Daily Blog 2.0
Storminnorman's Sports Blog 9/26
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Hello Gabbers, it's nice to be finally back online and writing my weekly blog. At first I really didn't know what to talk about, but then something came to my mind as I am sitting here in McDonald's writing my blog and listeners along with a few of the radio personalities are ripping all the Detroit teams, it's called loyalty.

Jerry is loyal to the Giants and Niners, along with a few other teams. The Beeze is loyal to the Indians, Irish and Browns, Sully, Old Harry, Lanz are loyal to their local Boston teams. But it seems in Michigan there are a few fair-weather fans who take every opportunity to slam the Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Wings whenever they can. Those are the fans that come next week, will be calling applauding the Lions for beating the Jets and the Tigers winning the Central Division and preparing for the team that they will face in the ALDS. 

I personally hate ass-holes like this, because if you can't be loyal to your teams during the lean years, then you aren't a true fan of your team. I remember one time I did a project for shop class, and it was a wood plaque in Steelers colors, I thought my grandfather was going to go through the roof when I showed it to him. It was then I learned about loyalty, when he took me aside and reminded me that even when your team is not doing so well you should still remain a fan. That little life lesson helped me during the 70's, 80's and 90's, when their was only one really good team during those decades in Detroit.

So what I say to all those fair weather Detroit sports fans is this, I was a Tigers fan when Ralph Houk was the manager and they were perrenial 100 loss teams. 

I was a fan of the Lions, even when they went 0-16.

I was a Pistons fan before they won back to back.

I was a Wings fan even when they were really bad.

So if you can't be a fan when times are tough, then don't jump on the wagon because you ain't welcome. You people make me sick and want to puke.  

I know that last night was not a good night for Jerry, as the Dodgers beat his Giants and clinched the West. But at least look at it this way bro, if you win the play-in game you are going to get the chance to get your revenge right away, because you are probably going to face them in the NLDS. I will say this, Clayton Kershaw is a beast and you better bring your bats with you, or it's going to be a short series. 

Whomever faces the Cardinals might have their hands full, because they look built and ready to win another World Series. What is it about this team, they suck for 4 months out of the year, and then find the other gear and run away with their Division? 

If life is good, it should be the Cardinals and Dodgers in the NLCS. 

I personally don't see the A's or Royals surviving past the ALDS, even though their pitching is wonderful, their bats just don't provide enough offense to scare me into believing they are going to be World Series contenders.

The Angels, Orioles and Tigers, seem to be the class of the American League, and of those three teams I am not really sure who will survive to make it to the World Series. The playoffs should be fun, which will make for some good television over the next few weeks.

I forgot about the National's, they finally may be living up to expectations. I didn't think the addition of Doug Fister was going to make that much of a difference, but I am sure they are thanking the Tigers for getting the better end of this trade so far. Not saying that Robbie Ray and Ian Krohl won't be major leaguers some day, but trading Fister may have cost the Tigers a World Series ring in the end........

The Lion's face the J E T S, JETS, JETS, JETS on Sunday, with what the NFL's #1 ranked defense? If they were playing in Detroit, I would say this is a easy win for the Lions, but since they are playing in New York, and the Lions absolutely suck on the road. The Jets will probably be in this game for the long haul right up to the end.....

Hey Jeff, I remember a conversation we had about your Astro's, and the progress of Altueve and a few others should make you feel a lot better about the future of your team. He is about to win the Astro's first batting title, lead the league in hits and stolen bases. You have a pitching staff with a great future, and your position players are starting to round into shape. Won't be too long my friend, just think they were placed in the wrong division.

Well that's all I have for the week, please don't forget to turn left and visit Hal.......

