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Between The Albert Pujols Contract And The Chris Paul Trade, What The Hell Is Going On In Sports Right Now?

December 9, 2011 8 comments

I hadn’t really planned on commenting on the Albert Pujols contract signing in baseball or the Chris Paul non-trade in basketball.  That was until I stewed on it a little more and it made me feel like I wanted to rant.  Since I am a ranter after all, I figured it was worth discussing.

The last couple of days more than anything has made me question the sanity of some of the people in pro sports.  When it comes to multi-billion dollar industries like professional sports, you’re bound to see a lot of 1) people with a lot of money throwing that money around to try to make their teams better, 2) people with a lot of money throwing that money around as a pure power display or 3) both.  The Albert Pujols contract situation was one such scenario.

Pujols, a lifelong St. Louis Cardinal, signed a 10-year contract worth $254 million on Thursday with the Los Angeles Angels.  It’s one of the largest contracts given in baseball history and one I also believe that the Angels are soon going to regret giving him.

For the record, I’m a Cubs fan (and a long suffering one at that).  The Cubs tend to have some of the deeper financial pockets in Major League Baseball which made them a potential destination for Pujols – widely considered as one of the best players in baseball.  Pujols, for all of his greatness with a bat, comes with a few red flags though.

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The BCS Proves To Be A Sham Once Again

December 5, 2011 2 comments

The stated goal of college football’s Bowl Championship Series is to put the two best teams from the season against each other in a head-to-head matchup for the national championship.  While the process of picking the #1 and #2 teams each year has generally done pretty well, the selections made to fill out the rest of the BCS bowls (which happened on Sunday night) prove once again just how broken the system is.

The top tier of college football’s bowl games (the Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls along with the BCS Title Game) should be matching up the season’s elite teams against one another but due to a variety of conference tie-ins, rules and the ability of game organizers to choose who they want to compete in their game, the results missed the mark again this year.

Consider who’s competing.  The five games listed above could theoretically matchup the ten highest ranked teams in the country.  This year, it’ll include the teams ranked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 13, 15 and 23.  In a system meant to choose the best of the best, how does this happen?  The best place to start is to look at the rules developed for choosing the teams.

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Question Of The Day

December 1, 2011 2 comments

If an older woman pursuing a younger man is called a cougar, is an older man pursuing a younger man called a Nittany Lion?

(I can’t take credit for this….I heard it on the radio.)

In Defense Of Tim Tebow

November 23, 2011 4 comments

Even if you’re not a fan of football, you’ve probably heard his name.  If you’re a church-goer, you’ve almost certainly heard about his unusual combination of football prowess and religious devotion.  By statistical standards, he’s just an average NFL quarterback.  He is also quite possibly the most polarizing figure in sports today.

He is Tim Tebow.

And I’m not sure I would’ve said this a few months ago but today I can.  I’m a Tim Tebow fan.

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Did Paterno Know Sex Abuse Scandal Was Going Public? Real Estate Transaction Suggests He Did

November 16, 2011 2 comments

Joe Paterno sacrificed his job and quite likely his legacy when the whole Penn State child abuse scandal came to light.  But did the coach protect himself from greater liability before the hammer dropped?  He just might have.

A report has come out saying that Paterno transferred ownership of his house over to his wife earlier this summer for a mere $1.  Why?  Legal folks disagree.

One of Paterno’s lawyers claims it is part of a “multi-year estate planning program” and had nothing to do with the recent scandal.  Others (including myself) aren’t so sure.

According to University of Pittsburgh Lawrence Frolik (who is quoted in the report), there are no tax advantages to transferring ownership.

“If someone told me that, my reaction would be, ‘Are they hoping to shield assets in case if there’s personal liability?'” He added, “It sounds like an attempt to avoid personal liability in having assets in his wife’s name.”

My thoughts exactly.  Did Paterno know that this whole scandal was about to break and did what he could to protect himself from the fallout?  I doubt we’ll get anything more than a categorical denial but this one sounds a little fishy to me.

The NBA Is About To Lose An Entire Season….And That’s Fine By Me

November 16, 2011 2 comments

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a dispute like this where both sides were almost equally unlikeable.

In case you haven’t heard, the NBA players rejected the owner’s latest proposal and now plan to decertify the union in order to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA.  What started out at least as a defensible disagreement over how revenue should be shared between owners and players has devolved into nothing more than a big dick swinging contest that will ultimately cost the NBA its 2011-2012 season and do irreparable damage to a league already dealing with image issues.

Throughout the last several years, the NBA has alienated itself from its fan base by some of the abhorrent contracts given out to players that don’t deserve it.  Rashard Lewis is going to make over $20 million this season.  He’s not even an All Star.  Ben Gordon makes $11 million a year.  He has just the 4th best scoring average ON HIS OWN TEAM.  Bobby Simmons got paid $11 million for the 2009-2010 season.  He contributed 5 points a game.  It’s exceedingly difficult to feel sorry for these guys that “just want to play” and are “sacrificing” and “just want a fair deal” when they’re already being paid such ridiculous salaries.  And they want a bigger cut of the multi-billion dollar pie?

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Hard To Say If UFC On Fox Was A Success

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

After the kids went down to bed on Saturday night, I tuned into Fox to catch the UFC Heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.  This was intended to be the UFC’s first big foray into the mainstream.  For years, they’ve been pretty much limited to pay-per-view events and their weekly “The Ultimate Fighter” reality competition show currently airing on Spike TV.  On Saturday, UFC got presented to a national audience.

I’m sure they hoped it would last a little longer than 64 seconds.

UFC President Dana White was reportedly very nervous heading into this event because he probably knew what was at stake.  This was the UFC’s big chance to expand their audience – to present their product to potentially millions of new viewers (millions of viewers that could turn into pay-per-view buyers).  Would they get to see a hard fought 5 round struggle full of fight strategy and submission attempts?

Nope.  What viewers saw was a one punch knockout that followed about a minute of what was essentially dancing around the octagon.  I doubt this made Dana White feel much better.

Make no mistake about it though, the rantings for the event were gonzo.  An estimated 5.7 million tuned in to watch the fight.  Fox is probably elated with the number but did it do much to draw in new fans?  I’m not so sure.

I think secretly Dana White can’t be too happy.  He probably wanted a long hard-fought battle that got people rooting for either Velasquez or Dos Santos (and Fox did a great job of telling the stories of these two fighters before the fight).  What they ultimately got was a “blink or you’ll miss it” moment and I really don’t think that’s going to compel the casual viewer to want to tune in again.

For its part, Fox did a great job putting the event together.  Everything was set to give it a major pay-per-view feel.  White was on top of his game but Brock Lesnar on commentary was horribly out of place.  He wasn’t comfortable in the speaking role and only seemed interested in promoting himself.

It was a fun event.  No doubt about it but I don’t think this was the fight that White would’ve chosen to put in front of new viewers.  Perhaps this will translate to a whole new group of pay-per-view buyers for UFC.  I just don’t think the first UFC on Fox did as much as it could to move the needle.