Posted on: February 10, 2010 11:44 am

Mid-Week Mini-Rants: All-Blizzard Edition

Unlike most of the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast did not get hit with last week's big snowstorm. Now, everyone from Boston to D.C. to Chicago is getting hammered with another heavy dose of the white stuff. So, in between shoveling out your cars, driveways and walkways, here are some events to watch for the rest of the week to get your mind off of winter. Well, sort of...

Wednesday: NCAA MBB -- UConn vs. Syracuse 7 PM / Duke vs. UNC 9 PM

How about two of college basketball's biggest rivalry games back-to-back tonight? With the Super Bowl over that means it's all about college basketball right now, and UConn and North Carolina are two teams that are desperate for a big win. The Huskies resume is better than UNC's right now, but UConn's best win, over then No. 1 Texas, doesn't look as good right now. UNC, well, they just need a win.

(And don't fret Connecticut fans, the UConn Women are on at 8 PM on CPTV if this gets ugly.)

And by the way, if you aren't following dantheman4250's NCAA tournament blogs and threads, start now.

Thursday: NBA -- Magic vs. Cavs 8PM / Spurs vs. Nuggets 10:30 PM -- NCAA MBB -- St. Mary's vs. Gonzaga 11 PM

There are still more good college games on earlier than this, but passing up a solid NBA doubleheader is hard. With the Celtics struggling the Magic and Cavs could be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals and Spurs also find themselves in need of a good NBA All-Star break. Two of the WCC's best for a nightcap makes this a pretty good night.

Friday: Winter Olympics 7:30 PM -- NCAA MBB -- Fairfield at Rider 7 PM / Siena at Niagara 8 PM

Okay, so the opening ceremonies in Vancouver won't exactly get your mind off winter, but it's still a great show. And yes, I am a huge homer throwing out some love for a Metro Atlantic (MAAC) basketball doubleheader. Odds of myself making the trek back to the old stomping grounds in Lawrenceville, moderately high. And would someone please beat Siena already.

Saturday: NASCAR Nationwide at Daytona 1:15 PM -- NBA All-Star Weekend 7 PM -- Winter Olympics 2 & 8 PM

Still more college basketball to be found, but Danica Patrick's debut at Daytona should draw a crowd. NASCAR has also scaled back some of its rules to improve racing with the Car of Tomorrow. That means bump-drafting and multi-groove racing is back this year. It never left Daytona, but other tracks suffered greatly. Throw it the NBA Skills Contests and Slam Dunk contests with some Olympics and this isn't a bad start to the weekend.

Sunday: NASCAR Daytona 500, 12 PM -- Winter Olympics (USA Women's Hockey) 3 PM -- NBA All-Star Game 8:30 PM

The Super Bowl of NASCAR kicks off a new racing season the week after the Super Bowl. Fantastic job by NASCAR to put the Daytona 500 the week after the Super Bowl and at noon. First Olympic Hockey game for Team USA and just in time for me to look up the international rules for hockey. No more goalies playing the puck in that stupid trapezoid. And of course, the NBA All-Star Game will grace us with its presence and immense lack of defense.

Well, I hope this helps keep your mind off of the 4 feet of snow that is piling up on the ground. Now excuse me, I have to go shovel again. As I typed this 15 inches fell on my front walk.

Posted on: May 21, 2009 12:31 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2009 12:33 pm

David Stern - CTU

The following conversation (alledgedly) took place on Sunday, May 17th, time unknown, but it would have happened before both Game 7's in the NBA...

