Sunday, September 29, 2013

The last day of the season...and everything to play for

From where I sit it looks like a photo finish in baseball...

Cleveland9170.565-51-3040-40740661+79Won 99-1
Texas9071.559-45-3545-36722629+93Won 68-2
Tampa Bay9071.559-51-3039-41688638+50Lost 27-3


It's a scene that's almost unique to baseball. A flock of teams battling for postseason action on the final day of the season. Cleveland, Texas and Tampa Bay are aiming for the two AL wild card births. All three have a legitimate chance to make the post-season, or at least make a tie-breaker game. It's a delightful way to end the season, even if there isn't a tie-breaker...or two. Let's be honest here, it's one of those deeply appealing facets of baseball. The unscheduled, at times unlikely, game that lands mid-afternoon early in October. The reason baseball fans suddenly have trouble focusing on their work. There's never a guarantee of a tie-breaker. There will always be playoff games, but the extra game (or games) at the end of the regular season is a bonus. A free day of baseball. Memorable to the victors...regretful for the losers. In fact the delight and anguish of the MLB tie-breaker can best be summed up through this video...and the words of Russ Hodges...

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another bad move from the NHL and a football mercy rule

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is on thin ice...

So now coaches need to be careful about who's on the ice at any given time. Who determines what players are allowed on the ice? Or is it just based on what happens next? If John Scott didn't chase Kessel around the ice there probably wouldn't have been a fine. It's a dangerous precedent if the NHL is planning to stick with it. Will coaches have to resort to submitting their line-ups to the league before the game to get approval? Sure, John Scott is a goon, so is Steve MacIntyre. Does this mean Dallas Eakins needs to limit the ice time of the Oilers heavyweight? Taylor Hall got hit in the head, Sam Gagner got a broken jaw. The team lacks toughness and now the league is basically saying don't send MacIntyre out to defend them, you will get fined. Further to that I can't understand what the NHL is looking at. Since the Buffalo-Toronto brawl the internet has been buzzing about it...and the problem here is...? Does it play to a stereotype? Kind of. In so much as it's accurate. No, we don't need a return to the bench-clearing brawls of the 70s. But, this is death by a thousand cuts. And it looks pathetic.

A youth football league in California is creating controversy by trying to avoid blowouts...

It's a noble idea to say the least. There's no need to have kids games end up with needlessly lopsided scores. Yes, 35 points isn't much to work with, but how much effort went into teaching the coaches?  It seems like an arbitrary decision as opposed to an effort to keep games equitable. There must be some other way for the kids to get the practice they want and still not have some teams get embarrassed. How about mixing the teams? Having what amount to inter-squad games once the score gets out of hand. Perhaps teams could look for alternatives to touchdowns. Have players run out of bounds at the 5 yard line, take a knee 3 times, then kick a field goal. Or back up once you get there. Test the kickers leg on increasing distances. Something other than giving the coach a fine because his team is good.

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Heat add some showtime and the Oilers add a goon

From where I sit it looks like the Miami Heat might be copying the XFL...


Remember the Vince McMahon league? Probably not. But their idea of nicknames on the back of jerseys may be hitting the big time. And I think it sounds like fun. It wont be every day, and even then, who cares? Let the players have some fun. It's not like it will make life difficult for the announcers. The vast majority of the time that's how the players are referenced anyway. They won't be hiding the numbers to there's no impact to the referees. Keep it for home games. Let the players pick out their own nicknames. Maybe put it to a fan vote. As leagues continue to make idiotic efforts to quash individualism it's refreshing to see someone deciding to let the players have some fun with their jerseys. NHL...I'm looking at you.

The Oilers will be under the careful eyes of the NHL this season...


For starters, Edmonton signed Steve MacIntyre after having the Canucks run roughshod on Saturday. Who's bright idea was this? The Oilers need toughness...not a goon. MacIntyre will spend most of his time either on the bench or in the penalty box. I've heard him called a 'nuclear deterrant'.  I don't know how effective a nuclear deterrent is when it can't be fired. Add to that Ben Eager saying they will be targeting the Canucks top players later this season. That's kind of rich coming from a player who spent most of last season in the AHL. Now, I'm not an expert on revenge. But I certainly wouldn't be drawing attention to myself if I was planning some. The NHL has a history of not taking very kindly to threats, veiled or otherwise, and Eager is crowing about how he's going to even the score. What the hell does this accomplish apart from putting Edmonton at a distinct disadvantage? Any perceived slight against the Canucks will have the full attention of disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. This isn't Batman. You can't run around with a cape on avenging your fallen teammates. Just shut up and play.

