Posted Monday, September 22, 2014 05:17 PM
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:27 AM
Since I was very, very, very young, I was taught the male baseball watchers in my family are to be fans of the New York Yankees. I do believe I have been a tremendous disappointment to my male brethren, as their indoctrination process failed miserably.
I started out cheering for the Montreal Expos. I followed Gary Carter after his trade to the New York Mets, and remained a Mets' fan until Gary's death. It was then the campaigning from my family members began in earnest once again. However, I took a different turn, and have been a Detroit Tiger's fan since then. I can state on a stack of Bibles: I am NOT a Yankee fan. I will never be a Yankee fan. I will never turn to the dark side. It will not happen. Ever.
There are some aspects of the Yankees' organization that I ADMIRE: their incredible sense of history and tradition, their many championships, and most of all, The Captain, #2 Derek Jeter.
As anyone who follows sports, or even might be a casual baseball fan knows, Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of this season. His announcement during last year's off-season came as no surprise as the other three of the "core four" Yankees: Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada had already retired in the past few years. He's getting old, and the body is starting to break down. His desire to play is still there, but he know's it is time to step away, and let the re-building of the Yankees begin.
This column won't contain the story of his upbringing in a travelling military family, the missteps of several GM's who skipped him in the draft, or his pre-MLB career. It will contain pertinent statistics when required to outline a point. No, this column is about Derek Jeter, the baseball player, athelete, and most importantly, role model to everyone in sports.
The final game in his Hall of Fame career will fittingly be against the arch-rival Boston Red Sox, in Boston on September 28th. His final home game is on Thursday night, the 25th, against this year's AL East Champion Baltimore Orioles. I expect it will be one of the most emotional games of all times.
The last time I remember being this psyched up for a regular season game NOT involving one of my teams, actually involved the Baltimore Orioles as well. Except that game didn't involve just the number 2, it involved the number 2131. It was on September 6, 1995 and Cal Ripken, as he broke Lou Gehrig's all-time "Iron Man" record for consecutive games played. I remember watching the game in my room, and as the game became official seeing that banner drop. I remember Oriole Park at Camden Yards going insane, Ripken running a lap around the stadium giving high-fives to the fans, and me applauding and shedding tears the whole time. The similarities between the two are there, but Ripken was by far the better defensive player. Both played shortstop (Ripken for the majority of his career), both hold almost unbreakable records on their teams, both ended their career's at the right time, and both are the model for what a profesional athlete should be.
I was very fortunate to go to Montreal during 2001 to see an inter-league series between the Expos and the Orioles. I saw the last two games of three game set and watched Cal Ripken play in his final year. I held a ticket to the first game of the next series as well: the Yankees were in Montreal, and Derek Jeter was in his sixth year playing shortstop. In three days, I got to see two of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. It truly was one of the best times I've ever had, both on and off the field.
Jeter's farewell tour is wrapping up at just the right time for the sports world. For the past several weeks and months, we have been inundated with stories about the incredibly poor decisions, brutally violent acts, and sheer incompetence throughout the sports' world, and the NFL in particular. Derek Jeter spent TWENTY YEARS under the New York City media microscope, and has come out unscathed, unharmed, and completely free of controversy. Well, if you want to call an unending string of relationships with some of the most attractive women in the world, and an enviable string of one-night stands a controversy, you're talking to the wrong guy.
He avoided any blemish because he didn't give people anything to talk about. Derek Jeter played baseball. He knew what his role was as the captain of one of the most highly regarded sporting organizations in the world. When he got off the field, he lived his life away from the lights, not looking for trouble, or to get his name out there. He has always been the prime example of how an athlete can show grace and class, both on and off the playing field.
Today's youth who want to play any sport should be paying very close attention to what happens over the next week. They will bear witness to one of the greatest players who ever played baseball ride off into the sunset. They should study how he managed to handle himself throughout all of his years as a lifelong Yankee, both the good, and especially the bad. And oh boy, did he have some bad times. But never once did he lose faith in himself. Not once did anyone doubt him. This was because they knew how committed to his not embarrassing his family, the sport of baseball, and the New York Yankees. Now, the sports community doesn't need to be full of "Derek Jeter's". But it would be a damn lot better off if there were many, many more athletes willing to shoulder the load that Jeter has. He once said, "There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you."
