Thursday, October 31, 2013

The NFL wants less taunting and Hesjedal admits to PEDs

From where I sit it looks like the NFL is thinking about another crackdown on celebrating...
This time I actually agree with them. I like end zone celebrations, I'm even fine with a bit before the goal line, but what we saw on Sunday was disgusting. And I'm a Seahawks fan! Golden Tate's showboating on his way to the endzone was idiotic to say the least. I'm not saying act bored when you score, but taunting like that doesn't have any place in the game. It's pathetic. I'm fine with the idea of taking points off the board for taunting while the play is on. Tate was so busy making an ass of himself he almost stepped out of bounds. Get there. Then celebrate. If you can't manage that you deserve to get drilled next time the ball comes your way.

Another big name cyclist has admitted to using PEDs...this time it's a Canadian...
 I feel very torn by this confession. Ok, Hesjedal used PEDs, briefly, 10 years ago. He's not denying it. He says he regrets it. Good. Perfect. I'm disappointed, to say the least. However, I'm not going to have Hesjedal drawn and quartered for something he did a decade ago. The problem is Lance Armstrong. If he can lie, cheat and steal, why is anyone else a surprise?  The facthe duped everyone for so long leaves us questioning every cyclist. I think Hesjedal is clean now. I hope he is. But, there will always be nagging doubt. And that may be Lance Armstrong's lasting legacy. A constant cloud of uncertainty surrounding cyclists.

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Too loud at a hockey game?

From where I sit it looks like life is a bit out of control in the Soo...


I have been to games at almost every level of hockey. Guess, what? It's loud. The old farts want to sit and chat? Wow, are you in the wrong place. Let's start with the basics. Hockey is not a quiet sport. Just by it's very nature. There's always noise in hockey. It's one of the things I love about the game. Skates digging into the ice. Sticks clattering against each other. Players hitting the boards. The puck thudding off the wall, clanking off the glass or even a ping off the post. It's a very auditory sport. So, right off the top the complaint about noise is a bit rich. However, the issue is the volume of the music. And yes, I will grant the decibel level at any sporting event rivals that of your average rock concert. But, the presentation won't change. As long as I've been going to games the music has been loud. The horn is loud too. And it's true at every rink. I feel bad that they're finding it difficult to chat about the game. However, it's the future generation of ticket buyers that like the noise. In 10 years they are the ones who will be buying season tickets and bringing their families to the game. And that's how the team survives for another 40 years.

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Cowboys collapse and another weird end to a World Series game

From where I sit it looks like the Cowboys are at it again...


Can anyone believe that Detroit rallied past Dallas in the dieing seconds? Of course you's the Cowboys. The amazing part wasn't the patented late game failure of the Cowboys, but the brilliant fake spike from Matt Stafford.  Oh ya...and Calvin Johnson's 329 yards. That's an average of 23.5 yards a catch. Or for a bit of a different perspective. Megatron had more yards than 13 teams had total offence, including 3 winning teams (New England, the Giants and Oakland). You can also add to that Dez Bryant's tantrum on the sidelines.

I would say he was acting like a spoiled 7 year old...but I have a 7 year old and even her worst meltdowns aren't that bad.

Another weird ending for a World Series game, this time a pick-off play...

And once again the umpire was in the right position to make the call. This is one of the most poorly played World Series I've seen. It doesn't look like either team wants to win. Pathetic.

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Praise for the umpires

From where I sit it looks like the World Series is starring the umpires...

But this is for all the right reasons. For the 2nd time in 3 games the men in blue got a major call right. And it was communicated effectively during the play. As a former umpire my eyes not only followed the ball as it skipped past Middlebrooks, but I was watching Jim Joyce at 3rd base. He made the call quickly. Leaving the outcome already resolved long before there was a play at the plate. Further to that, Dana DeMuth at home saw Joyce's call down the line and called Craig safe. I am fully in favour of baseball expanding instant replay. It's about getting the call right. The plays in games 1 and 3 prove something too. When the best umpires are on their game replays are hardly needed. It's easy and almost obligatory to pile on the umpires when they blow a call. At the same time, there must also be praise where it's due. These six are calling a great World Series. Let's hope they keep it up...

