beautiful, and USC is coming to town this year.  But the Gophers play a tough smaller school non conference schedule and the Big Ten will improve.  They will snap their 2 bowl streak.

10. Indiana: Ben Chappell and the pistol will be pretty solid this season.  And the Hoosiers have a fairly easy schedule this season.  They could sneak up on people and make a bowl with a few breaks, but the Hoosiers should be expecting another 4-8 season.

11. Illinois: Ron Zook is in a make or break season, but is realying on new coordinators and a new QB.  Benn is gone, and Zook's miracle recruiting classes must step it up huge.  I can't see a way Illinois wins more than 5 games tops.  The non conference starts with the Slaughter in St. Louis vs Missouri and two weeks later a game versus a strong Northern Illinois team.  Zook will be looking for a new job.

Conference Alignments:

When Nebraska joins the league in 2011, the Big Ten (who I bet keeps their name, not changing to the Big-Midwest or anything like that) will split into two divisions.  I see the divisions being named the Hayes and Schembechler divisions.  They will split up U of M and OSU to keep the balance level.  I have heard that 9 conference games will played, meaning 3 non conference games (everyone can still play Notre Dame weeeeee!!)  and you'll play the 5 teams in your division and 3 intra-division games.  Here is how I see it shaping up:


Michigan State


Ohio State
Penn State

Both conferences are a little top heavy, but every rivalry can be kept intact.  Michigan vs Ohio State should not be played the last week of the season, to avoid a possible rematch in the championship game.  It should be prime time earlier in the year to get people interested in this game again.  The last decade has been lackluster.  This format is good too for when the Big Ten goes to 14 teams, as they can split the new teams and add one each.  The championship game will be in early December.  I would like to see a bye week to help get attention.  The Big Ten will announce their plans in the next few weeks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You're Welcome!

1. Denard Robinson:  Shoelace has really shown, through hard work and attitude, that he is the starter at U of M and should have been all along.  Tate Forcier has lost the team with his laziness and arrogance, while Denard has won the job (for now) with his good attitude.  While Forcier has lost his wings, Robinson has shown the offense should be run by a fast running quarterback.  Forcier came in with a lot of hype, with t-shirts with cute little sayings and number 5 jerseys all over Ann Arbor.  But Robinson could really take over a solid offense this season. 

2. Brett Favre: Not only did Grandpa Favre skip most of camp this season, he got more money from the Vikings for this season (reportedly an extra 4-8 million dollars more) and made Brad Childress the bad guy by saying he doesn't trust the guy as a coach.  Join the club Brett.  Favre also said this would be his last season, but I'll bet you this saga is not over one bit.  He still captivates the nation with every game and he is setting himself up as the most important Viking ever.  It is Super Bowl or bust, and Favre is taking no prisoners.

3. BYU:  BYU has done themselves a favor by getting out of the MWC and putting themselves in position to join another conference when the next expansion fever sets in.  The MWC is probably the best outside the Big 6 (and probably better than the Big East) and added up and coming Nevada and a very good program in Fresno State to join another new member in Boise State, TCU, Air Force, Wyoming and the bunch.  If I were the MWC, I would still add enough teams to get to a championship game like everyone else.  But BYU has made it easier for a Pac-12 or Big 12 to add them in a few years, and BYU could schedule well enough to earn an at large bid in a weak year.  Expect a few more moves in the next few years before another round of expansion around 2014.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

English Premier League Season Kickoff: Part 2

Here is how I see the EPL finishing up this season, using the WCSPI rating (Weston Corbitt Soccer Power Index) in reverse order of finish.  I know the season already started and this is a little late, but the season is until May.

 Bottom Three Get Relegated

20.  West Ham United: Nickname: The Hammers.  Manager: Avram Grant.  Stadium: Boleyn Ground.  2009/2010 Finish: 17th. Rivals: Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea.  The team with the coolest hooligans (they have a hobbit!!) isn't known for great soccer.  Heck, their team song is "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" .  I'm not going to get pumped for that.  Also, their goalie is Robert Green.  Ouch. 

19.  West Bromwich Albion: Nickname: The Baggies.  Manager: Roberto Di Matteo.  Stadium: The Hawthorns West Bromwich.  2009/2010 Finish: 2nd in the Football League Championship.  Rivals: Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers.  The team with a cute little bird for a mascot has had a rough time sticking tin the EPL for the better part of the decade (5 out 11 times in the EPL).  They were very good back when India was owned by the Brits. 