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

the NHL enforces another stupid rule...and gets shown-up by two goons

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is trying hard to eliminate any individuality from the game...


This one I can't even fathom. What the hell does this accomplish? Players already look basically the same from a distance, why eliminate a way for the fans to spot their favourites? Sure, NFLers all have a cookie-cutter look, but given where they line-up before the snap it's fairly easy to see where everyone is. In the NBA, players wear very little in the way of equipment. Despite uniform regulations players still have their own styles. It's easy to pick out anyone, even at a distance. As for baseball...there's so little movement, even during play there's no excuse not to know where the players are. Hockey on the other hand has such speed and flow that players are in constant motion. A forward can swing from the corner, to the point, to the slot and back to the corner as fast as you can read that sentence. And now they're taking away a quick way to identify players at a glance? At least there's some semblance of safety justification for the 'helmets on during a fight' rule. This? It's just needless. Or you can look at it this way. The greatest player ever is still recognized globally. Not just for his skill. Not just for his records. But also for this...


Speaking of the helmet's a couple of guys who show there's a loophole to everything! Brent Gallant and Krys Barch use their brains before a good fight.

Well done to both! Neither might ever play another game in the NHL, but they exposed the fallacy in a needless rule.

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A new danger for NHL fighters and the NFL ups the cost of tickets

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is trying to break some knuckles...


I really don't understand the logic of making players keep their helmets on during fights. How is this going to protect the players when visors are being grandfathered in? I believe they are trying to protect against concussions. Which is fair enough. But then create break-away visors. Until it's fully outlawed, and that will never happen, there will be fights in hockey. Helmets are not concussion proof. Hit your head hard enough and you will get a concussion. It's fairly straight forward. Players are well aware of the risks associated with fighting. There are less pure goons left in the league. If they can't play a regular shift, they won't make the NHL. So, as long as fighting is part of the game, why are players being put at a secondary, unnecessary risk of injury? Is this a way for the league to keep fighters off the ice? A not-so-subtle way to appease the whiners who want fighting abolished?  In response to that I quote the great Conn Smythe, “We're going to have to do something about all this violence or people are going to keep buying tickets.”

I recently complained about hockey I want to take aim atthe NFL.


Naturally, Super Bowl tickets are going up. I will give them some credit for lowering the price on 'cheap' seats to $500. However, their excuse of wanting to cut off the scalpers, rings quite hollow. The Super Bowl is hugely profitable. It's the biggest annual sports show in the world. But they could make huge amounts of money and give tickets away for free. So, what's the real motivation behind the increase? Greed. Plain and simple. As long as people are willing to pay the asking price upfront the NFL will just keep upping the cost. I don't blame them for it at all. However, don't piss in my ear and tell me it's raining. You want to make more money. It's got nothing to do with cutting out the scalpers. It has to do with you wanting a piece of the action. And the NFL wants to get as much of that action as they can.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the Panthers make history...with an empty rink

From where I sit it looks like the Florida Panthers got shut out...


I have a couple questions here...primarily: who's the idiot scheduling a meaningless game as a matinee on a Monday? I know it's pre-season and attendance doesn't mean a damn thing. Even in major hockey centres there isn't a guaranteed sellout. However, there's no reason an NHL game at any time of year should be outdrawn by the Drumheller Dragons! I understand what the two teams are trying to do and that there's probably a limit on ice availability. My other question is: can't be something to avoid making the league look this bad?  This picture and others like it went viral.  Yes, we all know attendance is bad in some US cities...but this is pathetic.  The Panthers should have done more to prevent such an embarrassment. Bring in school kids. Schedule it on a weekend. Only sell lower bowl seats. Make it a straight up back to back game. Hell, go for six periods and call it the longest scheduled game in the league. Something. Anything. Just don't let the world see the best players in a literally empty arena.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2013

NASCAR makes matters worse and the NHL is getting more expensive

From where I sit it looks like NASCAR is digging a deeper grave...


So, now Jeff Gordon is in the Chase. Why? He didn't qualify. He was apparently victim of more machinations during Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400. There's been plenty of controversy surrounding everything that happened as teams jockeyed to get their drivers into the Chase. Only now is NASCAR acting to try to clean up the mess. A mess they made. Here's a crazy idea...why doesn't the trophy go to the driver at the end of the season with the most cumulative points? Weird, I know, but stay with me for a minute on this. It's basically a season long Chase. At the start of the year every driver has a chance to win. As the year goes on drivers are eliminated from contention if they can't generate enough points. It would really open up the field all year long. As opposed to having teams trying to make the Chase, they have to keep it up all year. Every race would mean something. I know it's revolutionary. But it just might work.