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Youth Red Sox

The ageless Sebastain Janikowski 

Every once and a while as a fan you get to do something cool. So a couple weeks ago I’m sitting on Storrow Drive in traffic. Trying to get to I-93 Noth. My phone rings and it says Boston Red Sox  on the caller ID. So I’m thinking they are trying to push some tickets for the final homestand. I answer it and the guy has my name and asks if I remember doing a fan survey about a month ago. I remember doing it and I was kind of brutally honest voicing some of  my basic displeasures with some aspects the fan experience .

The guy says based on your answers we think you would make an excellent choice to participate in a focus group. Are you interested ? I say sure sounds like fun. So last Wednesday I took the afternoon off to go to this focus group about the fan experience a Fenway.

There was suppose to be 5 people two begged out. There was me two women one from a neighboring town actually. The guy had set question but you could expand as much as you want. Everything from how do get to a game, to what food you purchase and why..

I gave some honest answers like sliding tickets why is a Yankee game $30 dollars more than say an Astro’s game same seat same experience and like the Astro’s the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs either.. I talked about a bottle of water costing $4.00 bucks. I also spoke up about spending millions and millions of dollars to make the ballpark better and two major things weren’t addressed turning the rightfield seats toward the plate and creating more leg room.

I said I just want too watch the game without a lot of other stuff. That seemed to be the opinion in the room. The weird part is the guy said that our group was different because we cared more about the game on the field.. I guess other people go to say they ent or to be social. If I’m going to a game I’m there to watch the game. All and all it was fun afternoon and somebody other than my dog listened to my opinion.

I went to the Patroits-Raiders game on Sunday, Yawn. A couple observations the Patroits can’t block ,Brady was hurried a lot and sucked a couple of times. If they don’t block we will be seeing Jimmy Grappolo instead of Brady. Julian Edelman is the only receiver on the patriots of course Brandon Lafel and Danny Amondola are basically the same player but they don’t get open.Where is Dobson and Tompkins and was Tim Wright really worth Logan Mankins.? The defense is good the offense has like a bb gun for a weapon. Then there is Gronk who still doesn’t look like Gronk.

I thought Derrick Carr played well taking everything the patriots gave him and the ageless Sebastian Janikowski had a good game. The Highlight of this one was Vince Wilforks interception late in the game that ended a Raiders drive..

Florida State and Clemson played the I don’t want it you can have it bowl Saturdy Night. Not a bad football game but nobody wanted in the end. Florida State capitialized on Clemson bad play calls for the win,

Lil Warrior Report Sorry Lil Lakesider reports

The boys lost 5- 1 this week against Wilmington. The entire team just looked like it was going through the motions.

The High school  soccer team tied this week 0-0 the Ref had an inadvertent whistle on a penalty kick that cost the Warriors a win. They ended up tying the Spartans from the next town over. The inadvertent whistle is the worst thing an official can do we have all had them but damn it’s embarrassing and it’s worse when you don’t own it like the guy in this game who made up some BS about offsides.

Zebra Tale

I was the Line Judge Friday Night in my game. It was a long turnover fest. A lot of long returns for interceptions all on my side of the field. So I have the responsibility of chasing the kid down the field. I had two 60 yrd runs and a 70 . Man I was tired and sore afterwards. I did get good help from the backjudge.

After years of Officiating Football I finally had the 4th down fumble rule in a youth game this past weekend. In NCAA rules if there is a fumble on 4th down only the play who fumbles for the fumbler can advanc the ball for the offense. So the kid fumbles and another player picks it up and runs it in for a TD. We brought it back try xplaining that rule to Coach Dads who watch too much NFL.They just had these confused looks on thier faces when all three of us went over and explained it to them. One guy in the crew even gave the rule number. He wwas looking it up that morning.

