Monday, April 29, 2013

Collins makes history, Tebow goes job hunting and some sour Grapes

From where I sit it looks like we have our first openly gay athlete in the four major leagues.

Jason Collins has made a huge stand...and good for him. It takes a lot of bravery to do that. Hopefully he won't face the kind of attacks others have.  I watched the movie '42' last weekend. Pretty good movie, but I don't think it showed anywhere near the amount of abuse Jackie Robinson when through on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Besides that who cares? Imagine exchanging Collins' sexuality for his race. How would we react if people were appalled that Collins is black? My overall feelings on this can best be summed up by the words of the late Raiders owner Al Davis, “Just win baby.”

Tim Tebow is looking for a new job after getting cut by the Jets.

There's been a lot of speculation about Tebow heading to the CFL. The biggest concern I have is the CFL is a pass first league...and Tebow can't pass. If he can't make it in a league that emphasizes the running game, how on earth could he do it with more passing? Tebow is the property of Montreal and the Alouettes have said he would be welcome to join the team. It might be good for Tebow. He can learn a lot from a great organization. How to hold the ball for a PAT for example. Tebow's options in the NFL are very limited and his prospects in the CFL don't look much better.

Don Cherry is in trouble again. Which really shouldn't come as a surprise.

That people are shocked/appalled/disgusted by Cherry's latest faux pas is more amusing than anything else. What has lead anyone to think Cherry would stop being offensive? It's Don Cherry. He's always been not-so-subtley racist and sexist. He has his own opinions and really doesn't care what you think. That's how he's made a living for 30-plus years and it's not going to change. There's a reason he's on a 7-second delay...and a reason the CBC didn't pull the plug on Saturday night. Love him or hate him, Coach's Corner is still one of the most popular segments on Hockey Night in Canada.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A hockey brawl and Geno Smith looks like a fool

From where I sit it looks like the QMJHL has a great playoff series on their hands. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada ended game 4 with a huge brawl.

For starters I loved it!  It's great to see some passion from both teams.  Out of that 12 players were suspended, including all 4 goalies! That seems a bit excessive. Everyone was involved, so why those ones, the goalies in particular? Sure, the league wanted to send a message, but what is this going to accomplish? It's impacting the quality of the game. It feels like an over reaction to a very rare situation. This isn't the 1970's...this isn't Slapshot....even line-brawls are rare. So I can't be convinced these suspensions are a major deterrent. Yes, suspensions were warranted, but a dozen players feels more like a firing squad using shotguns.

Geno Smith managed to get his time in the spotlight at the NFL draft for not doing anything.

Smith looked like an idiot for showing up for the 1st round and just sitting. The arrogance of that was staggering. Just as staggering was the look of pure defeat when it became fully apparent he wasn't going anywhere. I did feel bad for the guy. It's an awful feeling not getting picked. That doesn't preclude the fact Smith had no guarantees of being drafted. He decided to show up anyway and ended up looking like a clown. In spite of all that he did get picked and will make millions of dollars. With a bonus of getting drafted by the Jets, Smith should fit right in with the rest of the circus.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Man U win again, the NBA hands out awards and Formula 1 faces controversy

From where I sit it looks like yet another title for Manchester United...and it's pissing me off.

It's ridiculous that the top flights of football see so little turn-over in the winners. Since the Premier league was formed in 1992-93 only 5 different clubs have won the title. Just Manchester City (2012) and Blackburn Rovers (1995) break up the domination of United, Chelsea and Arsenal. It's one of the top leagues in the world, of any sport, but there is so little change at the top it gets frustrating to watch. Then the top clubs with the biggest budgets play against each other. I love seeing the change at the top...something enhanced by a salary cap. I know there's no hope of ever seeing that in Europe top league, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see some different teams take the title.

The NBA is handing out their year-end awards. I think.

The NHL is the only major professional sport to actually hold an awards night. The others just make an announcement, then present the player with their trophy at the next home game. Even if that happens next season. I support honouring the player in front of the home fans...but how about a little extra show? I don't keep track of who's up for the 6th man award. I'm just not that into the NBA. These awards just appear every couple of days through the 1st round of the playoffs. I would like to see a night to honour the best players in the top league. There's one for the ESPYs...the Hiseman...NASCAR...and the aforementioned NHL. I would like to see something from the NBA, MLB and NFL.They wouldn't have trouble selling the idea to sponsors. And let's face's a way to make more money.

