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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Off base - random sports thoughts

Since i'm too busy to formulate a coherent thought about anything remotely interesting, here's some stuff mostly about the baseball playoffs, with a couple of other items thrown in for variety.

The Guardian proves yet again that British sportwriters kick their American counterparts' collective asses all over the interweb:
Even here on the virtual pages of the virtual paper most Americans think is a cross between Pravda, Spare Rib, Gay Times and the Al Qaeda Gazzete, the Truth - that women, while perfectly capable of voting, cycling and smoking, will never be any good at football - is carved in flaming letters 100 feet high.

Such shibboleths take time to wither and die. But die they do. The myth of the inferiority of black players in northern climes has crashed and burned in my football-watching lifetime. And the stupidity about Asian players (they're too small, they lack speed, aggression and stamina) seems to be going the same way. But women, say the Guardian Men, are the new Asians - too small, too slow and too fragile to compete.


David Ortiz' baserunning blunder last night was one of the more, umm, curious plays i've seen at this level in a long time. (Maybe Chuck Knoblauch arguing a safe call with the first base umpire while runners dashed around the bases back in, oh, was that 1996? is probably still ahead.) Another three inches to the right, and Ortiz could have won $10,000 in America's Funniest Home Videos, 'cause guys getting hit in the swingers by hard objects are always a winner.

I'm thinking Brian Gorman, who called balls and strikes for the Indians-Red Sox game last night, is probably working his last post-season. His strike zone was consistently 5 inches out of alignment with home plate, and you could argue that his calls changed the outcome of the game. Sad to see. But give the players some credit. Even with so much on the line, no one lost their cool arguing.

When i was a kid, going to a World Series game would have been the highlight of my life. Watching the idiotic towel waving going on in both games last night made me appreciate being able to watch from the comfort of my sofa, and fall asleep when i was ready. Speaking of which, are the ratings for a game that starts at 10 on the east coast any better than they would be for a game that starts at 4pm? As they say, there's only one October, and it was made for afternoon baseball.

Finally, how come the World Series of Poker gets better commercials than the MLB playoffs? Chevy is not an American Revolution, and their 30 mpg highway is still less than my subaru DL was getting back in 1978. And don't get me started on John Cougar Mellencamp.

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4 Comments:

  • Barry, when you were a kid, were there any teams West of the Mississippi? Did stadiums even have lights? :D

    By Blogger toastie, at 2:40 PM  

  • Yes and yes. The St. Louis Cardinals have been in the league for a long time. I'm pretty sure the Phliadelphia Athletics had moved to Kansas City before i was born as well. The St. Louis Browns had moved back east to Baltimore, though.

    As far as night games, here's a thought.

    Night games used to start at 8:05 pm when i was a kid. that's because baseball games used to take 2 hours and 20 minutes to play. During the 1973 oil crisis, start times were moved up an hour, to use less electricity. (Never ind that the lights are actually turned on an hour or two before the games start. It's a psychological thing.)

    But moving the start time up just meant that games could last longer and still end at 10:30. The average game length, according to the guys on Fox, for a playoff game at Fenway Park over the last 7 years, is over 4 hours. This lets the networks sell more commercials, and give the fans more opportunities to buy 8 dollar nachos and wash them down with 10 dollar beers, but it doesn't make for a more exciting, or even interesting, game.

    Watch a Champions League match, or the FA Cup final next May, to see how exciting a sporting event can be without the bullshit theatrics and spectacle, and with 65,000 passionate fans who don't need to be told by a scoreboard when to cheer.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 2:52 PM  

  • Football chants aren't bullshit theatrics and spectacle?

    But yes, congrats Chevy. You've managed to make a subcompact car that gets 36 m.p.g. NOW EAT THE TORQUE FUMES OF MY FOUR DOOR SEDAN THAT GETS 50 MPG AND LEAVES YOUR ASS ON THE LINE! Ha!

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 3:42 PM  

  • "Football chants aren't bullshit theatrics and spectacle?"

    No, they're created and propagated by the fans.

    One of my favorite baseball experiences was sitting at Candlestick Park and having Mets' fans outchant Giant's fans without any scoreboard prompting. (Giants' fans suck. I don't know if they suck the worst of any teams fans, but far and away the worst of any team that i've ever attended a game for.)

    Go to a Bulls game and see just how lame American baseball has gotten. Bulls' fans clap when the scoreboard say "CLAP," and yell when the scoreboard says "LET"S MAKE SOME NOISE," and the rest of the time they're pretty quiet. Giants' fans, however, are just mean.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 3:48 PM  

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