Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adam Silver changes the NBA for the better

From where I sit it looks like Adam Silver manged to formulate the perfect response...

Sadly, Donald Sterling still stands to profit from the exposure of his true nature. Although the NBA plans to force him to sell the Clippers, Sterling will see a hefty payday. Forbes has the team listed with a $575 million value. Tragically there's nothing the NBA can do about that. The other problem is that despite all this exposure and negative publicity Sterling isn't going to change. Neither will anyone else sharing his disgusting world views. Change will start in youth, not adults. The key is education, not denunciation. That being said, it's great to see everyone on the same page. Having Adam Silver stand before the sporting world and speak on behalf of everyone in the NBA was a great moment in sports history. The anger is his voice was palpable. So was the passion. It's something we don't get to see very often from the head of a league. It was one of the biggest moments in NBA history. Adam Silver has been in charge for a matter of weeks and he has already changed the game. Good for him!

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Few choices in the Sterling controversy

From where I sit it looks like the NBA is facing a major headache...


What options does the league really have to deal with Donald Sterling? Can they force him to sell his team? Not really, and even if they do that's going to cause more problems for the players and fans than for Sterling himself. Given the level of entertainment generated by the Clippers it wouldn't be fair to see the team sold to anyone who was going to do less with the franchise. For the first time in their history the Clippers are dominating LA and it would be terrible to have the team dismantled because the owner is allegedly a racist jerk. Then there's the word 'allegedly'. All of this is from an audio recording. It's really not all that hard to rearrange audio to make it sound completely different from the original intent. But Sterling has remained bizarrely silent. Even when caught red handed, most offenders will offer up immediate denials, followed by a tearful apology and assurances of upcoming counselling. There's been none of that from Sterling. The NAACP has revoked Sterling's lifetime achievement award, and even that seems strange. How could someone so brutally racist be in line for a lifetime award from a organization focused on equality? Add to all of this the NBA is finally giving it's response on Tuesday, a full 4 days after all this started. Of course all this is happening to the most sad-sack team in the NBA. Just when the Clippers seemed to have all their ducks in a row, they turn around and shoot them.

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

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NBA Playoffs too spread out

From where I sit it looks like the NBA needs to work on it's scheduling...


The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets are putting on a great show. At least I think they are. I will freely admit I'm not a basketball fan. I'm peripheral at best, but I do enjoy the playoffs. I want to tune in. Really I do, but I have no idea when they're playing. The Raps and Nets have played three games in a week. In fact the entire NBA playoffs has been a mess. The first round started a week ago and four teams still haven't played game 3. I know there are always conflicts in scheduling. Today's arenas are booked almost every night and it can be difficult to get all the games running on a good time frame. However, the NHL has been at it for 10 days and every series is on game 5. Yes, the NBA is playing to it's audience by working the schedule so as many top teams get good weekend slots as possible, but two games in a week? That's pathetic. It's trying too hard to create artificial excitement by drawing the series out instead of creating real excitement by allowing the teams to keep playing. I'm looking forward to the rest of the Toronto-Brooklyn series, I'm assuming it's going to end some time in May.

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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A good suspension and a dumb pitcher

From where I sit it looks like Stephane Quintal has passed his first test...

There's plenty of overused and abused cliches to describe the situation Quintal has been forced into. You can pick your favourite line. I'll go with 'jumping into the deep end'. In any case, he has started up where his predecessor left off. After Brendan Shannahan left NHL Head Office to join the Leafs in Toronto there was some concern about the next head of discipline. Thankfully, Quintal is already showing he studied Shannahan's methods and the League's standards and kept things rolling along. Matt Cooke's 7 game suspension is a solid number for a repeat offender. He is gone for the remainder of this series and, should the Wild advance, some of round two as well. It's a solid decision and it signals to the rest of the league that the punishment will continue to be consistent. Now, if only we could do something about the players who are consistently idiots.

And speaking of idiots...Michael Pineda deserves a special spot in the pantheon of idiots...


Congratulations! You managed to cheat twice, get caught at it twice, and the second time was more obvious than the first. Sure, he didn't get ejected in the first game, but after everyone saw what Pineda was doing you'd think he'd try to hide it better! Add to that the fact that he was doing it against the same team! After their manager called him on it in the pre-game media briefing! I believe this meme best sums up the situation:


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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Matt Cooke makes another dangerous play

From where I sit it looks like the Matt Cooke is back in trouble again...