And speaking of money...Formula 1 fans around the world got a stark reminder about the priorities of the top level of racing.

It's not just that Bahrain has a horrendous human rights record. Or that the country is known for it's violent put down of pro-democracy demonstrators. It's that Formula 1 doesn't seem to care. And it's not the first time F1 has courted controversy through their races. Theirs was the only international sporting event to head to South Africa during apartheid. Formula 1 super-boss Bernie Ecclestone is even looking at extending the contract an extra 5 years because they do a good job with the race. A good job at what? Keeping the protestors away? Accusing the global media of “spreading a hate campaign”? It's not often I'm embarrassed to be a sports fan, but it's events like this that make me question my love of racing.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sexism in racing and Lochte has water on the brain

From where I sit it looks like sexism is still alive in Formula 1.

It seems Sir Stirling Moss doesn't have much time for women in racing. A comment like women “don't...have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race”, Moss is being misogynistic. There are a number of very capable female drivers. Danica Patrick is starting to prove her mettle in NASCAR. Simona de Silverstro is making a name for herself in IRL. And Shirley 'Cha Cha' Muldowney's record speaks for itself. It should also be pointed out Susie Wolff is a development driver for Williams. Add to that other drivers at various levels and yes, women can race cars. Moss was a great racer, but he seemed to lack the aptitude to win a world championship. Moss also made a decision to race with lesser teams in a effort to overcome the odds and beat the major ones.  From time to time he did, however he never won a championship and that is a major missing piece of his portfolio. It looks like he has simply thrown down the gauntlet for any woman driver to prove him wrong. And I really hope someone does.

The E! Television network has asked the eternal question...What would Ryan Lochte do? My initial reaction was who the hell cares? However, after this mindless appearance on TV in Philadelphia I've been left with a different feeling... can anyone this vapid function? Sure, he provides the standard “pro athlete” answers, but is there anything else there? Lochte has so many sycophants and hangers-on he has fully lost touch with reality. Although, I doubt his grasp the real world was ever very good. His only claim to fame is the Olympics and let's face it that doesn't pay the bills very long. There's no doubt he is an excellent athlete, but can he offer anything else?  Yes, he is good looking too.  But looks can only get you so far in life and after 2016 his prospects look slim.  So, Lochte is left with trying to make money with a reality program. And, at a quick glance, his show looks to be an affront to the intelligence of every living creature from plankton on up.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on the Boston Marathon

From where I sit I can see Boston. I can see pain, suffering and anguish. I can see three families in mourning and dozens of others left with more questions than answers. I can see a day of celebration left devastated by an act of terrorism. I can see a vain attempt to intimidate both a country and a way of life.

I can also see acts of heroism. I can see people bent over the bleeding and dieing offering comfort and aid. I can see strangers applying pressure to a wound, others offering the shirts off their backs to stem the flow of blood. I can see victims being carried away as Boston's finest men and women rush in to help. 

I can see the outpouring of support from Bostonians. Opening their doors and their hearts to anyone from anywhere. But it doesn't stop at the outskirts of Boston. The fans of the Blackhawks in Chicago, taking a moment of silence, then raising their voices in support. In defiance. Those scenes were repeated across the continent.

I will not be afraid. I will not be intimidated. I will mourn with those who have lost loved ones. I will stand in support of those who protect me.

My deepest thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the attack.

The Boston Marathon will be back next year...and I will be watching...and still in the cheap seats.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A kid at the Masters, a stupid baseball fight and NASCAR looks at race names

From where I sit it looks like one man decided to throw his weight around and ended up looking like a bully.