Speaking of that play there's plenty of blame to go around for the Red Sox.  Saltalamacchia shouldn't have thrown the ball to third.  There were now 2 out with Kozma on deck.  He was 0-for-4 on the night and 5-for-33 in the post season.  There was no reason to risk throwing the ball away.  Hold the ball and get the next batter.  As for Middlebrooks, he may have gotten the benefit of the doubt if he had just stayed where he was.  But, instead he lifted his legs and made Joyce's call easy.  It was clearly obstruction.  Obviously the right matter what the Red Sox think.

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

Saturday, October 26, 2013

No brains needed in NASCAR and Bama rolls out some fans

From where I sit it looks like one NASCAR driver thinks brains aren't that important...


Keselowski is correct. The doctors don't take any risks. They have no idea what it's like to drive a car at 200 mph. They have no concept of crashing at those speeds...rocketing off the wall in a massive pile-up. However, they do know what happens to a brain during that wreck. It almost sounds like Keselowski works with the NFL. Turning a blind eye to the reality of concussions. It's not just a case of putting themselves at risk of further brain damage. A driver who's brain isn't completely focused is a danger to everyone on the track. It takes a split second for a tight race to end in disaster. Dario Franchitti can attest to that. So can the dozen or so fans hit by flying debris. And Keselowski wants drivers in the car who, potentially, are still suffering from post-concussion symptoms? Thankfully, there are differing opinions, not surprisingly from a driver who has suffered a concussion. Let's hope Dale Jr represents the majority in the pits.

Alabama has suspended the seating rights of a bunch of fraternities for leaving games early...


On the surface this seems like a legitimate complaint. It looks bad when a chunk of the stadium is basically empty after halftime. But, then there's the bigger issue. Money. Why is the college upset with this practice? Simple, they could be selling those seats at higher cost. Students pay a student rate for their seats. Non-students pay more. Nevermind Nick Saban and his whining about students showing up. It certainly isn't about respect for the players. It's about people willing to pay more money to watch a game getting pissed off that others aren't staying the whole 4 quarters. It's about getting people to pay full price to watch a blow out. Most importantly it's about how much more money Alabama could be making.

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another suspension is coming after brutal hit in the NHL

From where I sit it looks like another case of head-hunting in hockey...

And, yet again it involved a player who has only one purpose in the game. To be a goon. John Scott's best year for scoring was with the NAHL's Chicago Freeze (US Junior), he had 12 points. That was the 2001-02 season. Scott hasn't cracked double digits since. At any level. He's never played a full season in pro hockey. This is the type of player the game does not need. We could be talking about Ryan Miller dropping to 1-6 or Milan Lucic's 3 point night, instead the focus is on with some troglodyte on skates. Don't get me wrong. I like fighting. I think it has a place in hockey. I agree the game needs policemen...but they need to be able to actually play the game. Picture a cop who can do nothing but shoot his gun. Can't solve crimes. Can't chase criminals. Can't engage the public. Just shoot. That's not a policeman. That's a moron with a weapon. John Scott can't play hockey. He's not a policeman. He's a moron with a weapon.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More evidence the NCAA should pay it's players and the Oilers thank Lars Eller

From where I sit it looks like players in the NCAA are getting more ammunition in their case to get paid...

$143 million plus. All on the backs of kids. Yes, they get an education. Frankly, that's invaluable. However, that doesn't preclude the fact that many universities are making millions of dollars on the backs of these kids. Alabama is one of the biggest money making schools in the US, so obviously that means most others don't make anywhere near that much off their teams. I'm sure there are plenty of athletes playing to get their educations. So, what's wrong with letting them earn something extra. Particularly at a time when the economy is still trying to recover. Give the highest spending age group more money to work with. I really doubt there will be too much harm done here. Why should the rich guys in suits just get richer off the sweat of kids?

