Monday, March 31, 2014

NASCAR needs to keep their drivers in check

From where I sit it looks like NASCAR is walking a dangerous path...


Yes, the latest rivalry creates some fun. But what Brad Keselowski did at Martensville was not only juvenile, but stupid. I understand that Keselowski was mad at Kurt Busch, I don't see his logic; that was, at worst, a racing accident, but Keselowski was fuming. Fine. He did everything expected, yelled at the media, swore revenge, etc. Perhaps a pit lane confrontation after the race, or some screaming following qualifying at Texas next week. However, in an act of pure lunacy Keselowski got back on the track and put everyone at risk. Spending a lap flipping the bird was useless, trying to wreck Busch was suicidal. Even an attempt to impede Busch was ultimately futile, since Busch won the race anyway. Keselowski should have been shown the black flag immediately. He should also be facing sanctions from NASCAR. Feuds are great, they add to the atmosphere, but Keselowski's actions were simply too much. What if he had managed to spin Busch into oncoming traffic? Or if, as a result of flipping the bird there had been a massive wreck because he's slowing up the field? NASCAR needs to remind their drivers with those speeds is can be life and death. Fight in the infield, scream in pit lane, but don't risk lives playing stupid games on the racetrack.

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

NHL isn't shedding tears for struggling Canadian teams

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is getting exactly what it wants...

No, I'm not trying to start a conspiracy here, but there are seven healthy teams in Canada, and only one of them is making the playoffs. Montreal will be in the post-season and that's it. Despite terrible teams Edmonton and Calgary continue to have robust crowds on a nightly basis. Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver have all plunged down the standings this season, but still have great fan support. Winnipeg is still madly in love with the Jets and sell-outs can be expected for the next 20 years in Manitoba. Even if Montreal is eliminated in the first round Canadians will still tune in to watch the Stanley Cup. It's almost perfect. Even better for the league is the prospect of both Phoenix and Columbus making the playoffs allowing struggling markets to (hopefully) gain new support. There's no way the NHL has the ability to create a situation like this, or any other, without someone finding out. It's simply too big an organization and too complicated a conspiracy to pull off. But they sure aren’t complaining about it.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bob Knight raises a decent point in all the wrong ways

From where I sit it looks like Bob Knight is again confirming he's got no clue how the real world works...


Rape isn't a world that should be tossed around. It's not a joke. It's not funny. And it certainly isn't a way to describe anything to do with sports. Rape is a crime. It should be treated as such. That being said, Knight does have a point, to a degree. Sure, allowing players to turn pro after their freshman year is taking a lot away from the NCAA, but I don't think the NCAA is suffering much for it. There are some players that make the jump and don't pan out. But it's been like that for decades. Just because someone is a high draft pick doesn't mean a thing. It never has and it never will. The draft is a chance for teams to restock with younger, potentially great players. Note the words 'chance' and 'potentially'. Ask the Edmonton Oilers about what 1st over-all picks mean to a team. Talk to Antony Bennett about the pressure associated with being a top pick. Here's where Knight has a good point. Basketball shouldn't be looking to keep kids in college, they should be looking the NHL and MLB. Creating a system of player development. It would create an expansion of pro ball in centres that would never see an NBA team. Right now there are 15 teams in the D League. Grow it. Have each NBA team with a separate affiliate. There's plenty of money to be made too. More coaches, more fans, more draft. Right now the NFL and NHL drafts are 7 rounds, MLB has 40 (!), the NBA has 2. Expand it. All of it. There's no such thing as too much show, particularly in a league that created Showtime.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How bad can teams play?

From where I sit it looks like the NBA doesn't have any ability to prevent teams from playing poorly...


The idea of tanking at the end, or even midway though a poor season is nothing new in sports. Ask the Ottawa Senators about that. The current plight of the 76ers is pathetic. Their streak of losses has been well documented and ranks among the sports worst. It's awful to watch and miserable for fans. It shouldn't happen to any team, particularly at the professional level. That being said, how would the NBA force them to win? Put a cap on the number of minutes starters can play? Give Philly 6 free throws to begin every quarter? Let them play the Washington Generals? Sure, it's painful but the Nets were a woeful 12-70 four years ago and are now the second best team in their division. It should also be noted that Milwaukee is worse. The Bucks are a brutal 13-58, but have managed to space their wins out a bit more evenly. In sports of all varieties in order to have winners there must also be losers. Just as there will always be great teams with impressive records, there must also be terrible teams dwelling at the bottom, dreaming of better days to come, or revelling in past glories. However, every team, no matter their record, enters every game with one purpose. Win.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A return to ugly reality for the Oilers

From where I sit it looks like the Oilers are like a training a new puppy...

