In recent years the all star games for many pro sports leagues have become jokes, mostly due to the leagues' own doing. Allowing the fans to pick the players is NOT the best method to recognize the best of the best. Last year's debacle with the voting scam devised by a tech-savy Royals' fan topped the list of just plain dumb moves by MLB. Time for reform. It has been suggested that making the fans vote worth 33% of the tally, the player's vote 33% and sports writers the final 33% would recognize the deserving. I like it. Fans still have their say, but the true insiders have the majority of the weight. I have previously ranted about the ignorance displayed by MLB in last year's all star game, so I won't beat that dead horse.
But take a look at the recent all star games....
The 2016 version of the NFL pro bowl looked more like a touch football
game than an actual tackle game. I know, people don't want to get hurt,
but geez make it look like a real game.
An even bigger laugh was the NBA All-Star Game! I went against my own advice and actually tuned in during the ending minutes of the game. I saw players taking the ball out of bounds, throwing length of the court passes to teammates "cherry picking" at the other end of the court. All this in an effort to break 200 points. Two hundred points?? Did anyone even attempt some defense? But, what do you expect from a league that makes the poorest excuse for a defensive player the 2015 league MVP?
The NHL may have just about got it right. Their 3 on 3 tournament format was entertaining start to finish. But it wasn't without controversy. John Scott, a 9 year journeyman enforcer, was selected by an internet campaign that saw him garner the most votes. The numbers put the C on his chest for the Pacific Division. The problem? He wasn't even on an NHL roster. He had been sent down by his club, the Coyotes, to the AHL. He was recalled and then traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who promptly sent him down to their AHL affiliate. Uh oh, according to the rules you must be on an NHL roster to be eligible for the game. After a fan uprising, the NHL allowed Scott his spot in the all star line up. What did he do with this opportunity? His team won the tournament and he was selected as the MVP. Cinderfella? I would say so.
Additionally, Red Wing Dylan Larkin wasn't voted in by the fans to compete in the fastest skater competition, but his captain, Joromir Jagr, knew better and placed him in the event. How'd he do you ask? Won it all, setting the record for the fastest time ever recorded in the event.
Fans vote by affiliation, not by who is actually deserving.
As Sheryl Crow sings it, "A Change Will Do You Good!" Time for the pro's to get on board.
It has been interesting to read that my disdain for Cam Newton is all due to his race. Or so I am to believe. The politically correct police have told us that we dislike him and his actions because we have a certain mind set towards Black quarterbacks. Hmm, could it be we just don't like him due to his antics, history, and most importantly his beating the Ducks in the National Championship? I find it totally ridiculous to tell me what to think - or why I think as I do.
Psychoanalysis for the masses via the media, a feeble attempt at mind control.
Sorry, not drinking the Kool Aid you're mixing.
Let us take a look as to the foundations of my contempt for all things Scam:
1. The laptop theft at Florida.
Newton was in on the theft of a fellow student's laptop worth $1700, and then threw it out the window when officers arrived to investigate. He had used his login name on the computer to access the university's network which made it easy to trace it back to him. 2. Academic cheating
Newton turned in a paper after changing the real student's name to his. Caught, what was his solution? He bought a paper off the internet and turned it in. And, once again, he was caught. 3. Turning tail
Set to appear for a hearing in front of Florida's Student Conduct Committee, Newton ran off to Blinn College rather than face up to his academic fraud. 4. QB for sale
Well publicized, Daddy Cecil shopped Scam around to D1 schools to the tune of $180,000. Wait, isn't this amateur athletics? I guess we can now put a price tag on potential Heisman trophy winners. 5. Beats Oregon
He was a member the Auburn team that beat the Ducks in the Natty. I am well within my rights to despise him and his team. I still have full contempt for the San Francisco Giants who demolished my Tigers in the 2012 World Series. 6. His celebration antics
Ahead or behind after he scores, he dances and celebrates his accomplishment. Yes, I am old-school, believing that a spike in the end zone or a jump bump with teammates is sufficient celebration enough. However, some of his "dances" have lasted as long as 10 seconds, a little over the top.
As much as it hurts me to say, he is a phenomenally talented athlete whose skills I marvel at. But, his self-promotion, his road to stardom, and his need for individual attention make me less than a fan, NOT HIS COLOR!
So all you analysts who see racial hate as a motivator for all dislikes, you will not shame me into joining the Cam Newton fan club.
I was 17, driving past the capital building in Boise early on a weekend morning looking for street signs when an old man on a bench droned, "You're going the wrong way..." I had been concentrating so hard on the street signs that I had missed the one way sign. I quickly whipped a U turn, found the correct sign, and headed off toward my destination.
Much like my Idaho adventure, it appears my Detroit Teams are also headed in the wrong direction.
The Tigers finished a dismal season by declaring that manager Brad Ausmus would return in 2016. I had been a backer of Ausmus until the last month of the season when I saw pitching continue to spiral downward. It's time for a "new voice". In conversations with a Dodgers fan, I expressed my hope that LA would fire Don Mattingly and the Tigers would grab him as fast as they could. Nope, new general manager Al Avila gave a vote of confidence to the current skipper. The Dodgers and Mattingly mutually parted ways and this led, of course, to the Marlins courting Donny Baseball for their head man. One good note, the Marlins are a dead end and Mattingly could be available after a season or two.
1 - 7, the Lions current record, if not for da Bears, they would be 0 - 8. Time for a big shake up - more than just firing the offensive coordinator and line coaches. The buck stops with the head man. Jim Caldwell doesn't look to have the answers and the band aid approach of firing assistants isn't going to change this team. The defense is dismal, the offensive line a sieve, and the running game is non-existent. Combine that with the same technique problems at QB and you have a team headed for the number one draft pick next April. Have some guts, turn the page and re-tool from the front office down to the coaching staff. Beating that dead horse, as long as the Fords own the team, it will flounder. They just don't seem to have the ability to hire quality front office people who then can't hire a long-term head coach. Can anybody say Matt Millen?