The Yankees have Joe DiMaggio's famous quote, "I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee. " on their clubhouse exit to the diamond. And to once again tie in Cal Ripken Jr. with Lou Gehrig's famous, "today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth" speech, I think it behooves us all to be thankful we have had the incredible thrill, pleasure, and true honor to watch Derek Jeter play baseball for 20 years. He was the leader of the clubhouse, settling teammate disputes, offering up motivational speeches, and playing to win at all costs in as unforgiving an environment as you can play in. Thursday night we will watch the finale of what might very well be the first ever unanimously voted first ballot Hall of Fame. We have always known that there is no "I" in Jeter. But we now have learned that there is a "2," in #RE2PECT.
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 06:37 PM
I guess we could also call this one, "How to make Michael Vick look like a quality human being."
A two game suspension without pay, and a smear on the image of the National Football League is all we thought were going to come out of the Ray Rice incident. That was all the way back in late July. But it took the work of much maligned online celebrity gossip site, TMZ, to finally pull back the curtain. They revealed to everyone the incredibly disturbing footage of what actually happened in the elevator on Valentine's Day in Las Vegas, with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and his then fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer.
It was one thing to have "heard" about the incident, but it was a whole different thing to SEE what occurred. I don't know WHY it was a whole different thing for us, because we knew what must have happened inside the elevator. But seeing it added a whole new aspect of shock and "completely unacceptablility".
I saw the video as it was first aired on CNN. If you're anything like me, you sat there afterwards for about five minutes ,with your mouth wide open, and in absolute shock. I cannot believe there actually is any "real" man who would dare hit a woman to start with. But we now see the incredible force with which Rice wound up and decked Ms. Palmer. It shows just how bad his act of inhumanity and cruelty is horribly unacceptable in any civilized society. But adding to his sheer neanderthal brutality, he then proceeds to drag the unconscious woman into the hallway, where he drops her, and lets the doors try to close on her exposed behind.
Keep in mind, we had all seen the last video portion of Ms. Palmer lying unconscious in the hallway already. But we had not seen the actual punch. But did we really NEED to in order to play judge and jury? We knew what had happened. Thusly, about two hours after the video was shown publicly for the first time, the Ravens immediately terminated Rice's contract. About an hour later, The NFL stated that Rice had now been suspended "indefinetely". The sports talk shows cancelled all other topics of the day, and this story is snowballing down a very steep slope.
If we all agree that initial punishment handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was entirely too lenient, then we all now have to look at him and realize that there is a VERY good probablility that he had seen this tape prior to today. In fact, the story has just broken that the NFL Executive was actually sent a copy of the tape. A source who reported this to the Associated Press played a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9th, confirming receipt of the video. The female voice says thanks, and then says, "You're right. It's terrible." THIS does not bode well of the future of Goodell now.
It is also safe to assume the same thing can be said about the Baltimore Ravens organization. In both cases, there have to be serious repercussions at the top level of both. This event has basically neutered Goodell's future as a truly viable Commissioner of the NFL. There is NO way anyone can now believe a word coming out of his pompous pie-hole anymore. Once, the most powerful man in sports, is today on the brink of being tossed off a cliff because of sheer ignorance, arrogance, and apparent unwillingness to "do the right thing" to a star player. He plays for a former Super Bowl championship team, which is owned by a very influential man in league circles, which I'm sure had Roger thinkinig twice about doing anything rash in his initial decision.
Furthermore, the press conference by Raven's head coach John Harbough, was thoroughly pathetic in every sense. It was blatantly obvious he was on script for every answer he gave. It was like watching Jon Lovitz's 'Saturday Nght Live' "The Pathological Liar" character. Except he didn't say, "Yeah, THAT'S the ticket", he just said, "This was the first time we have seen the tape". It was robot-like, and cringe-worthy with every lip movement. It was not very convincing in the least.
