Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arguments That NCAA Basketball is better then NBA Basketball

Basketball is basketball....not always. Both the NCAA brand and the NBA brand have their pros and cons and their own features and benefits. Sure beauty is in the eye of the Beer-holder but it is the subtle differences that give each their own unique feeling. It all comes down to personal preference.

The regular season is very comparable. Both are anti-climatic for most of the good teams where they are just going through the motions because they are assured of being involved in the "post season" of their respective leagues. Tor the lesser known smaller schools every game could become a do or die game if they hope to move to the big dance. Invites are few and far between if you are a mid major or a small school. Same thing in the NBA The Lakers and Cav’s just need to do enough to stay on top of the league or division and try to be healthy enough going into the playoffs, and the weak inconsistent teams like the Raptors need to scratch and claw for everything just to squeak in.

In the NBA they have "Professional Dancers" that do a good job and are very attractive for the most part but that is all they are, dancers. Sure they can shake to Pump It but that is about it.

In the Collage game they have actual cheerleaders. Cheers and pom-poms and all that good stuff. Again personal preference but there is something more wholesome and entertaining about a cheerleader then a dancer.

The NBA plays Pop, R&B and Rock music blasted over the speakers.

The NCAA has school bands that play the fight songs and popular music with the collegiate touch with trombones, trumpets and big drums. When you hear the sounds of the live bands you can feel that collegiate atmosphere which is pretty cool.

NBA Playoffs last some 2+ months and sometimes seem to drag a bit towards the end when you hit late May and games still don’t have an end in sight. The plus at that time is the games are now intense and for the most part the cream has risen to the top and the game is now a showcase for the top tier talent.

The NCAA and the March Madness Tournament is the greatest self contained annual sporting event in the nation. Not only are the games for the most part entertaining but you are assured an 5-12 upset, a Cinderella team or two that comes out of nowhere to win a few games. Shocking last minute shots...some that go in and some that don’t and that is half the fun.

The NBA you see the playoff schedule and it is what it is, you never know when games are going to happen, dates times and locations are all a crap-shoot. It all comes down to the TV networks on how the games are slotted. There could be back to back games or there could be 8 days in-between. It is hard to hold viewers interest in cases like that. Even for the avid fan it can be tough to stay super jazzed.

The NCAA you know the first 2 rounds are the first weekend noon-midnight...wall to wall madness. Sweet 16 and Elite 8 take up Thursday-Sunday. The Final 4 and National Championship games take week 3. You know when and where to find it, you can plan for it, you can just sit back and enjoy it.

The NBA has "playoffs"

The NCAA has cool catch names that draw in fans like The Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final Four. They just fall a little short with The National Championship Game.

Monday, March 22, 2010


With the first 2 rounds in the book and all the tickets punched to to Sweet 16, this years NCAA tournament may be one of the best ever. There are so many upsets that have happened over the last 4 days of play. There is only one number 1 that has been ousted (Kansas) but there are a lot of mid seeded teams that have been involved in some of the best games best finishes and biggest upsets. If you had a bracket it is likely good for nothing better then a coaster for your beer, but that is good thing.

If your bracket is busted you can just enjoy the greatest self-contained sporting even in the world. You can enjoy the best games for the games themselves regardless of the teams involved. It doesn't matter that you you don't know that Robert Morris and Sam Houston aren't players on one of the teams but actually schools that were actually in the tournament.

The beauty of this tournament is that part of the fun is to root for the underdog or the Cinderella Story. Usually that happens when the low seed faces one of the big boys like Kentucky or Duke. Granted the way this is shaking down there may be other big seeds to fall and if it comes to the point where there is a match up, lets say in the final 4 with 2 teams where there are 2 underdogs facing each other will that affect peoples viewing? can 2 good guys put on a show that people want to watch or does there need to be a Goliath to root against?

The great thing is there is plenty of more games left to find out...Let the Madness continue!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Opening Games

WOW, if this is any indicatoin of the way the tournament is going to go it is going to be exciting.
Last year thre were 2 overtime games. Out of the first 3 games today 2 games went to overtime.