Try This rule question (from our preseason exam)

Team A QB pitches  back to his halfback A22 who runs toward the right sideline. As A22 approaches the sideline. He cocks  his arm back to pass but sees no one open A22 then simply throws the ball out of bounds beyond the neutral zone. Ruling legal play No intentional grounding because A22 is outside the tackle Box

True or False

Team A is offense. Team B is defense

( Remember this is based on NCAA rules not NFHS Rules)

Answer Next week.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

My first year here at the Gab, all the way back on May 25, 2010, I wrote an article about pay for play in high school athletics. Since then I've had the privilege of being able to coach on a JV football team and to hear so many great stories from our proud poppas here like B.O.B. and my partner for the past year of so Jeff. In the wake of our Michigan primaries and my old high school's two school millage proposals, I've decided to revisit the issue. First, I'd like to bring my original argument to the table.

In keeping with the political tone we've been into this week or so, I'd like to bring up a big sports issue that is sweeping the nation: the debate on pay to play high school sports. I'd like to start by saying that I have some perspective on both sides of the issue.

While I was going through school, sports were a huge part of my extracurricular education. In addition to much needed exercise and socialization, they provided me with work ethic and leadership skills. I feel I learned just as many life skills playing sports and participating in other activities as I did in the classroom.

On the other hand, I know that the economic crunch has hit schools particularly hard. Like everyone, schools are being forced to do more with less. Given the choice between cutting classes and cutting sports programs, I would much rather see sports go. Given the choice between cutting sports programs or making people pay, I would much rather have them be pay for play. What I would propose, however, is to find other ways to keep sports a viable part of the schooling experience.

While reading the Detroit News yesterday, I came across a story about increased fees to participate in sports in Novi schools. Currently, students pay $175 per sport at the high school level. The new budget will raise the price to $350 and up the price to $200 at the middle school level. I may not have my hand right on the pulse of school budgeting, but don't most of the sports already have the equipment? I know there are other expenses to consider, but aren't there other options?

My main concern here is that this new plan will take the option of the high school sporting experience away from already struggling families. Most schools have a bit of a fund for underprivileged students, but how much can they really have? It seems to me that in a lot of districts, especially here in MI, that there can't possibly be enough for all the cash strapped families. Whatever the case, the opportunity to play a sport shouldn't be held back from a kid  just because he is from an underprivileged family. There will be plenty of time for that kind of cold reality to come home for these kids. They shouldn't have to face it so early. Sports might be their best chance to improve their lot. Bottom line, a parents economic standing shouldn't keep a kid on the side line.

How can schools afford to keep their programs going? Well, let's go back to the parents. When I was in high school, if a team needed new uniforms or something, they would go and ask the Mom and Dad's club. This was an organization started by parents to support the school sports programs as well as any other clubs or organizations like drama or the robotics team.  The parents would hold fund raisers through the year to build up a good supply of money. They also ran the concession stands at the games, so all the proceeds went to the kids. I don't know how prevalent this is/was at other schools. I know band boosters are rather common. Either way, it seems to me that if schools and the parents would sit down and think about things, solutions could be found. Everyone needs to come together to keep kids in the game.

To take this a bit farther, you have to wonder how high school sports don't raise more revenue. Looking at my old high school which is just a small suburb in metro Detroit Michigan, I can get a few ideas. It costs $4 a game to attend varsity football games. Each season there are generally about 9 games. Ten if you count scrimmages. There could be playoffs, but that money generally goes into the state pot. This season, four of those games were at home. If a person went to all home games, the school makes $16. Season passes (for any fall sporting event) can be purchased for $25. Students, of course pay less. 

Garland Public Schools in Garland, Texas charges $4 for students and $6 for adults for advanced pusrchases. They also have reserve seats. Seats on bought on game day cost $7 for students and adults. These folks would stand to make $24 if they had the same schedule as my former high school and $28 if those folks didn't think ahead. There is also the idea of merchandise and concessions.

Still, according the Chicago Tribune, football programs routinely struggle to catch up to their costs. An October 28, 2011 article estimates that some of the most successful programs can drop around $100,000 a year to play. That's hard for any school to catch up to. Even if a school is big enough to earn notice on ESPN, they are generally only paid $1,000 a piece to play, a mere fraction of the ridiculous sums the network pays for college or pro leagues. Things can get worse when you look at coaching salaries with elite teams, equipment costs, and video editing equipment. 

