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"
Attention citizens of Denver, Colorado... your savior is no more. That's right... how do you justify getting rid of Jesus Christ? When the Jesus Christ of modern-day quarterbacks wanders into town looking for a five year- $100 million dollar deal, that's how. Peyton Manning has told his agent to "get a deal done" with the Broncos after his many visits with many callers. That's right, Broncos, next year you'll be treated to a starting quarterback that can complete over 47% of his passes... you know, kind of like you had at the START of last season with Kyle Orton. But all is not lost, all you Tebowmaniacs out there... no matter where Timmy ends up, you'll always have this guy there to cheer you up.
Yeah, Pittsburgh, Jesus hates you!!! Sunday in a battle of his demons and better angels, Jesus picked his side...St. Tebow's side! Holy shit, it's like God reached down, and loaned Timmy boy his son Jesus' arm...All the sudden kid could sling it...Of course he was down there helping the defense again, and the Holy Spirit was handling the kicking duties...But let's keep it real...Just ask ESPN...CBS...And the NFL Network...It was all Jesus Tebow! The coaching staff and their game plan had nothing to do with...God told them 'Open the playbook, Jesus Tebow has this one!'
Now you know I'm not a Tebow fan...Nor am I a fan of religion being slammed in my face...Or athletes acting like God chooses sides in a game...Hell, after all my years of Catholic education, and corruption, and cover ups in so many of the diocese, I have had many questions and doubts about my own faith...But if I'm gonna pick a side between Tebow and Co. vs the Shittsburgh Steelers...I'm going against the Steelers...So I enjoyed seeing the Broncos open up the playbook...They had a plan on Offense and Defense to go after the Steelers, and it worked...Now I can't wait to watch the Patriots put Tebow back in his place!
As for this weekend's other football games, I didn't bother...I expected Saturday's games to be let-downs, and they were...Yeah, the Lions were in that game for the first half, but then the Saints got things firing on all cylinders...Instead I was watching some quality College Hockey...
Now I know some of you must be thrown off...This is the first time in probably two years, that Monday Moaning didn't have some T&A starting it off...Don't worry, I brought some...I had an extra holiday Rosie Jones shot I wanted to use, so why wait for next year...
Now, in case you missed it, You Gab Sports handed out the TOOL_OF_THE_YEAR to everyone's favorite creep...Yes, it wasn't a shock this year, but it was much deserved...
Now, here's a couple other thoughts I have...
~How can the Cowboys be America's team when they aren't even the best team in their own state?
~Can we not call it the Cotton Bowl, since it wasn't played in the Cotton Bowl!
Here's one thing I want to touch on about the Winter Classic...Most it has been talked about, but I want to say this...Scott Hartnell of the Flyers is a real fucking shit-dick...After Mike Rupp did his mock Jagr salute after scoring a goal, Hartnell trashed him saying "he's only got two goals in his career"...Actually he has 52...Oh, and he has a Stanley Cup Game Winner...How many Cups has Hartnell won? Oh yeah...ZERO!
Hartnell then got in Rupp's face and said, "Have some respect, Jagr is a Hall of famer." I was hoping Rupper would lay him out, but he kept cool at that moment...I want to know this...If Jagr is "Hall of Famer" (which of course he isn't yet but all expect him to be) then why the fuck did his pussy ass sit on the bench for two periods...Fuck him, and fuck Philly for overpaying his old ass...And fuck Hartnell, especially trying to start some cheap shit after the game was over...Got could die from AIDS today, and I'd laugh!
My last thing is the Pro-Bowl...Like any "All-STAR" game, it's bullshit...But I expected better from the NFL since idiot fans can't stuff the ballot box...I guess I have to stop expecting much from anyone...WHY? Because these assholes some how didn't put the Leagues two leading tacklers in the game...London Fletcher, and the Browns D'Qwell Jackson...Yeah, the Browns sucked balls all year, but you can't argue that this poor bastard didn't have a great year...A great year after being out for a year and a half do to injuries...A middle linebacker, with 158 tackles, 116 solo, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble forced, 3 fumbles recovered, and an interception...Dude killed it on a horrible team, but instead Ray 'accessory to murder Lewis with his 95 tackles is going...Fuck the NFL!
Oh, and JDIN827 fuck you for waiting until the end of the season to half-heartedly say what I've been saying for 2 years...Eat a dick, and drop dead!
So this week I have no loss for words...Partly thanks to Boston College rolling into South Bend...I didn't see her around, but after the weekend the Eagles had, I bet she stayed for some Fighting Irish cock!