The Red Wings, my best hope for Motown salvation. Watching my free preview of Center Ice (won't even think about subscribing until they broadcast all games in HD), the rebuilding Wings show promise. Dylan Larkin is a star in the making, the 19 year old is exciting to watch. In stark contrast to the Lions and Tigers (can I get an oh my?), the head man of the Winged Wheels, Ken Holland, is the Dumbledore of hockey. This headmaster knows how to magically get the most out of the organization's players. Looks like they are likely to extend their play off streak to 25 in a row, but take their lumps in getting there.
The Motor City counts on their sports teams to provide something positive to hang their caps on. Team owners need their version of that old man on the bench letting them know they are going the wrong way. But, they have to read the signs and follow what they say...
First, in answer to all my faithful readers (OK, both of you), I have not been abducted by aliens. I have been, well, just uninspired. Oh sure, I have had a few ideas roll around in my head, they just fell out one orifice or another. But, get ready, the bear has been poked and here is my latest installment.
Turning the midsummer classic into a joke, AL voting by the fans has been, in reality, some computer geek digitally stuffing the ballot box. Too many Royals heading up positions that should, by all rights, belong to another deserving player.
Let's take a look at the voting leaders by position;
C - Salvador Perez, Royals
Sal is hitting .263, respectable for a catcher, but Stephen Vogt of the Athletics is at .290 with 53 RBI's - 25 better that Perez. Geez, Sal isn't even the 2nd best statistically, he ranks 3rd behind Vogt and Brian McCann of the Yanks.
1B - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Right where he belongs, leading the vote. But don't look now, former Tiger Prince Fielder is tied with Miggy with a league leading .365 BA. I'm willing to bet there will be a throne for the Prince in Cincinnati.
2B - Omar Infante, Royals
Here is where the obvious ballot bunching shows up. Infante is hitting .231 while Jason Kipnis of Cleveland is clobbering at .347. C'mon is this ridiculous or what?
SS - Alcides Escobar, Royals
A .273 hitter, his year isn't too bad, but compare to Jose Iglesias of the Tigers hitting .326. Not even close!
3B - Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
OK, I buy this one, JD is hitting .300, Moustakas of KC or Machado of Baltimore would be fine, as well.
OF - Mike Trout, Angels; Lorenzo Cain, Royals; Alex Gordan, Royals
Agree with Trout, a .303 hitter. No to Cain (.298) and Gordan (.265). Add Brett Gardner, Yankees (.304) and Nelson Cruz, Mariners (.303).
DH - Nelson Cruz, Mariners
Make a switcheroo here, move Cruz to the starting OF and add Prince Fielder at this spot.
MLB commissioner Selig needs to take the voting out of the hands of the public and put it back where it belongs, in the hands of the players themselves. This year's ballot is proof.
And those are some seriously ugly hats!
Lastly, do you think Pete Rose will throw out the first pitch? Don't bet on it.....
Not one Redwing on the bench for the 2015 NHL All Star Game? What a crock, nice move NHL. You are telling us that the team with the 5th best record in all of the NHL doesn't deserve at least one representative? On top of that, they are the only team without a roster spot. OK, fine, let them take a few days off and return renewed and refreshed for the second half of the season. But, for me, I am disappointed not seeing one Winged Wheel sweater on display in Ohio. I'll be skipping the game, hope you do too.
I know I have been absent for a long time, but I have time on my hands and thoughts rolling around in my planet-sized head, waiting to get out!
So here we go!
I didn't believe I would live long enough to see a Duck win the Heisman trophy. But, here he is, Marcus Mariota, a nice kid who has stayed out of trouble and goes out of his way to accommodate fans. We should all thank his folks, Alana and Toa for letting their son attend Oregon. He is the contradiction to the idea that nice guys finish last.
Gotta slam Cam. After scoring on a run play in the Panther's game with Atlanta, Newton went into a prolonged TD act. Can't figure out why he wasn't flagged for excessive celebration - oh yeah, that's right Cam doesn't have to play by everybody else's rules. He is special.....ask the NCAA. I'm still waiting for the investigation at Auburn, get ready to give back the Heisman, unless your Dad has sold it already.
The Lions. We have seen huge progress moving their 7-9 record of a year ago to 11-5. It has even prompted me to buy my first Lion's fan gear. I just don't see progress in QB Matthew Stafford's consistency. OK, maybe one more year under new coach Jim Caldwell will do the trick, all Lions fans have their fingers crossed. I know the season isn't over, but their playoff game with the very hot Dallas Cowboys could turn into a laugher unless the Detroit offense comes back to life.
The Red Wings. Picked to be near the bottom of the NHL, the Wings have been putting together a solid year, even leading the Atlantic Division for a time. A side note: Wings Legend, Gordie Howe, is on the mend from a stroke he suffered in October. Way to bounce back Gordie!
Ndamukong Suh. Is this guy ever going to get it? His fines now add up to over $200,000! The latest for his Lion Two Step on Aaron Rogers.
Hate to admit he is an Oregon born kid, Suh attended Grant H.S. in Portland. The University of Nebraska must have corrupted him, you know, with all the night life and distractions that Lincoln has to offer....
Hroniss Grasu. The All-American center may make his return in the Rose Bowl, something that could provide a lift to the team. Another kid easy to root for, Hroniss has kept his nose clean and responded with with two All-American nods and two first team All Pac-12 honors. Welcome back to the middle of it all!