Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Want to watch the MLB All-Star Game? Yeah, me neither.

Well folks it is that time of the year again. The time of the year where all of us truly devout sports fans are in a world without sports. Sportcenter will probably feature highlights of the most boring all-star games in all of sports and will fill the other 55 minutes with stuff about Aaron Hernandez, LeBron James and whether he will go to LA or Cleveland next year (spoiler, he isn't going anywhere) and of course Tim Tebow. Then on First Take Stephan A. Smith will just yell out a bunch of random breakfast cereals while Skip Bayless tries to argue that a bowl of animal feces is a very underrated way to start your morning.

Wimbledon has ended, golfs British Open is starting at the weeks end and even the State of Origin has come to a streaking halt. Chances are unless you are from Australia reading this or for some odd reason an fan of the NRL then that joke will just go over your head. If you are craving some sports though, do look up the NRL and the State of Origin, it's some pretty exciting stuff, but I digress. If you are like most Americans then you are at a loss for sports and so am I.

Year in and year out the one thing I will never be able to understand is how the MLB All-Star break still exists. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the futures game got more views than the pros all-star game. To be honest though, I use to enjoy catching bits and pieces of the all-star game during commercials of something else just because some fun things COULD happen. Now, it's not even worth the effort of picking up the remote. All that went out the window though when Bud Selig thought it would be a good idea to make the game actually mean something. How does that thought process even work? "Hey, let's take the one time of the year that means absolutely nothing in every other sport and instead make it mean something in our sport. We can take all the fun and love out of the game and instead make the players try." Yeah, I'm sure Joe Mauer, whose Twins can't even sniff the playoffs, is really going to pour his heart and soul into catching the all-star game.

People say that 2002 was the year that ruined the all-star game as it ended in the 11th inning in a 7-7 tie, but I disagree. This was the same all-star game that started off in awesome fashion with Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a sure-fire home run. It was the makings of a classic, if you can even say that about an all-star games, but Bud Selig dropped the ball instead.

The first mistake was when Selig decided to call the game as a tie in the 11th because neither team had any players left. Let me write that one more time, because neither team had any players left. There were approximately 36 players on each roster that year, pitchers and batters combined. This is the all-star game and nobody is going to care and probably won't even notice if one of those players re-enter the game. It would have meant more meaningless baseball and maybe a few more cool plays. Instead the game is called and Selig goes home and decides to make the game mean something. He makes it so the winner, whether it be AL or NL gets home field advantage in the World Series. Boooooooo.

If it were me at the commissioner controls I would have done things a little differently at that point. First off I would have let anybody and everybody re-enter the game so the game did not end in a tie. Then I would have gone home and mapped out a new plan for a whole new, revamped all-star game, and here's how it would look.

First, each team would be designated two team captains, one pitcher and one position player. These two players would work together to draft a team of their own from the list of players who made the all-star cut. Similar to what is done in the NHL right now. The players would be allowed to draft from whichever league they choose and the whole AL vs NL would no longer exist because it's no fun. Then to throw the best twist in, the position players would be the pitchers for the game while the pitchers would become the position players. I imagine that if Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were calling the game it would go a little something like this:

"And here is the 2-1 pitch from Carlos Beltran. Felix Hernandez hit a slow roller to the third base side where  a bare handed attempt is made by Justin Masterson, he bobbles it- But that's okay Joe because King Felix's all out sprint is slower than an infant learning to walk-you're right Tim and sure enough Masterson gets a handle on things and it looks like he is going to bowl the ball over to first base to avoid an over throw-That's a veteran move Joe, smart thinking there- Clayton Kershaw readies himself for the scoop and ohhhh it goes right through his legs as King Felix kind of half slides-half falls into first base. No need to rush after that ball though Joe. It seems as though Felix is just going to stop at first and call for a pinch runner, he looks exhausted."

Now you try and tell me that sequence of events would not be more enjoyable than 3-0 AL win in which they held the opponent to 3 hits. That's hardly even exciting in a regular game let alone a game nobody caress about. In fact I'll tell you three things to take away from this years all-star festivities; First is that the all-star game needs to change and it needs to change quick. Secondly, I don't care who you are a fan of, you were happy for Mariano Rivera last night. Lastly, the home run derby has got to go.