Villenova, a 2 seed almost was upset by a 15 seed Robert Morris. Nova's Scottie Reynolds was 2for 15 for 20 points....good thing he was able to hit his free throws.

Notre Dame ios upset and out. St. Pats is officially over, no luck for the Fighing Irish on this day.

Madness Baby!!

On The Verge of Madness

Ok tip off is only moments away with 3 12:30 games

OLD DOMINION 11 vs Notre Dame 6

Gotts my fries cooked, Pepsi chilled, couple pints cold(if need be). Good for a start anyway.
TV is ready, March Madness on Demand is hooked up on the computer for the games that are not on the local CBS channels or on The Score for the live streaming.

This will be no sprint it is a marathon. Pace is the way to go. When Greg Gumble rests so will I. There are always a little time between games, going to have to make an effort to use that brief time wisely.

Ok! lets do this thing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jay Look South For Help

Cuban prospect, SS Adeinis Hechavarria is near signing a four-year, $10 million contract with the Blue Jays. That’s right, the Blue Jays. I am sure many are as shocked as I am that a top prospect Cuban player would choose the Jays. Hechavarria was heavily linked to the New York Yankees (as is just about every other player that may be available) Perhaps there is a concern that Jeter will re-up and sign an extension and there is a better opportunity to step right in an play in TO and not have to be in Jeeet’s shadow or wait another season for Robinson Cano to become a free agent next year and then take over at 2nd Base.

I guess that it is a good fit not only on the field but off. We have a decent relationship with Cuba and can get him cigars without difficulty and President Paul Beeston has been known to enjoy the odd cigar himself so I am sure that the convenience is there. If he gets homesick then at least he can get a taste with a genuine Cohiba.

It is clear that the team is in full rebuild mode after the repeated botches in judgement and re-started 5 year plans put in place buy former GM and Oakley spokesman (maybe not, I just always say him hanging out wearing his sunglasses, shielding his eyes from all his critics) J. P. Ricciardi.

New GM, young Alex Anthopoulos seemed to get as much as he could in the Roy Halliday deal and by all accounts Kyle Drebek has looked good so that is something on the bright side and Travis D’Arnaud may be a decent catching prospect. Couple that with many young but decent pitchers and a young core that include Aaron Hill Travis Snyder and Adam Lind.

At least some of the pitching rotation that has been decimated by injury may actually be getting closer to being healthy. Who knows maybe the team can grow with some youth and catch lightning in a bottle like Tampa Bay did that one year. Maybe they can sneak up from behind in the next few years. Ok, probably not but. It is always nice to dream the impossible dream.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness Bracket

I am setting up a bracket for the NCAA Tournament with yahoo.
If you wish to join the fun feel free to join. The more the merrier

The name of the group is

group ID# is 62538.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ramon Has Retired

Mr. Mia Hamm has hung up his cleats for the final time after signing a one day contract with the Boston Red Sox. After a 14-year career in which he was a six-time All-Star and two-time batting champion he has decided to hit the mic as an analyst for ESPN.

Nomar Garciaparra was the 1997 rookie of the year and had many good seasons with Boston until his departure in 2004 when he was traded mid-season to the Cubs. Nomar rejected a four-year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox that helped Boston GM Theo Epstine make the decision to ship him out of town. Nomar left town and the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918.

- SI Cover from 2001 -

I was never a big No-Mah fan and never understood why people thought he was as good as they did. He put up some god numbers for a short span but I never would put him in the league with ARod and Derek Jeter. He was a good player, not a great player. When the 3 of them were the big 3 shortstops in the game I saw a big drop off between DJ and ARod to Ramon. Maybe it was the way he carried himself, maybe it was that redonkulous finicky gimmick/superstition that he had at the plate with his gloves and toe-tapping. After he left Boston it seemed that he was never 100% healthy again and never was able to reach the numbers that people rightly or wrongly expected for him to produce. Is seemed like he was always injured and just kept getting rewarded with big contracts that I didn’t think he deserved in the first place let alone after his string of injuries. It seemed like he should be wearing a mask because he was stealing money from the teams that were paying him.