For all it's hardly surprising, it's also quite sad. Cooke hadn't been in trouble in 18 months. Outside of his accidental cut on Erik Karlsson there hasn't been much out of Cooke, more importantly he hasn't been in the news. At least until game 3 against Colorado. It's hard to say what the NHL will do with Cooke, but let's face it he's going to get the book thrown at him. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Cooke gone for the rest of the playoffs. And he probably should be. This won't be a suspension just based on the latest hit, but on everything over Cooke's career. It was a dangerous, stupid hit on a vulnerable player. Thankfully the first round has been more than good enough for fans to enjoy, even if we do end up talking briefly about stupid players making stupid plays.

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lucic deserved a suspension and F1 loses 2 laps

From where I sit it looks like the NHL needs to stick to it's standards...

It's great to see a major suspension in the playoffs for a brutal hit by Brent Seabrook. It was a terrible hit and deserved a couple of games off. It's cliche, but this sends the proper message about bad hits. Too bad the same can't be said for Milan Lucic's suspension, or lack thereof. Seabrook's hit, although late and illegal was a hockey play. Hitting is part of the game. Spearing is not. I really don't want this to devolve into a personal attack on Lucic, but this is his second spear this season, neither of which have resulted in any appreciable punishment. The NHL needed to apply the same standards to Lucic, if not harsher. It's an age old maxim in hockey, “Keep your head up.” The obvious implication being 'expect to get hit at any time'. There is no such warning about keeping your legs together. A spear, particularly to the groin, should be considered a more egregious offence, not a mere fine.

Meanwhile, Formula 1 needs to look carefully at who controls the race...


The Chinese Grand Prix ended two laps before it ended on Sunday. This was thanks to some idiot marshal who put the chequered flag out a lap early. Thanks to F1 regulations that put the official finish on lap 54, not at the actual end of the race lap 56. This brings up a couple of important questions. Why should the race not count full distance? There is full agreement the flag was out early and the race was continued to the scheduled end. Let the finish line results stand. I also want to know why there isn't a proper F1 official in the gantry at all times. Charlie Whiting is there for the start of the race to make certain the cars line up properly, but there is no such occurrence at the end? It's a system that's open to major problems. What's to prevent a fanatic from influencing the outcome of a race? It's stupid and dangerous.

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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

NBA changes could have a huge impact on the NCAA

From where I sit it looks like the NBA is thinking about a big change...


Sure, it's just one year, but one year will make a big difference to a lot of people. To begin with NBA teams will be more time to check out the kids, and yes, these are kids. Let's face it, the Cavs might want a mulligan on Anthony Bennett. The first ever Canadian first over-all pick has set mighty low targets for whoever the Bucks pick first this year. But there are lots of other direct and residual impacts from prospects getting another year in college. The obvious winners are the schools and NCAA. Naturally they would love to have another year from Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. However, another year in school will have an impact on the pressure to create unions for the students. Not necessarily the kind of impact the NCAA wants. Another year for players means even bigger money from stars staying an extra year. The more money flowing into the NCAA and member schools, the greater the likelihood athletes will raise pressure to get a cut of the pie. It's a fight that's coming, and a simple change of one year of eligibility will send us closer to the inevitable clash.

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

How much does Chad Johnson have left for Montreal?

From where I sit it looks like Chad Johnson still thinks he can play football...


The problem is he's going to try to continue his career in the CFL. I don't really blame him for trying, but I'm wondering how much research he has done into the Canadian game. The number of NFL stars who have managed to make the jump into the CFL is few and far between. There's still a steady stream of players heading the other way, but for long-time pros the transition to the Canadian game has been basically impossible. Although the name is the same, the CFL is a vastly different sport. It will be a waiting process to see if Johnson can learn a bigger field, more players, different rules and a faster game. Much faster. At the start of the season the Eagles were running four plays a minute and were considered amazingly fast. In the CFL the play clock is twenty seconds. Good luck to both the Alouettes and Johnson. At the very least this will expose more Americans to the CFL game and that's never a bad thing.

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kobe tells it like it is and overtime already in the NHL playoffs

From where I sit it looks like Kobe has a good grasp on the Lakers season...