Lars Eller has hopefully learned to keep his yap shut...


It's nothing new to put a foot in your mouth. Let's face it, if Gretzky can do it, what hope do the average players have? It's even more noticeable in an era where comments are sent around the world in dozens of languages in the blink of an eye. At the same time, what was he thinking? I know English isn't Eller's first language, but you don't give your opponent anything to focus on. Even Michel Therrien wasn't happy with Eller's remarks. The Oilers are a struggling team. There's no question about it. So, why on earth would you give them a reason to get pumped up for a game? Here's a tip Lars, if you're going to call the other team garbage, wait until after they leave.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Time to axe MNF?

From where I sit it looks like the NFL should drop one of it's weekday games...Monday's.


There has been all kinds of whining about how rotten the Thursday night games have been.  Sure, they haven't been award winning, but we have been subjected to some brutal Monday nighters too. Let's break down the numbers.  Denver, Philadelphia, the Giants and Jets have played on both. Only the Broncos and Jets are over .500. Five teams from Thursdays have winning records. Including Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco with a combined 3 losses. Of the three Monday night teams above .500 only New Orleans and Cincinnati are more than a game over. Atlanta, Washington, Oakland and Pittsburgh are all 2-4, while Houston is 2-5, Minnesota a pathetic 1-5. Thursday night teams are 16 games over the break even mark...Monday's representatives an embarrassing 7 under. Yes, Monday night football is a tradition. Sure, Thursdays are new. But, the Giants and Vikings were brutal Monday night. Never mind sitting in a bar feeling like you're at the felt like the players were just as drunk.  I want to see a good game, between two good teams.  And right now, that's on Thursday night.

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Suh is in more trouble and the Series is slow to start

From where I sit is looks like Ndamukong Suh is being targeted by the NFL...


The bigger problem here is that Suh deserves it. He's been a borderline dirty player since he entered the league. He's got over $200,000 in fines. If this latest incident had happened with almost any other player it wouldn't have generated a second look, but dealing with a repeat offender, it's hardly surprising. He's even described by a teammate as “violent.” Yes, football is an aggressive game, but that must be channelled in the right ways. Suh better smarten up, or he's going to start drawing reputation penalties. There wasn't a flag thrown on this play, but there will be next time. And at some point the Lions will lose a game based on Ndamukong Suh's history of being a dangerous player. It's a sad truth. He's already one of the most hated players in the league. If he's not careful he'll end up with that status on his own team.

Congratulations to the Cardinals and Red Sox for winning their Leagues...but what's with the delay in getting the World Series started?


Yes, it's been a long season, but they really can't start any sooner then Wednesday? What else is happening at these two ballparks that creates the need for a half-a-week break? It would make a bit more sense if there was some sort of favourable TV schedule out of it, but there's not. This leaves games 3, 4 and 5 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. If the series goes 7 it will be on a Thursday. Who's bright idea is this? Why not make it a weekend evening? Although with ratings making a steady decline, who am I to question the logic of the World Series schedule?

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is Miller the answer for Edmonton?

From where I sit it looks like there's plenty of juicy rumours surrounding the Oilers goaltending...


The latest speculation sees Buffalo's Ryan Miller heading west for Nail Yakupov. Maybe throw Thomas Vanek in there from Buffalo and a couple others from Edmonton. This sounds like an appealing deal...Oilers need help in net. The Sabres just need help. But, honestly, who outside of buffalo thinks this is a good plan. Apart form the no trade clause for Miller, he's famous for having a major-league chip on his shoulder. Following their latest loss (to Vancouver) Miller refused to talk to reporters. Good luck with that in Edmonton. It would be a huge gamble for the Oilers, not just that Yakupov could become a star in Buffalo, but that there could be nothing in return. Miller has made it clear he doesn't want to come to Edmonton, plus he's in the last year of his contract. Even if he agrees to the deal, I would fully expect him to leave at season's end. So, the Oilers trade a number 1 overall pick with just over half a season in the league for what could be nothing. I'm not saying don't trade someone, but try to get a player who actually wants to be in Edmonton. The franchise doesn't need another Pronger. Or Heatly. Or Vanek.

