Not sure how many of you caught this interview on ESPN, but it has a great take on the Manning-Tebow situation:
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/dfead2eb1e/satan-and-jesus-discuss-peyton-manning <----- Yeah, I don't know how to add links that aren't on YouTube. Those lazy bastards at Funny or Die haven't uploaded this to YouTube yet. Still, click the link. It is well worth it my friends.
So today would mark the unofficial start of the MLB season as the Oakland A's take on the Seattle Mariners in Japan. The game features two of the closest franchises to Japan as well as the return of their native son Ichiro. Like Frag's post suggested, this could very well be Ichiro's last season. In the last year of his contract with Seattle, there is no better way for him to open his season.
Now many will raise the question as to why the season starts in Japan. I can see several reasons. One is that the game is already pretty popular in Japan. Japanese fans love the games in Japan and nearly 45,000 fans were on hand for both games of last season's Red Sox-A's series. The return of Ichiro should only boost number as well as TV ratings to the chagrin of the Nippon league and Japanese prime time shows.
The second is the history of Japanese players migrating to the United States. My best recollection of the start of this trend came in the form of Hideo Nomo. Ichiro is without question the MLB's greatest Japanese import, but notable players like Hideki Irabu, Hideki Matsui, and the most recent addition of Yu Darvish. For the MLB having such a big stage in Japan could only spur more players to make the jump. Some may say series in countries like the Dominican could be helpful too, but I've never heard talks of any. Besides, Japan simply has more cash flow.
While this series seems to make sense and the MLB has not announced any plans to expand to Japan, it seems to stand in stark contrast to the NFL's adventures in London. This season will see the Rams square off with the Patriots in the game at Wembley. It was announced that the Rams would become the "home" team in London just this winter, as owner Stan Kroenke is also majority shareholder of the soccer club Arsenal. The Rams will be playing in London for the next three years and the league has been debating adding a second game in England.
Talk has also been made of adding an expansion team to London. This talk seems to fly in the face of mediocre ticket sales and the all too familiar and recent collapse of NFL Europe. ESPN America has been broadcasting around 100 NFL games plus playoff and Super Bowl coverage to nearly 41 European territories as of 2009, and the number may continue to rise.
Still, the idea just doesn't sit well with me. I don't see the draw in adding a team in London. It would be a scheduling nightmare. Hawaii's college football team has a hard enough time getting opponents to fly in and they don't have to cross international waters. Any team flying to London or that team having to come to the states (especially the west coast) would be at a distinct disadvantage. I also don't see a huge demand for the NFL in London. They get decent crowds, but I don't see the kind of passion they have for their soccer or rugby teams. I have realized that geography means nothing in sports, especially when UofM still declares themselves the champions of the west, but there's nothing national about London. I think an exhibition game in London would be fine, but regular season games have been a mistake and adding to that schedule only compounds the stress put on teams.
Back to good news for baseball, Frank McCourt has sold the Dodgers to a group lead by Magic Johnson and former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten for around $2 billion. Oddly enough, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke was also in the hunt along with some folks who have a share in the new Mets ownership team. From what I have heard, however, Magic and his team are the best fit. Now, a few of you may cry foul due to Magic's investment in the LA area, but that should only inspire him to improve the team. Some may not be sold on Magic as a businessman, but I have some proof he'll be good for the Dodgers and the MLB.
In tiny Dayton, Ohio is a class A Midwest league team by the name of the Daytona Dragons. The team is in the Cincinnati Reds farm system and has nurtured talent like Adam Dunn (sorry Chi-Sox fans), Joey Votto, and Hay Bruce. They've also sold out 815 consecutive games. They do it with great promotions, an attachment to the city, outstanding customer service and a pretty decent product on the field. They've got plenty of loyal fans and season ticket holders. Their story has been featured around the globe and on our favorite four letter network's Outside The Lines (probably one of the best shows on that channel). If Magic and the gang kind bring that type of service to the Dodgers, they'll do just fine and restore a bit of faith to a proud franchise.
Well, that's it for me this week. I have no challenge this week, but have to agree Harvey's Like Mike videos and Frag's zumba pic may be slightly more 90's than a Chris Mullin Starter ad. Still, you all know you had a Starter jacket back then. I had a pretty amazing Tigers jacket, but we gave it away once I out grew it. My bro's kid would look pretty boss in it had we kept it and he gotten really big, really fast.
Hope you all have a great weekend and are ready for some baseball. I'm going to enjoy watching IHM and my Tigers taking on Sully's Red Sox. What a way to start the year. Anyone else thinking about a Jon Lester-Justin Verlander pitcher's duel? Well, I leave you guys with your word of the week.
baseball card burden, noun
The state of an adult possessing many thousands of once valuable, now worthless baseball cards. The burden carrier is cursed with holding a sliver of false hope that the cards will one day become worth something. So, the burden carrier must keep them in "mint" condition(not in the attic or basement where space is abundant) No, the burden-afflicted takes-up large amounts of climate-controlled prime closet space with this mass of what amounts to thousands of glossy toilet paper squares. The burden also weighs heavy in domestic squabbles. If your wife asks you why those cards are taking-up half of the closet, you can say nothing. There is no defense. They are the quivalent of a Precious Moments Burden for women.
"I really would like to buy that new coat. But if I do, I will have to get rid of my vacuum cleaner to make space in the closet"
"Such is life with the baseball card burden"