18.   Stoke City: Nickname: The Potters. Manager: Tony Pulis.  Stadium:  Britannia Stadium Stoke-on-Trent.  2009/2010 Finish: 11th in the EPL.  Rivals: Port Vale, Wolverhamton Wanderers.  This team has signed some good veteran players and the last two seasons have played in the EPL.  They finished last season very poorly and their players must come through to avoid relegation.

 17.  Everton: Nickname: The Toffees. Manager: David Moyes.  Stadium: Goodison Park Liverpool.  2009/2010 Finish:  8th in the EPL.  Rival: Liverpool.  Everton does a lot with a little and are very popular all around the world.  Tim Howard plays for the Toffees as did Landon Donovan, whose loan had Everton avoid relegation for the 107th year, most all time.  Tim Cahill, the captain of the Socceroos, also plays for this team.

16. Wigan Athletic: Nickname: Latics.  Manager: Roberto Martinez.  Stadium:  DW Stadium Wigan.  2009/2010 Finish: 16th in the EPL.  Rivals: Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Oldham Athletic.  Martinez was on the ESPN coverage for the World Cup, but his team isn't all that good.  The team has very low attendance and has been only in the EPL for five years.  It'll avoid the FLC but not for long at this rate.

15.  Bolton Wanderers: Nickname: The Trotters.  Manager:  Owen Coyle  Stadium:  Reebok Stadium.  2009/2010 Finish: 14th in the EPL.  Rival: Wigan Athletic.  Coyle came over with a lot of new players last season but they didn't translate into wins.  This year they will try again to move up the ladder.  They will stay in the EPL but not too high.

14.  Wolverhampton Wanderers:  Nickname:  Wolves.  Manager: Mick McCarthy.  Stadium: Molineux Stadium.  2009/2010 Finish: 15th in the EPL.  Rival: West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City.  The Wolves
are the most charitable in the EPL, as they give a lot of money to charity and lose to teams last year.  The team song is "Hi Ho Wolverhampton" (Hi Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck) although Scunthorpe United may have called it first.  The Wanderers have a problem with hooliganism and not winning much.  This year should be the same. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

English Premier League: Season Kickoff and Slight History Lesson Part 1

The English Premier League is the best in the world for soccer.  The best players come from everywhere to play in this league, who beats out La Liga (Spain), the Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France).  The league is home to legendary teams such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.  The teams play 38 games a season and the season runs from August to May.  In the EPL, the bottom three teams get relegated (dominated, or demoted) to the Football League Championship.  It would be like the Kansas City Royals got sent to AAA baseball and the Toledo Mudhens got moved to MLB.  Obviously, the three top teams in the FLC move to the EPL the next season.

The top 3 teams in the EPL get to go on to the UEFA Champions League (All the best clubs in Europe get together for this, with the top teams playing each other for the championship.  32 teams total go)  with the 4th team being able to qualify with playoffs.  If you like parody the EPL is not for you.  Since the current league started in 1992, 4 teams have won the league.  4 all time.  Manchester United, Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers (once) and Arsenal.  And you can almost count that Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal will finish in the top three.  Most teams battle for the 4th spot or to avoid relegation.  Last year that 4th team was Tottenham Hotspur.  Everton are the Oakland A's of soccer, not spending a ton of money but sticking to a system to stay competitive.  Plus signing Landon Donovan.  Manchester City are the New York Mets.  ManU (the Yankees)  are in town and always win, and ManCity spend a ton of money and try to catch up.  It is a lot like baseball but far worse when it comes to who wins.

There are many good US players in England.  Clint Dempsey (AKA the rapper Deuce) plays for Fulham, Landon Donovan played for Everton (may go to Chelsea or ManCity), Brad Guzan for Aston Villa (who might get US Men's coach Bob Bradley to take over for them), Jonathan Spector plays for West Ham United (the team in the excellent soccer hooligan movie "Green Street Hooligans", a must see) and Tim Howard plays goalkeeper for Everton.  More Americans play in the other 4 leagues.