It was good of the Red Sox to sign him to the minor league deal and show that there were no hard feelings between the two parties. If nothing else the divorce between themselves and Nomar seemed amicable and this is a nice send off to a players that was popular with Red Sox Nation (just remember it became "Nomar Who" as soon as that last out was made on that groundout to Keith Foulke)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jones Joins The WNBA

From the files of " You Gots To Be Kidding Me"
Disgraced sprinter once called the world’s fastest woman was introduced Wednesday as the newest member of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock. Marion Jones who once starred at the Sydney Olympics, winning gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay, and bronze in the long jump and 400-meter relay. Jones was stripped of all five medals after admitting in 2007 that she was using performance-enhancing drugs -- It was the same drug that has been linked to Barry Bonds and the whole BALCO fiasco. The drug in question is known as the "clear". In addition to that she spent about six months in prison for lying to federal prosecutors about doping and her role in a check-fraud scam. Now she is looking to "redeem" her career by joining the - and lets be gentle here, less then popular WNBA.

The WNBA is not well supported in the stands, on TV or for the most part even respected as a league by most media outlets. The only people who seem to care are those in the NBA who are financially linked to the league and have little choice but to try to make it look better then it is. The NBA is like a parent of a delinquent child but have to love them because they are family. I guess even the WNBA can jump the shark Fonzie style - If nothing else, Jones could be a draw.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3D TV- The Future Of Sports Viewing?

There already looks to be a new wave coming to the way we not only enjoy TV and Movies but also the way that we will be able to watch sports. Just when you begin to get a taste of HD and see how superior it is to the SD that we have been accustom to they decide to take it one step further. Samsung and Panasonic will start selling 3-D TVs in U.S. stores this week, inaugurating what TV makers hope is the era of 3-D viewing in the living room. Samsung Electronics Co. announced Tuesday that it is selling two 3-D sets. Combined with the required glasses and a 3-D Blu-ray player, the prices start at about $3,000 for a 46-inch screen. Now this is just at the inception of the technology and it is very limited to the content that would be available right now but is it worth getting now if you are in the market for a TV now? Hard to tell, it is always an issue be the first to upgrade, the first of anything is a risky proposition. Bugs and issues have yet to be found or worked out and you never know if it will catch on (see BetaMax, Laser Disc or DVD HD).

The 3-D effect will require the viewers to wear relatively bulky glasses. You will need to have multiple glasses as well because they need to be recharged and you are going to always want to have a pair ready to go and also have enough if you ever have company over. They’re not like the cheap throwaways that have been used in theatres since the 1950s or available in a box of Lucky Charms Cereal. When you’re wearing these 3-D TV glasses, room lights and computer screens may look like they’re flickering, making it difficult to combine 3-D viewing with other household activities.
From all accounts though, I have heard reports from people who have seen NFL games in 3-D and they have said it is like being at the game...but better because you have better angles, viewpoints and of course convenience. The only thing it can’t give is the atmosphere of the crowd. It is supposed to be so good that it may be too good and may take away from fans wanting to go to games live and just take it in on their own home theatre system. ESPN has said it will start a channel that will broadcast live events using the technology, starting with FIFA World Cup soccer in June. I know this may be a bit of a deterrent to the technology as people may want to check out soccer in 3-D, but that would mean that they would be forced to watch soccer. I can only imagine that a lot of those special glasses will be tossed at those TV’s enraged by unwatchable soccer.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

How Physical Is Too Physical?