First Friday night, the #3 BC hockey team came into to face the #4 Fighting Irish...It was a good, tough, physical battle...Both teams gave each other all they had...And it went to overtime, with The Irish pulling out the win, with less then 2 seconds left...Here's a 2 and a half minute highlight show for ya...
Then Saturday, the Eagles football team, which blows big time this year, had to take on the Irish, and all the hoopla that goes with Senior day...Now the Irish defense played well, as they have most of the year...The offense, while they put up over 400 yards total yards, they had a lot of trouble punching it into the end zone...BC's defense made a point to rattle QB Tommy Rees...The secondary was giving him different looks, while the pass rush kept him in check, knowing that he can't run to save his life...
It wasn't a pretty game, and once again, after the Irish get back in the national rankings, they fell flat on their face...A double digit favorite, and they were lucky to squeak out a 16-14 win...Lots of talent, especially on defense, but still a lot of work to do...Next week the Irish are at Stanford to take on this super-hyped Andrew Luck guy...I hope the defense brings all they got, and put that kid on his ass all night long!
-Now, before I get into the rest of Saturday, and Sunday...I want to rewind to Thursday night and that Jesus Tebow guy...Oh, I mean Tim Tebow...
But yes, the super, in your face religious, fullback...I mean Quarterback of the Denver Broncos has a mess of disciples who really think he is the "Second Coming"...So much so that some of these fuck-tards have started taking his #15 jersey and having "JESUS" put on the back...
Now, if you know me, you know I'm not the most religious person out there...All my years of Catholic education left me asking more questions then what they answered...That said...Am I the only one who thinks putting "JESUS" on a Tebow jersey is kind of a slap in the face to the Holy Father, his Son, and the Holy Spirit? I just gotta think, that Jesus could actually complete at least 70% of his passes...I mean Robert Griffin III has a 72.9 completion percentage...Surely the son of God could do that...So while I' get that you love the shit out of Tebow, and can't stop swinging from his nuts, have a bit of respect for his and your religious beliefs...If you did, you wouldn't be wearing a #15 "JESUS" jersey asshole!
And how do Rex Ryan and his staff still have jobs after letting Tebow beat them...Everyone watching knew dude was gonna run, and can barely throw...Why didn't you defensive genius?
-Oh, and did I mention Robert Griffin III...If you go back to my HEISMAN PREVIEW, I recall saying how this kid is my favorite...
Some how he got stuck with that "Running QB" label...Well all he's done this year is complete 245 of 336 passes, for 3.572 yards...33 TD's with only 5 interceptions...Oh, and he's rushed for over 500 yards...He plays at Baylor, so he isn't getting the love he deserves, but I'd gladly take him on my team any day...Especially after he took out Oklahoma Saturday night....
With 51 seconds left, Griffin drove the ears 80 yards in 5 plays...He had two scrambles, one for 22 yards and the other for 8 yards...Then he found Terrance Williams in the end zone with a 34 yard strike, beating Oklahoma 45-38...
Thanks to Griffin and company, and USC beating Oregon, the SEC is thumbing it's collective noses at everyone, as they now have the #1, #2, and #3 teams in the country, totally fucking up the BCS!
And then after the game, ESPN's top slut with a microphone, had to make sure that she wasn't losing all the attention, so she had one of her crew dump Gatorade on her (that's not proven, just what suspect)...Oh, look at my nice wet tits....
But the best video of the weekend has to be Lee Corso's "Ahh Fuck it!"
I swear to God if ESPN fires Corso, or even suspends him, I will write blogs daily about all the other F-bombs, and stupid shit that has slipped by on their networks...It was a great, excited, honest moment, and people have to except it that people say fuck sometimes...Even on TV...Relax...It was great TV, especially Herbstreit trying to roll his chair off camera, while Fowler holds his head in his hands...All the while, the Houston coach is loving it!
-And Sunday, there was the Browns...Squeaking out a ugly 14-10 victory over Jacksonville...
Yes, another ugly Browns game, but they pulled out the win...Colt McCoy and the passing game looked pretty good, and a big reason why, was 4th string running back Chris Ogbonnaya actually rushed for 115 yards...The Browns first 100 yard rusher in 12 games...Amazing how the run can open up the pass huh coach Shurmur...I don't give a shit what he says, coach listens to talk radio and reads blogs, because the offense finally did some things we've been bitching about not seeing...That said, the Defense carried them again, and the Offense has a lot of work to do!
And that picture of Josh Cribbs catching a touchdown pass...There's something wrong with it...Something that has been wrong with the Browns all year long...If you can't figure it out, don't worry...I'll be posting that blog tomorrow!