October 18, 2010

If I were Lebron…..

So its been almost 4 months since Lebron James went on ESPN for his hour special called “The Decision”. For those of you who didn’t want it or haven’t heard anything about it since it happened, here’s your recapped of the event (4 months later).

Lebron held the special to announce that he was going to take his talents to south beach aka Miami to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. It was also a very heartbreaking way for Cleveland fans to hear him say “I want to play elsewhere”. The hour special took place at a boys and girls club in Connecticut where his agents had connections and money raised was to benefit that club.

Here’s what I think about this “Decision”. First of all, Lebron James couldn’t have been more of a unprofessional athlete to have a show just for him and use the Boys and Girls Club as a backdrop to hide behind as he crushes sports fans in Cleveland, New York, Chicago, and New Jersey. It was pretty heartless for him to not even tell the Cavs beforehand, opting to embarrass the team that has done so much for him the 7 years he has been there.

In addition, I feel that there was some inside work to get this done. Those 3 big free agents had to have planned that long beforehand, reportedly since the 2008 Olympics when they all played on the same team and wanted to chase that NBA title. To want a title is one thing, to shift the power in sports is something that takes away from the game. Magic and Bird never teamed up to get a title. MJ never did so either. Kobe Bryant could have left the Lakers when they were falling apart too. In the spirit of sports, this is similar to how the Yankees ruin baseball.

While it was his choice to leave the Cavs, I don’t agree with the way that he had done so. Next time, just hold a press conference, let the Heat release the information, anything but have a show dedicated to you where everyone’s eyes were on you. It doesn’t help that he dragged on the interview when all we wanted to hear was the answer to ONE question. Take notes Lebron, I hope the Cavs win one without you.


September 26, 2010

Does the MLB playoffs need tweaking?

As the MLB regular season winds down, fans are watch a very tight race in the NL West and Wildcard, while watching a lackluster race in the AL East and Wildcard. Why is this? Because the spots are pretty much wrapped up, with the runner-up of the AL East getting the wildcard spot. This has led to a late season series between the Yankees and the Rays not as exciting to watch as it should be. While I’m not a fan of the MLB expanding its playoff teams to nearly have the league like the NBA or the NHL, I definitely think the MLB playoffs needs a change.

Here is what I think should be done with the MLB playoffs. Currently, 4 teams from each league make the playoffs: the 3 division winners and 1 wildcard. First, I think the MLB can cut its season down 10 – 20 games because 162 is a lot (bare with me here). Next, I think the MLB should take another wildcard team. Now that there are 2 wildcard teams, they should play a best of 3 series. Doing this allows the division winners a bigger incentive to go for the title and would prevent the situation of the Yankees and Rays resting their players.

I mention that the MLB should cut their season down 10 – 20 games because the MLB playoffs already take a long time and with the new added series, this will make up for that time. Doing this, I think will be more exciting for the players and fans. I think the players would like to see a chance to make the playoffs more rather than play 10 - 20 more games.

Bud Selig recently stated that the MLB would look into changes. This is just one of many options the MLB could take. It won’t fix PEDs or broken bats but it will bring a much needed change to the playoff race than what we are seeing now.


September 17, 2010

Derek Jeter, Fair or Foul?

To me, there’s a fine line between gamesmanship and cheating in sports.  For those of you that didn’t see the Derek Jeter moment the other night, it was a play that I thought crossed that fine line.  Now there are many replays of it on YouTube  but you can view it here.  To recap, the Yankees were playing in Tampa against the Rays.  He was at bat at the top of the 7th with his team down 2 – 1.  Jeter lined up to bunt but was “hit” by the pitch.  After hearing the sound, I watched the game and knew he didn’t get hit.  The replay confirmed he didn’t get hit but Jeter put on an act afterwards to sell to the umpire that he did get hurt.  The Yankees’ trainer even came out to check out Jeter’s elbow/hand.

Here’s my take on the play.  I would have been fine had Jeter let the umpire make the wrong call and award him first base (which the umpire did).  The fact that he played it out to be something serious, had the trainers come out, and spun around afterwards and acted in pain is just too much.  It got to the point where Joe Madden came out and argues that it clearly hit Jeter’s bat.  He should be more of a professional and just taken his base, not be an actor.  This just sends the wrong message to kids that admire him as a player.

September 12, 2010

Measurement Required?

As the slew of NFL games started today, I observed an aspect of the game that got me thinking as to why it was necessary. Have you ever seen the officials bring out the chains and measure the spot of the football? Or when coaches challenge the spot of the ball? To me, this part of the game just seems absurd because it is subjective to the officials and there are times when the officials don’t pay attention to where the ball is. It just seems weird that in a game where the ball is a huge aspect of the game and with a big playing field, an official is able to “pinpoint” where the ball is stopped and then have to bring out the chains to measure.

September 11, 2010

It’s Football Time!

The grass is cut, the air is getting colder, and the lights come on.  Yes, it’s football season.  Although one game has already been played this season, starting with the Saints and Vikings, there’s more than 200 games left to be played.  While the opening season game didn’t live up to the height that it did in last year’s NFC Championship game, I know there’ll be a lot more exciting games this weekend.   