Some schools are turning to advertisers to off set some of the cost. Some have begun streaming live feeds of their games on websites and selling advertising space. Still, the brunt of the cost will be passed down to players.

A solution may call for many ideas rather than just one. Schools can help ease the pay for play tide by adding a slight increase to ticket sales, say a dollar or two, capping off tickets at $8. It may be harder for some parents, but it's a pittance compared to college or pro prices. It's even comparable to minor league venues. Another solution may be to try to limit the size of some squads, though this would surely be unpopular. While some schools have big enough squads that they are forced to cut players, trimming the group down to an economical size may go farther than pay for play in denying kids the right to the field. (The Chicago Tribune article estimates a standard uniform to cost at least $550 per player.) My best idea remains the involvement of parent groups to help fund and support high school athletics through fund raising activities. (I've also had hopes of being able to sponsor one boy and one girl for a season should I ever be placed in a district that uses pay for play. And yes, I've talked it over with the GF and she'd be cool with it.)

Another expensive trend that can be stopped is the switch to artificial turf. Converting to turf costs in the neighborhood of one million dollars. While some may clamor for millages and bond issues, the economic stress makes the passing of such measures highly unlikely in most communities.

Despite the economics, football remains the top draw in high school athletics. Still, the options for funding our Friday night lights are not promising. Pay to play schemes limit who can go out for the team. Such ideas also increase the strain between parents and coaches over playing time. Advertising and raising prices only serves to cheapen the last remaining pure football in the country, though ESPN and other big market players have been trying to overexpose high school athletics for years now. I believe that small increases in ticket prices ($1-2 max), ad revenue from local businesses, more parent fund raising, avoiding unnecessary expenses, and perhaps even some generosity through sponsorship from generous donors can help address the problem and do it in a way that won't cheapen the game we all love. 

That's about all for this week. I think the topic came to me pretty easy because I started reading Friday Night Lights today. I hope to include my review of it next week. If I remember right, Jeff's boys have played the team chronicled in that book/film/tv series. Still, from what I've read it's a great book and worth a look. I picked it up cheap from my local Salvation Army (they have books 5 for $1, so I tend to stock up). Thanks for reading and as always feel free to share your thoughts and your suggestions. 

Musings From The Hoodwood 9-23
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Football MLB

Jameis Winston...is the boy really that clueless???

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where its hard for the locals not to be disillusioned with the state of the NFL today

 

Goodell’s continued fumbling

I dunno, Roger Goodell just seems to make one mistake after another. He hasn’t made a faux pas in the classic sense but his continued bullheaded and almost tone deaf attitude to the growing crisis that is developing in the NFL is just amazing. Goodell to me comes off as someone that just doesn’t get it. His smug, I am the football god mentality wore thin with me a long time ago. It just annoyed me to no end that when all this mess with Rice and Peterson was going on that Goodell seemed distant, even standoffish. It just amazed me that the head man of such a pub conscious league like the NFL would be so quiet and then just now be giving a full press conference like he did late last week.  I honestly think that the NFL has overplayed themselves so much that the media and fan backlash will be palpable.

Clueless Jameis?