They always say that sex sells. I guess they can add violence to that as well. After seeing the amount of head shots and hits from behind that are taking place in the NHL and the league not doing anything about it helps prove that point. The GM’s are meeting in Florida and are to discuss the issue of head shots and unsuspecting hits. There is no doubt that nothing will come from it except for maybe a slight change in language and a lot of lip service that will do nothing to change anything. So these hits will continue until something tragic happens or players wise up and show a little respect for each other on the ice. It doesn’t help that archaic media types are so thick headed that they are scared that the "game they grew up with" will be anything different. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing maybe a quicker game that has either lesser fights and clean hits is better. Maybe stopping play every time there is a good clean hit because some guy thinks that he needs to punish the opposition from playing the game hard and by the rules by starting a fight isn’t a bad idea. A 1 minute scrum in front of the net every time after a goalie freezes the puck probably isn’t needed either.

Football is a collision sport and as or more physical then hockey and you step one toe over the line.. Sweet Jesus, you are down 15 yards and probably kicked out of the game. Basketball is a contact sport...no fighting either. You do, and your gone for the game and probably suspended. Maybe 5 and a game in hockey is the way to go...Goons would be out of the league because it isn’t worth wasting a roster spot on a nonproductive player who is good for 1 fight and 16 seconds of playing time and it will make sure that if an average or good player or even great player gets into a fight it better be well worth it because they will be out for the match.

It is hard to dispute after watching the World Juniors and the Olympics that a fast flowing, hard, clean hitting game is not entertaining. Sure over the course of 82 games there is going to be a difference then that of a 2 week tournament but it is a good model to at least strive for. It is fun to watch good players be allowed to be good and let skill take over. Players will adapt quickly to rule changes, look at the changes that were made after the lockout, it took a bit of time, but it happened. The NFL tweaks rules almost every year and it is proactive, players pick those up pretty quick too.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Welcome To The iMPACT Zone

Monday nights will never be the same! Sure we have heard that before but it will sure be nice to see 2 competing rival and separate companies compete head to head in the world of Professional Wrestling. Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling’s flagship series will air live every other week from Universal Studios in Orlando, Fl.

"TNA iMPACT!," Spike TV’s highly-rated two-hour weekly series, is moving from Thursday nights to Monday nights beginning Monday, March 8 (9:00-11:00pm), it was announced by TNA President Dixie Carter and legendary pop culture icon Hulk Hogan at a press conference. The TNA Brand has been around since 2002 when it was founded by Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Jarrett. TNA was established after the fall of WCW and the sale of the company from Ted Turner and his media companies to the WWE and Vince McMahon. It was a nice little alternative to WWE but had a low budget and not a huge following. As the company grew it soon has become the world’s fastest growing professional wrestling company, currently airing in over 120 countries worldwide.

The first ever Monday live "TNA iMPACT" ran as a three-hour special head-to-head against WWE RAW on Monday, January 4, 2010. It managed to draw a franchise-record 2.2 million viewers. Two wrestling companies have not broadcast head-to-head weekly since the "Monday Night Wars" in the late 1990’s between WWE and WCW. A lot of names you will recognise for either past work in the WWE and some older names that fans have seen back in the WCW days. For example,"The Icon" Sting has signed a new contract and will be involved in tonight’s broadcast. If that wasn’t enough to make not only the wrestling fan flip over at lest for a peak the main event is slated to feature Hulk Hogan’s return to the ring as he teams with Abyss to face TNA World Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles and the legendary "Nature Boy" Ric Flair!

What TNA also has going for it is a solid group of youth sprinkled with some vets with name recognition to draw in the fans that may have been lost from the WCW days and also they have a Women’s Knockout division which are not only decent on the mic but for the most part can handle themselves decently in the ring.

This comes at a much needed time for the sports entertainment world. The flagship show for the WWE - RAW has become uninteresting of late using guest hosts that are on to pimp their upcoming projects and except for a very select few have been big flops that are uninspired and attempt to be funny but fall well short. There seems to be more crap and filler then actual matches and decent plot lines. Hopefully the WWE is using this time to set up some good storey lines as they may need it if the new Monday TNA Impact lives up to it’s name and actually makes an Impact. Cool Pyro and a nice set can only keep the viewer for so long.