My games to watch this weekend are Cincinnati at New England, and then Baltimore at the new stadium against the New York Jets.  Both games have major star power and will be very exciting to watch.  Cincinnati, of course, has the double-headed wide receiver monster and with a star quarterback in Carson Palmer.  Look for them to take advantage of the young New England defense.  New England has the NFL’s highest paid player in Tom Brady and the return of Wes Welker, two guys with chemistry. As I mentioned before, a young defense needing leadership could be trouble for them.

Here are my predications for the division winners. 
AFC East – New York Jets                                               
AFC North – Baltimore Ravens                                   
AFC South – Indianapolis Colts                                   
AFC West – San Diego Chargers                                   
Wildcard 1 – New England Patriots                                   
Wildcard 2 – Cincinnati Bengals                                   
NFC East – Dallas Cowboys
NFC North – Green Bay Packers
NFC South – New Orleans Saints
NFC West – San Francisco 49ers
Wildcard 1 – Minnesota Vikings
Wildcard 2 – Philadelphia Eagles

September 3, 2010

Sports fan: Which One Are You?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the New England Patriots preseason game against the New York Giants.  While it's only a preseason game, it was still fun because the team is very close to the regular season and the tickets were free.  Throughout the game though, I observed a few interesting fans that I think is applicable throughout any sporting event that you would attend.

First off, the one that I personally don't understand are the fans that come to the game wearing a jersey of a team that's not involved in the current game.  This fan was wearing a Hasselback Seahawks jersey.  Now I understand if he was wearing a Sanchez Jets jersey because the Jets are rivals of the Patriots, but the Seahawks are not even in the same conference.  I understand if he wants to show off his team pride but don't make yourself look like a fool.

The next one is one that is at every event: the obnoxious drunken guy.  I get that they are trying to have a good time with their buddies but there's a reason that stadiums stop selling beer after the 3rd quarter, of after the 7th inning, to prevent obnoxious fans. But to load up before that and yell profanity in front of little children is too much.  The whole stadium should be family-friendly, not just one section.

One of the most annoying fans are the ones that come to the game decked out in team gear……..and then are on their phone the whole game.  This is the most ridiculous thing ever that I just want to dump my soda on them.  The worst is when I see these fans on TV in the expensive seats and are talking on the phone.  You're there for the game, how about watching it!

Other types of fans I would say one would see is the frequent get-out-of-my-seat guy, the walk-around-the-stadium fan, and lets-try-to-get-the-wave-going-over-and-over-again fan.   Okay, so maybe the last few fans are more funny than annoying but you get the idea, I'm sure you've encountered them before.  Do you agree?


August 31, 2010

Behind The Wheel: More Than Just Left Turns

 Nascar is a sport that many look past as just something that any average Joe can do. It's a sport that is often associated with Southerns and Rednecks. It's a sport that fans tune in to just watch the crash highlights. It's a sport that the average fan says just makes left turns. It's a sport that many perceive is as simple as just laying your foot on the gas pedal at all times. Truth be told, there is more to the sport of Nascar than meets the eye.

For starters, Nascar drivers drive a stick shift car. This itself requires a lot of skills. Put in another way, less than 25% of Americans know how to drive a stick shift car. To be able to know when to brake, clutch, shift and gas takes a lot of coordination, especially if one is going at 160 mph. A split second mess up could cost you to fall behind many seconds behind your competition.

Nascar also does not compete on similar tracks each race. A Nascar season consists of tracks ranging from 2.6 miles to 0.5 miles. Also, besides the traditional oval shape, Nascar also races on Road courses. Road courses are tracks that consist of both left and right handed turns of varying degrees. Each track runs differently and requires practice and knowledge of where the best line to run.

Due to the many differences in the tracks, one cannot always floor it on the gas pedals. Drivers are usually experts in aerodynamics, needing to know where on the track to run and using the track's banking to make the cars run faster. Drivers also have to know where and how long to hit the brakes when entering a turn. Calculating fuel mileage and knowing how to run on worn tires are also part of the strategy when it comes to race day.

Another crucial and underrated skill that Nascar drivers have is being able to perform under tough conditions. A typical Nascar race lasts about 3 to 3.5 hours. Having to constantly race in hot condition wearing a fire suit, maintaining focus, and also having no bathroom or food break, the stamina and endurance of a Nascar driver can make the difference between a winner and a loser.

Give Nascar a chance. Watch a race and listen to the commentators describe a race. Think about Nascar the next time you're at a red light or when you start falling asleep at the wheel, it's a lot harder than it looks.


August 29, 2010

What Happened To Giving Your Best?

For many people, I think people know who I'm talking about when i mention the name Usain Bolt.  For those of you who don't, he is a Track & Field athlete from Jamaica who dominated the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  He set 2 individual world records for the 100 and 200 meters and also set a relay record in the men's 4x100m relay race.  He has been a dominate athlete in the 100 and 200 meters ever since he started competing in those events.