Soccer teams in Europe have awesome nicknames, because they go to a different naming system then the US.   Soccer teams also play in some of the coolest old stadiums in the world, like Stamford Bridge for Chelsea and Old Trafford for ManU. Fans usually fill the stadiums pretty well, with tens of thousands of fans coming to every game.  The teams have a transfer period in the middle of the season, where teams can sell or loan their players to other teams.  This can happen all over the world, like when Landon Donovan went from the LA Galaxy to Everton.  Training camps get started in July, where teams come over here to destroy our league teams.

The top goal scorers last year were Didier Drogba for Chelsea with 29, Wayne Rooney for ManU with 26, Darren Bent for Sunderland with 24 and Carlos Tevez for ManCity 23.

If you want to watch some EPL action, its on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, FSN Detroit (when I get back from classes its sometimes on) and FS Soccer.  You can usually catch multiple games a week if you really track down game times.  Most games are played on Saturday or Sunday, with some during the week.

Next I will look at each team this season with a little write up on each.  I'll do in reverse order of finish in the Weston Corbitt Soccer Power Index (WCSPI or phonetically We-sc-spy)

Thoughts From Preseason Game Number 1

The Lions played their first preseason game of the season this weekend.  And what did we learn?  That the weather sucks in Pittsburgh and preseason football is pretty bad.

I was impressed with the Lion's starting defense especially Vanden Bosch and Avril.  Sure, Leftwich is as mobile as the Statue Of Liberty but we need to generate a pass rush badly.  Randy Phillips made some nice plays as an undrafted rookie and could find himself on the roster very soon.  Can't Cover Brown and Marvin White need to start showing they can start or its going to be a mess.  The backups played all right, Landon Cohen had 2 penalties on him, which could be big when we are trimming down the deep defensive line depth.

Amari Spievey made a pretty bad play giving up a long touchdown to Arnaz Battle.  I know Spievey has been hurt, but when was the last time Arnaz Battle beat someone?

Derrick Williams messed up another special teams play again, taking a stupid fair catch near the goal line that backed the Lions up.  I really don't think he'll make the team with special team play.  With Tim Toone, Jahvid Best and Dennis Northcutt available to return kicks, either Williams will be a slot receiver or looking for a job.  He did have a solid catch and more upside than Northcutt.  Toone didn't screw up returning kicks, but didn't impress a lot.  He still has 3 games to go. 

Stafford looked very sharp and healthy.  At the end of the season last year he was so hurt we really didn't see all of his talent.  His accuracy has improved and he played very well.  The TD throw was nice, and the interception was half on Best and half on Stafford.  Best should have made the catch, but the throw wasn't spectacular.  Still, if Stafford does this every week I'll be very satisfied.  Jahvid Best made a couple of very nice runs.  The starting offense looks solid without a lot of starters playing. 

Dizon got hurt on a nasty hit and could miss the entire season.  Smith and Pettigrew both missed time, as did many Lions starters.  What did we learn?  The team should be better this season and the second year players could really make a jump.  But the biggest part of football is consistency.  Lets see if these players can impress again and again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

You're Welcome!

Football season is basically here, with preseason in full swing.  And nobody knows what Brett Favre or Darrell Revis will do this season, or ever.

1. Brazil:  The Brazilians are doing what the Americans should be doing right now, moving on with a new coach and playing young players to build towards the World Cup in 2014.  The way I see it, you are either building and preparing for the next World Cup or playing in the World Cup.  Their 18 year old sensation Neymar (who could sign a contract with everybody from Chelsea to Real Madrid) was spectacular.  Wouldn't it be refreshing if an 18 year old American scored goals for us?  Oh and by the way, Brazil's Rookie team beat us in our backyard.

2. Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders:  Al Davis is looking better right now.  JaMarcus Russell has admitted to using codeine (prescribed and otherwise) and looks like a wreck right now.  He turned down an offer from the UFL Omaha Nighthawks (who signed Ahman Green and instead signed Jeff Garcia) and is now looking at playing guard as a possibility.  Combine that with a nice draft, adding Jason Campbell, beating the Cowboys last night and sticking with a coach instead of Notre Dame-ing it (yeah its a verb).  I would trust Al Davis a little more, and the Raiders have a shot at the playoffs.  No joke.