This second video has been available since the criminal trial following the elevator incident, as Ms. Palmer had pressed assault charges against Rice. Instead of a "legitimate" punishment, he agreed to go into a form of pre-trial "intervention" or "diversion program"with Ms. Palmer, to prevent jail time, and a criminal record. It seems all was forgiven. Since then, they married, which leaves me shaking my head even more. I do not, and won't even pretend to, understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and it's victims, so I'm not going to be discussing that aspect of this ugly scenario. I'll stick to the "sporting" relevance instead.
I feel this could be the turning point for the NFL and its discipline management. Up until this very recent discovery of the tape delivery, it was very unlikely that Goodell would be fired by the team owners, who have become richer than their wildest dreams under his tenure. He arrogantly admitted as much on the "CBS This Morning" program. But whether it is Goodell, or another person elected to be Grand Poobah, they must realize that sports fans are getting tired of having to defend why they enjoy watching games, cheering for their favorite teams, and wearing their favorite players' gear. I know I'm tired of hearing about how barbaric and goon filled hockey is, how boring baseball is, and how thug-filled both basketball and football are. I feel it is time for the sports fan's opinion to be represented, and respected in North American sports.
Incredibly, in some European sports leagues, players, coaches, and management are contractually obligated to meet with fans. They must endure complaints about how they are playing, suggestions as to what may help the teams, or just listen to how bad they are right now. These players and managers have to sit there and take it. Can you imagine Brian Burke, Ozzie Guillen, or John Tortorella getting grilled by some random guy who just dropped nearly $500.00 to take his family out to watch their team lose? It would be carnage, and almost Pay-Per-View worthy. In that case however, you would definitely get your money's worth.
I think leagues and teams may soon have to be open to the idea of having a 'fan representative' at the bargaining table, and involved in trade discussions. It would surely add the "ability" for teams to be held much more accountable for the fans. While it would lead to one of the most brutal election processes in history, it may be a necessary element to help protect us, the sports fan. The people running for this position would possibly be put under a higher scrutiny than that of any political representative in any country. They would have to be willing to take a foolish amount of daily verbal and online abuse. We have to know we are getting the best out of our hard earned dollar when we go to a game. The companies who pay millions to have their advertisements placed during huge sporting events need to know that their products' image will not be compromised by some player's actions during or after the game.
Owners, GM's and fans have to get their collective stuff together and put an end to the fans' disillusions with teams and players. For those who don't appreciate or like sports, I do understand it's technically a form of entertainment. These same people must understand it is also a major part of the culture and heritage of North America. Sports also play a big part in the economy of this continent. It is time we as sports fans take appropriate and productive action. We have been going through another bad economic period. Fans want to know that their team has a solid plan for the future. Nobody wants a dog and pony show, with bright lights and tasty snacks. We want tangible numbers, names, and a clear vision of how the team is going to succeed.
Teams have to stop signing these "problem players," even if they are the top talents in their respective leagues. At the very least the leagues should mandate putting in a personal conduct, or morality clause in EVERY player's contract. That way the team can opt out of a problem player`s contract upon their discretion. While the players unions will have a problem with this, it is time that the powers that be, the fans who truly pay these guys, take a stand and say, no more. If you are a problem, or we know you will cause one in the future, you are not welcome on my team.
It will eventually take a boycott of games, or rescindence of sponsorship by major corporations to finally drive some common sense into this concussion damaged league's head. Until then though, team's owners must begin to understand they have a responsibility, nay, obligation, to the fans to field a competitive team, but at the same time employ people who behave as a respectable person is supposed to. It's time for management and the players to start to realize the real world we are living in. We don't want to pay our hard earned dollar, and spend our valuable free time on an inferior product. Stop being a distraction for the fans. Stop giving the sports you play a bad name, and respect the integrity of your game. While the media may get upset because they have no ugly stories to chase after, the fans can at least know they are cheering for real people. True people, actual role models, and someone we can all be proud to say, "Yes, that guy plays on my team".