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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marshall makes a statement and Thornton plans to celebrate

From where I sit it looks like a great move from Brandon Marshall...


The NFL guards their uniform codes very carefully. Maybe, even too carefully. Marshall is bringing attention to a very important cause. As someone who suffers from depression knowing there is encouragement from others serves to give me hope. Mental illness impacts many families, and far too often it goes undiagnosed. The NFL does a wonderful service with their pink everything. So, what's wrong with raising a voice for mental illness? The league though, did allow him to wear his green cleats. Yes, he got fined, but there could easily have been a message to the referees to not allow Marshall on the field at all. So, not only did he get the message out, but thanks to the fines and media chatting Marshall got what he wanted. Publicity. His message has been spread. And the NFL, albeit tacitly, gave their support to his message.

There are a lot of questions surrounding Joe Thornton's possible celebration if he scores 4 goals in a game...


But, the controversy does just cover what Thornton may or may not do...but how it was reported. Jason Blatchford had it in his blog. He, in turn, credits the with having Thornton's comment available for all to read. At what point does yelling a comment at a group of reporters become 'off the record'? How would it have been treated if he had made a racist or homophobic comment? I've been in plenty of locker rooms. I'm well aware of the quality of language used by a majority of athletes is anything but quotable. Joe made a joke. Depending on your sense of humour it's funny. But, at what point should the media just laugh along with Thorton? Or does Thorton deserve a rap on the knuckles for cracking a dirty joke to a bunch of reporters and then being surprised when he gets quoted? All that was needed to that comment was, “But, don't quote me on that.”. That's it. It's a dead issue. Instead we end up with questions about journalistic integrity. Here's a simple breakdown for the uninitiated. If you don't want to be quoted, don't talk to the media. Even if your comment never makes it to print or on air it's remembered. And, no matter what the reporter says, you are always on the record.

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Pirates are out and a high school announcer gets in trouble

From where I sit it looks like the best story in MLB is over...

Without a doubt the Pirates were the feel good story of the year. I have a clear memory of the last time Pittsburgh was in the playoffs. Many baseball fans remember this play...

Remember, Barry Bonds made that throw.  After years of pathetic baseball the Pirates can finally lay claim to a winning season. But even better than that is the reward of capturing the imagination of baseball fans. It gives hope to every struggling franchise, that someday things will turn around. I'm not saying there's a World Series in their future. There is hope. Belief is a very powerful tool in sports. For the first time in over 20 years, the team and their fans believe.
Using a quote from a professional has landed a high school sports announcer in a lot of trouble...

I feel bad for the kid to a degree. I've done play-by-play and colour commentary and found myself parroting my favourite announcers. Along with trying to create my own sound. In the vain hope someday there would be someone wanting to copy me. However, the phrase is just stupid. It's a tactless description of a player. Of any race. It shouldn't have been in the game either. What idiot at EA allowed that one? Johnson has tried to defend the phrase in a weak apology. I'm sorry, that simply doesn't belong in sports, or any other facet of life. It's not witty. It doesn't add anything to what's happening. It leaves the viewer wondering what the hell is going on. Yes, there are some people who have made a career out of coming up with screwy catch phrases, but for the most part it's weird/wacky/unique/bizarre (see Lange, Mike). It should never be questionable. It's a basic reporters mantra. When in doubt, leave it out.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The NFL tosses a flag and the Flyers toss their coach

From where I sit it looks like the NFL is doing everyone a favour...


It's a fantastic cause. It's also a great way to get people thinking about breast cancer. Sure, it's over the top, but there's no such thing as too much message here. However, the flags were confusing. Because the players towels are basically the same colour, it's created a lot of confusion for players, coaches and broadcasters. When it comes to something like penalties, consistency is imperative. Not just with the call, but with how the call is made. There's also been questions raised about how much money is actually going to research. You know what, it doesn't much matter. My Aunt is a breast cancer survivor. I've seen what an insidious disease this is. If this helps one woman catch breast cancer in time to save her life it's worth it.

