Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sports Thoughts For The Week

Congratulations to the UCLA Bruins for the winning the Women’s College World Series. The PAC-10 has reestablished its dominance in Softball as either way it turned out the PAC-10 was going to win. And speaking of the PAC-10 can anyone explain to me why the Big 10 (which is actually 11) and the PAC want to expand other than for greed? Who is going to benefit from this other than the pocket book of these conferences?

I am a huge PAC-10 fan but this disgusts me. What we are seeing is the destruction of the NCAA because there will be absolutely no reason for them to remain in the NCAA television contract which shares the money between all the schools. There will also no reason for them to obey their rules, which only keeps them from making more money. It is only a matter of time before a similar major conference in the ACC and SEC also takes place.

Remember that Supreme Court case in which the NFL was said not to be excluded from anti-trust laws? At the time I said we didn’t know what all the ramifications would be, and it might end up being applied to these movements. I think that Boise State already has a collusion claim against the big conferences for shutting them out of competitive competition by refusing to play them and then keeping them out of the BCS because they don’t play good enough competition.

The NCAA is supposedly going to be handing down their penalty following a four year investigation of Reggie Bush at USC sometime this week. The story is that USC will be banned from playing in any bowl games for two years, will lose scholarships and may have to vacate wins in the 2004 season. Reggie Bush has not played college football in five years. That means even people who redshirted and stayed an additional four years in the USC program just graduated. Everyone else on the team never played with Reggie Bush, and yet they are being punished for these infractions. How is this helping anybody? And let's be totally honest here, is anyone really surprised by what happened?

How many millions of dollars did the NCAA and USC make off of Reggie Bush? And yet when he tried to cash in everyone gets upset. The idea that the athletes in the major sports at major programs are not already getting more than the normal student, which is what the NCAA rules say can't happen, is just ridiculous. They get special tutors, special meals, special rooms, special training facilities. Just look at the "gift bags" they receive for playing in bowl games. We as a culture need to wise up and realize that for many of these athletes there is little to no "student" in the student-athlete category. It's only a matter of time before a group of these athletes ban together and refuse to play, like say at the final four, until they get their piece of the pie.

Let’s calm down about Stephen Strasburg’s debut for the Nationals. While he put up great numbers, there is a reason why the Nationals chose to have him debut against the Pirates. Because they are terrible! Striking out 14 Pirates does not a career make. Let’s remember the last two rookie phenoms, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Wood struck out 20 without a single walk in his rookie year and Prior was considered to be the greatest college pitcher ever. Neither ever lived up to their expectations and the only way they are going to the Hall is if they pay admission. I say that as a person who saw both of them pitch, including Prior in his rookie year, and am proud that I saw them play. While Strasburg may go on to be great, it’s also just as likely that he might blow out his arm. Remember Mark Fidrych? The major league fields are littered with can’t misses who missed. So let’s enjoy it, but let’s not make him out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Fans here in Boston are apparently upset that Tom Brady was seen joking, and heaven forbid, smiling with Kobe Bryant after the Celtics loss last night. This, of course, follows up from a couple of years ago when Brady was seen wearing a Yankees hat. Could you please give me a break. Tom Brady is an employee not a fan of the Patriots. He is paid by them to live here and play here. He is not required to be a fan of the teams here and anyone who thinks he should be is being ridiculous.

I really don’t care whether Derek Jeter roots for the Jets, Giants, Patriots or the Lions (he is from Michigan after all). All I care about is that he shows up, gives everything he has and helps us win games. If he wants to root for the Lions in the offseason who cares? The only exception to this is for the same sport. If Brady was to be seen wearing a Jets hat, or Jeter was in a Sox hat, then we could be upset.

Let’s remember that Brady is from California. For all I know he is a diehard Lakers fan, and why should he change? The Celtics are not paying him. Let’s get over the idea that our players have to be fans of the same teams we like, or even of the teams they play for. It’s a business. Always has been and always will be.

In order to demean Chris Pronger of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Chicago Tribune put up a picture of him wearing a skirt. In other words, he's not a real man, he plays like a woman. Excuse me? What century are we in? The fact that there has not been a major uproard about this forcing the Trib to apologize is just extraordinary. We are almost 40 years away from the signing of title ix in college sports, and yet the way to demean someone's play still to say they play like a girl. Does no one on the editorial board at the Trib have any common sense? As the father of two girls who finds it ridiculously hard to find sports themed clothing for them, unless its pink of course, I find this disgusting. I thought we had moved further along as a culture, but apparently we haven't.

The Arizona State Sun Devils continue to play in the men's College World Series, so Go Devils! Never thought you'd see a minister write that did you.

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