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2012 02:04 PM
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Finally, last night the jig was
up. The curtain was lifted, and the shell
game revealed. When Umpire Bill Miller rang
up Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, on a pitch that was well out
of the strike zone, we were all witnesses to something that is easily the biggest
joke in professional sports - the "strike zone" in baseball.
strike zone is an imaginary box above home plate, and the umpire
judges whether or not a baseball has entered it. The dimensions of the strike zone vary
according to the batter's height and stance. The 2004 Official Rules of Major
League Baseball defines it as "that area over home plate the upper limit
of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders
and the top of the uniform pants (of the batter), and the lower level is a line
at the hollow beneath the knee cap." That is the RULE. It is not meant to be altered, bargained, or
influenced by anything. But Major League
Baseball just does not get it. They allow the very powerful umpire union to
decide what THEY feel a strike is. Each
individual umpire has his own definition of what a strike is. Every game we
hear about a certain umpire's own strike zone, and how pitchers and batters
will have to manage them. In today's day and age, that should NOT happen.
When Brett Lawrie went into his furious tirade, throwing his helmet at the ground, causing it
to ricochet and hit Miller in the leg, he was also unleashing years of
frustration that batters have for umpires who make bad calls. Lawrie has been
suspended for four games, and was fined an "undisclosed" amount. He and the team are appealing the suspension,
basically to keep him in the lineup against the Yankees for the time
being. His actions, and reactions were
wrong, and he took his anger out the wrong way. However, there will be no discipline at all for
Miller. After he incorrectly called strike two, Lawrie had already dropped his
bat, and was headed to first for a walk.
Shaking his head, he got back into the batter's box. The following pitch was even further out of
the zone and yet again, Lawrie started down to first, only to be rung up by
Miller, who was obviously influenced by feeling slighted by Lawrie's look back
at him. Then the meltdown began.
Everyone watching the game at home could easily see the ball was out of the
legal strike zone. They were able to see
this, because of a little thing called "technology". The MLB has a long history of avoiding any
attempt to bring the game into the 21st century. They have the attitude of "Hey, we've
been getting this wrong for over a hundred years. Why stop now?" It is referred to as the "nature of the
game". They refused to use TV's
instant replay for the longest time, but finally relented in the middle of the
2008 season. They allow it now for
calling a ball fair or foul, and if a ball is a home run, or if there has been
any spectator interference with the play.
This is the limited extent to which MLB has allowed technology to sneak
its way into the game, and take away the "human aspect" of its
This is no longer about the human aspect of anything. This is about getting very important calls
correct. These should not be done by
"the judgement of a human". If
the technology is available that will allow this to happen, it is incumbent
upon the league to use it. This will
prevent any argument, and diminishes the chance that the sport may be looked at
as illegitimate, or the games as being fixed. There is such a simple solution: to finally
invest in the Umpire Information System, designed by Questec. The UIS uses QuesTec's proprietary measurement
technology that analyzes video from cameras mounted in the rafters of each
ballpark to precisely locate the ball throughout the pitch corridor. This
information is then used to measure the speed, placement, and curvature of the
pitch along its entire path. The UIS tracking system is a fully automated
process that does not require changes to the ball, the field of play, or any
other aspect of the game. Additional cameras are mounted at the field level to
measure the strike zone for each individual batter, for each individual pitch,
for each at bat. Done. Simple.
No questions or arguments. There
can be an "umpire" behind home plate who holds a little device that
lights up and reads either "strike" or "ball". It is an impartial system that does not rely
on human faults of petty anger, shame, or revenge. We're able to see the strike zone as we watch
a game from our comfy chairs at home through the use of Pitchtrax. This technology was designed by Questec, and
nightly we see how bad the umpires are at keeping a consistent, legal strike
zone. Often, the broadcasters calling
the game will refer to how bad the call was, and they will show the simple
graphic proving the ball was, or was not a strike.
sports like tennis have accepted the use of instant replay. While it was
thought it would add time to an already long game, the use of the tennis
challenge has worked out fantastically. The crowd gets very involved as the
actual computer generated ball is shown on a big screen, and using physics and
some other sciences, it is shown whether it was in or out on that play. There
is no debate, no arguments, and the point is over, or replayed. There are no more John McEnroe meltdown
moments, which while entertaining, actually led to the games lasting longer.
