Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why do certain cities like certain sports?

A couple more weeks of filler blogs until football season is upon us. As much as this summer period is a slow one for sports, I have enjoyed writing about some of my random sports ideas and theories. Tonight's entry is about the mystery of why cities identify with certain sports even though logic says it doesn't make sense. Let's start off with Boston. I will never understand why the Red Sox are the number 1 team in Boston, and by such a large margin. My bias of baseball aside, it is freaking cold there 8 months out of the year. Hell, basketball was invented in Massachusetts, yet the Sooxxx are the most talked about team 12 months out of the year. I could understand if they were one of the most storied franchises ever, but the fact is before 5 years ago they hadn't won anything since World War I. In that time span the Celtics(who should be the #1 team) have won 16 titles and play in the state where basketball was invented. On the opposite end you have the Florida Marlins who can barely get half of there seats filled in a game, in a state where you can play baseball year round.

In LA basketball reigns supreme. This makes more sense because at least they have one of the storied championship franchises in history. But still,wouldn't you be playing baseball in LA? Why would anyone even go inside if you lived there. I was there for four days in July and I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. It is 75 and sunny all the time!

Why did Texas and the south in general become the hot bed for football? Why are people obsessed with basketball in the midwest states like Kentucky and Indiana, though it's most popular teams lay on the coasts? I guess it's like anything else, it starts somewhere gains popularity, then everyone kind of follows the lead. I remember asking my friend Jim why the Red Sox were so popular in Boston and he said "because it is what we grew up with." I guess that is in essence the reason why anyone follows anything. You grow up loving or believing in a certain something and never stop to think why you do.

Plaxico Burress got a raw deal. Two years for shooting yourself is ridiculous. I know it is the "law" and that New York has very stiff(and rightfully so) gun laws, but two years for a crime where no one but the person who committed the crime got hurt is just wrong. I'm no Burress fan. The guy caused me one of the worst days in the last 5 years of my life when he caught that pass to win the Super Bowl two years ago. But to me it is pretty clear they were trying to send a message here. I just don't get the justice system. I know it is the best in the world, but that doesn't mean it isn't still unjust. I remember working in the Federal Probation office a few years ago, and seeing guys get 10 years for possession of marijuana and 3 months for child molestation. If anyone can explain that let me know. Burress should've got 3-6 months, 500 hours community service, and a hefty fine. The guy is a dumbass but not a criminal. This is one of those rare times where being a celebrity hurts you.

Thanks for reading everyone. Football preview blog is coming up. Have a great night!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brett Favre

This has got to be the most highly anticipated sports season of all time with all the story lines headed in. You have Vick's return from two years in jail, Brady's comeback from injury, and Favre joining the Vikings. By the way, Michael Vick and Rick Pitino should each take Favre out to dinner for taking the negative media coverage off them. What is it about this guy? Sure he was one of the greats to play, but what he's done the last 3 or 4 years is more negative than positive. The fact is, as much as people want to hate the guy, he generates interest and sparks ratings. If you want the coverage to stop then stop watching.

What more is there to say about Brett Favre? I'd really be interested in hearing a Packers fan take on this whole saga. I've never experienced anything similar with any of my teams. However, I can tell you this much, if Larry Bird had decided to come out of retirement and join the Lakers he would cease to be my favorite player. I would still like the guy, but I would lose a lot of respect for him.
It's not just Favre going to the arch rival Vikings, but the way he has gone about it. Football isn't like baseball, or even basketball. It is a total team game, and though the quarterback is the most important position, everyone needs to be on the same page to succeed. I can't imagine how pissed all the Vikings players are,(though they would never show it) at Favre acting like he is above everyone else. It is the Vikings fault too though. They enabled Favre to pull something like this.

I don't hate Brett Favre, but I do feel sorry for Packers fans. Say what you want about it being a business, but Favre went about this the wrong way. He did this for years before too. For the last 4 years as a Packer he went back and forth about retiring, until finally the Packers had enough with it. Let's be honest here, Favre isn't even that good anymore. The guy looked like he was about 67 years old on the HD TV. Sure, his injury contributed to his poor play the second half of last year, but does anyone actually believe a 40 year old guy, who thinks he's still 25, can stay healthy the whole year? Especially when he refuses to ever sit, because he wants to keep his record of consecutive starts alive. Will the Vikings be better? Probably, but they won't make it past the first round of the playoffs. They have a great defense and the best running back in the league, but you need to be able to pass in today's game. Favre can make some great throws but he will also make his share of bonehead ones, which will come back to haunt the Vikings.