David STERN: Get me Coaches Rivers and Adelman on the phone now!
Secretary: Right away, sir. [Ringing]
Doc RIVERS: Rivers here.
Rick ADELMAN: Coach Adelman speaking.
STERN: Gentlemen, I need to speak to both of you on a matter of extreme importance.
RIVERS: Sure, commish, what's up?
STERN: As you are aware, the second round of the playoffs is closing tonight, with both your teams playing tonight.
ADELMAN: Yeah, we should be getting ready for the games...
STERN: Yes, about tonights games, coaches, I need your help with something. I need your teams to lose tonight.
STERN: Gentlemen, this is a matter of life or death for the NBA. It is so important the government has become aware of the situation.
RIVERS: What situation? You're asking me to tank a playoff game?!?! Stern, you've gone off the deep end this time.
ADELMAN: Who the heck is that.
STERN: Agent Jack Bauer, CTU.
RIVERS: I thought he was a TV character.
STERN: Agent Bauer, please let me explain the situation to them.
BAUER: Make it quick, they're running out of time...
STERN: Gentlemen, the US Government forsees a widescale riot, nationwide, if both your teams win tonight.
ADELMEN: How is that possible?
STERN: Well, it's really quite simple. The experts believe that with all the high drama in the playoffs this year, that the country is now addictted to it. They need to see competitive conference finals as well.
RIVERS: And you're saying that our teams aren't up to the task.
BAUER: Coach, look at your team right now. You're too injured to continue fighting like this. You need to withdrawl.
RIVERS: You're asking me to tank a Game 7, at home, in front of thousands of loyal Celtics fans?
STERN: Calm down, Jack.
ADELMAN: Commish, I agree with Bauer. We can't continue like this. I wish it was brought to my attention sooner, that way I wouldn't have had my team push the Lakers so hard.
STERN: It's all right Rick. The Lakers understand. Can you do this tonight?
ADELMAN: Did you see our last game in LA? I don't even have to ask the guys, it would have happened anyway.
RIVERS: I don't know about this...
STERN: Coach, I know that this sounds strange, but it needs to be done.
RIVERS: How am I supposed to tell my team? Just say, we can't win tonight guys?
BAUER: No, there's an easier way.
BAUER: You need to get Paul Pierce to fake an injury during the game. Sometime during the second or third quarters.
RIVERS: Are you insane!
BAUER: THAT'S THE CHOICE YOU HAVE TO MAKE!!! If Pierce goes down, the rest of the team will be too demoralized to continue. It's your best option and it also limits the number of people who are aware of the situation.
RIVERS: And it's that simple? Tell Paul to come up lame with a hammy or a knee or something?
STERN: That's the best option that we can think of Doc. I know this is difficult, but we need your help right now. The country needs you.
RIVERS: No, I can't. I can't just give up on these guys, they've come to far...
BAUER: Listen coach, you have shown more heart in the last few weeks than any team I've seen or fought with before. But right now, we don't need you to fight. We need you to do your job.
ADELMAN: Come on Doc, do the right thing. We're with you.
RIVERS: All right. I'll get Paul in on the operation. You'll have your results later tonight.
STERN: Thank you Doc, Rick. I couldn't have done it without you.
BAUER: America couldn't have done it without you.
ADELMAN: You still didn't need to call me. We weren't winning tonight.
RIVERS: Yeah, you guys were about to get smoked anyway. Kobe's gonna be pissed that your series went seven games...
BAUER: Thank you gentlemen for your cooperation. I have to give a report to CTU and then watch the games.
RIVERS: But you already know what's going to happen.
BAUER: Sure, but it's still fun to watch.
STERN: God bless America.

[beep, BOOP, beep, BOOP]

- Eagle

The following conversation is purely fictional. Jack Bauer did not help the NBA fix the two Game 7's in question.
Posted on: May 11, 2009 7:14 pm

Settling Your Differences on the Playing Field

This has been a rather interesting week in sports. I've heard just as much talk on about playoff series as I have suspensions and steroids. Manny Ramirez, tennis player Richard Gasquet and NASCAR's Jeremy Mayfield were all suspended for positive drug tests by thier respective sports. Likewise, there have been several suspensions for on-court/field/ice actions for several players. Lakers G Derek Fisher was hit with a one-game suspension, as was Orlando's Dwight Howard and Rafer Alston and Houston's Ron Artest has been ejected twice in the last week. This also leads to the conversation of how to properly handle an on-court incident.

So? What should happen?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's start with baseball. If your a pitcher, and don't like someone getting plunked on your team, then your supposed to hit an opposing batter in the back/rear area. Then everyone gets warned, talks a little smack and gets on with it. See White Sox P Bobby Jenks' pitch behind the back of Texas 2B Ian Kinsler. There's nothing wrong with that in my book, except for Jenks talking to the media about it. He took offense to several of his teammates getting hit so he fired one off late in a game behind Kinsler.

Now, the batter should never, ever charge the mound for any reason, but in the heat of the moment, players let their emotions get the best of them. If a batter does charge the mound, they must leave all the hardware behind (bat, helmet, etc.). You shouldn't throw any punches and instead just engage the pitcher in some kind of greco-roman/olympic style wrestling match. Pulling a Jose Offerman and charging the mound with a bat is the dumbest thing you can do. There are unwritten rules in baseball that the umpire's warning rule has superceeded, mainly that you should warn the second team that hits a batter, not the first. That way, the offended team gets their shot in and the matter should be settled. Baseball is generally good about suspending players for unsportmanlike actions, but the same can not be said for these next two leagues...

Now, everyone remembers Todd Bertuzzi slugging Steve Moore in the back. There are also unwritten rules in hockey about fighting. Both parties agree to drop gloves, actually drop the gloves and go at it. Hurricanes' F Scott Walker droped his gloves and slugged Bruins' D Aaron Ward late in Boston's 4-0 win yesterday. Walker somehow escaped suspension and was only hit with a $2,500 fine. Ward however possibly suffered a broken orbital bone in his face and is likely done for the series.

Sadly, the NHL generally doesn't get it when it comes to fighting. Gary Bettman always talks about how he doesn't want fighting as a part of his sport anymore. Gary, get real. Fighting is just as much a part of hockey as America and apple pie. But it has to be done properly, more or less in the outline I mentioned before. Clearly, Ward didn't think he was in a fight, considering he still has his gloves on and wasn't really even looking at Walker when he got slugged. This isn't no where near the Bertuzzi incident, but it deserved a multi-game suspension, at least, from the NHL, maybe even a ban for the rest of the postseason. Once again, the NHL has it's head up it's you know what...