NO good excuse why Questec should not be used.
It has been proven reliable to 0.5 of an inch. Soon enough, there will be a blown
call that costs a team a World Series, Conference, or Division Title. It might
prevent them from getting into the playoffs in the first place. At that point, the owner(s) of that team will
possibly meltdown much worse than Lawrie
on Tuesday. They may file a lawsuit against the Umpire's Union for not doing
the job in a proper and capable manner. Another lawsuit might be filed against
MLB itself, for willingly disregarding the available equipment and technology
that would have prevented the outcome from occurring. It will be at that point, Major League
Baseball will find itself quickly transported to back to the future, and get
knocked out of the park by a court of law. Ironically, they might even receive
the decision by text message, not by carrier pigeon.
Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2012 03:21 PM
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remember The World Baseball Classic? I barely have a
vague recollection that something like that existed. It appeared most of North America just didn't seem
to care. Honestly, I would rather have my favorite Major
League Baseball team show up
with a positive attitude, and a determined willingness to destroy the
boundaries of every stadium.
However, it seem
the rest of the world was so psyched up for that tournament. Japan, Puerto
Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic....heck, I think Fiji was pumped up for it, even
though they didn't have a team entered. However, on a daily basis we heard
about another North American, or even some Latin American players, that are
either 'injured', recovering from an injury, or simply have chosen not to play
for their country. Co-incidence? I think not.
This problem of getting professional players to participate in "voluntary"
international events or exhibition games, is going to continue to arise. In this writer's humble opinion, professional athletes have a responsibility, nay OBLIGATION
to their club teams first. International events, such as the Olympics, the
World Cup of Soccer, or the yearly
IIHF World Hockey Championships are eventually going to
be strictly relegated to amateur events.
I for one, am OK
with that. Growing up, I always thought the Olympics were supposed to be a
showcase for amateur athletics. But, the United States kept getting their lunch handed to them in
basketball every four years, so they initialized the idea of: "Let's allow
Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson to play and we'll
see what happens... or we'll take our ball and go home." Canadian Olympic
officials immediately jumped on board that ship with our men's hockey team in the Winter Olympics.
The problem with professional athletes playing in these events, is liability
and the very real possibility of an injury to one of the great players in a
specific sport. National League MVP Albert Pujols, a native Dominican, had to
pull out of the World Baseball Classic due to insurance issues. Pujols had
off-season surgery to move a nerve in his right elbow, and he has had a
ligament injury in that same elbow for nearly six years. He was not permitted
to play for the Dominican team as a result of the operation.
The injury issue
is enough of a concern during the All-Star breaks of each of the four major
sports in North America. We should just stick to the skills contests, cancel
the actual games, and hope for the best. It seems the NFL might be coming to its'
senses and has cancelled all Pro-Bowls for the foreseeable future. Ninety percent of the time, the games aren't
entertaining, and the television ratings continue to plummet. As a New England
Patriots fan, I get petrified when every Pro Bowl comes up and we have 5 or 6
guys playing. What happens if one of these guys gets seriously injured? Worse
yet, owners and General Managers have to worry about their star players getting
hurt during this 'exhibition' performance for the good of the league.
During the last
Olympics, Steve Nash, The NBA's, and Canada's best point guard, did not play
for team Canada because his boss at that time, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark
Cuban, said "No, you cannot go." It had nothing to do with Nash's
desire to go, as the Canadian media went on about. This is one of the few times
I agree with Mr. Cuban. He was paying Nash's salary and did not want his meal
ticket to end up on the Disabled List because of some freak accident.