Just when you think it's all over, he pees on the carpet. Once again it's apparent Edmonton is a long way away from being competitive on a nightly basis. The team had a modest streak of consistency come to a crashing halt in the past two games with a paltry two goals scored and 11 surrendered. This against the two teams in the league at their own level. In slightly over three minutes against Calgary, the Oilers simply lost all measure of composure. Yes, games like this happen to every team over the course of a season. The Blues got blitzed 7-1 by New Jersey in late January and were shut out in back to back games following the Olympic break. But the top teams shrug their shoulders and move on. Both times the Blues went on to win four of their next five. For teams like the Oilers, where confidence is moderate at best, getting hammered by Calgary will bring doubt flowing back into the dressing room. Add to that, the call-in shows in Edmonton will be buzzing yet again with demands for Player A to be traded for some unrealistic compensation; combined with a stark insistence Player B is indispensable to the future of the team. Sadly for Oiler Nation the team needs a deep level of introspection; with the reality that more changes are coming over the summer and nobody is off limits.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Time to protect the pitcher

From where I sit it looks like more questions will be raised about the safety of pitchers...

And these are legitimate questions. At some point a pitcher will have his (or her) career end on a comebacker, or worse. If a batter can die from a pitched ball, there's no doubt a pitcher can die from a hit. For all hockey goalies get credit for being crazy, they have 25ish pounds of protection. Pitchers have a glove. Sure, the ball isn't always coming straight at them, but the danger is constant. That being said, what can be done to protect them? A pitching screen? That would get in the way, particularly on bunts. A catcher-style mask? With a pitcher's jerky movements it would need to be far too tight to be comfortable. That being said, it's an awful sight watching a pitcher carried off on a stretcher. This isn't just a problem limited to the major leagues either. I've umpired games where kids have been hit with a batted ball. I've even been at a ballpark where the game ended in tears with the pitcher in an ambulance. At some point, something will need to be done. What that is, I really don't know, I just hope it happens before we get a complete tragedy.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Final Four is incomparable

From where I sit it looks like one of sports greatest tournaments is underway...

There isn't much that can rival the NCAA Final Four. The FA Cup immediately comes to mind, but that's about it. While the FA Cup sees basically every team in England compete, it takes place over the course of the season. The Final Four will be done in 3 weeks. The NCAA will go from 68 teams to a champion in a manic play down that leaves little time for rest. It's a challenge for players and fans alike. While winners are constantly preparing for play or travel, the fans are left with frantic channel swapping in a desperate attempt to keep up with the action. The first two rounds are basically an all day commitment. At one time or another all hoops fans have frantically changed between games hoping to balance possessions with time-outs between 2 or even 3 tight games. Adding to the fun are schools that are barely known in their own state, never mind country wide. Bonus points to those who know where Wofford, Mercer or American University are (South Carolina, Georgia and DC). On top of all that is the constant prospect of an upset. It's almost a guarantee a 12-seed will beat a 5-seed. In fact, every seed but one has advanced as far as the sweet 16. Although, no 16-seed has ever been a number 1...yet.

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

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is Oilers play a sign of things to come?

From where I sit it looks like I don't want to get my hopes up with the Oilers current play...


But are the Oilers actually starting to look good? Is it even a possibility that the team is making progress in the waning days of another lost season? Since a 5 game losing streak in mid January, Edmonton has gone a respectable 9-5-2. Yes, of those 9 wins, only 3 have come against playoff teams, but there is still signs of progress. At the very least there is reason to be optimistic in goal. With Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth the Oilers have finally found a solid paring. Thankfully both of them seem to thrive on getting more shots. There is much improvement still needed for the defense and forward units, but at the very least they are learning to give themselves a chance to win. Let's face it, the Oilers have been lost for over 15 years. If you discount the miracle run in 2006, Edmonton hasn't won a playoff series since 1998. There's a long way to go for the Oilers. But here's hoping this decent play at the end of the season is actually a sign of things to come, and not a pack of players getting ready to hit the tee box.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Formula 1 is go, go, go

From where I sit it looks like we are in for a unique season in Formula1...


At the very least in the nose cone category. Quite honestly, this looks like a return to the 70s in terms of vehicle design. The number of very, unique looks permeated the sport as teams looked for a full understanding of aerodynamics. At least for the start of the season there are some...ummm...unique looks. I would agree with the quick assessment that those nosecones bear a striking resemblance to certain parts of the male anatomy, however, I will go with the more decorous description from Williams by calling it 'the anteater'. Others seem to have drawn inspiration from the household vacuum cleaner. In any case this is creating some genuine fun. Whose nose will be the most effective? The first race of the season always promises much, with all teams stand on equal footing in the standings. This season features so much in the way of change, that making any predictions for November are probably useless. So, here it goes...I'll take Nico Rosberg for the title, and Ferrari for the constructors. I reserve the right to change my picks or simply edit this post so that I look like I'm right.