I'm going to Boston this weekend to visit some college buddies. I'll be at Fenway during the Yankees game Saturday which should be an experience. For my next entry I want to write about the strange phenomenon of cold cities liking warm weather sports and warm cities liking cold weather sports. Why does Boston love baseball and LA love basketball. Shouldn't it be the opposite? Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wild Start to the Football Season

I thought preseason football was supposed to be relatively devoid of story lines? Let's start with Tom Brady's return to the Patriots. I can't explain in words how great it is to see him back behind center. Even the interception he threw was beautiful. I didn't get to see the full game, but the addition of Chris Baker was a huge pick up. Ben Watson has not lived up to the expectations he had coming out of college and Baker is a much better blocker. If Brady stays healthy, I think you can pretty much write in a Pittsburgh-New England AFC Championship for the ages. Even if you aren't a Patriots fan you have to admit that Brady being back is great for the league.

Unfortunately my other team, the Redskins, did not fair so well. You can't tell much from preseason, because much of the game is played by players that will never even suit up for a real game, but it is still never good to get shut out. Their defense on paper could be the best in the league. They are deep in every position. However it all comes down to how the offensive line protects Jason Campbell. Everything on offense is predicated on how well the QB is protected, especially when its someone like Campbell who has a tendency to hold the ball too long.

Michael Vick's return to the NFL is obviously a huge story. His signing by the Eagles was surprising to me at first, but makes sense when you think about it. I don't like the Eagles at all but they are a solid organization, that has a good coach and a stable, solid quarterback who also happens to be close with Vick. Vick and Mcnabb in the same backfield is kind of a scary thought, especially when one of your favorite teams plays in that division. I think that Vick did pay his dues, but deserves all the heckling he is going to get from opposing teams. I'm kind of in the middle on this whole debate. On one hand I recognize that Vick came from a culture where dog fighting was accepted, so part of me wants to sympathize with that. On the other hand, the guy made millions and millions of dollars and had every chance to stop the operation he was running and chose not to. I'm glad he was made as an example so hopefully dog fighting will cease to exist in this world. As a football player, Vick will take some time to adjust but eventually will become a scary weapon for the Eagles. They needed more playmakers on offense and they certainly got one.

This is shaping up to be one of the most interesting football seasons in recent memory. I'm supremely confident in the Patriots to have another spectacular season under Brady. I am a bit more apprehensive about the Redskins, but think they might be able to sneak out a 9-7 season and make the Wild Card. But what I think doesn't matter, that is why they play the games. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Underrated signings by the Celtics and Pats

Football has started! Well, preseason football, but after 2 months of nothing but baseball highlights I'll take what I can get. Speaking of baseball, the hated Yankees just swept the Red Sox last weekend creating a seemingly insurmountable 5 1/2 game lead in the ultra competitive AL East. I still think both the Red Sox and Yankees will make the playoffs, and hopefully play each other in the ALCS. The Red Sox getting Wakefield and Dice K back will be huge. I've always been a John Smoltz fan, but he just wasn't getting the job done.

The Patriots made another great move acquiring Raiders cast off Derrick Burgess for a 3rd and 5th round pick. Burgess had a down year last year, but like Moss before, is a former pro bowler that I really feel will excel with a winning team like the Patriots. What must Raiders fans think? These former Raiders taking less money and in some ways lesser roles to get away from them. I really have to admire fans of bad teams and their willingness to stick through season after season of disappointment. Burgess fills the Patriots dire need for an outside linebacker. Belichick has always gone intelligence over talent, but it helps to have some talent as well. With the offense they have they won't need to shut down other teams anyway.

The Celtics made a great move in bringing back Glen " Big Baby" Davis. Now they have Rasheed, Big Baby, Perkins, and Sheldon Williams forming a nice interior rotation. I'm still bummed about them not bringing back Leon Powe as he is one of my favorite players in the league. However, I still think they are markedly improved from last years team, which they needed to be because of the improvements of the other top teams in the league. Speaking of top teams, the more I think about this Artest signing, the more I think the Lakers might have gotten worse by letting Ariza go and adding Artest. First off, Artest is a headcase and though he might be better than before, he still can implode at any minute. Secondly, he isn't the defensive player he used to be and has a tendency to take bad shots that disrupt the offensive flow. I can see Artest winning a couple games for the Lakers this year but also losing a couple. Ariza was one of the biggest reasons the Lakers won the title last year, and was their defensive stopper. At 23 he also has so much potential. I think the Spurs might be able to dethrone them in the West this year.

I should mention the David Ortiz steroids news as well. This whole steroid thing is so depressing and I tend to blame the commissioner more than the players. Think about it, if you were a player and knew other players were taking steroids and getting huge contracts and putting up big numbers, wouldn't you be tempted to do it?Think about it. If you were a minor leauge player making 20 grand a year and you see your teammate, who is equal in skill, next to you taking steroids and getting a 10 million contract from a major league team, wouldn't that tempt you? What did the commissioner expect to happen? You can't assume people are going to be moral you need to have stricter rules. Hell, I bet if steroids were available back in the old days Willie Mays and all of them would have taken them to. Blame the system not the players. Well, blame the system back then. If players do it now they deserve to be punished.

The weeks before football season is almost like the weeks before Christmas for me. I get that tingly feeling inside. I'm looking forward to the openings games for the Patriots and Redskins this Thursday! Thanks for reading everyone!