Already, in this year's NBA playoffs,
Chicago Bulls guard and reigning league MVP, Derrick Rose tore his ACL and is
done for the year. This occured in the first game of the playoffs, on a
seemingly inoccuous play. It can happen so easily. With the grueling schedule
of this year, players have been breaking down left and right. People can only push their bodies so much,
before something finally snaps. You can only imagine the fear that shot through
Miami Heat owner Micki Arison, when a couple of weeks ago, LeBron James said
he's ready to play for the US Olympic basketball team in London this year. If I were an owner, there would be no way,
that one of my star players could enter into an international competition. In
fact, I would have it as a stipulation upon signing of the contract.
I still don't
understand why we as Canadians don't understand this when the World Hockey
Championships come up. Sure, some great players did not make the playoffs, but
you know what? They have to worry about next year, staying healthy, and making
sure their family has an income. Sidney Crosby was assaulted with insults and
calls of treason because he isn't going to play for Canada this year after
being eliminated from the playoffs.
Those people need to give their collective heads a big shake. Crosby spent most of this year and last, fighting the
lingering effects of a concussion. He made sure the
message that he loved to play for Canada at every opportunity would not go away.
But for now, he deserves the summer break to
become healthier for next year's regular season with the club that pays him.
We see European and South American soccer players willing to give their right
arm to play for their countries, but one has to wonder when their club teams
are going to crack down on this. David Beckham is getting paid just a foolish amount of money by team owner Philip Anschutz ,to play for the Los
Angeles Galaxy. He relinquished his captaincy of England's squad, and has said
he will limit playing in international matches. But others comparable to his
ability and international appeal, continue to do so with reckless abandon.
Malcolm Glazer, an American billionaire owns arguably the highest profile team
in sports today, the Manchester United Football Club,
as well as the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. John W. Henry, another American billionaire, owns Liverpool FC, and the Boston Red Sox. In this economic climate, and as North American business owners, there is
a good chance the time will come where Malcolm and John put their collective feet down. They will
say to one of their star international players, "No, you cannot go."
They are paying the salaries, and right now, any tournament or 'friendly' match is too much of a liability to the clubs'
future. I don't think they would be wrong.
It is time the sports fan realizes, while technically the fan pays the
players, it is the owners and general managers that have the onus of keeping
the team afloat, and the sponsors happy with their performance. The best way to
do this is by ensuring the health of their star players. The owners already
have enough financial issues on their plate dealing with the enormous salaries
demanded these days. Worrying about the well-being of the members of their team
during an exhibition contest should not be an additional burden. I love Canada,
and as much as it pains me to think this, it truly is time for club to come before country.
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Ahhhh, that fresh
smell of spring is in the air. As usual, it means the Leafs have fallen. That's not really a huge shock to anyone in
the sports community anymore. It has become a yearly joke. It's hockey's version of Groundhog Day.
It's deja vu all over again. It has been 7 years since they actually played a meaningful game in April.
It has also been 46 years since they won a Stanley cup. These are facts every hockey fan knows, and every Leaf's fan knows. Yet every single year, "Leaf's Nation"
members flock to the Air Canada Center to buy season tickets, or a package deal,
to buy their new sweaters, to spend
ridiculous amounts of money on parking, and concession stand foods to watch
their beloved team.
Last night, the
Leafs were mathematically eliminated from the 2011-2012 season playoffs. Just 6 weeks ago, they were in 6th place in the
Eastern Conference, and fans were prepping for post-season play at long
last. But yet again, the Leaf's had the
predictable, almost inevitable late season meltdown. For Toronto, the
2011-2012 season began with such promise. Their 9-4 record to start things off
provided much ammunition for Leafs' fans, confident they were destined for the
playoffs for the first time since 2005. However,
things quickly became murky, and now there is outrage, disbelief, and bitter
disappointment in "Leaf's Nation".
Today, Leaf's Nation
will commiserate, figure out who is responsible, and dream of what could have
But I sense a
change of attitude in that spring breeze as well. Not just with the Leaf's fans, but fans
across the sports world in general. In a way, I have
some sympathy for Leafs' fans. I have stopped any support for my beloved
New York Mets. Since 1984 I followed and
supported every move they made, because of the treasonous Gary Carter trade
from the Expos. I celebrated the 1986
World Series, enjoyed the 1988 playoffs, and suffered through the rest of their
horrid years. But Gary died in February,
and I don't want to suffer anymore. Their
ownership is in a state of flux as they go through bankruptcy proceedings, and
a fraud trial. Their top player is
already injured, and they are stuck in one of the most competitive divisions in
baseball. The year ahead looks bleak,
and there is very little hope on the horizon.