The Flyers hung their coach out to dry...and he should be the only one in trouble...


OK, the training camp apparently was bad. The pre-season was lacklustre. And now 0-3 to start the season. The timing of this is simply odd. Why give Laviolette even 3 games? Why wasn't he fired during the off season? His replacement was waiting right there, so it's not like Philadelphia had to hunt around. Ed Snyder is a great owner in a number of ways. He's passionate. He's got deep pockets. He's not afraid to stand up for his team. He's also very hands on. And that hasn't always lead to the best choices. Let's face it, goaltending is a major issue for the Flyers. They had a pair of promising Russian goalies. Now, both are gone. Sergi Bobrovsky is a Vezina winner in Columbus. Ilya Bryzgalov is with Las Vegas waxing poetic in the ECHL. How is Laviolette to blame for Bryzgalov's idiotic 9 year deal? Or the current tandem of Chris Mason and Ray Emery? There's plenty of blame to go around in Philadelphia. And the guys in charge need to start looking in the mirror.

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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Romo can't win, Dario gets lucky and the Redskins name needs to change

From where I sit it looks like the Broncos will just keep on rolling...and Tony Romo still can't get it done...


Barring something staggering Denver will head to 6-0 next weekend against Jacksonville. Following an amazing game against Dallas the Broncos are showing the NFL how good football can look. Denver is a 28-point favourite versus the Jaguars. I have a bit of sympathy for Romo. Apart from poolies there wont be a lot of discussion about his performance. 500 yards (the first in team history). Five touchdowns. And one interception. And there's the constant rub against Romo. He had a great opportunity to, not only give himself a leg-up on Peyton Manning, but win the game. In two plays he lost 6 yards, then lost the ball. It doesn't much matter how many yards he threw for, or how many drives ended in points for the Cowboys, the only determining factor in success is victories. Something sorely missing from Tony Romo's resume.

A couple of quick thoughts here...

It was another scary scene at an Indy Car Race...

Thankfully Dario Franchitti will make a full recovery. It was a scene eerily reminiscent of Dan Wheldon's fatal crash in Las Vegas 2 years ago. Racing is a dangerous game. Thankfully we are a long way removed from the deadly days of the '60s and '70s. But that doesn't preclude the face that these brave men and women travel at literally break neck speed, with little room for error.

The President offered up his 2-cents worth on the moniker of the Washington Redskins...

There is no redeeming quality in that team name. Even the Cleveland Indians try to claim a reason for their name...although the logo is just gross. Chief Wahoo? Time to say goodbye to the Redskins, and the Indians mascot. I got some interesting perspective from this piece. Although, this picture best sums it up...

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

A-Rod lashes out at everyone

From where I sit it looks like Alex Rodriguez wants to make as much damage as he can...


With this lawsuit against, well, damn near everyone, it reeks of desperation. In fact, the best analogy I can think of is 'Throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.' Rodriquez is trying to make as many other people look as bad as he can. In turn, that only serves to make him look more guilty. Which is something else that jumped out at me: nowhere in the suit does he allege perjury. He accuses MLB of buying the information. He accuses Bud Selig of tacitly approving of PEDs. Hell, he even accuses an MLB investigator of an inappropriate sexual relationship. But he doesn't say it's a lie. Rodriguez says he will be vindicated...not cleared. It sure looks to me like Rodriguez is admitting guilt, albeit in a roundabout way. So, all this is just another way for Rodriguez to try make everyone else look bad for his own arrogance and stupidity. Sit down. Shut up. Take your punishment like a grownup.

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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Patrick Roy shows rookie bravado...or is that stupidity

From where I sit it looks like Patrick Roy is a wonderful distraction for the NHL...