Recently though, the man whom many think can challenge Bolt, American's Tyson Gay, beat Bolt at the DN Galan Meet on August 6th.  While many are giving Tyson Gay full credit for beating Bolt, others are saying that Bolt wasn't a his peak shape, or that he was just competing for the money (being offered as much as $75,000 to show and compete).

To hear and read this irks me as a sports fan.  Being a world class athlete and having competed in the Olympics and setting world records, not being in top shape is a horrible thing to say in a defeat.  Whenever an Athlete is competing, whether from  Track & Field, Golf, or even Ping Pong, you should be prepared to compete and giving it your best effort every time.  I can understand if it was a semi-final heat to move on but this was the Finals heat and he brought up this excuse.  This totally takes away from what Tyson Gay was able to do beat Bolt. 

For those of you who haven't seen it, you can see it here

This also brings me to my next point.  I am curious as to why Track athletes, mainly 100 meter runners, let up and slow down before they cross the line.  Using Bolt as an example, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt was leading with 20 meters left before letting up to celebrate.  He eventually broke the world record running it in 9.69.  His trainer later claimed that he could have ran "9.50, that's how fast he is".

Well Mr. Bolt's Trainer, if he didn't let up, we would have know.  I don't know about you but as a kid when I played Pee Wee football, I was always coached to give it my best, to finish the play, and to run through the line when doing sprints.  On the biggest sports stage, Bolt failed to do that, possibly sending the wrong message to young kinds that show-boating and bad sportsmanship is better than giving it your full effort   While winning a big race is a great accomplishment, athletes should still give it all they got and show up prepared to give a great performance. 

August 26, 2010

Extending the Season: Who Benefits?

For those of you who don't know, the NFl and its owners recent met to talk about the collective bargaining agreement, which is set to expire after this season.  If a new CBA can't be agreed on before the start of next season, we may be faced with a lockout, which would not be good.  On the agenda for the CBA meeting was the possibility of expanding the season to 18 games, with the extra games replacing 2 preseason games.

All the owners pretty much came to a consensus that they were in favor of an 18 game season, saying that the additional games will bring in more money to the economy and also because the fans don't want to see 4 preseason games.  The players, on the other hand, don't want the extend the long season that they already have to go through.  NFL players already have to worry enough about getting injured and playing with non-guaranteed contracts.

So here's my views with the possibility of an extended season.  As a fan, I would absolutely love to see more games that count in the NFL.  It offers the opportunity for teams to play more teams that they normally don't play.  The season seems relatively short, making every game so critical between a playoff birth or a low draft pick.  18 games would definitely catch my attention during the season.

As an owner, I understand why they want 18 games in a season with only 2 preseason games.  18 games means 2 more games to broadcast on national television.  Broadcasting on national television brings in money for the NFL.  It's a multibillion dollar deal that gets divided evenly among the teams, the players barely get a cut of it.  Meanwhile, although they charge full prices for preseason games, those games don't necessary make it on to national television.  Meanwhile, they're proposing to the Players Union to take a smaller cut of the deal in the new CBA.  So you see, the owners just want more money at the end of it all. 

As a player, I would not want an extended season.  Players are putting their bodies on the line 16 weeks in a season, facing injuries that could have a lasting impression later on in life, and worst of all, they are playing with non-guaranteed contracts.  This makes it more difficult for them to ask for new contracts if they're already playing hurt.  Being on the road and playing games every 7 days, practices and game film,  it all seems a lot for the players.  It wouldn't make sense.

Also, to mention that taking away 2 preseason games takes away opportunities for young players to make the team.  Those preseason games are essentiality their tryouts.  They need those games to show what they have.  It would be unfortunate for someone trying to make the team to lose those preseason games.

So what's the plan then? Here's what I think it should be.  I think that the current 16 game schedule is fine as it is.  Why fix something that's not broken?  There's plenty of rivalries and division games to make it interesting.  I'd say get rid of 2 preseason games.  Those aren't need and many people don't watch them, much less want to pay full price for a game that doesn't count.  What teams could do instead is have scrimmages with other teams.  Make it a big practice and do it that way to evaluate players.  That way, no one gets injured for the wrong reasons. 

But for me, 16 games is more than enough, I get my 4 months of football before I switch over to the exciting part of the NBA.  I guess it could be worst, the NFL could have proposed a 162-game plan….


August 25, 2010

Welcome to the Sports Mind

Hello sports fan and blog readers,

Welcome to The Sports Mind, a blog dedicated to sports that covers all sports in different and unique outlooks that you may not be aware of unfamiliar.  The Sports Mind will also give me opinion on current sports news, big game predictions, and other major events.  I hope to cover a lot of a weekly basis.  Input is also appreciated if there's a topic you would like to read about more in depth.

Now a little about me.  I would say I am more than just an average sports fan.  If it's on TV, I'll watch it.  Whether its Baseball to Hockey, Golf to Nascar to MMA, I'm always interested in sitting down to watch a good game.  I will try to be unbiased when covering teams and watching sports so I won't list my favorite teams just yet.  I will go even further to say that I am from the New England area and I am not even a Celtics or Bruins fan. 

This is my first introductory post, look for more good content on the way soon.