A few years ago America went to the ballot boxes and asked for change. Well, this week we've at least had talk of it. Not from DC, however. Sure the Nats are more respectable and the entire make up of the Redskins has changed (though my opponent would probably say that is not change, it's more of the same), but of course everything else is the same: people point fingers while things get worse, market fluctuation, bicjkering between parties, yadda yadda yadda. This week we've heard about the possibilty of real change, in sports.
First off, lets talk about NCAA football. Are we getting playoffs? No. I seriously doubt we ever will as too much money is tied up in the current bowl system and no one, aside from fans, wants to give that up. The big talk is about changing the make up of the conferences, most notably the Big Ten looking to add members. A few weeks ago, Joe Pa stepped up and said he is in favor of expansion in the Big Ten. Now expansion fever has hit and unfortunately, it might've hit prematurely.
The first symptom is slip of the tongue. On monday it was announced that the Big Ten had sent the word to four schools (Missouri, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Nebraska) that they would be offered membership in the Big Ten conference. The talking heads buzzed and the Gab lit into it. Fan82 stepped up and laid down his conearns and pleas for conferences to stop trying to take Texas from the Big 12. Arse Cynic weighed in and rose a lot of valid questions about whether or not the NCAA should step in and try to manage the expansion bids/talks before everything got out of hand. Great points by each man and anyone else I missed.
I saw word tonight that the Big Ten comissh, Mr. Jim Delany, has sent out an e-mail nixing the rumored solicitation to the four previously listed schools. The notion that the Big 10 is looking to expand, however, is still standing. The conference is looking to extend it's network into new and more lucrative markets and to be able to hold a league championship game every year.
In my opinion, I believe the Big Ten is over due for a championship game. Every year, the Big Ten wraps up around mid-November with a recent exception of a few December games. Meanwhile, the other power conferences cntinue to play into December with their championship games. Around the same time, the Big Ten has looked sorry in their bowls, though it seems more as if they are just rusty.
This season, Wisconsin finished it's season December 5. Most of the conference finsihed playing November 21. Wisconsin would go on to win the Cahmps Sports Bowl over Miami Fl. While this doesn't definitly prove that playing farther into the season will help the Big Ten, it does offer a glimpse of what might happen. A month rest just might be a bit much to ask of any team. The rest of the power conferences have taken steps to lessen the gap between the season and bowl season. Hopefuly, the Big Ten will continue to do so as well. Big Ten officials will be getting together May 17-19 in Chicago.
Next up, how about a change of venue for YouTube sensation turned UFC heavyweight Kimbo Slice? Most people can admit that watch Kimbo beat up on a guy in a back yard was fun, but it was clear that it would be different once he stepped into the octagon.
Dana White never bought the hype and made Slice earn his way into the UFC. After his last fight, it looks like White's skepticism was well founded. Slice got dominated by a more well-rounded fighter. Slice looks more like a street fighter out there. He doesn't have take downs and is shaky on the ground. Perhaps Slice can become the next Butterbean and go around kocking guys out in the boxing ring for fun. The UFC experiment looks like a wash out, though I'm sure a rival company will be quick to give Slice another chance in an effort to cash in on his hype.
Finally, the MLB, a foundation rooted in tradition, has announced changes for its all-star game. Perhaps working on a tip from Frag, the MLB has decided to address the discrepincy of the DH rule in the al-star game. The DH will be used in any stadium for the all-star game. That's not all, the MLB has also decided to add another roster spot and take steps to make sure that a player can re-enter in order to avoid another tie game.
There are those, however, who oppose change. My brother, IHM, is one of these people. He vehimately screams: "No you can't, Bud!" He wants to see pitchers try to hit or he must like ties a lot. If so, I advise him to watch more soccer. They love ties. In fact, I think the French came up with the whole tie concept to deal with their constant defeats in....well, everything.
I, however, welcome change. I don't welcome it with collector plates or portraits of Obama, but I am pleased to see baseball willing to be flexable as it tries to turn it's classic exhibition into a competition. There's a lot of good reasons for it.
Each team has equal footing with a DH. If Selig wants us to believe that "This one counts", then the same rules need to apply for each team no matter what park they're in. National leaguers would appear to have an edge since they're pitchers get more at bats and are more prepared when they appear in all-star games. Also, the NL can stock its starting line-up with more of it's powerhouse first basemen. Let's face it, no one wants to see pitchers hit if they can avoid it. It's like watching Hank Aaron XXIV on Futurama's Blernsball episode. The only problem is that fans aren't able to select whom the NL picks for their starting DH. Put it on the ballot, managers already get to pick the pitchers and their starters.
Having two extra players on the roster. Each year, fans and media heads alike debate over who was most wronged by being left off the all-star roster. Well, this is a small step toward fixing that. Not only will all the teams be represented, but the extra spot will reward deserving players who might have been left off in favor of an Astro or a Cub. This will also help make sure we don't see another game like '02s infamous tie. Which brings us to...
Each manager can designated one player to re-enter the game at any position if the final player should go down. Ok, it is unlikely. Most guys aren't in too much danger of getting hurt unless they are hot dogging or Pete Rose shows back up and decides to run down some catchers. Anything goes as long as it keeps the game from ending in a tie.
Pitchers who start the final game before the all-star game are ineligable and will be replaced. This one has got to be awesome for owners, managers, and fantasy players all over. While many here at the Gab have bemoaned the coddling of pitchers in today's MLB, this rule makes sense. Even if it's been an ace pitching the game before, it's been a bit of an unwritten rule for the all-star manager to try not to use that pitcher in the game. They don't want to wear him out. This way, the manager can avoid offending his fellow managers, the player can still be recognized, and another deserving pitcher gets the chance to compete.
See? Change can be good, Gabbers. Here's hoping that any changes in store for you this week are good and if things are going good, well here's hoping to more of the same. Thanks for taking the time to check us out here at the Gab. Be sure to check out my bro IHM as he bemoans change and points out the further follies of Bud Selig.