John Paramor is a rules official at the Masters this weekend. He works on the European Tour, and after his stunt on Friday, may see less work. Paramor selected the 17th hole to enforce a seldom cited rule of a one stroke penalty for slow play. At 14-years-old Guan Tianlang of China is the youngest player to ever qualify for the Masters having won the Asia-Pacific Amateur. Guan had been warned earlier in his round about the speed of his play, so in that aspect Paramor was justified. However, given the age of the player and windy conditions, it seems a needless time to make the first recorded slow play penalty in tournament history. It's also is worth mentioning the number of pros coming to Guan's defence, including Lee Westwood and Ben Crenshaw. In a stroke of good fortune for everyone Guan made the cut by a single shot. Paramor was technically correct in his ruling, but still acted like a jerk.

Carlos Quentin is set to pick up an 8 game suspension for his idiotic actions after instigating a massive brawl between the San Diego Padres and LA Dodgers. 

The fight left Dodgers ace Zach Greinke with a broken collar bone and out of action for 8 weeks. Greinke hit Quentin with a 3-2 pitch in the 6th inning of a one run game on Thursday night. Yes, the two of them have a history, that was the 3rd time Quentin had been plunked by Greinke. But, both of them over-reacted. Quentin could have just taken his base, happy to get on late in a close game. Greinke could have kept his big yap shut and not challenged Quentin. Then after the game Quentin was confronted by the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, proving acting like an idiot isn't limited to on-field actions. There is only one positive to come from all this stupidity. Guaranteed sell-outs for every Padres-Dodgers game.

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet...” That's Shakespeare. The NRA 500. That's bad timing.

As recently as last year, naming a NASCAR race after the National Rifle Association would hardly raise eyebrows. However, after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary priorities changed. Now the American government is wrestling with new gun laws with a lot of pressure from the White House. I don't want to wade into that debate. My point is simply that I'm not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. In most forms of racing the main negotiation is between the promoter and sponsor, the governing body has little to do with the race name. Take a look at how long it took all forms of racing to drop cigarette sponsorship. Governments had to take action before changes were made. I remember the Winston Cup...Marlboro as the main sponsor for Ferrari in Formula 1...Players Racing in CART. NASCAR has promised to review their approval process for naming races. Good plan, but it does come a bit late. I think Formula 1 world champion, and noted smart-ass, Keke Rosberg put it best, “In the end, we're all whores - if the money's right, we'll do our stuff for anyone."

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The end of March Madness, more trouble for Rutgers and an ugly statue

From where I sit it looks like Louisville deserved to cut down the net in Atlanta

The game was played at a speed only dreamed of, more reminiscent of the school playground, than a high pressure national championship. The Cardinals were down big, 12 points late in the first half. But, Luke Hancock put the team on his back and started to hit 3-pointers. There was only a point in it at halftime. The same break-neck pace continued in the second half. Leaving the rest of us looking on in delight. It's a rare happening in sports...when a much hyped game actually lives up to it's billing. Louisville and Michigan did.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is facing further scrutiny, this time the FBI is involved

First basketball coach Mike Rice was fired after video surfaced showing him throwing balls at players and cursing them out. Then it surfaced that athletic director Tim Pernetti saw the tape and took minimal action against Rice. Now, the New York times reports the whistle-blower, Eric Murdock, may have tried to extort money from Rutgers. Allegedly, Murdock's lawyer sent a letter demanding $950,000. When the money didn't get paid, Murdock went public. Now the NCAA is left with a major headache. Again. As the fallout continues from the Penn State debacle, the NCAA is facing more questions about how major problems are dealt with at a school level. Tragically, little will really change and students will continue to be hurt all in the name of money.

And...The Miami Marlins stink  .And that's about as politely as it can be phrased. It's thanks to yet another fire sale from owner Jeffery Loria. However, the biggest insult is saved for the fans. Loria spent $2.5 million for the garish homerun statue in left-centre field. That, sadly, is more than just about every player on the roster. Only Ricky Nolasco ($11.5 million), Placido Polanco ($2.75 million), and Adeiny Hechavarria ($2.75 million) make more. The Red Grooms creation launches into it's 1960s style light and movement with each homerun.

I'm sure it's amazing if you're stoned...but to the rest of us it's just an over-priced eyesore. On the plus side, thanks to the Marlins meager payroll, it's not like people will be subjected to it on anything resembling a regular basis.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.