It will be interesting to see how a head to head showdown will push both WWE and TNA Products and take it back to a time when it was so strong.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spring Is In The Air - Play Ball!

March is here and even though the Madness is yet to start up in terms of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Spring Training is up and running in full force. That’s right, baseball is right around the corner. They have already started playing games. With guys wearing number 67 and 83 trying hard to get noticed and in hopes of planting a seed in managers heads for later in the season when they will become potential call ups. Many teams have a pretty good idea who they will break camp with in regards to already signed players there are always a few jobs that can be won or lost. There is usually the most player movement among the pitchers but occasionally there are some positions open for the highly toughed prospects to step in and instantly make a difference on the team and earn a roster spot.

Spring Training games are for the hard core fans, it is like pre season NFL games except the seats are not $150 a pop minimum. Like football the players in the lineups are that of the unknown for the most part and players looking to make an impression. The regulars will play a couple of innings and pitchers will take the mound for maybe an inning, 3 at the most. If you are looking to see your favorite player either watch for them early or if you happen to be at the stadium you may see them running on the warning track during the game. (Not too many sports allow players not in the game to go out for a tour on the field while play is going on)

Right now every team is in first place and anyone has a chance to make the playoffs and win the World Series. Guys are ready to go and the excitement of games and the summer are right around the corner...Opening day is not that far away now!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Closing Time

So the Olympics are now over and the Flame has been extinguished. It was a great 17 days of athletics and a great show of national pride by all of Canada from Coast to Coast. You would usually see an outpouring of support by the US given similar circumstances but it was nice to see the passion that all the people in the streets wearing red and white HBC fashions. They might actually be the big winners of the games. The Olympic apparel was stunning (I know how that sounds, and no I am not trying to play Mr. Blackwell), but it was very well designed and made all of our athletes not only look like a winning team but made us look professional. When the average person is clamoring for the same stuff and not being able to get it because it is in such high demand and sold out says a lot.

Back to sports...The, I don’t want to say fringe sports, lets call them niche sports, managed to showcase themselves and their sports in front of the world. It is too bad that it will more then likely be 4 more years before we get excited for the luge or 4 man bobsleigh again. Similar to the Summer Olympics where people who have no knowledge or interest in gymnastics become super fans of the sport and 16 year old’s become bigger then professional baseball players. It is almost funny how we get so excited for people we have never heard of in sports that we never follow just because they are wearing the Maple Leaf. I guess the old adage is true... You play for the crest on the front not the name on the back.

It is almost funny that a bunch of media outlets report that we are expected to medal in whatever sport or discipline and if the athlete doesn’t perform we are disappointed. If someone we haven’t heard of comes out of nowhere and are successful they become the pride of a nation and morph instantly into rock stars.

We were also treated to great coverage by the "Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium" who offered some 4800 total hours of programming on CTV, TSN, RDS and RIS, APTN and Rogers Media’s Omni Television, Rogers Sportsnet, OLN and on radio on the Fan 590. The commentators were all pretty good and even Jamie Campbell did a good job in becoming the voice of the ski hill at Cypress Mountain. Canada was treated with live events when they happened. NBC in the USA have taken a lot of heat for their plan of holding events on tape delay for prime time and other events on MSNBC and CNBC (which are not available to a lot of viewers). In an age where now is almost too late, tape delayed sports is not a good model to continue with. Imagine the 3pm Gold Medal Hockey game between Canada and the USA being held until 8pm est.

See you in London in 2012 and Sochi, Russia in 2014

Monday, March 01, 2010

Canada Defeats USA In Ice Hockey...They're Our Rivals

As a collective sigh of relief rang out over an entire nation it was then replaced by a whole new sound. That sound was booming screams and ecstatic yelling. In the hockey game that was anticipated by many to be a showdown between Canada and their old rivals Team Russia became yet another chapter of the new number one rivals of Canada on the ice Team USA. This has been a rivalry that has blossomed from 1996 when the US beat Canada in the World Cup and has continued to grow on the international stage after the 2002 Olympics that was won by Canada in Salt Lake City. From then the reigns were handed over to the under 20 team during the World Junior tournament. After 3 years of epic games the rivalry has grown strong. 3 epic wins by Canada in the last 2 on last second heroics and then this year on an overtime goal by Team USA just solidified them as our new number 1 rivals.