Sure, his talk about next season being 'epic' is, in all likelihood useless. The team is in a downward spiral, just like Bryant's career. That being said, it's always refreshing when a player gives an honest assessment of the state of the team. More so when it's someone like Bryant, talking about the Lakers. This was an awful season in LA, and in a welcome (for some) change of scenario it's the Clippers putting on a show and the Lakers taking a bath. It's almost inevitable the Lakers will be better next season. It's also highly unlikely the next campaign will be epic. However, just seeing a frank and accurate assessment is a welcome relief from the standard garbage.

The NHL playoffs have already given us a reminder of the best way to end a game...

Obviously this doesn't work in all sports. There's no way it would work in basketball. The NFL goes to sudden death, but only after each team gets a possession or a touchdown is scored. It is for the home team in baseball, but even then they can still score and lose if the visitors have put up too many runs in the top half. But hockey is sudden death. Next goal wins. It's very simple. There's also the hero factor. Dale Wiese had the second lowest ice time for Montreal. This season he had almost as many fights (5) as goals (6). My daughter asked if there would be any fights in overtime. I was able to tell her the fighter was too busy scoring the winning goal.

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Some great first round match-ups in the NHL

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is set for an engaging first round of the playoffs...


It's not going to be easy to make predictions for any round of the playoffs, not with the level of parity that the NHL has today. There are basically two ways to predict sports; one involves heavy research and studying, the other is shooting darts at a board. Both are equally successful. So here's my combination of the two. Colorado beats Minnesota in 5, Varlamov will make the difference for the Avs. Chicago over St Louis in 6, the Blues are simply too injured to defeat the defending champs. I'll take Anaheim to get past Dallas in 5 at most, the Ducks are just too good. The toughest pick in the West is the Sharks-Kings series. My head says LA, my heart wants San Jose, so I'll follow my heart. Sharks in 7. In the East. Detroit keeps their playoff streak alive, but not for long Boston in 5. Montreal didn't get home ice, but Carey Price is better than Tampa's backup, Habs in 6. Marc-Andre Fleury will decide the future of the Penguins. If Columbus get better goaltending from Sergi Babrovski the Blue Jackets have a chance. In a bit of a surprise, I'll go with Columbus in 7. And in a return to the old Patrick Division the Rangers and Flyers will spend seven games beating each other up. Lundqvist and St Louis come up big, I'll take New York. I also reserve the right to blame the darts for a lack of getting anything right.

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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Oilers legend retires

From where I sit it looks like the Oilers are losing a piece of their heart...


With Ryan Smyth retiring Edmonton has lost it's last link to the 2006 Cup Final. It's also lost a leader in the dressing room and on the ice. At some point the Oilers need find a way to replace it, and not just on the third line, but on the top line where Smyth spent a good chunk of his time in Edmonton. For all the current crop can be exciting to watch, when they feel like it, the battle intensity of players like Smyth is severely lacking. This has also created a question over the possibility of retiring Smyth's familiar 94. Quite frankly, I don't see why not. Smyth has made a measurable difference both to the team and the community. His statistics can't be over looked. On a team famous for it's scoring prowess in the 1980s Smyth stands in the top tier in every offensive category. Nor should his contributions to Team Canada be cast aside. Gold at every major level. There are a good number of fans who feel the honour of jersey retirement should be reserved only for Cup champions. That's a noble goal to be certain, but tragically unrealistic. The Oilers are a long way away from even being a playoff contender, never mind a Cup winner. Get off the high horse and come to grips with the fact that there will never be another team like the old Oilers, but that doesn't mean the accomplishments of the new Oilers should be cast aside.
At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Time for change after another pro wrestler dies young

From where I sit it looks like the WWE continues to deal with far too many tragedies...


Ultimate Warrior (born James Hellwig) is the latest legend from my youth to die far too young. It doesn't take much research to find the staggering list of names. This isn't even secondary people or bit players. These are some of the biggest names from what was the WWF. Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, The Big Bossman, The British Bulldog, Mr Perfect, the list is far too long to keep going. All of those deaths were related to drugs and/or drug abuse. If any other sport was losing stars at that rate the outcry would be staggering. The only comparison that comes to mind is car racing. The days of the 60s and 70s were simply deadly. Wrestling isn't any better. Add to that a lack of real transparency, the industry as a whole needs to reassess where they're at. Car racing is, by it's very nature, dangerous. I'm not trying to down play the physical nature of wrestling. They are amazing athletes plain and simple. However, the deaths behind the wheel are directly related to the sport and the risks involved. These deaths are from outside the ring. From bodies being pushed beyond their limits, mainly by drugs. It's sad. It needs to change. The future of the sport, and more importantly the lives of the stars depend on it.