There was a point in time where I really liked Jameis Winston. He shows poise beyond his years, played a cool yet focused game and seemed to just “get it” having a shockingly calm media presence. But as time has worn on the shine has worn off and Winston is behaving like another version of Johnny Football, an entitled brat who just doesn’t get how lucky he is. Winston, as you know was supposed to be suspended for the first half of their big game against Clemson for shouting obscenities in a student union cafeteria. I wasn’t perturbed by that. I know I did some pretty nutty things in college, my soundtrack was often very expletive laced. But Winston being as high profile a player and campus personality should have known better and known that the microscope was on him at all times. He cant get away with the antics that I would have. Winston compounded his error by lying to his coaches about what happened and getting the suspension lengthened to a full game. Winston further compounded his error by then dressing in full uniform and pads and warming up before the game. He had to be told by Seminole coach Jimbo Fischer that he needed to go back into the locker room and get out of the pads. He did and was a visble cheerleader on the sidelines but did not play in the Noles thrilling 23-17 OT win over the Tigers. Fischer said in a later press conference that Winston’s suspension “hit home” and that he was the starter in the Noles next game against NC State. Winston has had a few minor run ins and was of course under investigation for sexual assault but has never been arrested. Winston’s antics may have likely cost him millions of dollars as teams may be reconsidering making him the face of their franchise going forward, especially with the mess that is going on in the NFL. Many teams may eschew the talented though troublesome QB just to save themselves that much money in bad pub.

Is Michigan really that bad?

It’s a really sad time in Ann Arbor, it seems that the once deeply respected Maize and Blue is turning into another Big Ten (plus 4) also ran. After being humiliated by Notre Dame in their final meeting of the foreseeable future the Wolverines retreated home to beat up on some non-con victims ahead of their conference schedule. All seemed to be going to form as the eased past a winless Miami-Ohio and sert their sights on Utah. The problem was that the Utes weren’t rolling over and taking the L like a patsy. Taking the fight to the Wolverines in the Big House the Utes dominated the Wolverines in the run game, They hounded QB Devin Gardner into a host of mistakes and when it was all over had a stunning 26-10 win in front of a stunned sullen Michigan crowd expecting another walkover  win. The Michigan offense is nearly nonexistent and wins have suddenly become tougher to get the Maize and Blue and 3-7 in their last ten and have one touchdown in their last three games against teams in the Power 5 and that was a meaningless late bowl game score in a loss to Kansas State. The grumbling for head coach Brady Hoke’s head are getting louder especially with hated rivals in Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame looking so much better. The calls for a really big name like a Les Miles or Michigan man Jim Harbaugh to come back to his alma mater are starting to grow more fervent. The coaches and players are all saying the same thing that Hoke is their guy and that they are dedicated but the natives are getting restless and if they lose the little brown jug to Minnesota next week, the catcalls will most certainly get louder.

Phat Dap or Head Slap? You decide

This week I cant decide if I want to give KTVA reporter Charlo Greene dap or a slap for her antics here, watch the full report and you decide

 

reporting a story then quitting on air at its conclusion and finding out that she was the owner of the company in question. Im not a weed smoker but wouldn’t down someone who does. But could be called a ballsy play or just crazy.I felt kinda bad for Alexis Fernandez who was caught totally off guard by the move and stammered through the rest of the report

 

Quick Hits

Indiana gets beat by Bowling Green, then goes to Mizzou and upends the Tigers meanwhile BG goes to Wisky and get run over literally by the Badgers…can you explain this to me?

My beloved Bearcats struggled to beat neighborhood rival Miami, I thought that they could catch Ohio State napping, but they had two weeks to prepare and after Gunner Kiels wow debut wont be caught unaware. Im going but I have a bad feeling.

Could Cousins push RGIII to the trading block?

How did the Braves fall off that fast?

Why is one of my fantasy teams 0-3 and one of the higher scoring teams while my 3-0 team hasn’t cracked 90 points in any win?

Posts on Thursday and Friday until next post fellow sports fans!

Bad Behavior Analyzed, Double Standards and Other Notes
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Hope Solo Bironas Rex Chapman

 

The last few weeks have been kind of hard on the NFL and Roger Goodell specifically.  There was the whole botched Aidrian Peterson situation -  perhaps the most predictable, and frankly the most telling story, is the one about the Minnesota Vikings brass standing there at a press conference with the obligatory team/sponsor logo backdrop...after which Radisson, the team sponsor with their corporate logo on the backdrop, backs out of their relationship.  It seems they want to be associated with the NFL, but not have their corporate logo splashed across national newspapers as they “stand behind” stories of domestic violence.