3. College Football Mega-Games:  While the new conferences still have new team smell, teams are starting to schedule very good non conference games.  Notre Dame has signed contracts with Texas and Miami (not of Ohio!!) and are renewing a rivalry with Army (go Black Knights!).  MSU is going to play West Virginia and Alabama.  Penn St vs Alabama, Boise State vs Virginia Tech, Nebraska vs Washington. its like bowl season in September.  I'll like college football even more with elite match ups.  The Big Ten vs MAC and FCS lineup is pretty brutal. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

U.S. Sports And London: Just Plain Dumb

The NBA announced today that the Nets and Raptors are going to play back to back home games in London this season, because the NBA needs to get on board with trying to woo London.  The NFL has already tried to get the Brits on board with football, so why not try basketball too?

Because the idea is dumb.  England doesn't care about basketball, or football, or hockey.  If they did their leagues would be more successful (yeah, all three of those sports have English leagues).  And sure, the London Bowl does all right for ticket sales, but its a one game event.  Americans sell out when huge soccer teams come to the states, but if a English Premier League team was in the US, it would not survive.  Also, the NFL put teams in Europe for NFL Europa, and only Germany and Amsterdam cared a little bit.  The London team struggled to sell tickets so bad they moved multiple times, even around England.

The NHL having games in Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic makes a little more sense, as those countries have strong domestic leagues.  MLB putting games in Japan makes sense for the same reason.  Still, putting games that matter in other countries is insulting to the home fans.  They pay a lot of money for tickets, gas, parking and apparel throughout the year, only to get games taken away to build a bigger fan base.  I hope the Lions are never selected to play in London or anywhere.  The Mexico Bowl and the Japan Bowl were good ideas, since the games don't matter and people usually don't like going.  Put the Pro-Bowl in London, where fans could see the top players and the game could be marketed better than, "come see the Patriots play the Buccaneers."

The NBA is particularly stupid about Europe.  They want teams to play there in the league.  So, you'll give Seattle a team, then what?  A Euro division?  Where the teams play ridiculously long road or home schedules, then play each other?  What about in the playoffs?  How many days off can you give?  The NBA playoffs are already 3 months long.  It would be a mess.  And having players go to those teams would be rough.  If you're a 25 year old man, trying to get a huge deal and are offered big money in Barcelona or New York, who would you choose?

The NFL should really look into expanding (or relocating) to Los Angeles before Europe, or Canada.  Or they shouldn't do anything, as they make record money every year without those venues. 

Bottom line, Stern and Goodell need to wise up and stop taking games from American fans.  They can make plenty of money here, without any risk of loss.  How many times do teams need to go over there before people realize football or basketball won't ever be big enough to take a chunk out of soccer and that more money should be spent here to build the sport domestically, where it should be built.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baseball Records: No Longer Important

Since the steroids era came and went in baseball, fans have become very negative towards records in baseball.  And they should be.  There is no reason to care about any records anymore.  They are all tainted with cheating and lies and fans shouldn't celebrate any of these accomplishments.

When Mark McGwire beat the single season home run record, not only did baseball need it, everyone wanted it to happen.  I was cheering for Sosa, but we all knew how incredible McGwire's chase was.  We didn't believe he used steroids, not like we do today.  It was medicine for his eyes, he was always really big, he always hit a lot of homers, players started lifting and getting stronger etc.  We tried telling ourselves whatever we could to make sure he wasn't cheating to beat this record.  When number 62 flew out of the park, the world celebrated and baseball had started the climb back to importance after 1994 turned off a lot of fans.

We started to see this trend with Barry Bonds.  I have nothing good to say about Bonds.  He was a huge entitled jerk who started using steroids to gain more attention the home run hitters were getting.  He would play the victim, having pity parties on TV to try and make us feel bad for him.  But when he broke McGwire's record, some people still cared and marveled at the record.  More people didn't.

Now we get to Alex Rodriguez's chase for 600.  It got very little coverage during the summer dead zone of sports.  It wasn't even a big story on ESPN.  They would rather run a possible Favre retirement story than cover a sacred baseball record being broken.  What happens when A-Rod beats the all time home run record?  Will it get pushed behind NFL training camp coverage?  Is there anybody we can trust anymore?  Even the incredible pitching records have become lackluster.  Pitching doesn't get people into the stands either.