I feel it is time for the sports fan's opinion
to be represented, and respected in North American sports. In some European
sports leagues, players, coaches, and management are contractually obligated to
meet with fans. They must endure complaints about how they are playing,
suggestions as to what may help the teams, or just listen to how bad they are right
now. These players and managers have to sit there and take it. Can you imagine Brian
Burke, Ozzie Guillen, or John Tortorella getting grilled by some random guy who
just dropped nearly $500.00 to take his family out to see their team lose? It
would be carnage at its' best, and almost Pay-Per-View worthy. You would definitely get your money's worth
Owners, GM's and
fans have to get their stuff together and put an end to this disillusionment
with teams and players. For those who don't appreciate or like sports, I
understand it's technically a form of entertainment, but it is also a major
part of our culture in North America. It also plays a big part in the economy
of this continent. It's time we as sports fans take action. We are going
through another bad economic period. Fans
want to know that their team has a solid plan for the future. Nobody wants a dog and pony show, with bright
lights and tasty snacks. We want
tangible numbers, names, and a clear vision of how the team is going to
just coming off the most destructive work stoppage they've ever had. The NHL is on the road to a work stoppage at
the end of this year. That could
possibly destroy any future the sport has in the southern United States. NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman can go out twice a year and provide his 'State of the
Union" speech saying everything is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. NBA
Commissioner David Stern can do the same thing. But we all know, through that
smoke screen, both of their leagues are losing money hand over fist. They need
a new strategy and new broadcasting agreements. And they need them in a hurry.
Leagues and teams
may soon have to be open to the idea of having a 'fan representative' at the
bargaining table, and involved in trade discussions. It would surely add the "ability"
for teams to be more accountable towards the fans. While it would lead to one
of the most brutal election processes in history, it may be a necessary element
to help protect us, the sports fan. The people running for this position would
be put under a higher scrutiny than that of any political representative in any
country, and would be willing to take daily abuse. We have to know we are
getting the best out of our hard earned dollar when we go to a game, and the
companies who pay millions to have their ads placed during huge events need to
know that their products' image will not be compromised by a players' actions
during or after the game.
Baseball could be
considered the canary in the coal mine since today is Opening Day. Ticket
prices have been dropped and promotions are being launched to gain new fans. In
that way, I think the owners and GM's may be actually starting to come around.
Why do you think it took so long for Manny Ramirez to get signed last season?
Demanding the extravagant salary is one thing. Manny can be Manny on his own
time. Stop acting like a greedy, spoiled little child. We all don't have the
chance to sign a NINE DIGIT contract. I won't go off on one of those
"people are losing their houses and can't afford to feed their
families" rants here, but, people are losing their houses and can't afford
to feed their families.
Teams have to
stop signing these "problem players," even if they are the top talents
in their respective leagues. Or, at the very least the leagues should mandate putting in a personal conduct, or
morality clause in EVERY player's contract. The player's unions will have a
problem with that. However, it is time that the powers that be, the fans who
truly pay these guys, take a stand and say, no more. If you are a problem, or
we know you will cause one in the future, you are not welcome on my team. Team's owners
must begin to understand they have a responsibility, nay, obligation, to the
fans to play well but at the same time employ people who behave as a respectable
person is supposed to. It's time for management and the players to start to
realize the real world they are living in. We don't want to pay our hard earned
money, and spend our valuable free time for an inferior product. Stop being a distraction for the fans. Stop
giving the sports you play a bad name, and respect the integrity of your game. It's
time the fans can at least know they are cheering for real teams, with known, achievable,
set goals. We want good people, who are true role models. We want to be proud to say, "Yes, that is my team."
But no longer will we sit idly by and say, "There's always next
year." I don't want to endure
another year of misery. I want
satisfaction, and I want it now.