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nash is playing for a paycheque

From where I sit it looks like Steve Nash is reminding us about the bottom line...


Another bit of reality from a professional athlete. Of course, I don't like the amount of money he's making, athletes are ridiculously overpaid. That being said, if the roles were reversed I would be doing the same. In fact, I find his honesty refreshing. All too often we hear the top players whining about their pay, or worse, demanding more. Good for Nash for trying to make as much as he can. Soon enough his career will be over and he'll be needing to focus on other pursuits. Quite frankly, I find it sad when formerly great, wealthy (mostly) men end up almost begging because they didn't learn to save/acquire life skills. As for the Lakers, it's their own fault for trying to buy a championship. The signed a shopping list of ageing stars and it simply didn't work. It was a vain attempt to bring showtime ball back to LA. And, in a way, it has returned. This time though, it's the Clippers, and I don't have any trouble enjoying their show.

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fighting in the NBA and big bucks for the NCAA

From where I sit it looks like at least one NBAer has an idea on how to sell the game in Canada...

Fighting? Naturally, Gortat isn't thinking about selling the game, just settling scores, but is he onto something? Or maybe just on something. I would certainly enjoy it. Nothing like a good scrap to liven up a game and let's face it the most replayed NBA event in the last decade is the Malice at the Palace. At the very least the league would need bigger referees. Imagine some of the guys they have now trying to get between LeBron and Garnett. Maybe teams could employ a designated fighter. A basketball goon. Someone who would only put up a couple points during a game, but could really throw 'em. Those guys would quickly become fan favourites. Of course this is a ridiculous idea, but it sure is fun to dream.

Speaking of ridiculous, it's almost time for the road to the Final Four...


This is one of the best sports tournaments in the world. It honestly feels like every college in the US has a chance. Only die-hard fans can easily recognize every team. The action, particularly in the first couple of rounds, is as dizzying as it is spectacular. Fantastic to watch. And all for the glory of the school. Right? It's not like the NCAA and CBS stand to make millions and millions of dollars. Right? This tournament is just like every other one staged by the NCAA. It's about money. Very few of the players playing in the next month will make the NBA and make massive amounts of money. For the vast majority this will be the last truly competitive game they will play. Although, the education is wonderful, quite frankly the players should start seeing at least a portion of the money being raked in by corporations.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life saving moments in Dallas

From where I sit it looks like we got a reminder of how it's just a game...

With Rich Peverley potentially fighting for his life, everything between the Stars and Blue Jackets became trivial. The speed with which everyone on both benches responded should be commended. Trainers from Dallas and Columbus, along with a doctor from the crowd, quickly moved to stabilize Peverley and administer treatment. The trainers on every team, no matter what sport, are all too often overlooked. They put in as much, if not more, time than the players and never get much in the way of credit. Today, that credit is being paid in full. There should also be credit given to the NHL for mandating teams have AEDs at every bench. As we saw in the tragic death of Alexi Cherepanov, if proper, immediate help isn't given the outcome can be devastating. Rich Peverley got the treatment he needed and we all got a reminder about the speed with which something can go terribly wrong.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bonds gets thanks for bringing in big bucks

From where I sit it looks like there's at least one Major Leaguer with an eye on reality...


Eric Chavez is bang on with his assessment. Even with the vast majority of the stars of the late 90s and early 2000s linked to PEDs the money hasn't regressed. And it never will. Those players despite their pathetic behaviour made a massive impact on the bottom line of every team in MLB. And, by extension, every player. With the massive jump in interest came the huge leap in salaries. And, unlike the NHL, NBA and NFL, there still isn't a salary cap in baseball. Last season there were 20 players making $20-million or more. There are 6 in the NBA and none in the NFL or NHL. The long-term impact of the steroid era is inescapable. Every accomplishment is tinged with questions about it's validity. There's more than a few people who think Bond's home run record should have an asterisk attached. Given his massive build up in body, it's hard to disagree. Sadly, no matter how great the level of righteous indignation the money will stay. And every major leaguer has gotten a shot in the arm, at least financially.

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

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Paralympics get overlooked and the Canucks underperform

From where I sit it looks like the Paralympics don't get the recognition they deserve...


Sochi 2014 is underway with some amazing athletes. Sadly, these men and women won't have the world coming to a stop to watch their every move. The Paralympics are still young on the world scene. But the level of coverage still leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, CBC is doing some coverage, and thankfully has pretty much everything available on-line. However, given what these athletes go through to even make it this far it seems a bit incomplete.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the Canucks seem to be aiming for a lottery draft pick...