Baseball records are dead, and we all can blame steroids.  Nobody cares anymore, as they are all based on lies.  Even pitching records aren't entirely trustworthy.  Baseball has made a comeback, but it will only be short lived.  With the haves and have nots, only about 8 teams can compete for a championship, and even more franchises have little root for or get interested in.  Who is a Pirates or Royals fan anymore?  Why would any kid root for them?  They are just another farm team for other big clubs.  A-Rod showed more about baseball than just steroids, it showed most people don't care. 

Hockey has rebuilt itself after the lockout, but they don't have to worry about records being tainted.  The NFL and NBA will recover from their probable future lockouts.  But baseball may never because the records and numbers they held so dear are being broken by cheaters.  Steroids are on their way out, but something else will return to further harm the game.  It is sad to see baseball fall behind like this, but they can still stop the bleeding before its too late.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You're Welcome! Brett Favre Retirement Edition

ESPN released last night that Favre might not have sent texts to everyone about retiring, and that he cares more about his surgically repaired ankle healing.  So this time, the retiring/unretiring may not be his fault.  Just think some summer we won't have to hear about this ever again. 

But regardless of the situation, I'll look at the three people I think benefits the most from this soap opera we see every summer.

On a side note, I am very happy to see Suh in training camp.  He signed his deal (slightly less than Stafford's) and only missed 6 practices.  Its not the end of the world, but I am glad he is signed.  I was never mad at him for trying to get the biggest deal, but it was probably only over a few million (after 40 its just gravy) and how he said there would not be a holdout.  But, he is already showing to be very charitable, and I hope any bad feeling, from the fans or front office, are gone.  Hopefully there is a rookie wage scale with the next CBA and we don't have to see holdouts.  If the NBA beats you to the punch, you're really far behind. 

1. Teams he played for other than the Packers:  A little obvious, but the Jets got a mediocre season out of him, a ton of media attention and jersey sales, then he led the team to a 1-4 record down the stretch and played with a biceps injury.  The collapse led to Mangini getting fired, Ryan being hired and the genesis of the Super Jets we are going to watch play this season.  I bet Jets fans would take that over more Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens.

The Vikings benched subpar/Childress' former favorite QB Jackson for Favre and Brett responded with the best season of his career and a trip to the NFC Title game, where he threw a poor pass over the middle and the rest is history.  Still, its the farthest the Vikings have come to the Super Bowl this decade.  Outside of old QBs they have signed late in their careers (including trying to woo Aikman and Marino) the Vikings haven't had a good QB since Culpepper tapped the B button to Randy Moss in the early 2000s.  And that was short lived as well.

2. Wendy Nix: She was lost in the shuffle of ESPN NFL reporters and was sent to cover the possibility of Favre leaving back in round 1.  But then the story blew up and Nix was on millions of TVs everyday over the summer.  Now she is the go to reporter for the NFL and has launched a more successful career from this.  Much like Chris Broussard this summer, she has an athlete to thank for all this exposure.

3. LeBron James: Speaking of this summer, doesn't LeBron James look a lot better now?  Sure Favre isn't leaving his semi-hometown, but the multiple summers of incredibly crazy coverage makes LeBron look a little better.  Sure Favre hasn't made an hour long TV special (yet) but he could be more of a drama queen than LeBron could ever dream.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Favre Retires: For The Last Time?

Favre retires, again, but this could be it because he is physically drained and his ankle isn't responding.  I want him to come back, I would be OK if he came back and said he changed his mind again.  The NFL is probably better with him.  That could be because I have never known an NFL without him.  I was 3 when his career started.

Its sad to see his career end because of an injury, but this was probably the only way it would end.  He is someone so original and unique that we will never see another person like him.  A warrior with youthful joy and passion for a game he loves, a game he gave so much but gave him back even more.  A pure gunslinger, he leads the league in touchdowns and interceptions, and his last pass for the Packers, Jets and Vikings: all picked off.

If he did walk off the field for the last time last January in New Orleans, he'll go out as one of the top five quarterbacks in NFL history.  Elway, Marino, Unitas and now Favre.  Sure, he was pretty bad about retiring but people can't understand how tough this is for him and his family.

I hope he changes his mind and comes back, but I wish him the best.  We will all start to miss him when the season starts and he isn't playing, but this modern day cowboy hero has already cemented himself as a great player and a great human being.