Now, onto the NBA, which should consider adopting NHL style fighting rules at this point. I can't remember the last time I saw so many elbows and hard fouls in one month of play. There have been so many suspensions and reviews of flagrant fouls that Stu Jackson (NBA's Exec VP of Basketball Operations) head must be spinning. The conspiracy theorists are screaming that Kobe didn't get a suspension for his elbow on Ron Artest, which lead to Artest getting two techs after the play. The ruling said that Kobe's elbow was below the shoulders and was upgraded to a flagrant-1. Last time I checked, the neck was above the shoulders, but still, there wasn't any intent, so I'm fine with it.

The NBA's problem is that they are too inconsistent with their rulings. There are too many close plays that need to reviewed or aren't called during the game properly that puts the NBA in a bad spot too many times. Had the refs tossed Dwight Howard in Game 5 for his elbow, they don't need to suspend him. Sadly, the NBA is generally know to have poor playoff officiating. And regular season officiating. Ok, the NBA refs usually screw things up, but the leagues confusing rules aren't helping much either.

(Disclaimer: Being a basketball referee is incredibly hard. The NBA refs are the best of the best, but that proves just how competitive the NBA is.)

Someday, sports won't have these problems. Athletes won't hold grudges, teams would stop having rivalries and stop hating each other, and there would never be any discrepency in officials calls. Someday, I might win the lottery and see pigs fly too. Sports isn't perfect, it's not a utopia and that's kind of what makes them great. But all I'm asking for (as well as a lot of fans) is for a little more consistency. Besides, drama is also what makes sports great. And not having anything to talk, write or debate about whould be boring. Sure the games are nice, but I honestly can't wait for the next Rangers-White Sox game, Scott Walker's next shift for the 'Canes or the Mark Cuban-Kenyon Martin dustup. Because, that is what adds that little extra to the world of sports.

And it'd be a shame if that wasn't around anymore.
Category: General
Posted on: July 3, 2008 10:50 pm

To SuperSonics Fans - I Know Your Pain

With the announcement today that the city of Seattle and Sonics' scumbag owner Clay Bennett have settled out of court, it is the first step in the teams seemingly impending move to Oklahoma City. While the previous owner is still trying to refute the sale of the team to Bennett, it seems more than likely that the Sonics franchise will be moving, while the teams logo, name and colors will remain with Seattle. But that's not the news here.

This is a growing trend in sports. The Cleveland Browns up and moved to Baltimore after stadium talks fell through a few years back. Cleveland eventually got their Browns back, but I'm here to tell the story of a franchise, that might never come back, the NHL's Hartford Whalers.

The Hartford Whalers were the only pro team in the four major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) in Connecticut. The Whalers were the pride and joy of Connecticut and to many fans, including myself, they still are. I'm not knocking the Connecticut Sun, the only WNBA team that isn't in an NBA city thanks to the success of the UConn basketball programs, but that just isn't enough for me and my home state. But the state of Connecticut was relegated to just another state in New England (technically half the stat is New York fans) in 1997. That is when Peter Karmanos, scumbag owner of the Whalers, demanded the state of Connecticut and the city of Hartford to build him a new stadium, or he would move the team. Sound familiar? When the state/city refused to put up the amount he wanted, he did exactly what he said he would. He walked away from practically sellout crowds to move to Raliegh, NC. Now, there are differences between Seattle and Hartford and their situations. Seattle is a major market with its own TV market and a booming economic market. Hartford is between two major TV markets, New York and Boston, and was having problems getting media and advertising deals. From a business standpoint, moving the Whalers to Carolina might have made sense. Moving the Sonics to Oklahoma makes no sense at all.

Seattle has a larger TV market, a great fan base and 41-years of history. Oklahoma City has fielded the hurricane-deposed Hornets for a couple of seasons, and have proven that they can support a franchise. But it shouldn't be the Sonics. Give them an expansion team down the road, allow another team to move (who that might be, I don't know, I'm kind of new at this NBA stuff) that is struggling, but the Sonics need to stay in Seattle. I'm not going to get into the Bennett/Stern thing, which in my book should legally nix this whole situation, but this is a growing trend in sports. Holding cities hostage for stadiums by blackmailing them with threats to move. Yet several arena have been built recently without public funding (I know of at least one in DC).

Seattle fans, I hope you get to keep your team. I don't see it happening, but I wish you good luck. Hey Congress, you want to investigate something important in sports, investigate this. It's something called extortion. I'm pretty sure there are laws against it punishable by prison time or something. Moving on.

I've only attended one NHL game in my life, Canadians v. Whalers in 1996 at the Civic Center (Whalers won 3-2), and probably won't attend another one for a long time. When the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup a few years ago, someone called up a sports talk show a joked that there was rioting in the streets of Hartford because the Whalers had won the Cup. I wasn't devastated, but a little heartbroken knowing that sports weren't about the game anymore, it was a business.

That's a shame, because it really shouldn't be. It should be about the game.

And if this is the direction sports is heading in, well, this is going to be an all too common sight.

- Eagle
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com