 

Four players rode the pine this weekend, although there are several more with outstanding charges without resolution that did play.  Now, the issue IS complicated, but the league hasn’t handled the situation well at all.  Had the league looked more serious about the Ray Rice situation at the beginning, we likely wouldn’t have had this whole cascade - I mean, the original outrage was the discipline over a 2 game suspension juxtaposed against a PED suspension making it look like the league cared more about PEDs than spousal abuse.  

 

Know why it looked that way?  Because they DO care more about PEDs.  But that doesn’t sit well with the women the league needs to buy into their product - so they literally dropped the ball there and have continued to fumble it since.

 

CNN has a pretty nice write up on how the league has handled the situation in the past 14 years or so.  So, yeah.  We get it.  It really is complicated - as is any personal matter.  Their crime here is that they failed to pay attention to the expectations of a stakeholder they need to be successful.  You cannot be perceived as ignoring women’s issues if you want women to buy your product, and the NFL does have a history of bad behavior toward women.

 

We should be alarmed by the crime statistics - as I noted last week, the stats are always going to be skewed.  Always.  But in looking a little more at this I found a really interesting analysis on NFL crime statistics.  Summary: when looked at as a part of the general population, the statistics are really low; when looked at as a segment of the very affluent among us, the crime rates are shockingly high.  Bear in mind, just about EVERYONE on an active roster is affluent - defined as $75,000 household income yearly here.   Practice squad guys make about $6000 a week, which annualizes to about $102k, but those positions are pretty transitory and not a long term gig.  A rookie would have to be on the team for about 3-4 weeks to get to $75,000.  So, it’s not a guaranteed thing that just because they’re players they’re “affluent,” but for the point the article is making I think it’s a valid categorization.

 

The thing is, not too many 23 year olds are “affluent” and certainly not many members of this “affluent” segment of American society simply come into that money - it’s accrued over time, as are behaviors and the like.  The affluence of the average NFL player is illusory and temporary, unlike most members of that segment.  The point is that we expect better behavior, which is why we’re outraged when it looks like the NFL doesn’t care.

 

Now interestingly enough, the NFL isn’t alone in this matter, although “football” is involved.  Back in July, US National Women’s Soccer Team goal keeper Hope Solo was accused of beating up a couple of relatives - her sister and nephew.  Now, it’s not the same story line as a huge man punching out his fiancee, but it’s still domestic violence.  Solo hasn’t been suspended, and played in a shut out of Mexico last week.  

 

Here’s why there’s no outrage - USWNT is presupposed to care about women and women’s issues.  Women's soccer gets a pass - hell, women ARE the product.  There’s no need to get women invested in the product.  She’s the best female goalkeeper, we need her.  In fact, the league essentially said as much.

 

It is a double standard.  She keeps her endorsements, she keeps playing, she keeps earning money.  We’re holding the NFL to a different standard.  Arguably, Solo is a more effective role model for women than AP is for men.  Think about that one for a minute.  

 

Of course there are other bad actors in the news this week: Jameis Winston and...Rex Chapman?  The guy played 14 years and I’ve never heard of him, but apparently he got busted for shoplifting iPhones.  What a boob.  

 

And last, Rob Bironas who was cut this offseason by the Titans, died this weekend in a 1 car crash.  He was 36 years old.  Shame.

 

The last week wasn't quite as bad for me as it was for Rog or for Bironas, but it sucked, ending with a seven hour drive home from Brooklyn on Friday. Just ridiculous traffic in te city and throughout the entire state of Connecticut. In fact I'm pretty sure Connecticut deliberately creates traffic issues in a grand conspiracy. Chris Christie learned what he needed to know about creating traffic incidents from CTDOT.

 

Back to the grind today...wish me luck!

 

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