Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

If you haven’t heard, I’m following in Aaron Simms’ footsteps out of Douglas County, who is the youngest person ever to run for county commissioner at 18 years old. I’ve got 5 years on the aspiring politician and 1 speaking point that will set me apart from my fellow candidates. I will successfully bring a professional stadium to the city of Las Vegas!

The pros of bringing a pro stadium to Las Vegas completely outweigh the cons. It would give a little jolt to our economy by creating jobs from design to construction to ushers to front office staff. The more we diversify our economy away from the hospitality industry, the faster our recession will concede and the more stable we will be for the future. Building a stadium isn’t the cure-all but it is a start and we all would love to see it happen.

Mayor Oscar Goodman has been lobbying for a professional team for years and the one thing that always holds us back is our lack of facilities. Cashman Field isn’t exactly in the best neighborhood, confining the 51s fans to people who live in North Las Vegas or people who will drive for dollar beers. The Thomas and Mack is still holding up well. There is a lot of history in the T&M and it would be dumb to wipe away all the tradition and renovations that are in place to improving their facilities. Sam Boyd Stadium is antiquated and far from any central point in Las Vegas and this is actually a live shot from the UNLV football game last night vs. Air Force.

The question now becomes what sport to bring here? Well, we had an audition for the NBA in 2007 but that didn’t exactly go well for the city. Las Vegas has never been so dirty and crime ridden for such a short amount of time and it looks like we better just stick to hosting NBA Summer League and Team USA. The NHL isn’t exactly in an expansion mode right now and the teams in the Southwest don’t do as well financially as the traditional Canadian and East Coast Teams.

We are now left with the NFL and MLB. The NFL would obviously be the most attractive option for Las Vegas but with a melting pot of fans throughout our city it would be hard to attract an NFL team with shifty fan loyalty. Not to mention, the NFL has bigger fish to fry with collective bargaining coming up and the possibility of bringing a team back to Los Angeles way ahead of Las Vegas.

I think the best case scenario for Las Vegas would be to bring a MLB team to the city that never sleeps. The Southwest has been great breeding grounds for baseball with many successful players coming out of Vegas. They also are the league that is most willing to continue with talks as Las Vegas as one of their top cities with Portland, San Antonio, Austin and Mexico City despite the complication we present with gaming.

The next item on the to-do-list becomes where. Where do we build the stadium? I have two potential options with the first being off of Tropicana Ave. and Paradise Rd. A stadium here would be both walking distance from the Strip, McCarran Airport, UNLV, with easy access to the highways just as long as it’s height stays out of fligh patterns. A stadium here would a allow for a minor tourist attraction as long as we don’t count on tourism to be a part of the fan base. It would be a breeding ground for new and young fans within close proximity to the university. And with the I-215 and I-15 both less than a mile away it allows the easy access for locals to go to go to games with ease.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=east+flamingo+las+vegas&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

While, I prefer the Tropicana location there are plenty of viable options throughout the city with the land available for a project of this size. Another potential location would be on Las Vegas Blvd. South just South of Warm Springs Rd. The acreage here is massive, it is near local hot-spots Town Square and the Las Vegas Outlet Center and again both freeways within walking distance.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=east+flamingo+las+vegas&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

The two teams on the chopping block are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s (my personal preference). If we get the Oakland A’s we could keep the colors and change the name to the Las Vegas Aces. The name  “Aces” plays both of our gaming roots and baseball specifics with pitching Aces. We could bring on Las Vegan residents Greg Maddux and Pete Rose to run the front office and it would be like we never missed a step.

The next issue becomes financing as always. If an Mark Cuban’s investor group doesn’t pony up some cashola then we have some “majuh majuh” problems. The city isnn’t exactly in a position to make it rain a stadium in the desert and it would not be ideal to make the stadium for MLB and UNLV football. While it would add value to our university, MLB doesn’t like to share facilities especially with a collegiate program. However, if we did draw from the High-Ed budget we could be playing baseball in Las Vegas by April 1, 2014.

In light of what has been one of the most controversial seasons for officiating in Major League Baseball, a lot of opinions have been swirling around whether or not MLB should fall in line with the rest of the professional sports and implement a review system for questionable calls. Many people don’t watch full baseball games due to the length of games and its “old school” customs. But baseball has done some things to appeal to the 21st century sports consumer while keeping its traditionalist lawn finely kept.

Baseball is still “America’s pastime” whether we like it or not and it still will be for years to come even with issues surrounding steroids, cheating, and poor umpiring. We made it past the cheating and roids for the most part and the umps are currently up to bat. The time is upon us where MLB needs to decide whether or not they are going to delve into the realm of instant replay similar to the process NFL has in place and I have a few ideas that I think would satisfy both the modern perfectionists and the stubborn traditionalists.

Baseball should implement a review system, but a limited review system at that. The Mackin Review System (MRS) will allow for fair play on the field while not hindering the already painfully slow pace of the game. My boy Mike Wilbon said it best by saying “Baseball is just like watching golf, you can watch it on a Sunday afternoon, take a nap, except when you wake up a lot has changed.”