The NHL pre-season starts tonight with a stark reminder for Canadian hockey fans...


Tickets aren't cheap. Even for pre-season hockey. Full price tickets to watch an incomplete team play a game that doesn't count for anything. In Edmonton tickets start at almost 60 dollars. Each. It's insulting. It's greedy. It's probably sold-out. Plus there's parking. Snacks. Maybe a souvenir if my daughter behaves. I'm looking at close to 200 dollars for one game. Sorry. Not gonna happen. Unless I can find a deal through a ticket broker, I'm not going. I know my lack of attendance won't make a bit of difference. But some day there will come a point where teams will have to take a long look at their pricing. Sure European rinks and jerseys are covered in advertising. But take a look at ticket prices. Defending German League champs Eisbaren ticket (outside of premium seating) is 70 dollars Canadian. Cheap seats are under 25 bucks. In one of Europe's top leagues. I would be fine with ads all over the place if I would be able to take my daughter to a game or two each season. And maybe Hell will freeze over giving the NHL a new possibility for expansion.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Champions League hockey a good idea...but will never work

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is aiming at at a bridge too far...

On the surface it sounds like a great idea. Top clubs from the top leagues facing off, just like the UEFA Champions League. But let's take a closer look at how European football clubs function. A game a week, 2 if they're in Cup play outside their own league. There are 25 or so players on the team, a maximum of 14 can play in any game (11 starters, 3 subs). Add to that reserve and junior squads, that's around 50 players. There are 23 allowed on an NHL roster...20 of them dress, and all 20 could end up seeing game action. I certainly wouldn't want my favourite team sending the best players over to Europe. Imagine the outrage from Kings fans if Jonathan Quick went down with an ACL injury in a game against Eisbaren Berlin. Or Alex Ovechkin got run from behind by some thug from the Notingham Panthers. It could be fun to see the Penguins play Skellefta AIK. But there would be other teams too. How many North American hockey fans will tune in for HC Assat Pori v Asiago Hockey AC? Would the Blackhawks send their top team? Doubt it. Probably a good chunk of the Rockford IceHogs with a few Toledo Walleye thrown in. Jonathan Toews? More like Brandon Pirri. It's a great idea on paper, but in a truly practical's just doesn't work.

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CFLers need to toughen up and NASCAR has to accept reality

From where I sit it looks like the CFL has some very sensitive players...


Nobody likes to be criticized. Particularly publicly. It's embarrassing. It's humiliating. It happens. Deal with it. Simeon Rottier was the only member of the Eskimos O-Line to be called out by GM Ed Hervey. Frankly, that was unfair. Everyone should have been. They are all awful. But, that's beside the point. They are professional athletes. Sure, they aren't making as much as the guys in the NFL; none the less they are being paid to play a game. So why should they be immune to criticism just because they're athletes? Players already get special treatment the rest of us can only dream of and now coaches and managers can't publicly call out anybody? What about the coach screaming at his players on the sidelines? I guess that's fine as long as the mic doesn't pick up and names. Suck it up kids. You won't get much sympathy from anyone.

NASCAR is coming down harshly on Michael Waltrip Racing...

I don't entirely agree with what they're doing. Assuming Boyer's spin was intentional that punishment is fully deserved. In fact I would be fine if it was doubled. There's no place for that kind of dangerous crap in any level of racing. But, then there's the rest of the penalties. As Formula 1 discovered it's impossible to ban team orders. That leaves two options...either a farce pretending orders don't exist, or letting teams strategize. What's wrong with ordering drivers to pit so a teammate can advance? NASCAR created a 'playoff system' to decide the champion. NASCAR will throw a red flag to stage a green-white-checker finish, even if that means extending the race beyond distance. But team orders is beyond the pale? You can't create championship playdowns and artificial finishes, then complain when teams act on their own ideas. NASCAR has to accept that orders are a part of any team game or continue to have ridiculous scenes like we saw on Saturday.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another bad move from the CFL and Tebow is pouting

From where I sit it looks like a pair of great football games this weekend...

Too bad they're in the CFL and probably won't be watched. In a stroke of brilliance the CFL is going directly against the NFL's opening weekend. And the following 3 weeks. With daytime games. It's not even like the CFL has scheduled night games to avoid going up against the full power of the NFL. Every Sunday until October the CFL is trying to tackle the NFL head-on. Even a night game would avoid all the focus south of the border. I don't know what last vestige of a dying brain cell thought this was a good plan. The NFL is the biggest league on the continent. One of the best run in the world. You will lose. How the hell is this a good plan?

