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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
Good morning....welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. Fall is upon us. I'm gather the last of my tomatoes out of the garden. Hope to be canning them on Monday. Mom has an over abundance of pumpkins too. I'll snag a couple of them for the freezer. Pumpkin cookies, pumkin bread, pumkin soup, pumkin whoopie pies and on and on I could go. Very versatile vegie.
Speaking of vegies, my favorite farmers market burnt down last Friday. I have so many farmers markets to choose from in my area but this one really was a bummer to hear about. The buildings were 75 years old. They still don't know what happened yet but the owner is promising to be back up next week if all goes well. Lots of good times and awesome eats at The Green Dragon.
I am so blessed where I live. I could go to a farmers market every day if I wanted. I love hitting the stands that have produce that's marked down for quick sale. It may be bruised or close to expired but I have a freezer and a juicer. Got to pinch those pennies but try to eat well too. I haven't bought any junk food or soda in months.
Clint Bowyer's wife is about to give birth to their first child so Matt Crafton, points leader in the truck series is on stand by just in case the baby decides to arrive this weekend.
OVARIAN CANCER SUPPORT
A number of drivers will be sporting teal ribbons with Sherry Pollex's name on their cars this weekend. Sherry is Truex Jr's long time girlfriend. She's been fighting ovarian cancer and teal is the official color for ovarian cancer awareness. Last week Dale Jr wore teal gloves in the car. He put them up for auction on eBay with the proceeds going to the ovarian cancer research charity of Sherry's choice.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
Michael Waltrip has made it to the next round. After watching the video I'm not understanding how. He and his partner did a Cha Cha. I should say that she did the dancing and he pretty much stood there. I'll be tuning into You Tube next week to see how he doesn't do.
STEWART / WARD CASE UPDATE
The investigation is over and now is moving on to a grand jury to determine what action to take if any. Stewart pledges his continuing support. NASCAR says they're monitoring the situation and will make no comment.
I for one hope they bring Stewart's winged sprint car to the court house parking lot so every one on the jury can sit in it and see just what you can't see. From the 80's till now the wing has dropped so far down that you have an equivalent of a key hole to look out onto the track. Maybe they need to raise that wing. Just a thought.
The usual suspects were up front most of the day fighting over first. Our rookie with the mostest Mr Larson is just awesome right now. He had the lead with 30 to go and kept it till with 23 to go Bowyer is in the wall for caution # 5 of the day. Larson & Harvick fought for several laps on the restart which gave Keselowski just what he needed to catch up and drive right between them for the lead and the win. Was bummed out about that. My dad and I were cheering Larson on. I really want to see the rookie win.
Top 15 finishers - Keselowski - Gordon - Larson - Logano - Harvick - Hamlin - Ky Bu - Ku Bu - McMurray - Kenseth - Dale Jr - Johnson - Kahne - Truex Jr - Newman
NEW HAMPSHIRE PREVIEW
It's #2 race of the Chase. Almirola blew a motor and was the lowest Chaser on the finish in 41st. OUCH!!! Now he needs to win in the next 2 races. We were at this track in July of this year. Gordon and Harvick ran out of fuel losing their top 5 finishes. Hamlin pitted with 4 laps to go also giving up a top 5 finish. This is a 1 mile flat track. Very little banking. Got to keep those tires on the track in order to do well here.
Gordon - He's starting 13th. No worries. Top 10
Keselowski - On a tear all of a sudden. He's got pole this week and 2 W's in a row. He's punched his ticket to round #2 of the Chase. Will he lay back and ride or charge hard for 3 W's in a row? Top 10
Harvick - Starts 3rd. He was robbed by the fuel mileage bug in July. I say he'll be there for a top 10
Hamlin - Starts 4th and he says he has a #2 on his door. I'm guessing that means he's got something for Mr Keselowski. I'll bite. Top 10
Larson - That rookie with the mostest is hot right now. I'm betting on a W before the Chase is done.Got a 3rd place finish in July here. He's a quick study too. Top 10
Kenseth - He has no W's yet this year but he's in the Chase. Had a 4th in July. Top 10
Dale Jr & Johnson are not doing good right now. For what ever reason these 2 didn't get top 10's last week. I don't see top 10's this week either.
Logano - Starts 7th. Not really his track. Top 15
Newman - Starts 9th. Top 10
Ky Bu - He's been peeking in the top 10. Got one last week. As scary as it sounds, I'll give him a top 10 this week.
McMurray - Starts 2nd. He's been fighting and clawing his way to get top 10's and I'm betting he gets one this week.
The Danica - Starts 18th. She and her boyfriend Mr Stenhouse got into an on track oops last week. His fault. Bet it was a really quiet ride home last week. Top 20
Rusty Wallace's brother Mike will be in the #66 this week. A $5 value in salary cap leagues. Timmy Hill is back in the #32. Also a $5 value.
Well folks, big day ahead. Grandson #2 has a birthday party. So I probably won't see the race. I'll be helping with all the screaming sugared up kids. So I need to look over all my fantasy line ups in racing & football one more time.