It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing. The wind has that crisp, cool feel in the morning. Football is reestablishing itself as the premiere American sport. And baseball playoffs have begun. Per the usual, there are grumblings about the scheduling of the opening round of the Major League Baseball playoffs.
Imagine that you are baseball. Not the commissioner, just a human embodiment of the sport itself. You dominate the airwaves and sports talk shows with non-stop games since the Warriors upset the Mavs in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. There are games every single day and five out of seven days a week, every single team is playing. Regular season scheduling can take place whenver you want. Day Game? Sure. Night Game? Sure. Doubleheader? Sure. Games in April with the potential for snow in Boston, New York, and Cleveland? Sure. West Coast game the day after playing on the East Coast in Sunday Night Baseball against your biggest rival? Sure. You have no limits, no rules, no regulations when it comes to scheduling.
That’s why it is no surprise that when baseball sells its opening round of the playoffs, it gives the broadcaster full reign to schedule the games whenever they want. Well, the broadcaster has very different goals than baseball or its fans. Thus, conflict. The broadcaster (this year it is TBS, but ESPN has been just as guilty if not more so of this kind of chicanery) wants to maximize revenue, particularly catering its big games to the big markets. But beyond that, it wants to make sure that televisions are turned to TBS for the maximum amount of time. The result is our incredibly stretched schedule, where everyone is scrambling home for the early games, while no one is watching the prime-time games. Read More
Most sites’ rankings follow a reader’s logical expectations. I’ve started this whole ranking thing, so every week I would come back and update the rankings. Well, that’s not what I’m going to do. If you want to see who I generally think are the best teams in the league, look at my previous rankings. Today, I’m going to go through the bottom of the league.
(If you want to know my thoughts about the top teams, its Pats 1, Colts 2, I leave 3 empty to show the gap between those two and the rest of the league, Dallas cracks my top 5)
The Matt “Matt-y Ice” Ryan Sweepstakes
1. Atlanta Falcons – Remember when they were the doormat of the league, then the player-who-we-can’t-name took over the team, cured all of their woes and made them into an NFC contender. Well, that guy’s gone and the doormat is back. If you are Bobby Petrino, you have to be disappointed with the situation you now face, but also happy that you weren’t the guy that let Kentucky beat The ‘Ville last week. I’ve lived in Louisville and that rivalry is very fierce inside the state. Back to the Falcons, how messed up a team are you that you give Byron Leftwich a try-out the week after his old team beats you? If you had any desire to sign him in the near future, you have to sign him the week before you play the Jags. Maybe you get information from him, maybe you don’t but at least it gives Jack Del Rio something to think about other than his next killer suit. Read More
The Blitz’s Top Teams:
- The New England Patriots. Hello, they cheat! I will always pick the team willing to cheat to win over the guys who play fair. .
- San Diego Super Chargers. They played the Bears game for 60 minutes and still looked dominant. The Norv Turner honeymoon will last at least until Sunday night.
- Indianapolis Colts. Let’s wait until they beat a team that wasn’t a perennial doormat until last year before we crown ’em.
- Denver Broncos. If Cutler can get his feet under him quickly and play to his potential, that defense will let him win a lot of games this year.
- Cincinnati Bengals. They didn’t play well on Monday but I like this team.
- Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the most over-hyped team this week. Cleveland was so bad they traded their Week 1 starting quarterback before Week 2. That’s historically bad.
- Tennessee Titans. Say Hello to the new Atlanta Falcons. Playing Michael Vick will be V. Young, playing Warrick Dunn will be Chris Brown, and playing T.J. Duckett will be LenDale White. Scary running attack.
- Baltimore Ravens. They’ve got offensive issues. If they’re not 4-4 or better by Week 9, watch for this defense to get tired of keeping this team at championship level and give up.
- Any NFC contender. Yeah, that’s how good the AFC is right now. I’ll take the Ravens over the Bears, Saints, Panthers, or any NFC East team.
Blitz’s Lock of the Week (which may not run every week)
New Orleans (-3) over TAMPA BAY. New Orleans will have had ten days to think about their Hoosier State whooping. Plus, the Bucos are bad offensively and they play the same Cover-2/Tampa-2 defense that Indy played against New Orleans last week. Think Payton and Co. will be able to figure out their offensive issues and adjust to whatever worked for Indy defensively? I sure do.
I’m going to ask you all to close your eyes right now. Go ahead, close them.
Well, OK, you can’t do that and read my post, but imagine an NFL team with the following characteristics:
– A Coach with a losing record every where he has been in the NFL takes over a team and suddenly he is a genius.
– A reputation for taking average to sub-par players and making them superstars.
– A reputation for taking “bad apples” on other teams and suddenly getting them to “toe the company line” but does so in a secret fashion.
– Revels in deception and trickery.
At this point, the team sounds like one that would strike fear in the hearts of its opponents and ultimately have success on the field. The team would carry with it an aura of intimidation based on fear and on-the-fields results. Now for the moment where Matthew McConaughey tells you to imagine that the girl is white. Here are two more aspects of the team: Read More
On the day before this year’s MLB All-Star Game, Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent published an intriguing op-ed article in The New York Times entitled “The Umpire Strikes Back.” (NY Times will probably make you pay to read the article. Here’s a link to the NPR Report with Vincent and MLB umpire Bruce Froemming, who was discussed in the article) The premise of his op-ed piece was rather simple: Umpires in all professional sports are not recognized nearly as much as they deserve. “To some sportscasters and fans, the umps seem like the bases: necessary but not worthy of mention.” Vincent proposes that Major League Baseball should institute a “Most Valuable Official award” to recognize the most outstanding umpire at the end of every season and that the other professional sports should follow suit. This would provide recognition to a largely unrecognized but essential part of the games we all enjoy so much. Read More
Based on my irrational love for all things Boston College (I love Flutie Flakes – they just taste better), here is an update for Mathias Kiwanuka, outstanding DE for the Boston College Eagles from 2002-2006.
This is from ESPN’s Len Pasquerelli here (Insider subscription required):
“Although Mathias Kiwanuka continues to have a few rough spots in his transition, the New York Giants are sticking to their plan to move the defensive end to strongside linebacker for this season. Read More
We are approximately ten months into the Roger Goodell era and arguably the most significant development has been the controversial and often-discussed personal conduct policy for NFL players. (I don’t consider the international expansion of the sport, including the recently aborted China Project and next year’s London Game to be a Goodell decision, but a remnant of Tagliabue’s brilliant reign as commissioner.) My question is whether the policy, in its admitted infancy, has had its intended effect. Read More