A day after having a high-profile enforcer carted off the ice on a stretcher, Roy went crazy on his coaching debut. It's exactly what the league needed. What's the best way to get people to stop talking about George Parros? Have a coach send his own thugs out on the ice, with his team winning, then start screaming at everyone within earshot. Roy's juvenile histrionics serve as a reminder that he's a rookie coach in his first game. Roy was a hot-headed jackass when he played and clearly that continues behind the bench. Don't get me wrong, he was a hell of a goalie, but the list of his eccentricities is a mile long. It was the first game of the season and he was already loosing his mind. I'm interested to see if he can calm down as the season goes along. He acted like this in a blow out win...what's going to happen when the Avalanche are getting shelled? This isn't junior hockey, hissy fits don't work the same in the NHL. But, it's Patrick Roy and when has he ever done anything the normal way?

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another fighting injury and Glendale is in trouble again

From where I sit it looks like another big debate over fighting in hockey...

It's an argument that won't go away. Ever. No matter what the outcome, there will always be people pressing their own opinions. If fighting is banned, there will be those pointing to all the stick swinging injuries.  If it stays, voices will be raised about hurt fighters.  When George Parros got injured he was doing exactly what Montreal brought him in to do...stick up for his teammates. Secondarily, the NHL's new fighting rule about keeping helmets on did nothing. The quick explanation is that it was an accident. Exactly. An accident. Parros didn't get hit from behind. He didn't have his head hammered off a stanchion. Nobody elbowed him in the jaw. He lost his balance and fell during a fight. It's something we've seen before, and it will happen again. Hockey is an intense, physical game and until that is changed there will be blood on the ice. No players want to get injured. But at the same time I am reminded of the words of my mother, “When you play rough games, you're gonna get hurt.”

The city of Glendale is in trouble with another pro sports league...


You remember Glendale...the Arizona city coughing up millions to keep the NHL's Coyotes, while emergency services are underfunded. Now the NFL is getting fed up too. Having already lost both the media center and NFL experience, Glendale is reeling...again. Council is quickly moving to regain trust from the league and assure them everything will be in place as the game approaches. Sound familiar? It should. Those are the same issues the NHL has been dealing with for years. It's time for Glendale to get it's shit together. If I was a tax payer I would be getting pretty fed up. There are big events planned and teams brought to town that the city simply can't sustain. First the Coyotes, now this? Don't expect to see another Super Bowl in Arizona any time soon. At least not until the city can get it's house in order.

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

time to drop the puck on a new NHL season

From where I sit it looks like the NHL has the biggest rule change in years...

As the puck drops we can all look forward to the increased safety of every skater on the ice. With the adoption of the hybrid icing there can still be a race for the puck, but without the needless injuries associated with it. It's not going to be a 100% system. Yes, there will be occasions where the forward could have won the race flat out to the puck. But, those happen so infrequently compared to the mindless touch-up from a bored defenseman. Not only will this speed up the game, but create more action. The whistle will blow sooner on icing calls. All of them. Meaning there will be an extra second or two, or three, added of actual playing time. Over the course of a game, that will add up. There are about nine icings in a game. That's 18 seconds by the end of the 3rd period. That's more time for a goalmouth scramble. More time to shoot at the open net. And importantly less time worrying about carrying someone off the ice on a stretcher.

NHL the season starts today so here's one line thoughts for the Canadian teams...


Vancouver...getting old and with new division alignment will have a harder time getting a top seed. Edmonton...will see improvements from the kids, still golfing in April though. Calgary...this is a bad team, not much else to add. Winnipeg...hope springs eternal of post-season hockey, this year they make it, and get bounced in the 1st round. Toronto...made the playoffs last year, don't expect a repeat, they have the same problem as the Canucks: a new division. Ottawa...either feast or famine, with Alfredsson gone the Sens could grow out of his shadow, or plummet from it. Montreal...probably the best Canadian team at the start of the season and that doesn't mean a damn thing unless they win.

Yes, this is a Bauer ad...but it beautifully sums up the start of a new season...

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