Speaking of stupid football decisions...bring me to Tim Tebow.

I can understand he still wants to chase his dreams. We all have goals we set that end up unfulfilled. I'm learning to accept my desire to make the NHL or drive in Formula 1 are probably never going to happen. It's part of life. Time to grow up Tebow. No matter what your various sycophants are telling you, you simply aren't good enough to be a quarterback in the NFL. I'm sorry. It's awful having to confront the fact that you're dreams are over. But, honestly, this would be a whole lot easier on everyone if you would stop doing this in public. Take some quiet time and evaluate your skills and what other teams are offering. Please just stop making us suffer through you sucking your thumb.

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Burke goes to Calgary and Manning takes apart the Ravens

From where I sit it looks like media in Western Canada have a lot to look forward to this NHL season...


Add to Burke, John Tortorella in Vancouver and there's going to be plenty of one-liners this season.  One quote jumped out at me from Burke: “I don't intend to be front and centre.” That would certainly be a first. Burke is a man who doesn't shy away from the media even at the best of times, never mind when he's trying to distract from a shitty hockey team. He does what he wants, when he wants to do it. Workers at GM Place (now Rodgers Arena) in Vancouver knew when Burke was in the building. You could smell his cigar. Add to that his delightful turn of a phrase and stage presence...

If Brian Burke is going to stay out of the spotlight in Calgary, there really won't be much to talk about for Flames fans.

The NFL season is finally underway...and Peyton Manning is just fine, thank you.

via espn.go.gom

Manning had a 141.1 QB rating...27-42 for 462 yards and 7 touchdowns. He averaged 11 yards a throw, not per catch, per throw. Per catch, by the way, was 17. As for the 7 touchdowns. That equals an NFL record, last set in 1969 by Joe Kapp of the Vikings. Those are just numbers, the reality of dismantling the defending champs is impressive too. All this from a washed up QB. Manning was effectively dumped by the Colts following his neck surgery. This game was a return to form for a great QB. For one game. There's a long way to go before Super Bowl XLVIII. It's the Giants next week.  In New York. Against Eli. It's a staggering start for Peyton Manning...but it's just that. A start.

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Honesty from Hervey about the Esks

From where I sit it looks like a piece of honesty from a General Manager...


Far too often we are subjected to a positive spin from some suit with our favourite franchise during their 'rebuilding' plan. That's nothing but corporate bullshit. Rebuilding? The team went to crap. Showing signs of improvement? Great, if you're talking about an injury. I fully understand teams go through down times. I'm not someone who expects my team to suddenly go from dead last to a championship contender. Ed Hervey gave us all a perfectly honest and frank assessment of his team. No excuses. It was really refreshing. Please, don't get me wrong, I'm not an Eskimos fan...not even a supporter. I will honestly cheer for every other team in the league before the Evil Empire. But, it's easier to hate a good team...even a decent team. The Eskimos suck. This entire season has been pathetic. Hervey has finally said as much publicly. Now let's see if he can follow through and actually make this a team worth despising.

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

The CFL fumbles again and pro cycling comes to Alberta

From where I sit it looks like the CFL is leaving me disappointed andfrustrated...


It's Labour Day...the last chance for the CFL to have the football scene without the NFL's imposing shadow. It means a CFL double-header...Edmonton at Calgary followed by Toronto in Hamilton. A day of Canadian football, grab a drink and put your feet up...right? Wrong. The CFL has dropped the ball. Again. Not only is there only one game, but there's a game tomorrow. On Tuesday. In Toronto. Against Montreal. The Argos can't get a good turnout on a weekend evening, who the hell thinks they're going to draw anything other than friends and family? It's idiotic. The league then has back-to-back games scheduled next Sunday. Yes, the CFL is trying to compete against the opening weekend of the NFL. Good luck with that gang!

Speaking of bad timing...we hit the Tour of Alberta.


It's Canada's first major cycling race. And arrives just in time for me not to attend. It's the first week back to school and most of the racing happens during the day. Even though the prologue is an evening event I'm not going. I was quite excited to hear the race was coming, until I looked the calendar. Yes, I know they are limited in when they can get the riders. And the summer is only so long here. But still, it's the first week of school. I can't justify keeping my child out late on a school night or missing school altogether for a bike race. I can't get the time off work anyway. I would love to support the Tour of Alberta. And hopefully I will be able year.

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