That's about the only explanation for the way the Canucks have spent the last dozen games. A pathetic 16 goals with only 1 win has sent Vancouver plummeting now 4 points out of the playoffs, having played more than all the teams in front of them. Yes, there are plenty of people taking glee at watching a hated team collapse, just as what happened with the Oilers when their glory days faded. However, I'm hard pressed to think of a team imploding like this. Edmonton's time passed slowly, finally ending in 1993. But the Canucks have simply dropped off the face of the earth. The question isn't if they can make the playoff this year, but how much change is coming during the summer.

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

the NHL reneges on Devils punishment

From where I sit it looks like sometimes punishment isn't really punishment...

The NHL has returned the draft pick forfeited by the New Jersey Devils for their ridiculous attempt to get around the salary cap with Ilya Kovalchuk. That entire situation has been run badly. For starters the NHL gave the Devils the choice as to when they would lose the pick. Couple that with a slap on the wrist fine it didn't seem to be much in the way of a deterrent. Now the league has decided to give New Jersey back a first round pick. How does the logic even work here? Yes, it's their game and they can decide how to enforce penalties. However, this isn't leaving much in the way of an incentive for other teams not to follow along. The Devils shouldn't have a pick this year.  It should be that simple.  Thankfully, we are on a new CBA and the current agreement outlaws crap like what the Devils were trying to pull. At the same time, teams like the Canucks are still paying for their transgressions by having to trade good players fir little return just to get rid of a bad contract. All that being said it's pretty much the just desserts for any team; having their hands tied for trying to cheat the system.

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gillis to blame for Canucks fall from grace

From where I sit it looks like the rebuild is underway in Vancouver...


It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Canucks are making changes. The 2011 Cup final was their best chance. They've won 2 playoff games since then. What's been frustrating is hearing the amount of blame being put on the goalies. Both Schneider and Luongo have been shipped out and the team still hasn't addressed their real problem. A lack of goals. Eddie Lack gave up one goal against Phoenix and the Canucks still lost. They managed just 23 shots in the game, with 11 of those being in the 3rd. A pathetic 4 in the 2nd didn't help the cause. All the confidence is gone from a team who won the Presidents Trophy just 2 years ago. Also gone are the scoring threats. Cody Hodgson and Mason Raymond were both high speed, high potential players now making impacts in other cities. What should worry Canucks fans is the continued employment of Mike Gillis. The GM has managed to turn a Cup contender into a team likely to miss the playoff altogether in just a couple of seasons. I would be surprised if Gillis is still in charge after this season, he has certainly shown he's well past his level of incompetence.

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Possible changes for the PAT and the Bucs get a new look

From where I sit it looks like the NFL is looking at a great idea...


Making the PAT actually a challenge would create all sorts of permutations for the game. With this suggested scenario a 2-point conversion would remain at the 2-yard line. That's actually worth pursuing. The current PAT is so mindlessly a chip shot it's hardly worth risking injury to accomplish. I would rather see teams just get the 7 points. It also slows down replays both on TV and any in-game challenges. A kick from the 25-yard line is hardly a guarantee, it's still close enough to be makeable for any of the top kickers and most of the 2nd tier. It would also give the defense a chance to block the kick. Honestly, at this point in time anything wold be an improvement of the current eye-glazing PAT.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have unveiled their new uniforms...


It's a unique look to say the least. This bears more of a resemblance to something I would expect to see in the Arena League. The colouring and piping are bold and unique, however the numbers look more like an alarm clock than a football jersey.  All that being said it's a vast improvement on their awful creamsicle look. And in the end, this will sell merchandise and make the team more money...and that's the real point.

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

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Outdoor overkill in the NHL

From where I sit it looks like the NHL outdoor games are thankfully almost over...

I think the outdoor games are a great idea. It's a fantastic way to promote the game and generate interest from peripheral fans. It's fun to watch, particularly with snow like we saw in Chicago. But, enough already. Six games is way too many. There should be a maximum of three. East, west and Canada. The game at Dodger Stadium was amazing and should be repeated in other warmer climates. The league would also want one in the eastern time zone, with more 'hockey appropriate' weather. Canada would probably be happy with a game every couple of season. This year, however, was over kill. I forgot there was a game in Chicago. As for Vancouver's, it barely qualifies as an outdoor game, since it's being held more or less inside. Add to that the game isn't a sell-out and doesn't feature anything near a rivalry for the Canucks.  These games should be held mid-season as a way to add some excitement to an otherwise mundane time of the hockey year. There's plenty happening in March, such as the trade deadline and playoff positions up for grabs. I don't see a reason to create artificial entertainment, when there's plenty already happening. So far there's one scheduled for next season, can we please keep it that way?

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