Baseball needs to steer clear of becoming an old man’s couch and country club sport and at the same time keep those old fogies happy. If we allow for a system that reviews all matters involving homerun accuracy, on base safe/out calls, the fair/foul line, trapped catches, and hit by pitches then the game will become more correct than a naked eye, while still holding true to the human nature the game was built on.

However, this system will not get into the ball/strike arena. Every umpire makes border line calls at the home but that makes what baseball, baseball. By taking that out of the umpires hands you might as well eliminate the blue from the entire game and sit an iMac behind the dish with a camera that lets us know whether the pitch was a ball or strike in animated and morphed voice tones.

If this limited system is utilized the right way it is a win/win for both teams and fans. The teams get precise officiating and the fans get a consistently paced game without slowing the rate. Each teams would get 2 appeals per game (if needed). Since there are no timeouts really in baseball, once the appeal is used it is gone whether the call is overturned or not. It will mimic the NFL’s system in that there has to be enough indisputable evidence to overturn the call, otherwise the call on the field stands. The viewing monitors will be placed in a little photo both inside the home team’s dugout for fast and easy access.

Now, how will this implementation of MRS improve the American economy? I was hoping you’d ask me that, well if the MRS or a like modified version were picked up by Major League Baseball, discouraged fans would return back to the game they grew up playing. This would increase ticket sales, Food/Beverage sales, merchandise sales, and more media coverage to a billion dollar industry that is capable of patching up one of the many holes in our country’s current depression. Yes, depression not recession. Forget about politics, tax breaks, and government stimuli – the cure for the economy is instant replay in Major League Baseball.

Now that I have everyone on board, I would like to announce my running for the candidacy of President of the United States of America in 2012 under the new party of “Sports Nation.” Thank you all, don’t forget to vote and God Bless America.

MLB Post Season Predictions

Posted: October 5, 2010 in MLB

The MLB regular season has been semi-uneventful in my opinion. Maybe, it was overshadowed by what normally are boring summers but this year had the Brett Favre saga, NBA free agency, and the FIBA World Ships. Nonetheless, October is upon us so break out the mock turtlenecks because it’s time for some exciting baseball.

Texas vs. Tampa: This series may be the battle of the bland. Tampa was in first place a good part of the year, especially when it counts the most. And Texas is a team run by the crackhead friend Jamie Foxx portrays in “Ali.” While, the Rangers may have rallied around Wash and newly solidified ownership with Nolan Ryan, I don’t believe they have enough weapons to beat Tampa. Tampa is pretty good at everything from pitching and power, to defense and experienced. Tampa 3-2.

New York vs. Minnesota: In the past, the Yanks have owned the Twins in the playoffs. But this isn’t your usual Twins teams. For once, they kept their prospects and let them mature into stars like Mauer and Morneau. However, I am still not convinced they have enough W’s in the playoffs to take control over the perennial pinstripes. DJ is playing in his favorite month of the year and I predict a usual outcome of Yankees taking the series in four.
Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia: I have a feeling this will be the most one-sided series of all with the Reds having little recent playoff experience. Philly has been here, knows the drill, has great pitching and will kick the Pete Rose of “Cincinatta” as John Buccigross would say. They’ll sweep them in 3 straight. Sorry Joe Morgan.

Atlanta vs. San Fransisco: This series also has the makings for a good series. This would be my weakest prediction because there is a lot of drama involved. I would like to say that San Fran should have the upper had after pulling out of the tight NL West race but ATL is playing for Bobby Cox and his last season as skipper. Emotionally, I would like to pick the Braves but rationally will pick the Giants to win 3-1.

San Fransisco vs. Philadelphia: Did I mention that to win in the playoffs you need good pitching? Even with “The Freak,” “The Franchise,” “The Freaky Franchise,” and “Big-time Timmy Jim” I don’t think the Giants can play with Philadelphia Fanatics. They are just too talented and are better from top to bottom and will sweep the Giants in four straight.

New York vs. Tampa: As both of these teams progress through the playoffs, I think both of them will get better. Figuring out how to manipulate their respective rotations, letting their leaders take over games with clutch hits and smart/aggressive base running, I predict this series to be a good ol’ American League slugfest. Unfortunately for the 7 Tampa fans, their slugging potential and strength deep into their rotation will cause them to fall short of the Yankees in the ALCS 3-2.

New York vs. Philadelphia: This isn’t your average powerhouse versus wild card who snuck into the World Series. The Yankees could have very well finished the season with the best record in baseball and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if Joe Girardi (who I had a great conversation with in an elevator once in Cleveland) hadn’t rested the big boys in preparation for this. A lot of people could have predicted this series with the talent both clubhouses have and it has the making for a great series. Both have amazing pitching, which is important to be successful in the playoffs if I didn’t already make note of that, experience, talent, and high payrolls. If you haven’t caught wind yet, they way you win ships is buy purchasing them. It is relevant in every sport, the best players coupled with good coaching, and a common goal of wanting rings – win the rings. Both owners know this and strive for it every year and this is why they are always in the post-season positions. Thus, the winner for me is a little bit of a toss-up but because the Yankees are my team, I subsequently know more about them and feel as though they are more qualified. Plus, Robbie knows Boom!