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

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Formula 1 race worth savouring

From where I sit it looks like Formula 1 is doing just fine...


Sure, the battle at the front was between teammates, but let's face it that was a proper battle. Hamilton and Rosberg put on a delightful battle over the closing laps leaving views the world over gasping. There was a series of great battles from 3rd through, well 12th. Outside of Hamilton and Rosberg, the rest of the points paying positions were separated by under 10 seconds. Just to keep everyone happy there was even a big wreck. Thankfully Gutierrez walked away, after figuring out which country he was in. So, for at least one race the critics are quiet. Sadly, this will last until the next race when inevitably someone will again bring up the lack of noise from the cars. It's a silly, needless exercise that only serves to make the sport look bad. Change is constant in life. Last we heard from the complainers it was the new aero package. But even that isn't a unique happening. We've heard complaints about moving away form the turbos; that the turbos have too much boost; that the cars don't slide around anymore; that the sport is becoming too safe; that the cars have wings and that the cars have rear engines. And those are just off the top of my head. There will always be complaining about sports. Some times, all too infrequently, all the bitching and moaning is quieted as we all get to bask in the glory of Formula 1 at it's finest.

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NCAA faces major headaches, Boomer gets the hint and an amazing pic

From where I sit it looks like the NCAA could be turned upside down...

With Northwestern being approved to start a union, it seems the list of interested schools is already forming. The question that will be facing schools now is how does this impact both their football program and other sports. What about public schools? Will this be the death of college sports as we know it? Students won't want to go to public schools if they won't get paid; while private universities might just cancel major sports all together. Keep in mind this won't impact field hockey or water polo or badminton. The minor sports, where the students aren't actually making the schools any money. This is really all about the money. Of course the schools don't want to pay the kids. Why would they? There will doubtlessly be doom and gloom coming from the universities. But they money will still be out there. And as long as there is massive amounts of money to be made, there will be someone looking to get paid.

Meanwhile, the message has gotten through to Boomer Esiason...


And good for him for being man enough to admit he screwed up and apologize. Having worked in radio I can fully understand what happens when you get foot-in-mouth disease. And even then it's still hard to go on-air and fess up.

One last thing here...this picture is simply staggering...


Given the perspective, it's quite hard to tell how far off the tornado is, but I'm amazed at how casual everyone is acting. In any case, this is an amazing photo showing not only the power of nature, but the dedication of some sports fans.

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Murphy shouldn't have to defend himself for being a father

From where I sit it looks like there's been some undue criticism of Daniel Murphy...


What sort of callous idiot calls out a new parent? Boomer Esiason is hardly someone who should be critical. Let's start with a professional comparison.  Over the course of a 13 year careen Boomer played in 187 games, last season Murphy played in 161. Obviously those are different sports, but still it's not like Esiason went on the road for 2 weeks at a time. Murphy will be home for roughly 2 weeks at most for the rest of the season. He didn't miss a playoff game. He missed the first two games of the season. As for Esiason, part of what makes the comments ridiculous is Boomer's own devotion to his son. Gunner Esiason has cystic fibrosis. Boomer has set up several charities in his son's name and helped raise millions of dollars for research and treatment for a terrifying, usually fatal, disease. And here he is critiquing Murphy for being a good father and supportive spouse. It seems strangely hypocritical for someone spending so much time to being a loving parent to criticize another for being devoted.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CFLPA shows really bad timing

From where I sit it looks like both the CFL and the CFLPA need to work on their timing...

Why is the latest CBA discussion starting against baseball's opening day?  The new President of the CFLPA is talking seriously about refusing to play, but not many others are talking about it because the focus is on baseball.  Out of most of the professional sports, CFL players are underpaid. Yes, they are still getting a lot of money, but no where near what their contemporaries in the NFL receive. So, in that aspect I agree, the CFLers should get an appropriate piece of the pie. The players say they won’t play under the current CBA. There are plenty of questions to ask about what happens next. However, who's bright idea was it to make all that public on Opening Day of MLB? They couldn't even sit on it until mid-week? Apparently not.  Naturally, the league came back with a muted reaction, but that still overlooks the horrible timing. Even in CFL crazy cities, this was anything but front page news. I'm well aware that this is all merely posturing and may amount to nothing. But posturing is done for attention, and if nobody is looking what's the point?

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