Going into the game there was a lot of optimism that winning was just an inevitability for Canada, I was nearly convinced that it was going to go the other way. There seemed to be way too much hype by not only the TV media but of the fans as well. It felt like they were putting all their Olympic eggs in one basket and if the unthinkable happened then the entire Olympics would have been a failure even with a record tying amount of gold medals that Canada brought home. This isn’t Vegas and putting everything on Red is a ballsy move at best.

As the game went on Team Canada looked good, fast and strong. The most important thing in my mind was they needed to score first. It sounds like an obvious thing to say (in the same ilk as ‘I think the team that scores more will win the game" or "he can see better when his glasses are on") but it felt just like watching an Ottawa Senators game back in the day, you knew once they scored one the floodgates could open but until that first one went in there was a good chance that they would either get shut out or score meaningless goals after the game was all but decided. This felt even more apparent after seeing what USA goaltender Ryan Miller had done during the duration of the tournament and why he was the one reason why they were in the position they were in. Jonathan Toews opened the scoring with a nice goal from the "dirty area" on a rebound, just what was needed to get the ball rolling. Corry Perry made the game 2-0 on a nice play deep in USA territory that Miller had very little chance on. At that point there was a little breathing room. Then came the inevitable, a strike back by the US on a beautiful tip by Ryan Kessler that managed to squeak by his Vancouver teammate Roberto Luongo. That is when things were about to get interesting.

During the third period both the team and the crowd seemed to get a bit tight and a little bit nervous. As much as Canada had fed off the crowd earlier in the game as well as others in the tournament it also took on the same characteristic that were less then positive. When you see 2 posts and a breakaway by Canada go the wrong way you had to feel like this was ramping up to be a monumental finish and maybe not a positive one. It seemed like in the last 12-15 minutes they went into a kind of prevent defence like in football. I don’t like it there and I don’t like it here. As far as I am concerned, all a prevent defence does is prevent you from winning. That is why a team can not be able to move the ball in an NFL game until the 2-minute drill and then they manage to be the best quick strike offence and manage to look unstoppable as the other team backs off the pressure. Right on cue that happened and Zach Parise netted the tying goal with 25 seconds and that was when the collective gasp was taken by and entire arena and with that a nation of passionate hockey fans.

I think that the saving grace was that there was no real intermission but just enough of a break that they were able to regain their composure and focus on the overtime going forward. Had that goal been scored with 5 minutes left the momentum would have flipped and I believe to outcome would have been different.

In the overtime there was truly a sense of the unknown, you wanted Canada to push for the goal but at the same time you were weary about the counter punch if you missed. That is how the World Juniors ended when Alex Pietrangelo pinched and almost won the game only to give up an odd man rush back the other way and it ended up behind goaltender Jake Allen and in the back of the Canadian net. The steady smooth Scott Niedermayer who was one of the best players on Team Canada nearly made a costly miscue in his own end and relied on Roberto Luongo to bail him out. If i am not mistaken I am pretty sure that the youngest player on the team playing one of the toughest positions on the ice was 20 year old Drew Doughty. Right after that Sidney Crosby and Jerome Iginla gained the US zone and just like that a quick strike move on a relatively harmless looking play became one of the biggest and most important or defining moments in the history of hockey in Canada.

It was well called by Chris Cuthbert "Crosby scores! The golden goal! And Canada has won a once-in-a-lifetime Olympic gold!" and later added "These golden games have their crowning moment!". 16.6 Million people took in at least a bit of the game - nearly 80% of all Canadians.