Multi-Sport Athletes

Posted: September 23, 2010 in College Sports, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL

It makes complete sense that some of today’s best athletes are also amazing at secondary sports. When you have that much God given talent and can physically do things others cannot, it is no surprise that they are still better than 99% of that sports’ participants and it isn’t even the area they excel in the most. Now I originally wanted to make this blog a Top 10 list but I found that is not only much more complicated but less accurate as well. When someone, puts most their efforts in one area and throws the other to the curb, they should not be discounted for why they discarded that sport. They may choose a sport because they are better at that time, tey may have more of a future, for financial reasons, or simply because one is more fun. So, instead of making a Top 10, I am going to list off some athletes off the top of my head and encourage other suggestions. I know some pretty main stream and obvious choices like Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders who probably would top the list. But they are not juicy enough to talk about so we will but will discuss the indie and the more obscure. For instance, take Tom Glavine, future Hall of Fame Pitcher for the Braves. He had a great career and was consistently good throughout but almost had no baseball career at all. He actually played hockey for the University of Maine and it was his preferable sport. Another random hockey player is the fiery Nationals center fielder, Niger Morgan. He too grew up playing hockey in the yay area, bringin his sense of street to the ice. Greg Paulus came from a pedigree that most father’s (including myself) would pay for. His father, uncles, brothers, and sisters all played collegiate sports but he was by far the best. Out of high school he started as Duke’s point guard but probably got wind that Duke Guards don’t do well in the league and went back to football. He was actually Mr. Football his senior year in high school and was offered full rides from several Big 10, Big East, and ACC schools to play quarterback. He eventually went back to play for Syracuse near his home and is doin aight. Which sport was the better? We will have to wait and see… John Elway was old school athletic. He was actually drafted by my Yankees but chose to go with football. Lebron James was an All-State Wide receiver for St. Vincent St. Mary’s. Could you imagine being some 5’10 165 lb sophomore corner lining up against the 6’8 225 (at the time) Lebron James? But he also played both ways switching between D end and linebacker. Jackie Robinson balled out at UCLA, playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track. Carl Crawford could have done the same for UCLA, Nebraska, Oklahoma, whoever, but decided to forego college and entered the MLB draft. The Dream Olajuwon didn’t even play basketball till he was sixteen. Instead he was a 7’1 goalkeeper in Nigeria. Charlie Ward is my least favorite. Instead of winning the Heisman as a QB at Florida St. and going to the NFL, he decided to go to my Knicks and tried to make up for John Starks and was wack. Same thing with MJ, he wanted to play baseball to see how tight he could be at everything and hit for like .198 for the Birmingham Barons. My favorite instance is with Antonio Gates because I played just as many football games in college as he did. 0! He was a power forward for Kent State, and got picked up by San Diego because he was big, had great hands, and better footwork than most other tight ends. And now he is probably the best tight end in the league. The last one that I am particularly fond of is Joe Mauer. He is so young and has already won 3 batting titles. He plays catcher which is by far the hardest position to play, both physically and mentally. In high school, he averaged more than 20 points a game as a point guard for Cretin-Derham Hall. He was also named to the All-State team during his final two years of high school, he was also named National High School Quarterback Of The Year in 2000. Holy shit! If this guy and Marion Jones (who played basketball at UNC in addition to running track and taking roids) had a kid, they would have birthed Hercules.

Sports Nation is by far ESPN’s best show to date. The recipe provides for 2 cups of accurate sports journalism, 2 cups of actual humor, equality to men and women, 2 tablespoons of social media, and 2 teaspoons of viewer participation.

Colin Cowherd is not only satirically genius but he is well respected in the sports world. He is a younger version of Tony Kornheiser and doesn’t hesitate to give his God’s honest opinion on teams and/or players.

Michelle Beadle brings the pop culture flare with a fair working knowledge of “current sports.” She is in a class of her own in an industry dominated by men and is also easy on the eyes. Not Erin Andrews status but she isn’t Linda Cohen either. She seems like a cool chick you would like to have a beer with and wouldn’t be so mad if she were your congresswoman.

Sports Nation is mainly brilliant because it revolves around fan interaction and social media. In a society run by technology and social media, Sports Nation really takes advantage of growing trends.

Not only does it tweet and update its Facebook status daily but it retweets players and shouts-out to fans on the show. And it doesn’t stop there it conducts daily polls on topics in sports, current events, and viral videos which becomes the bread and butter of the show.

I Tivo and watch daily and would love to work on the show or even just sit in their live audience with the other rowdy interns. Keeep it up.