In fact, the home run derby needs the opposite thing the NBA Slam Dunk contest needs. The NBA needs the best of the best dunkers while the derby needs some worse hitters. If one were to make an analogy of the two, I would say the Home Run Derby would be like if the NBA Dunk Contest turned into who can make the most layups in 25 seconds. Before the beginning of the year we were all taunted with the idea of Justin Verlander in the derby and I loved the idea! Throw pitchers in there, throw former greats in there, just don't put somebody who could sneeze and hit a home run up there. Its just not exciting.

So that about sums up my rant. I'll leave you with this video of Tony Gwynn Jr. that I cam across looking up the Barry Bond and Torii Hunter play, enjoy!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Wild, Wild Wimbledon

Britain's savior!
Wimbledon was invaded. It was invaded by a bunch of newcomers and randos that left viewers asking one simple question, “Who?” The answer of course was Steve Darcis, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Lukasz Kubot, KirstenFlipkens, Michelle Larcher De Brito and Sabine Lisicki….again, who? These are the culprits who barged through the door and turned Wimbledon into a wild and crazy amusement park ride. Well, that and the serious lack of time between the French Open and Wimbledon. Oh and let us not forget proper grounds keeping as well.

It all started Rafael Nadal to Darcis in round one, then it was Roger Federer to Segiy and Maria Sharapova to Brito or De Brito or Larcher De Brito, whatever her last name is, in round two and then came what is being referred to as “Black Wednesday.” Black Wednesday will forever be remembered as the day in which there were upsets galore and withdrawals from matches due to injuries. The withdrawals all came so suddenly it caused Wimbledon to issue a statement claiming their wet grounds that a football player with metal spikes could slip on, was not in fact the cause for the withdrawals. Marin Cilic, JohnIsner, Steve Darcis (fresh off his Nadal win), Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and VictoriaAzarenka were among the list of players who withdrew with injuries.

Once the dust settled after Black Wednesday, which is ironic because the grounds were too wet for there to be any dust, there was only one thing that was important from there on out. Andy Murray was to win Wimbledon for Britain.

It had been 77 years since a British person (Scottsman in this case) had won Wimbledon for the host Country. In fact the British got so desperate before Murray came around that they tried using a player born in Canada because his parents were British. But times have changed now. They not only have a horse in this 4-player tennis race, but they also have a player that downright looks like a horse.

Murray was the 2 seed coming into the tournament and things could not have worked out more in his favor once the tournament started. However, before the tournament started, if you looked at Murray’s draw you would have seen that he had Rafa, Federer and Tsonga all in his portion of the bracket. It was enough to have anyone saying that is going to be quite troubling for the Scott. Then, as if by magic, everybody in his path disappeared. It was so crazy, absurd and wild that if this were the NBA, people would be calling for a conspiracy. All three of those players went down faster than the Bruins and Spurs combined…..too soon.
After his quarter final match against Fernando Verdasco I don’t think there was any doubt that this title was Murray’s for the taking. Murray dropped the first two sets to the Spainard and things looked pretty bleak. In the 3rd set though, Murray came out roaring and took it 6-1 and used that fuel to close out the match 6-4 and 7-5.

In the semi-final Murray faced off against a new comer on the scene Jerzy Janowicz. The 21 year-old bust onto the courts this year with a ferocious serve. He led the field in aces after his first six matches with 103 and at one point hit 146 on the speedometer with one of his serves. The big serve caught Murray off guard as he fell behind again, this time he lost the first set in a 7-2 tiebreak, but then followed that up by winning the next three sets to cruise into the final.

Then came the final versus the No. 1 ranked player NovakDjokovic. If you had asked me what I thought the chances of Murray winning the final against Djokovic in straight sets were, I would have laughed in your face. Then after watching the final, I’d have a very nice piece of humble pie because that’s exactly what happened. Murray won the first set 6-4 and people got a little excited. Then Djokovic turned it up a notch and opened up a 4-1 lead on Murray in the second set. That didn’t slow the chosen one though. With the raucous crowd behind him on every point Murray fought back and won 4 straight games to retake the lead and he would go on to take the set 7-5. In the third set Murray found himself behind again, this time 4-2, and again he battled back and won 4 straight games and ultimately, Wimbledon.

Of the four major Grand Slams the next longest drought for a host country winner is in the Australian Open at 37 years. Oddly enough, the last French person to win the French Open is none other than Yannick Noah the father of everybody’s least favorite NBA player. With exception to Tyler Hansborough and Adam Morrison, is he still even in the league? Anyways at least if you didn’t enjoy the tennis post you left it with a piece of interesting trivia.

Another interesting piece of trivia is Yannick Noah also is a musician. What went wrong with Joakim?

Oh and Aaron Hernandez still killed a guy.